Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

The Song of Songs 3:1

Context
NET ©

The Beloved about Her Lover: All night long 1  on my bed 2  I longed for 3  my lover. 4  I longed for 5  him but he never appeared. 6 

NIV ©

All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him.

NASB ©

"On my bed night after night I sought him Whom my soul loves; I sought him but did not find him.

NLT ©

Young Woman: "One night as I lay in bed, I yearned deeply for my lover, but he did not come.

MSG ©

Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover. I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.

BBE ©

By night on my bed I was looking for him who is the love of my soul: I was looking for him, but I did not see him.

NRSV ©

Upon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.

NKJV ©

THE SHULAMITE By night on my bed I sought the one I love; I sought him, but I did not find him.


KJV
By night
<03915>
on my bed
<04904>
I sought
<01245> (8765)
him whom my soul
<05315>
loveth
<0157> (8804)_:
I sought
<01245> (8765)
him, but I found
<04672> (8804)
him not.
NASB ©
"On my bed
<04904>
night
<03915>
after night I sought
<01245>
him Whom
<07945>
my soul
<05315>
loves
<0157>
; I sought
<01245>
him but did not find
<04672>
him.
HEBREW
wytaum
<04672>
alw
<03808>
wytsqb
<01245>
yspn
<05315>
hbhas
<0157>
ta
<0853>
ytsqb
<01245>
twlylb
<03915>
ybksm
<04904>
le (3:1)
<05921>
LXXM
epi
<1909
PREP
koithn
<2845
N-ASF
mou
<1473
P-GS
en
<1722
PREP
nuxin
<3571
N-DPF
ezhthsa
<2212
V-AAI-1S
on
<3739
R-ASM
hgaphsen
<25
V-AAI-3S
h
<3588
T-NSF
quch
<5590
N-NSF
mou
<1473
P-GS
ezhthsa
<2212
V-AAI-1S
auton
<846
D-ASM
kai
<2532
CONJ
ouc
<3364
ADV
euron
<2147
V-AAI-1S
auton
<846
D-ASM
ekalesa
<2564
V-AAI-1S
auton
<846
D-ASM
kai
<2532
CONJ
ouc
<3364
ADV
uphkousen
<5219
V-AAI-3S
mou
<1473
P-GS
NET © [draft] ITL
The Beloved about Her Lover: All night
<03915>
long on my bed
<04904>
I longed
<05315>
for my lover
<0157>
. I longed for him but he never
<03808>
appeared
<04672>
.
NET ©

The Beloved about Her Lover: All night long 1  on my bed 2  I longed for 3  my lover. 4  I longed for 5  him but he never appeared. 6 

NET © Notes

tn Alternately, “at night” or “night after night.” The noun בַּלֵּילוֹת (ballelot, plural of “night”) functions as an adverbial accusative of time. The plural form בַּלֵּילוֹת from לַיְלָה (laylah, “night”) can be classified in several ways: (1) plural of number: “night after night” (NASB, NEB); (2) plural of extension: “all night long” (NIV); (3) plural of composition: “by night” (KJV) and “at night” (NJPS); or (4) plural of intensity: “during the blackest night.” The plural of extension (“all night long”) is supported by (1) the four-fold repetition of the verb בָּקַשׁ (baqash, “to seek”) in 3:1-2 which emphasizes that the Beloved was continually looking for her lover all night long, (2) her decision to finally arise in the middle of the night to look for him in 3:2-4, and (3) her request in the immediately preceding verse (2:17) that he make love to her all night long: “until the day breathes and the shadows flee….” One should note, however, that the plural בַּלֵּילוֹת occurs in 3:8 where it is a plural of composition: “by night” (NJPS) or “of the night” (NASB, NIV) or “in the night” (KJV).

sn The use of the term בַּלֵּילוֹת (ballelot, “night”) in 3:1 stands in striking contrast to the use of the term הַיּוֹם (hayyom, “the day”) in 2:17 which is the preceding verse. In 2:17 the woman invited her beloved to make love to her all night long; however, in 3:1 she recounts a nightmarish experience in which she was unable to find her beloved next to her in bed. Scholars debate whether 3:1-4 recounts a nightmare-like dream sequence or a real-life experience. There are striking parallels between 3:1-4 and 5:2-8 which also raises the possibility of a nightmare-like dream sequence.

tn The term מִשְׁכָּב (mishkav, “bed”) in 3:1 is the common term for marriage bed (HALOT 646 s.v. מִשְׁכָּב; BDB 1012 s.v. מִשְׁכָּב) in distinction from the common term for עֶרֶש (’eresh, “couch”) in 1:16. Several uses of the term מִשְׁכָּב (“bed”) have overt sexual connotations, denoting the place of copulation (Gen 49:4; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Num 31:17, 35; Judg 21:11, 12; Prov 7:17; Isa 57:7-8). The noun is used in the expression מִשְׁכָּב דֹּדִים (mishkav dodim, “love-bed”) with obvious sexual connotations (Ezek 23:17).

