The Song of Songs 3:3Context
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Heb “those who go around the city” or “those who go around in the city.” The expression הַסֹּבְבִים בָּעִיר (hassovÿvim ba’ir, “those who go around the city”) probably refers to the watchmen of the city walls rather than night city street patrol (e.g., Ps 127:1; Song 5:7; Isa 21:11; 62:6). The Israelite night watchmen of the walls is paralleled by the Akkadian sahir duri (“one who goes around the wall”) which appears in a lexical text as the equivalent of ma-sar musi (“night watchman”) (CAD 4:192). See M. H. Pope, Song of Songs (AB), 419. There is a wordplay in 3:2-3 between the verb וַאֲסוֹבְבָה (va’asovÿvah, “I will go about”) and הַסֹּבְבִים (hassovÿvim, “those who go around”). This wordplay draws attention to the ironic similarity between the woman’s action and the action of the city’s watchmen. Ironically, she failed to find her beloved as she went around in the city, but the city watchmen found her. Rather than finding the one she was looking for, she was found.
2 tn Heb “the one whom my soul loves – have you seen [him]?” The normal Hebrew word-order (verb-subject-direct object) is reversed in 3:3 (direct object-verb-subject) to emphasize the object of her search: אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי רְאִיתֶם (’et she’ahavah nafshi rÿ’item, “The one whom my soul loves – have you seen [him]?”).