My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him.
"My beloved extended his hand through the opening, And my feelings were aroused for him.
"My lover tried to unlatch the door, and my heart thrilled within me.
But my lover wouldn't take no for an answer, and the longer he knocked, the more excited I became.
My loved one put his hand on the door, and my heart was moved for him.
My beloved thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him.
My beloved put his hand By the latch of the door , And my heart yearned for him.
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1 tn Possibly a euphemism (double entendre). The term יָד (yad, “hand”) normally refers simply to the physical hand (HALOT 386 s.v. I יָד 1; BDB 388 s.v. יָד 1). There are, however, at least three occasions when יָד refers to tall stone pillars (translated “monument” or “pillar”), such as those used in Canaanite fertility-cults in the form of phallic representations (1 Sam 15:12; 2 Sam 18:18; Isa 56:5). It is clearly used as a euphemism for the male copulative organ in Isa 57:8, 10. It is now an established fact that yad is sometimes used as a euphemism for the male sexual organ in Ugaritic literature (e.g., text no. 52:33-35) (UT 1072). The noun יָד is also used in the Qumran literature in this sense in a list of penalties for indecent exposure (Manual of Discipline 7:12-15). Thus, several scholars suggest that a subtle double entendre in 5:4-6. The imagery of the man thrusting his “hand” through the “hole” in the door, and the Beloved “opening” to her lover, with her fingers dripped with “myrrh” on the “handles of the lock,” might have a double reference to the literal attempt to gain entry to her bedroom and his desire to make love to her. See M. Delcour, “Two Special Meanings of the Word yd in Biblical Hebrew,” JSS 12 (1967): 230-40.
2 tn Heb “sent his hand through.” Most scholars suggest that it denotes “to send through,” that is, “to thrust through” or “to extend through.” For example, BDB 1018 s.v. שָׁלַח 3.a proposes that מִן + שָׁלַח (shalakh + min) means “to stretch out (his hand) from the outside, inward.” He was attempting to open the door from the outside by extending his hand inside the door through some kind of latch-opening: “he put in his hand by the opening of the door” (KJV), “he extended his hand through the opening” (NASB), “he thrust his hand through the latch-opening” (NIV). Others, however, suggest that the construction.
3 tn Heb “hole.” Probably “latch-hole” or “key-hole,” but possibly a euphemism (double entendre). The noun חֹר (khor, “hole”) is used in OT in a literal and metaphorical sense: (1) literal sense: hole bored in the lid of a chest (2 Kgs 12:10); hole in a wall (Ezek 8:7); hole in the ground or cave used as hiding places for men (1 Sam 13:6; 14:11; Isa 42:23); hole in the ground, as the dwelling place of an asp (Isa 11:8); and a hole in a mountain, as the den of lions (Nah 2:13); and (2) figurative sense: hole of an eye (metonymy of association), that is, eye-socket (Zech 14:12) (HALOT 348 s.v. II חֹר; BDB 359 s.v. III חֹר). While the meaning of חֹר in Song 5:4 is clear – “hole” – there is a debate whether it is used in a literal or figurative sense. (1) Literal sense: The lexicons suggest that it denotes “hole of a door, that is, key-hole or latch-opening” (HALOT 348; BDB 359). Most commentators suggest that it refers to a hole bored through the bedroom door to provide access to the latch or lock. The mention in 5:5 of כַּפּוֹת הַמַּנְעוּל (kaffot hamman’ul, “latches of the door-bolt”) suggests that the term refers to some kind of opening associated with the latch of the bedroom door. This approach is followed by most translations: “the hole in the door” (JB), “the latch-hole” (NEB), “the latch-opening” (NIV), “the latch-hole” (NEB), “the latch” (RSV, NJPS), and “the opening of the door” (KJV). The assumption that the hole in question was a latch-hole in the door is reflected in Midrash Rabbah: Rabbi Abba ben Kahana said, “Why is the hole of the door mentioned here, seeing that it is a place where vermin swarm?” The situation envisaged by his actions are often depicted thus: In ancient Near Eastern villages, the bolting systems of doors utilized door-bolts and keys made of wood. The keys were often stored either on the outside (!) or inside of the door. If the key was placed on the inside of the door, a small hole was bored through the door so that a person could reach through the hole with the key to unlock the door. The key was often over a foot in length, and the keyhole large enough for a man’s hand. Apparently, he extended his hand through the hole from the outside to try to unbolt the door latch on the inside. He could put his hand through the hole, but could not open the door without the key. (2) Figurative sense: Because of the presence of several erotic motifs in 5:2-8 and the possibility that a double entendre is present (see notes below), several scholars suggest that the term is a euphemism for the female vagina (HALOT 348). They suggest that חֹר (“hole”) is the female counterpart for the euphemistic usage of יָד (“hand”) in 5:4. See A. S. Cook, The Root of the Thing: A Study of Job and the Song of Songs, 110, 123; Cheryl Exum, “A Literary and Structural Analysis of the Song of Songs,” ZAW 85 (1973): 50-51; M. H. Pope, Song of Songs (AB), 518-19.
