Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
"Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom."
Young Women of Jerusalem: "Quick! Catch all the little foxes before they ruin the vineyard of your love, for the grapevines are all in blossom."
Then you must protect me from the foxes, foxes on the prowl, Foxes who would like nothing better than to get into our flowering garden.
Take for us the foxes, the little foxes, which do damage to the vines; our vines have young grapes.
Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards—for our vineyards are in blossom."
HER BROTHERS Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The imperative אֶחֱזוּ (’ekhezu, “catch”) is plural in form (Qal imperative 2nd person masculine plural from אָחַז, ’akhaz). Some commentators suggest that the woman is speaking to a large audience, perhaps the maidens of Jerusalem mentioned in 2:7. However, the Hebrew plural can function in an intensive sense when used in reference to a single individual (IBHS 122 §7.4.3a). As noted previously, the bride often uses the plural in reference to herself or to her bridegroom in Sumerian love literature. Thus, the woman simply may be speaking to her beloved, as in 2:16-17, but with particularly intense passion.
2 sn The term “foxes” is used metaphorically. Foxes are always spoken of in a negative light in the OT and in the ancient world were particularly associated with their destructive tendencies with regard to vineyards (Judg 15:4; Neh 4:3; Ps 63:10; Lam 5:18; Ezek 13:4). The description of these foxes as being destructive here seems to confirm that this is the point of comparison in mind.
3 sn In ancient Near Eastern love literature it was common to use wild animals to symbolize potential problems which could separate lovers and destroy their love. For instance, in Egyptian love songs it is the crocodile, rather than the foxes, which were used as figures for obstacles which might threaten a couple’s love. Here the “foxes” are probably used figuratively to represent potentially destructive problems which could destroy their romantic relationship and which could hinder it from ripening into marriage.
4 sn The term “vineyard” is also a figure. In 1:6 she used the vineyard motif as a metaphor for her physical appearance, but here it is “our vineyards” which is probably a figure for their romantic relationship. The phrase “in bloom” makes the metaphor more specific, so that the phrase “our vineyards are in bloom” means that their romantic love relationship was in its initial stages, that is, before it had ripened into marriage.