Song of Songs 1:5-6 reads:

"Black am I but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon; do not look at me because I am black-ish, because the sun has looked upon me; the sons of my mother burned against me; they set me as keeper of the vineyards; my vineyard that is my own I have not kept."

The interpretation that I typically encounter is:

"The reason why I am so dark-coloured is that my angry siblings made me work on their vineyards, and all the time I was outside doing this work, the sun was tanning me."

But the reading that instinctively feels much more natural to me is to regard "the sun has tanned/scorched/looked upon me" simply as a poetic metaphor expressing the sentiment that her lot was to be unusually dark-skinned, and to regard the siblings' anger as anger against her for being darker-skinned (which then resulted in them enslaving her).

Are there any prominent commentators that take a view along the lines of the latter reading, or at least, that do not adopt the former reading?

  • possible duplicate.....hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/12922/…
    – Bagpipes
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 14:59
  • @Bagpipes What are the principles for something to be a "possible duplicate"? I know there is some discussion regarding suntan versus natural darkness in the answers posted, but that discussion is an inconclusive digression away from the question actually asked, namely whether the darkness is in contrast with the loveliness or just additional (i.e. does the conjunction have the sense of "but" or "and"). That particular question seems (at least to me) have little bearing on the question that I'm asking. Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 18:36
  • 1
    @Bagpipes But still, thank you for the link to that question 🙂. (I was aware of it, but didn't see any particular value in referencing it in my question.) Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 18:40


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