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I am an independent researcher/writer and need help understanding something in Hebrew that you may think quite basic.

In the last line of Song 7:12, the word for "you" is second person feminine, and "my love" is a masculine construct. I have tried to tally this with the other uses of "you," where it is very clear the woman is speaking to the man, and "you" is certainly second person masculine there (8:1, 2, etc.). Why, then, do commentators insist that the woman is speaking this line in 7:12? Surely it should be the man?

Any insight would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Janet

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  • I don't want to post as an answer in case I'm wrong, and I'd be very appreciative if an expert can tell me whether I've got this right or not: In "there I will give my love to you", the Hebrew word "to you" can only have its gender distinguished by its vowel sounds. Song of Songs was written many centuries before the Hebrew writing system included symbols for vowels, and so I would guess that, perhaps, commentators assume on the basis of context that the Masoretic texts (which include vowels) made a wrong judgment as to whether the masculine or feminine form was being used there. Jan 7, 2022 at 2:46

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The Bridegroom speaks in [Song of Songs 7:7-10] to His Bride, as referenced also in [Isaiah 62:5].

[Shir HaShirim 7:7] "How fair-you-became and how pleasant-you-are, [a] Love with-delights!" (מַה־יָּפִית֙ וּמַה־נָּעַ֔מְתְּ אַֽהֲבָ֖ה בַּתַּֽעֲנוּגִֽים)
  • יָּפִית Yafit (You-became-beautiful) & נָּעַמְתְּ Na'amt (You-pleased) are both 2nd-person, singular feminine.

  • If [Shir HaShirim 7:7] was 2nd-person, singular masculine, we would read יָפִיתָ Yafita & נָעַמְתָּ Na'amta.

The Bride starts responding in [Song of Songs 7:11] because the verse states תְּשֽׁוּקָתֽוֹ Teshuqat-o (His-Desire) is עָלַ֖י upon-me.

The Bride (Israel) continues to speak in [Shir HaShirim 7:12] because we see נֵצֵא Netse - using the imperative צֵא!‏ spoken (directed at a masculine object).

[Shir HaShirim שִׁ֥יר הַשִּׁירִ֖ים, Song of Songs 7:12] Come, my beloved, **[let]-us-exit** [to] the field, [let]-us-lodge in [the] villages. (לְכָ֤ה דוֹדִי֙ נֵצֵ֣א הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה נָלִ֖ינָה בַּכְּפָרִֽים)

Based on the Aramaic Targum of Shir HaShirim 7:12, we are told the Bride speaks : "the Assembly of Israel said, “I beseech You, Master of the whole World, receive my prayer which I pray before You in the cities of Exile and the districts of the nations.” (https://www.sefaria.org/Song_of_Songs.7.12?with=Aramaic%20Targum%20to%20Song%20of%20Songs&lang=bi)

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  • You're working with a different verse-referencing number system. Under the usual numbering system used in Christian Bibles (which is what the OP is using), 7:12 is the next verse, namely "Let us get up early ... there will I give my love unto thee." The OP is asking about the fact that the final word of that verse, "unto thee", is a feminine form לָֽךְ rather than a masculine form לְךָ֨, and is asking why people nonetheless assume that in that sentence the speaker is the woman and the "thee" is the man. Jan 7, 2022 at 2:32

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