Song of Solomon 1:8
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the sheep and graze your young goats by the tents of the shepherds.

New Living Translation
If you don't know, O most beautiful woman, follow the trail of my flock, and graze your young goats by the shepherds' tents.

English Standard Version
If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents.

New American Standard Bible
"If you yourself do not know, Most beautiful among women, Go forth on the trail of the flock And pasture your young goats By the tents of the shepherds.

King James Bible
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats near the shepherds' tents.

International Standard Version
If you don't know, most beautiful of women, go out after the flock and graze your young goats beside the shepherd's tents.

NET Bible
If you do not know, O most beautiful of women, simply follow the tracks of my flock, and pasture your little lambs beside the tents of the shepherds.

New Heart English Bible
If you do not know, most beautiful among women, follow the tracks of the sheep. Graze your young goats beside the shepherds' tents.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the flocks, and graze your young goats near the shepherds' tents.

JPS Tanakh 1917
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock And feed thy kids, beside the shepherds' tents.

New American Standard 1977
“If you yourself do not know,
            Most beautiful among women,
            Go forth on the trail of the flock,
            And pasture your young goats
            By the tents of the shepherds.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go forth, following the footprints of the flock and feed thy little female goats beside the booths of the shepherds.

King James 2000 Bible
If you know not, O you fairest among women, go your way forth in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your kids beside the shepherds' tents.

American King James Version
If you know not, O you fairest among women, go your way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed your kids beside the shepherds' tents.

American Standard Version
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, And feed thy kids beside the shepherds tents.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If thou know not thyself, O fairest among women, go forth, and follow after the steps of the flocks, and feed thy kids beside the tents of the shepherds.

Darby Bible Translation
If thou know not, thou fairest among women, Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, And feed thy kids beside the shepherds' booths.

English Revised Version
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.

Webster's Bible Translation
If thou knowest not, O thou fairest among women, go forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds tents.

World English Bible
If you don't know, most beautiful among women, follow the tracks of the sheep. Graze your young goats beside the shepherds' tents.

Young's Literal Translation
If thou knowest not, O fair among women, Get thee forth by the traces of the flock, And feed thy kids by the shepherds' dwellings!
Study Bible
Solomon Speaks
7"Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, Where do you pasture your flock, Where do you make it lie down at noon? For why should I be like one who veils herself Beside the flocks of your companions?" 8"If you yourself do not know, Most beautiful among women, Go forth on the trail of the flock And pasture your young goats By the tents of the shepherds. 9"To me, my darling, you are like My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.…
Cross References
Song of Solomon 5:9
"What kind of beloved is your beloved, O most beautiful among women? What kind of beloved is your beloved, That thus you adjure us?"

Song of Solomon 6:1
"Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your beloved turned, That we may seek him with you?"
Treasury of Scripture

If you know not, O you fairest among women, go your way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed your kids beside the shepherds' tents.

o thou

Songs 1:15 Behold, you are fair, my love; behold, you are fair; you have doves' eyes.

Songs 2:10 My beloved spoke, and said to me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Songs 4:1,7,10 Behold, you are fair, my love; behold, you are fair; you have doves' …

Songs 5:9 What is your beloved more than another beloved, O you fairest among …

Songs 6:1,4-10 Where is your beloved gone, O you fairest among women? where is your …

Songs 7:1 How beautiful are your feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the …

Psalm 16:3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in …

Psalm 45:11,13 So shall the king greatly desire your beauty: for he is your Lord; …

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having …

Revelation 19:7,8 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage …

go

Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the man that hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting …

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus said the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the …

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Hebrews 6:12 That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith …

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, …

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you …

James 2:21,25 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered …

James 5:10 Take, my brothers, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the …

1 Peter 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you …

feed

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of …

(8) If thou know not.--With this verse one subsection of the poem plainly ends. Most of the supporters of the dramatic theory make Song of Solomon 1:9 begin the second scene of Act I.; and many of them understand this reply to the heroine's question as an ironical allusion on the part of the court ladies to her low birth. We take it rather as one of the many playful ways in which the poet either recalls or arranges meetings with the object of his passion (comp. Song of Solomon 2:10-14). In the first seven verses he imagines her sighing for him, and in his absence, fancying, as lovers do, causes which might keep them asunder or make him forsake her, such as the loss of her complexion, her abduction into a royal harem; and then in Song of Solomon 1:8 shows how groundless her fears are by playfully suggesting a well known way of finding him.

