Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

The Song of Songs 8:6

Context
NET ©

The Beloved to Her Lover: Set me like a cylinder seal 1  over your heart, 2  like a signet 3  on your arm. 4  For love is as strong as death, 5  passion 6  is as unrelenting 7  as Sheol. Its flames burst forth, 8  it is a blazing flame. 9 

NIV ©

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

NASB ©

"Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD.

NLT ©

Place me like a seal over your heart, or like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, and its jealousy is as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.

MSG ©

Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing--it sweeps everything before it.

BBE ©

Put me as a sign on your heart, as a sign on your arm; love is strong as death, and wrath bitter as the underworld: its coals are coals of fire; violent are its flames.

NRSV ©

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.

NKJV ©

THE SHULAMITE TO HER BELOVED Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame.


KJV
Set
<07760> (8798)
me as a seal
<02368>
upon thine heart
<03820>_,
as a seal
<02368>
upon thine arm
<02220>_:
for love
<0160>
[is] strong
<05794>
as death
<04194>_;
jealousy
<07068>
[is] cruel
<07186>
as the grave
<07585>_:
the coals
<07565>
thereof [are] coals
<07565>
of fire
<0784>_,
[which hath a] most vehement flame
<07957>_.
{cruel: Heb. hard}
NASB ©
"Put
<07760>
me like a seal
<02368>
over
<05921>
your heart
<03820>
, Like a seal
<02368>
on your arm
<02220>
. For love
<0160>
is as strong
<05794>
as death
<04194>
, Jealousy
<07068>
is as severe
<07186>
as Sheol
<07585>
; Its flashes
<07565>
are flashes
<07565>
of fire
<0784>
, The very flame
<07957>
of the LORD
<03050>
.
HEBREW
hytbhls
<07957>
sa
<0784>
ypsr
<07565>
hypsr
<07565>
hanq
<07068>
lwask
<07585>
hsq
<07186>
hbha
<0160>
twmk
<04194>
hze
<05794>
yk
<03588>
Kewrz
<02220>
le
<05921>
Mtwxk
<02368>
Kbl
<03820>
le
<05921>
Mtwxk
<02368>
ynmyv (8:6)
<07760>
LXXM
yev
<5087
V-AAD-2S
me
<1473
P-AS
wv
<3739
CONJ
sfragida
<4973
N-ASF
epi
<1909
PREP
thn
<3588
T-ASF
kardian
<2588
N-ASF
sou
<4771
P-GS
wv
<3739
CONJ
sfragida
<4973
N-ASF
epi
<1909
PREP
ton
<3588
T-ASM
braciona
<1023
N-ASM
sou
<4771
P-GS
oti
<3754
CONJ
krataia
<2900
A-NSF
wv
<3739
CONJ
yanatov
<2288
N-NSM
agaph
<26
N-NSF
sklhrov
<4642
A-NSM
wv
<3739
CONJ
adhv
<86
N-NSM
zhlov
<2205
N-NSM
periptera {A-NPN} authv
<846
D-GSF
periptera {A-NPN} purov
<4442
N-GSN
flogev
<5395
N-NPF
authv
<846
D-GSF
NET © [draft] ITL
The Beloved to Her Lover: Set
<07760>
me like a cylinder seal
<02368>
over
<05921>
your heart
<03820>
, like a signet
<02368>
on
<05921>
your arm
<02220>
. For
<03588>
love
<0160>
is as strong
<05794>
as death
<04194>
, passion
<07068>
is as unrelenting
<07186>
as Sheol
<07585>
. Its flames burst forth
<07565>
, it is a blazing
<0784>
flame
<07957>
.
NET ©

The Beloved to Her Lover: Set me like a cylinder seal 1  over your heart, 2  like a signet 3  on your arm. 4  For love is as strong as death, 5  passion 6  is as unrelenting 7  as Sheol. Its flames burst forth, 8  it is a blazing flame. 9 

NET © Notes

sn In the ancient Near East חוֹתָם (khotam, “seal”) was used to denote ownership and was thus very valuable (Jer 22:24; Hag 2:23; Eccl 17:22). Seals were used to make a stamp impression to identify the object as the property of the seal’s owner (HALOT 300 s.v. I חוֹתָם). Seals were made of semi-precious stone upon which was engraved a unique design and an inscription, e.g., LMLK [PN] “belonging to king […].” The impression could be placed upon wet clay of a jar or on a writing tablet by rolling the seal across the clay. Because it was a valuable possession its owner would take careful precautions to not lose it and would keep it close to him at all times.

tn The term לֵבָב (levav, “heart”) is used figuratively here as (1) a metonymy (container for the thing contained) for his chest over which the cylinder seal was hung or (2) a metonymy (concrete body part for the abstract emotions with which it is associated) for his emotions, such as love and loyalty to the Beloved (e.g., Judg 16:25; Ruth 3:7; 1 Sam 25:36; 2 Sam 13:28; 1 Kgs 8:66) (HALOT 514-15 s.v. לֵב) (see H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 40-58).

sn There were two kinds of cylinder seals in the ancient Near East, namely, those worn around one’s neck and those worn around one’s wrist. The typical Mesopotamian seal was mounted on a pin and hung on a string or necklace around one’s neck. The cylinder seal hung around one’s neck would, figuratively speaking, rest over the heart (metonymy of association). The Beloved wished to be to Solomon like a cylinder seal worn over his heart. She wanted to be as intimate with her lover as the seal worn by him (W. W. Hallo, “‘As the Seal Upon Thy Heart’: Glyptic Roles in the Biblical World,” BRev 2 [1985]: 26).

