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The Song of Songs 2:8-9

Context
The Arrival of the Lover

The Beloved about Her Lover:

2:8 Listen! 1  My lover is approaching! 2 

Look! 3  Here he comes,

leaping over the mountains,

bounding over the hills!

2:9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. 4 

Look! There he stands behind our wall,

gazing through the window,

peering through the lattice.

1 tn Heb “The voice of my beloved!” The exclamation קוֹל (qol, “Listen!”) is an introductory exclamatory particle used to emphasize excitement and the element of surprise.

2 tn The phrase “is approaching” does not appear in Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

3 tn The exclamation הִנֵּה־זֶה (hinneh-zeh, “Look!”) is used of excited speech when someone is seen approaching (Isa 21:9).

4 sn Gazelles are often associated with sensuality and masculine virility in ancient Near Eastern love literature. Gazelles were often figures in Hebrew, Akkadian, and Ugaritic literature for mighty warriors or virile young men (e.g., 2 Sam 1:19; 2:18; Isa 14:9; Zech 10:3). In ancient Near Eastern love literature gazelles often symbolize the excitement and swiftness of the lover coming to see his beloved, as in an ancient Egyptian love song: “O that you came to your sister swiftly like a bounding gazelle! Its feet reel, its limbs are weary, terror has entered its body. A hunter pursues it with his hounds, they do not see it in its dust; It sees a resting place as a trap, it takes the river as its road. May you find her hiding-place before your hand is kissed four times. Pursue your sister’s love, the Golden gives her to you, my friend!” (“Three Poems” in the Papyrus Chester Beatty 1 collection).



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