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There is a lot of debate surrounding ( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) as to

  1. whether the "Subject" which in this case is the speaker is the bride or the groom?

  2. why the "Direct Object" which are the "Daughters of Jerusalem" are addressed as Masculine Plural in The Old Testament Plural even though "Daughters of Jerusalem" is by and in itself feminine plural?

  3. whether the "Indirect Object" is the bride, groom or even just referring to the general affection of love?

שיר השירים 2:7

The Westminster Leningrad Codex

7 הִשְׁבַּ֨עְתִּי אֶתְכֶ֜ם בְּנ֤וֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַ֙ם֙ בִּצְבָא֔וֹת א֖וֹ בְּאַיְל֣וֹת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה אִם־תָּעִ֧ירוּ׀ וְֽאִם־תְּעֽוֹרְר֛וּ אֶת־הָאַהֲבָ֖ה עַ֥ד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּֽץ׃ ס

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) New International Version Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) New Living Translation Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) English Standard Version I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) Berean Standard Bible O daughters of Jerusalem, I adjure you by the gazelles and does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until the time is right.

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) King James Bible I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) New King James Version I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) New American Standard Bible “Swear to me, you daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, That you will not disturb or awaken my love Until she pleases.”

( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) NASB 1995 “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field, That you do not arouse or awaken my love Until she pleases.”

However, regardless of all the debatable aspects of ( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) mentioned at the top of this post, is One of the main overarching meanings of ( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) is that love is gentle & patient? What would it have meant to the ancient biblical readers at that time? ( To sort of elaborate, would the ( Song of Solomon 2:7 ) bible verse been a good reprimanding verse for

  • ( 2 Samuel 13:11-14 ) Amnon who raped his half-sister Tamar

  • (Genesis 34:1-5) Shechem who lay with Dinah by force

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  • The meaning behind the song is very clear given further revelation in the New Testament of Christ and the Church, the Lamb and his wife. I don't think there is a 'lot of debate' about the three issues you list.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 18:00
  • @AbuMunirIbnIbrahimalYahud Thanks. please see my update. Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 15:58
  • Close vote retracted Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 16:39

2 Answers 2

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I had to puzzle out this verse when writing my own book on the Song of Solomon.

As to the speaker, it seemed to me that the speech of the bride was continuous from ch2 v1 onwards. The whole of ch2, in fact (since in vv10-15 the words of the beloved are coming to us as reported by the bride). I noted that the Bride is the one who addresses the daughters of Jerusalem at other points in the book. Two of those occasions (ch3 v5 and ch8 v4) are repetitions of this same verse ch2 v7. It is part of her speech pattern. The Bride is speaking here.

Yet the sleeper does not appear to be male, because the AV's translation "until he please" has got the gender of the verb wrong. This supports all those translations which treat "my love" as "the state of love in which I live" rather than "the person I love".

My understanding of the early chapters of Song of Solomon is that they are nostalgically describing what had been an idyllic relationship, before the apparent breakdown seen in ch5.

So my interpretation of "Do not wake my love" is "My love is enjoying this nostalgic dream of the past; do not waken it too quickly to the bitter realities of the present."

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Song 2:7 sounds a lot more earthy in Hebrew than in any of the common English translations and doesn't need much interpretation.

The speaker is the same female protagonist, who speaks in the first person in chapter 1.

There is nothing about sleep in this verse.

The opening words, השבעתי אתכם, which are translated as "I adjure you", "I charge you", etc. are an expletive expression, still used in modern Hebrew, commonly as "נשבע לכם". The literal meaning is "I would administer you an oath". The usage meaning is "By God, promise me that". Since this is a two-word expression that stands by itself and is used in the same way in every circumstance, the noun class (masculine/feminine) does not have to agree with the noun class of the people who are addressed. So there is no grammatical issue with the gender in אתכם. And in general the MT is commonly inconsistent with person or noun class.

The final expression, עד שתחפץ, is also still in common use, meaning "until appropriate", "until the other party is amenable".

The verse as a whole says "Girls, promise me you don't get into an unrequited love affair if the other side isn't into it". It is a refrain that ends each section section of the text that describes a disappointment. That's about it. The style is what you would expect to hear from the shepherd girl who introduces herself in chapter 1, not the floral language of the ESV or KJV. This is really earthy sorority girl-talk, like Margalit Tsan'ani.

The verse contains two sets of synonyms that are used for emphasis:

  1. בצבאות או באיילות השדה - by the deer or the antelopes
  2. תעירו או תעוררו - if you wake up or arouse

It is a mistake to add "she" as some translators do in "until she pleases". The subject is האהבה, love, so the pronoun should be "it".

This verse has no connection with and no applicability to the current social maladies related to gender and sexual relationships. It's just a message about unrequited love to us from the Iron Age.

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  • When you state "Girls, promise me you don't get into an unrequited love affair if the other side isn't into it" , it sort of is like saying that if a person named Mary Smith is interested in John Doe but if John Doe is Not interested then Mary Smith should Cease from trying to seek Courtship with John Doe. ( Essentially, in today's lingo, the verse would emphasize that people should Not be stalkers/pests if the other person is Not interested.) Is that correct? Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 16:38
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    @user1338998 No, it's much simpler that than. It just says, don't get hung up on someone if they aren't ready for it. This is also about a common theme for young women - they want to get married but the guys around them aren't into it yet. That's what this song is about. The audience is the young women guests at wedding feasts. Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 16:42
  • Thx, could we say that it is reciprocal when it comes to gender? To elaborate, telling the men to Not "get hung up on someone if they aren't ready for it". Men who want to get married but ladies around them are Not into it yet. Would the reciprocity also be valid? Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 16:48
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    @user1338998 The text doesn't say anything about that. The text only presents a narrative. Anything more than that is an application of that narrative to other circumstances. That's already theology, not hermeneutics. Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 16:54

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