tn Heb “I sought….” The verb בָּקַשׁ (baqash, “to seek”) denotes the attempt to physically find someone (e.g., 1 Sam 13:14; 16:16; 28:7; 1 Kgs 1:2-3; Isa 40:20; Ezek 22:30; Esth 2:2; Job 10:6; Prov 18:1) (HALOT 152 s.v. בקשׁ). However, it is clear in 3:1 that this “search” took place upon her bed. It does not make sense in the context that the Beloved was looking around in her bed to find her lover – how big could her bed be that she had lost him? Rather, בָּקַשׁ (“to seek”) is used metonymically to reference to her longing for her absent lover, that is, seeking in the sense of anticipation. The perfect tense should be classified as a past constantive action, describing a past action which covered an extended period of time, as indicated by the phrase בַּלֵּילוֹת (ballelot, plural of extension, “all night long”) in 3:1. This continual action is emphasized by the four-fold repetition of בָּקַשׁ (“seek”) in 3:1-2.

tn Heb “the one whom my soul loves.” The expression נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) is a synecdoche of part for the whole (= the woman). The expression נַפְשִׁי (“my soul”) is often used as independent personal pronoun. It often expresses personal preference, such as love or hatred (e.g., Gen 27:4, 25; Lev 26:11, 30; Judg 5:24; Isa 1:14) (HALOT 712 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ). The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) is used over 150 times in OT to refer to the seat of a person’s emotions and passions (BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ c.6.a) (e.g., Deut 12:15, 20, 21; 14:26; 18:6; 21:14; 24:15; 1 Sam 3:21; 23:30; 2 Sam 14:14; 1 Kgs 11:37; Isa 26:8; Jer 2:24; 22:27; 34:16; 44:14; Ezek 16:27; Hos 4:8; Mic 7:1; Pss 10:3; 24:4; 25:1; 35:25; 78:18; 86:4; 105:22; 143:8; Prov 13:4; 19:8; 21:10; Job 23:13; Song 5:6). It often refers to the seat of love (BDB 660 s.v. d.6.e) (e.g., Gen 34:3, 8; Jer 12:7; Ps 63:9; Song 1:7; 3:1-4). The expression אֵת־שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי (’et-sheahavah nafshi, “the one whom I love”; Heb “the one whom my soul loves”) is repeated four times in 3:1-4. The repetition emphasizes her intense love for her beloved. The noun אָהֲבָה (’ahavah, “love”) is often used in reference to the love between a man and woman, particularly in reference to emotional, romantic, or sexual love (2 Sam 1:26; 13:15; Prov 5:19; 7:18; Song 2:4-5, 7; 3:5; 5:8; 8:4, 6-7; Jer 2:2, 33). Likewise, the verb אָהֵב (’ahev, “to love”) often refers to emotional, romantic, or sexual love between a man and woman (e.g., Gen 24:67; 29:20, 30, 32; 34:3; Deut 21:15, 16; Judg 14:16; 16:4, 15; 1 Sam 1:5; 18:20; 2 Sam 13:1, 4, 15; 1 Kgs 11:1; 2 Chr 11:21; Neh 13:26; Esth 2:17; Eccl 9:9; Song 1:3, 4, 7; 3:1-4; Jer 22:20, 22; Ezek 16:33, 36-37; 23:5, 9, 22; Hos 2:7-15; 3:1; Lam 1:19).

tn Heb “I searched for him” or “I sought him” (see study note above).

tc The LXX adds “I called him but he did not answer me” (ἐκάλεσα αὐτόν καὶ οὐχ ὑπήκουσέν μου, ekalesa auton kai ouc Juphkousen) to 3:2d on the basis of its appearance in the parallel expressions in Song 5:6. There is no textual support for its inclusion here.

tn Heb “but I did not find him.” The verb מָצָא (matsa’, “to find”) normally describes discovering the whereabouts of something/someone who is lost or whose presence is not known. It is clear in 3:1 that the Beloved was not taking a physically active role in looking all around for him, because she stayed in her bed all night long during this time. Therefore, the verb מָצָא (“to find”) must be nuanced metonymically in terms of him appearing to her. It does not denote “finding” him physically, but visually; that is, if and when he would arrive at her bedside, she would “find” him. This might allude to her request in 2:17 for him to rendezvous with her to make love to her all night long (“until the day breathes and the shadows flee”). Despite the fact that she was waiting for him all night long, he never appeared (3:1). The verb מָצָא (“to find”) is repeated four times in 3:1-4, paralleling the four-fold repetition of בָּקַשׁ (baqash, “to seek”). This antithetical word-pair creates a strong and dramatic contrast.



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