Verse 8. - (Chorus of ladies.) If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents. That another voice is here introduced there can be no doubt; and as it is not like the voice of the bridegroom himself, which is heard in the next verse, we must suppose it to be the chorus of attendant ladies. Delitzsch suggests very plausibly that they are pleasantly chiding the simplicity of the country maiden, and telling her that, if she cannot understand her position, she had better return to her country life. In that case, "if thou know not" would mean - If thou canst not rise up to thy privilege; the knowledge referred to being general knowledge or wisdom. The delicate irony is well expressed, as in the reference to the kids - "feed thy kids," like a child as thou art. But there may be no intentional irony in the words; rather a playful and sympathetic response to the beautiful simplicity of the bride - If thou art waiting to be brought to thy beloved, if thou art seeking thy shepherd, thou most lovely woman, then go quietly on thy way, like a shepherdess tending the kids beside the shepherds' tents; follow the peaceful footsteps of the flock, and in due time the beloved one will appear. This is better than to suppose the ladies presuming to indulge in irony when they must know that Shulamith is the king's favourite. Besides, the first scene of the poem, which is a kind of introduction, thus ends appropriately with an invitation to peaceful waiting for love. We are prepared for the entrance of the beloved one. The spiritual meaning is simple and clear - Those that would be lifted up into the highest enjoyments of religion must not be impatient and doubt that the Lord will reveal himself, but go quietly and patiently on with the work of life, "in the footsteps of the flock," in fellowship with humble souls, and in the paths of peace, in the green pastures and beside the still waters, ready to do anything assigned them, and the time of rejoicing and rapture will come. If thou know not,.... Or, "seeing thou knowest not" (m); the saints in this imperfect state know but in part, are ignorant of many things, and in some measure of themselves; for though they know much of the sinfulness and deceitfulness of their hearts, yet they know not all; and of their imperfection and weakness, yet not the whole of it; and some render the words, "if thou know not to thee", or, "for thyself", as Ainsworth; or "know not thyself" (n), as others; hence Ambrose (o) observes, that "nosce teipsum" was not originally from the Pythian oracle; Solomon had it before that, and he from Moses, Deuteronomy 4:9; Saints have not a perfect knowledge of Christ and his truths, and are sometimes at a loss to know where he is, his word is purely preached, and his ordinances faithfully administered;

O thou fairest among women; these are not the words of the daughters of Jerusalem, as some think, who were not capable of giving her the following advice and directions; but of Christ himself, to whom the church applied for it; who, though black in her own eyes, and in the eyes of others, yet was fair, surpassingly fair, fairer than all others in his eye, even notwithstanding her late sinfulness and negligence; which shows the invariableness of his love; who directs her as follows;

go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock; not "from the footsteps" (p); as if it was an exhortation to depart from false teachers, their doctrine and worship, and the abettors of them, she was tempted to turn aside to; but the "footsteps" are the rule and mark by which she was to go, and on which she was to keep her eye, and steer her course by, in seeking after Christ: for by "the flock" is meant the flock of Christ; and by the "footsteps" of it the ways and ordinances in which saints walk in obedience to Christ; and who are to be followed so far as they follow him; their steps are to be trod in; and this is the readiest and most likely way to find Christ, even where saints meet together, the word is preached, and ordinances administered;

and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents; the faithful ministers of the word, who are Christ's undershepherds, have their mission and commission from him, and are qualified by him to feed his flocks, and do feed them by the pure administration of the word and ordinances; and by the tents are meant the places of public worship, where they usually preach the Gospel, and administer ordinances. The allusion is to the tents of shepherds pitched for the convenience of feeding their flocks; and "by" or "near" (q) these the church is directed to "feed her kids", young converts weak in the faith; men of "little faith", as Aben Ezra interprets it; called "kids" or young goats, lascivious (r), and of an ill smell; because of sin in them, of an ill smell to themselves and others; and of whom the world have an ill opinion; and such on all accounts need encouragement from the church and ministers. It was common in the eastern countries, as Philo says (s) of the Arabs, not for men only to keep flocks, but women also, and young virgins; and not the common people only, but nobles; of women keeping flocks see Genesis 29:9; This verse and Sol 1:7 show this song to be a pastoral; since the bridegroom and bride, the principal persons in it, are represented in it as a shepherd and shepherdess.

(m) "quandoquidem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (n) So the Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions. (o) Hexaemeron. l. 6. c. 6. & in Psal. cxviii. octon. 2. p. 883. (p) So Junius & Tremellius. (q) "Juxta", V. L. Piscator, Michaelis; apud, Mercerus, Cocceius. (r) "Hoedi petulci", Virgil. Georgic. l. 4. v. 10. "Lasciva capella", Bucol. Eclog. 2. v. 64. Horat. Carmin. l. 2. Ode 15. v. 12. (s) De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 610. Vid. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 2. c. 11. s. 2.8. If—she ought to have known (Joh 14:8, 9). The confession of her ignorance and blackness (So 1:5) leads Him to call her "fairest" (Mt 12:20). Her jealousy of letting even "His companions" take the place of Himself (So 1:7) led her too far. He directs her to follow them, as they follow Him (1Co 11:1; Heb 6:10, 12); to use ordinances and the ministry; where they are, He is (Jer 6:16; Mt 18:19, 20; Heb 10:25). Indulging in isolation is not the way to find Him. It was thus, literally, that Zipporah found her bridegroom (Ex 2:16). The bride unhesitatingly asks the watchmen afterwards (So 3:3).

kids—(Joh 21:15). Christ is to be found in active ministrations, as well as in prayer (Pr 11:25).

shepherds' tents—ministers in the sanctuary (Ps 84:1).1:7,8 Observe the title given to Christ, O Thou whom my soul loveth. Those that do so, may come to him boldly, and may humbly plead with him. Is it with God's people a noon-time of outward troubles, inward conflicts? Christ has rest for them. Those whose souls love Jesus Christ, earnestly desire to share in the privileges of his flock. Turning aside from Christ is what gracious souls dread more than anything else. God is ready to answer prayer. Follow the track, ask for the good old way, observe the footsteps of the flock, look what has been the practice of godly people. Sit under the direction of good ministers; beside the tents of the under shepherds. Bring thy charge with thee, they shall all be welcome. It will be the earnest desire and prayer of the Christian, that God would so direct him in his worldly business, and so order his situation and employment, that he may have his Lord and Saviour always before him.
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