Friday, May 04, 2007

Song of Songs Chapter 6

Bonnard, Panoramic View of Le Cannet, 1941

The Song of Songs Chapter 6

6:1 Presumably the daughters of Jerusalem ask where her lover has gone to.

6:2 See 2:16, 4:16, 6:3 for more on the image of gardening and pasturing.

6:3 Another wasf, a song of praise.

Gathering lilies also has an erotic sense in the poem, since the flowers are linked to her body.

6:4 Tirzah is an ancient, opulent city. Her beauty is so overpowering it is like seeing an army arrayed for battle. This is reminiscent of an image from Sappho #16.

6:5 In 1:15 and 4:1 her eyes are like doves, and in 4:9 they ravish the lover. Here they are even more powerful. Here the imagery is no longer just descriptive but evokes how the eyes make the lover feel.

6:6 The literal image may not seem especially appropriate to us, but freshly washed sheep were at their whitest, and would all look alike. Notice too how the image draws in elements from the landscape so that metaphor and metonymy are joined.

6:7 The lover especially loves the way the girl’s body curves, her cheek here, and elsewhere (7:1) her thigh.

6:8 Solomon’s court is rich and crowded. There are 60 queens, 80 king’s women, and countless maidens. The women are probably concubines.

6:9 But there is only one Shulamite, and everyone, from her mother to the queens, sing her praises.

6:10 See 3:6 for the same sort of question. She is compared with the heavenly bodies: moon, sun, stars.

6:11 This and the next verse may be spoken by the young man.

6:12 No one really knows how to translate this verse. See the netbible note.

6:13 She dances, and the lover (or guests at the banquet) urge her on. “Return” may be understood as “turn” or “whirl,”