4 tn Heb “my inward parts,” “my intestines,” or “my bowels.” Alternately, “my feelings” or “my emotions.” The term מֵעֶה (me’eh) is used of the internal organs in general (“inward parts”) (e.g., 2 Sam 20:10; 2 Chr 21:15, 18; Pss 22:14; 40:9) or the digestive organs in particular (“intestines, bowels, stomach”) (e.g., Num 5:22; Job 20:14; Ezek 3:3; 7:19; Jonah 2:1-2). It is frequently used as a metonymy of adjunct for the emotions which Hebrew psychology associated with these internal organs (see H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 63-66). These include pity (Isa 16:11), lamentation (Jer 48:36), distress (Jer 4:19; Lam 1:20; 2:11), and compassion (Isa 63:15; Jer 31:20) (HALOT 610-11 s.v. מֵעֶה 3; BDB 589 s.v. מֵעֶה 5). Most scholars suggest that the Beloved’s feelings of love were revived – a reversal of her feelings of indifference and apathy in 5:3. This is reflected in many translations which use equivalent English idioms: “the core of my being” (JB) and “my heart” (NIV, NJPS) over the woodenly literal “my bowels” (KJV, NEB, AV). On the other hand, the term is also used to refer to the procreative organs, both male (e.g., Gen 15:4; 2 Sam 7:12; 16:11; Isa 48:19; 2 Chr 32:21) and female (e.g., Gen 25:23; Ruth 1:11; Ps 71:6; Isa 49:1). NASB well renders the line, “my feelings were aroused for him” (NASB).
5 tn The exact meaning of this Hebrew verb is uncertain. The exact connotation of the verb הָמוּ (hamu) in 5:4 is debated. The verb הָמָה (hamah, “to murmur, growl, roar, be boisterous”) is related to the noun הָמוֹן (hamon, “sound, murmur, roar, noisy crowd”), הֶמְיָה (hemyah, “sound, music”), and perhaps even הָמֻלָה (hamulah, “noise, noisy crowd, crowd”). The Hebrew root המה is related to Aramaic המא (“to roar; to be agitated”). The Hebrew verb הָמָה has a basic two-fold range of meanings: (1) literal: “to make a noise” of some kind and (2) figurative: “to be in commotion, uproar” (e.g., often associated with noise or a noisy crowd). The lexicons suggest six distinct categories: (1) “to make a noise” or “to be in commotion,” particularly by a tumultuous crowd (1 Kgs 1:41; Pss 39:7; 46:7; Prov 1:21; Is 22:2; Mic 2:12); (2) “to roar,” of the sea and sea-waves (Isa 17:12; 51:15; Jer 5:22; 6:23; 31:35; 50:42; 51:55; Ps 46:4); (3) “to make a sound,” e.g., bear growling (Isa 59:11), dog barking (Ps 59:7, 15), bird chirping (Ps 102:8), dove cooing (Ezek 7:16); (4) “to moan,” (Ps 39:7; 55:18; Prov 1:21; Lam 2:18; Ezek 7:16; Zech 9:15); (5) “to be turbulent, boisterous” (Prov 7:11; 9:13; 20:1; Zech 9:5); and (6) figuratively of the internal organs: “to murmur, be restless, be turbulent,” used in reference to pity (Isa 16:11; Jer 4:19; 31:20; 48:36), discouragement (Ps 42:6, 12; 43:5), and murmuring in prayer (Pss 55:18; 77:4) (HALOT 250 s.v. המה; BDB 242 s.v. הָמָה). HALOT suggests “to be turbulent” for Song 5:4 (HALOT 250 s.v. 4), while BDB suggests “the thrill of deep-felt compassion or sympathy” (BDB 242 s.v. 2). Commentators offer a spectrum of opinions from the Beloved feeling agitation, pity, compassion, sexual arousal, or a revival of her love for him. A survey of the translations reveals the same lack of consensus: “my bowels were moved for him” (KJV), “my bowels stirred within me” (NEB), “my heart was thrilled within me” (RSV), “I trembled to the core of my being” (JB), “my heart trembled within me” (NAB), “my heart was stirred for him” (JPS, NJPS), “my feelings were aroused for him” (NASB), and “my heart began to pound for him” (NIV). While the precise meaning may never be agreed upon, whatever she was feeling she roused herself from her indifferent apathetic inactivity to arise and open for her beloved in 5:5. The phrase is used similarly elsewhere in OT, rousing the subject to irresistible action (Jer 4:19). The simplest course of action is to nuance this term metonymically (cause for effect), e.g., “my feelings were stirred up for him.”