Song of Songs 7:6
- KJV: How fair and pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
- NIV: How beautiful you are and how pleasing, / my love, with your delights!
- NASB: How beautiful and how delightful you are, / My love with all your charms!
This first comment by the groom after the group (believed to be the wedding guests) offers their wasf, or commentary on his wife’s physical beauty, seems romantic and perhaps slightly suggestive. He does refer to her delights, after all. So how is this unexpected much less erotic? What’s there is there, and it’s not that heavy.
Well, apart from considerations of what the _wasf _scene immediately prior contained and how the scene appears to have proceeded, this is still a more erotic public statement than it seems, and not even in the obvious way with her “delights”.
These delights are certainly suggestive. As Carr notes, this noun “has the meaning of luxurious, specifically erotic, delights (e.g. Eccl. 2:8; Mic. 1:16).” Such sensual pleasure is clearly provocative, and such a word in front of the wedding guests would certainly cause a few blushes in a more conservative modern setting. Yet it is the subject not the description, which offers a more abrupt sexuality.
First, he comments on the same beauty their companions had just described, putting in his two cents to summarize his agreement with their witness. Second, he moves on to what only he could witness — what she’s like in bed.
The translations reading “O love” or “my love” do so by emendation (there is no “O” or “my” in the original Hebrew), trying to make sense of the passage in today’s terms. In this interpretation, this second colon of the verse addresses her directly, using “love” (‘ahabâ) as a term of endearment. How sweet. How innocent. How inaccurate. How unnecessary.
Given the context and the total absence of such vocative language in the original Hebrew, the word ‘ahabâ is better translated to be sensual love or “love-making” as Carr suggests. This translation is appropriate in many of the places _’ahabâ _is used in the Song, such as in her stirring speech in 8:7, and it renders the rest of this particular statement coherent.
In effect, the groom makes two comments in this verse. First, he comments on the same beauty their companions had just described, putting in his two cents to summarize his agreement with their witness. Second, he moves on to what only he could witness — what she’s like in bed.
He basically says, “Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she’s a true friend. But let me tell you guys, she’s downright luxurious in the sack. She’s a wildcat!”
Then in the following verse, he combines both his assessment of her body and her personality — he’d used nā’ēm (“pleasing”) to depict her much like David had Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1:26— with the desires they evoke in him to return to the marriage bed.
Which they do.
Pretty much immediately.
Originally posted 2017-03-20 08:00:30.