Friday, May 04, 2007

Song of Songs Chapter 3

Bonnard, The Terraces, 1941

Song of Songs Chapter 3

3:1 She searches for her beloved in what some take to be a nightmare sequence, since she stays in bed all night.

3:2 She looks in a city—perhaps a city of dreams—for her love.

3:3 She asks the town watchmen if they have seen him. She has been unable to find her lover, yet the watchmen have found her.

3:4 As soon as she asks the watchmen about her lover she finds him and holds him by the hand.

It is likely that the reference to her mother’s house refers to matters relating to marriage, certainly conception. It is possible that she wants to make love to her lover in the same room where she was conceived, in which case see 8:5.

3:5 See 2:7 for the first instance of this refrain.

Song of Songs Chapter 3

3:6 This may be spoken by the daughters of Jerusalem. Whoever is speaking compares the Shulamite to a fantastic apparition in the desert, presumably a whirlwind over the sands. Frankincense is a white or yellowish balsamic resin derived from wood.

3:7 This begins a new section of the poem, presumably spoken by the Shulamite. The material may come from various folk stories, and seems to refer to the make-believe world of the lovers, though its references to King Solomon and a marriage feast lead some to believe that the poem itself is about Solomon, and that is in fact his wedding.

3:8 The swordsmen are there, presumably, to to protect the king, though if this is imaginary, they would be there to protect the lovers from harm. In any case, it adds to the derring-do.

3:9 Presumably folkloric.

3:10 Solomon is traditionally associated with huge pillars, likely associating with the Temple

3:11 The marriage of King Solomon is evoked, reminding us of the Shulamite calling her lover “the king” in 1:4.