Song of Solomon 5:2 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
2. I sleep, but my heart waketh ] This clause states the circumstances under which the succeeding action takes place. As the dream is narrated at a later time, the participles should be rendered by the past tense, I was sleeping, but my heart was awake.
it is the voice of, &c.] Rather, Hark! my love is knocking.
my sister ] Oettli says Solomon never calls the Shulammite by this intimate name. Budde thinks it significant that he does not here call her kallâh = ‘bride.’ Evidently he thinks that a post-nuptial word, but it is not necessarily so.
my undefiled ] Rather, ‘my perfect’ or ‘immaculate one.’
filled with dew ] The dew in Palestine is often very heavy. Cp. Jdg 6:38. From the fact that he about whom she dreamed is imagined to be in such a case, it is probable that the shepherd lover rather than Solomon is the object of her thoughts, and that she dreams of him as coming to her mother’s house.
On the hypothesis we have adopted, a night must be supposed to intervene between Son 5:1-2. After the interview with the king and that with her lover night came; and as she slept she dreamed one of those troubled dreams consisting of a series of efforts frustrated, which so often follow on an agitated day. On the following morning she narrates the dream to the ladies of the court. Son 5:2-7 relate the dream. In Son 5:8 the Shulammite, having just awaked and being still under the influence of her dream, asks the ladies, if they should find her lost lover, to tell him she is sick from love. In Son 5:9 they reply, asking with surprise what there is in her lover that moves her in such a fashion. In Son 5:10-16 she gives a description of her lover as he dwells in her brooding imagination, and concludes in triumph, “ This is my beloved and this is my friend.” In ch. Son 6:1, the court ladies ask eagerly whither this model of manly beauty is gone, and to this, in Son 5:2-3, the Shulammite replies vaguely and evasively, and claims her lover for herself alone. Now all this is quite in place if a love-tale is being presented in a series of songs, but in a collection of verses to be sung at weddings in general it is impossible that the bride could be made to speak thus. Such references to pre-nuptial love would be not only unbecoming, but impossible. But in still another way this song is fatal to Budde’s popular-song theory. In such a collection of wedding songs there is, of course, no connexion between the various lyrics. Each of them stands by itself, and there is no possibility of action of a dramatic kind on the part of the bride and bridegroom such as we undeniably have here. But Budde meets that by pointing out that Wetzstein reports a case in which a poet of the region where he discovered the wasf wrote a poem for a particular wedding. In that, before a description of the bride’s ornaments and person, an account is given of the agricultural processes by which the wealth expended on her trousseau had been obtained. But, besides the fact that in the case cited as parallel to this, the poem was not a popular song, but a poem prepared for the special occasion, the addition to the wasf there is a very legitimate extension of the description, and has none of the dramatic element in it. The dramatic element here is very pronounced, and is evidently intended to give unity and movement to the whole poem.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".