Chant of thanksgiving (Zeph 3:14-3:15)

“Sing aloud!

O daughter of Zion!

Shout!

O Israel!

Rejoice!

Exult

With all your heart!

O daughter of Jerusalem!

Yahweh

Has taken away

The judgments

Against you.

He has turned away

Your enemies.

The king of Israel,

Yahweh,

Is in your midst.

You shall fear disaster

No more.”

Zephaniah has this chant of thanksgiving.  The daughters of Zion were to sing out loud.  The daughters of Jerusalem were to rejoice and exult with their whole hearts.  Yahweh had taken away his judgments against them, since he had forgiven them.  On top of that, Yahweh had turned away all their enemies.  Yahweh was now the new king of Israel in their midst.  Thus, they had no reason to fear any disasters anymore.

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Restraint (Song 8:4-8:4)

Male lover

“I adjure you!

O daughters of Jerusalem!

Do not stir up love!

Do not awaken love

Until it is ready!”

The male lover responds as he did in chapters 2 and 3 by asking that the daughters of Jerusalem keep him from his lover until the right time, until her love is ready. Love should simmer and sleep. Then it awakens. However, here there is no mention of gazelles or wild does. He is swearing or adjuring to the daughters of Jerusalem to hold him back from his desires.

Please come back (Song 6:13-6:13)

Chorus

“Return!

Return!

O Shulammite!

Return!

Return!

Thus we may look upon you.”

At the same time, the chorus or daughters of Jerusalem want this female lover, who is called a Shulammite, to return. They wanted to look at her. This name of Shulammite means pacifier. She may also have been from Shulen or Shunen, a northern Israelite town. There is some dispute whether this and the following verse were the end part of chapter 6 or the beginning of chapter 7. I have chosen to put it at the end of chapter 6 as in the Oxford Bible.

Description of the male lover (Song 5:10-5:16)

Female lover

“My beloved is all radiant.

He is ruddy.

He is distinguished among ten thousand.

His head is the finest gold.

His locks are wavy.

His locks are black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves,

Beside springs of water,

Bathed in milk,

Fitly set.

His cheeks are like beds of spices,

Yielding fragrance.

His lips are lilies,

Distilling liquid myrrh.

His arms are rounded gold,

Set with jewels.

His body is an ivory work,

Encrusted with sapphires.

His legs are alabaster columns,

Set upon bases of gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon,

Choice as the cedars.

His speech is most sweet.

He is altogether desirable.

This is my beloved.

This is my friend.

O daughters of Jerusalem!”

This female lover responded to the daughters of Jerusalem. She explains why her male lover is so special with a long description of him. First of all, he is radiant and ruddy. What does that mean? He is a glowing happy guy with a healthy reddish complexion. He is one in 10,000. He has a golden head with black wavy hair. His eyes are like clean white doves perfectly set in his head. His cheeks are like fragrant spices. His lips are like lilies spreading liquid myrrh. His arms are like rounded gold with jewels set in them. His body is like ivory with sapphires. His legs are like alabaster columns with golden bases as feet. He appears to be like a Lebanon cedar tree. His speech is sweet. He is quite a guy, altogether desirable. He is her beloved and her friend. That is some great description of the perfect man.

Lost lover (Song 5:8-5:8)

Female lover

“I adjure you!

O daughters of Jerusalem!

If you find my beloved,

Tell him this.

I am faint with love.”

This reference to the daughters of Jerusalem is somewhat the same as in chapters 2 and 3, when the male lover asked them to restrain him. Here the female lover wants them to find her lover, because she is love sick.

King Solomon (Song 3:9-3:11)

“King Solomon made himself a palanquin

From the wood of Lebanon.

He made its posts of silver.

Its back was gold.

Its seat was purple.

Its interior was inlaid with love.

Daughters of Jerusalem!

Come out!

Daughters of Zion!

Look at King Solomon!

See the crown

With which his mother crowned him

On the day of his wedding,

On the day of the gladness of his heart.”

Suddenly the attention is on King Solomon himself. Is he the male lover? This palanquin is a seat carried on poles, like a moving throne. Obviously this was a very ornate chair made of fine Lebanon cedar wood, silver, gold, and purple, put together with love. The invitation was for the daughters of Jerusalem and Zion to come out and look at King Solomon on this chair wearing his royal crown that had been given to him by his mother at his joyous wedding day.

Restraint (Song 3:5-3:5)

Male lover

“I adjure you!

O daughters of Jerusalem!

By the gazelles,

By the wild does,

Do not stir up love!

Do not awaken love

Until it is ready!”

This male lover responds by repeating the same verses that were in the preceding chapter. He asks that the daughters of Jerusalem keep him from his lover until the right time, until her love is ready. Love should simmer and sleep before it awakens. He is swearing or adjuring by these wild swift young animals of gazelles and does to hold him back from his desires. Strangely, it is the female lover who seems more determined that he does for his love affair. Once again, this may be an allusion to Yahweh and Israel with their relationships.