[b-hebrew] b-hebrew.questions on the Suares translation of the The Song of Songs

Brett Casben Brett at envirodoctor.com.au
Mon Dec 5 20:34:34 EST 2005

B Hebrew,
I have been working through the Song of Songs using Fox as a reference complemented by the new Bloch translation. Recently I was referred to a commentary by Carlos Suares which raises several questions in relation to the actual translation of certain words in the original Hebrew which I would be grateful of some assistance in resolving if possible.

	1.   Suares translates the double dallet/yod as it appears in several places through the text as being 'nipples' where it is is generally referred to 'lovemaking' in other texts.
	2.	The root sheen/mem somehow equates to name, essence, being and the like and is varyingly interpreted in 1:3 as oils, your oils, your essence, your name in its various parts but there doesn't seem any clear analysis as to which means what. Any suggestions?
	3.	The word Turaq is interpreted in some cases as a name and sometimes as a verb, 'to pour out' surely there must be a clearer indication as to its meaning. Fox favours pour out but Suares states it as a name and indicates it is the name of the person who is being addressed whereas according to my enquiries it seems to be a place name. However it also crops up in the original Hebrew tav waw raysh quof as an alternative spelling for the Torah. Is this a possible interpretation, I mean, a reasonable meaning?
	4.	Suares interprets the 'chamber' in  1:4 as specifically referable to a place of religious study where almost all other commentators have it as a bedroom. Any thoughts?
	5.	In 1:6 Suares has the opening word order changed and translates Al as El extracting an interpretation 'toward God'. This is obviously totally at variance with most other translations.
	6.	Also in this verse the vineyard is varying interpreted as a symbol of 'a full life' (Suares), sexual development, (Fox), isn't there some more clear statement as to its imagery? Is this the same 'vineyard' referred to in Hosea 2:15?
	7.	In 1:7 Suares has sheen lamed mem hay as Shalomah (phonetic) not sallamah (lest/Fox) followed by aleph hay yod hay as it appears in Genesis for 'I am' as Yahweh describes himself. This seems extraordinarily divergent in meaning. Is there any support for the Suares interpretation or is it considered completely out of field.
	8.	Suares makes consistent use of tracking the root meaning to extract the idiom and this throws up two consistent interpretations at variance with the accepted translations. The first is ghimel dallet as it appears in 1:9 et seq which he interprets from its root 'goat' to mean new journey. How does this square off with his interpretation of ayn yod noun - ghimel dallet yod as a reference to 'a vine no longer wanted'.  
	9.	The second is dallet ghimel 2:4 et seq which he interprets from its root 'first borne of the sea' to mean a fish. In this regard can I also refer you to Ruth 3:9 where the same root word seems to appear and ask if this is the same referent.
	10.	In 2:7 et seq Suares rejects the interpretation Jerusalem insisting that it omits the customary yod in favour of 'peaceful city' which maybe all Jerusalem is anyway (although it has hardly ever been that, eh?).
	10A. In 2:9 the word commonly translated as 'gazelle' Suares identifies by its root as 'substance/thickness' and that for young stag as 'dust'. Are you able to assist as to whether there is support for either of these translations?
	11.	In 4:3 Suares translates kaf hhayt waw tayt as sin and hay sheen noun yod as dull or foolish which stands rather at odds with the traditional interpretation. Again is their any other support for this interpretation?
	12.	Suares also identifies the word as it appears in 6:6 as hay mem waw raysh as derivative of mem waw raysh, to exchange not, as most often translated as myrrh which he points out is elsewhere identified in the Song as mem raysh without the interposed waw. If this is the case is the construction the same as that appearing in Hosea 4:13?
	13.	Suares identifies the season in 2:11 as autumn rather than spring as ayn bayt raysh he translates as 'prepare, rather than 'past'. Any comments?
	14.	In 2:13 Suares states that the fig tree is a 'well known symbol' but omits to tell us precisely for what, is it new life, is it the productive spirit, is it faithfulness, what?
	15.	In 4:1 Suares translates sheen ayn raysh khaf as price, value or measure. This is a long way away from the standard translation. Any support for this?
	16.	In 4:5 Suares translates the word usually interpreted as breasts, sheen dallet yod khaf, as a reference to 'the Almighty' Elohim. Now there is a leap I wouldn't want to make alone. Any help there?
	17.	In 5:1 yod ayn raysh yod - dallet bayt sheen is translated in Bloch as 'my honeycomb with my honey' whereas Suares gived the first word the meaning of either 'forest' or 'wilderness' and the second as a 'spoilt fermentation'.
I realise there is an awful lot to lay on you however if some of the issues could be addressed that would be very much appreciated.
Regards and best wishes to you all
Brett Casben
Sydney, Australia       

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