tn Literally “cylinder-seal” or “seal.” The term חוֹתָם (khotam, “cylinder-seal”) is repeated in 8:6 for emphasis. The translation above uses the terms “cylinder seal” and “signet” simply for the sake of poetic variation. The Beloved wanted to be as safe and secure as a cylinder seal worn on the arm or around the neck, hanging down over the heart. She also wanted to be placed on his heart (emotions), like the impression of a cylinder seal is written on a document. She wanted to be “written” on his heart like the impression of a cylinder seal, and kept secure in his love as a signet ring is worn around his arm/hand to keep it safe.

tn Alternately, “wrist.” In Palestine cylinder seals were often hung on a bracelet worn around one’s wrist. The cylinder seal was mounted on a pin hanging from a bracelet. The cylinder seal in view in Song 8:6 could be a stamp seal hung from a bracelet of a type known from excavations in Israel. See W. W. Hallo, “‘As the Seal Upon Thy Heart’: Glyptic Roles in the Biblical World,” BRev 2 (1985): 26.

sn It was a common practice in the ancient world to compare intense feelings to death. The point of the expression “love is as strong as death” means that love is extremely strong. The expression “love is as cruel as Sheol” may simply mean that love can be profoundly cruel. For example: “His soul was vexed to death,” means that he could not stand it any longer (Judg 16:16). “I do well to be angry to death,” means that he was extremely angry (Jonah 4:9). “My soul is sorrowful to death,” means that he was exceedingly sorrowful (Matt 26:38 = Mark 14:34) (D. W. Thomas, “A Consideration of Some Unusual Ways of Expressing the Superlative in Hebrew,” VT 3 [1953]: 220-21).

tn Alternately, “jealousy.” The noun קִנְאָה (qinah) has a wide range of meanings: “jealousy” (Prov 6:34; 14:30; 27:4), “competitiveness” (Eccl 4:4; 9:6), “anger” (Num 5:14, 30), “zeal” (2 Kgs 10:16; Pss 69:10; 119:139; Job 5:2; Sir 30:24), and “passion” (Song 8:6). The Hebrew noun is related to the Akkadian and Arabic roots that mean “to become intensely red” or “become red with passion,” suggesting that the root denotes strong emotion. Although קִנְאָה is traditionally rendered “jealousy” (KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV), the parallelism with אַהֲבָה (’ahavah, “love”) suggests the nuance “passion” (NJPS). Coppes notes, “This word is translated in the KJV in a bad sense in Song 8:6, ‘jealousy is as cruel as the grave,’ but it could be taken in a good sense in parallel with the preceding, ‘ardent zeal is as strong as the grave’” (TWOT 2:803).

tn Heb “harsh” or “severe.”

tn Heb “Its flames are flames of fire.”

tn The noun שַׁלְהֶבֶתְיָה (shalhevetyah, “mighty flame”) is related to the nouns שַׁלְהֶבֶת (shalhevet, “flame”), לֶהָבָה (lehavah, “flame”), and לַהַב (lahav, “flame”), all of which are derived from the root להב “to burn, blaze, flame up” (HALOT 520 s.v. לַהַב). The form שַׁלְהֶבֶתְיָה is an unusual noun pattern with (1) a prefix ־שׁ that is common in Akkadian but rare in Hebrew; it has an intensive adjective meaning, (2) a feminine ־ת ending, and (3) a suffix ־יָה whose meaning is debated. The suffix ־יָה has been taken in three ways by scholars and translators: (1) יָה is an abbreviated form of the divine name יהוה (“Yahweh”), functioning as a genitive of source: “the flame of the Lord” (NASB). The abbreviated form יָהּ is used only in poetic texts as a poetic variation of יהוה (e.g., Exod 15:2; 17:16; Pss 68:5, 19; 77:12; 89:9; 94:7, 12; 102:19; 104:35; 105:45; 106:1, 48; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1, 9; 115:17, 18; 116:19; 117:2; 118:5, 14, 17-19; 122:4; 130:3; 135:1, 3, 4, 21; 146:1, 10; 147:1, 20; 148:1, 14; 149:1, 9; 150:1, 6; Isa 12:2; 26:4; 38:11). However, the Masoretes did not point the text as שַׁלְהֶבֶת־יָהּ (shalhevet-yah) with maqqep and daghesh in the הּ, as would be the case with the divine name. (2) Thomas suggests that, just as אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) and אֵל (’el) are sometimes used to express superlatives or intensive ideas, so יָה expresses the superlative/intensive: “a mighty flame” (D. W. Thomas, “A Consideration of Some Unusual Ways of Expressing the Superlative in Hebrew,” VT 3 [1953]: 209-24). Examples of אֱלֹהִים (’elohim): “a mighty wind” (Gen 1:2), “a mighty prince” (Gen 23:6), “a great struggle” (Gen 30:8), “a great fire” (Job 1:16), “an exceeding great city” (Jonah 3:3). Examples of אֵל (’el): “the mighty mountains” (Ps 36:7) and “the mighty cedars” (Ps 80:11). Examples of יָה (yah) suffixed: “darkest gloom” (Jer 2:31), “mighty deeds” (Jer 32:19), and “mighty deeds” (Ps 77:12). (3) The most likely view is that יָה is an intensive adjectival suffix, similar to –iy and –ay and –awi in Aramaic, Akkadian, and Arabic: “a most vehement flame” (KJV), “a mighty flame” (RSV, NIV), and “a blazing flame” (NJPS). This also best explains “darkest gloom” (Jer 2:31), and “mighty deeds” (Jer 32:19) (see S. Moscati, Comparative Grammar, 81, §12.18, and 83, §12.23).



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