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The Song of Songs 2:16

Context
Poetic Refrain: Mutual Possession

The Beloved about Her Lover:

2:16 My lover is mine and I am his;

he grazes among the lilies. 1 

The Song of Songs 6:3

Context
Poetic Refrain: Mutual Possession

The Beloved about Her Lover:

6:3 I am my lover’s 2  and my lover is mine; 3 

he grazes among the lilies.

1 sn This line may be translated either as “the one who grazes among the lilies” or as “the one who feeds [his flock] among the lilies.” The latter would picture him as a shepherd pasturing his flock among a bed of flowers which they were eating, while the former would be picturing him as a gazelle feeding among a bed of flowers. Because of the occurrence of the gazelle motif in the following verse, it is most likely that this motif is present in this verse as well. Although it seems likely that he is therefore being pictured as a gazelle eating these flowers, it is far from clear as to what this figurative picture denotes. It is possible that it conveys the peaceful nature of his relationship with her because she was earlier portrayed as a lily (e.g., 2:1).

2 sn This is the second occurrence of the poetic refrain that occurs elsewhere in 2:16 and 7:11. The order of the first two cola are reversed from 2:16: “My beloved is mine and I am his” (2:16) but “I am my beloved’s and he is mine” (6:3). The significance of this shift depends on whether the parallelism is synonymous or climactic. This might merely be a literary variation with no rhetorical significance. On the other hand, it might signal a shift in her view of their relationship: Originally, she focused on her possession of him, now she focused on his possession of her.

3 tn Or “I belong to my beloved, and my lover belongs to me.” Alternately, “I am devoted to my beloved, and my lover is devoted to me.”



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