New International Version
Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.
New Living Translation
Before the dawn breezes blow and the night shadows flee, return to me, my love, like a gazelle or a young stag on the rugged mountains.
English Standard Version
Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle or a young stag on cleft mountains.
New American Standard Bible
"Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether."
King James Bible
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Before the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn to me, my love, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the divided mountains.
International Standard Version
Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn around, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the rugged mountains.
Until the dawn arrives and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved--be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountain gorges.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
When the day brings a cooling breeze and the shadows flee, turn around, my beloved. Run like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains that separate us!
JPS Tanakh 1917
Until the day breathe, and the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be thou like a gazelle or a young hart Upon the mountains of spices.
New American Standard 1977
“Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle
Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether.”
Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary
2:14-17 The church is Christ's dove; she returns to him, as her Noah. Christ is the Rock, in whom alone she can think herself safe, and find herself easy, as a dove in the hole of a rock, when struck at by the birds of prey. Christ calls her to come boldly to the throne of grace, having a great High Priest there, to tell what her request is. Speak freely, fear not a slight or a repulse. The voice of prayer is sweet and acceptable to God; those who are sanctified have the best comeliness. The first risings of sinful thoughts and desires, the beginnings of trifling pursuits which waste the time, trifling visits, small departures from truth, whatever would admit some conformity to the world; all these, and many more, are little foxes which must be removed. This is a charge to believers to mortify their sinful appetites and passions, which are as little foxes, that destroy their graces and comforts, and crush good beginnings. Whatever we find a hinderance to us in that which is good, we must put away. He feedeth among the lilies; this shows Christ's gracious presence among believers. He is kind to all his people. It becomes them to believe this, when under desertion and absence, and so to ward off temptations. The shadows of the Jewish dispensation were dispelled by the dawning of the gospel day. And a day of comfort will come after a night of desertion. Come over the mountains of Bether, the mountains that divide, looking forward to that day of light and love. Christ will come over every separating mountain to take us home to himself.
Verse 17. - Until the day be cool, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether. This is generally supposed to be the voice of the maiden addressing her suitor, and bidding him return in the evening, when the day cools, and when the lengthening shadows fall into night. Some have seen in such words a clear indication of a clandestine interview, and would find in them a confirmation of their hypothesis that the poem is founded on a romantic story of Solomon's attempt to draw a shepherdess from her shepherd. But there is no necessity to disturb the flow of the bride's loving recollections by such a fancy. She is recalling the visit of her lover. How, at first, she declined his invitation to go forth with him to the vineyards, but with professions of love appealed to him to return to the mountains, and in the evening come once more and rejoice in her love. But the words may be rendered, "during the whole day, and until the evening comes, turn thyself to me," which is the view taken by some critics. The language may be general; that is, "Turn, and I will follow." "The mountains of Bether" are the rugged mountains; Bether, from a root "to divide," "to cut," i.e. divided by ravines; or the word may be the abstract for the concrete - "the mountains of separation" i.e. the mountains which separate. LXX., ὄρη τῶν κοιλωματῶν, "decussated mountains." The Syriac and Theodotion take the word as for beshamim, i.e. offerings of incense (θυμιαματῶν). There is no such geographical name known, though there is Bithron, east of Jordan, near Mahauaim (2 Samuel 2:29). The Chaldee, Ibn-Ezra, Rashi, and many others render it "separation" (cf. Luther's scheideberge). Bochart says, "Montes scissionis ita dicti propter ῤωχμοῦς et χασματὰ." The meaning has been thus set forth: "The request of Shulamith that he should return to the mountains breathes self-denying humility, patient modesty, inward joy in the joy of her beloved. She will not claim him for herself till he have accomplished his work. But when he associates with her in the evening, as with the Emmaus disciples, she will rejoice if he becomes her guide through the newborn world of spring. Perhaps we may say the Parousia ot the Lord is here referred to in the evening of the world" (cf. Luke 24.). On the whole, it seems most in harmony with the context to take the words as preparing us for what follows - the account of the maiden's distress when she woke up and found not her beloved. We must not expect to be able to explain the language as though it were a clear historical composition, relating facts and incidents. The real line of thought is the underlying connection of spiritual meaning. There is a separation of the lovers. The soul wakes up to feel that its object of delight is gone. Then it complains.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away,.... Which may be connected with Sol 2:16; either with the former part, "my beloved is mine", &c. Sol 2:16; and then the sense is, as long as night and day continue, and God's covenant with both stands sure; so long union to Christ, and covenant interest in him, will abide: or with the latter part, "he feedeth among the lilies until", &c. even until his second coming: or with the next clause in this verse,
turn, my beloved; and so is a prayer for Christ's speedy coming to her, and continued presence with her, until the day should break: which may be understood either of the Gospel day made by the rising of Christ, the sun of righteousness, at his first coming in the flesh; when the shadows of the ceremonial law disappeared, Christ, the body and substance of them, being come, and the darkness of the Gentile world was scattered, through the light of the Gospel being sent into it: the words may be rendered, "until the day breathe", or "blow" (b); and naturalists observe (c), that, upon the sun's rising, an air or wind has been excited, and which ceases before the middle of the day, and never lasts so long as that; and on Christ's, the sun of righteousness, arising with healing in his wings, some cool, gentle, and refreshing breezes of divine grace and consolation were raised, which were very desirable and grateful: or this may be understood of Christ's second coming; which will make the great day of the Lord, so often spoken of in Scripture: and which suits as well with the Hebrew text, and the philosophy of it, as the former; for, as the same naturalists (d) observe, the wind often blows fresh, and fine breezes of air spring up at the setting as well as at the rising of the sun; see Genesis 3:8; and may very well be applied to Christ's second coming, at the evening of the world; which will be a time of refreshing to the saints, and very desirable by them; and though it will be an evening to the world, which will then come to an end, with them there will be no more night of darkness, desertion, affliction, and persecution; the shadows of ignorance, infidelity, doubts, and fears, will be dispersed, and there will be one pure, clear, unbeclouded, and everlasting day; and till then the church prays, as follows:
turn, my beloved; that is, to her; who seemed to be ready to depart from her, or was gone; and therefore she desires he would turn again, and continue with her, until the time was come before mentioned: or, "turn about" (e); surround me with thy favour and lovingkindness, and secure me from all enemies, until the glorious and wished for day comes, when I shall be out of fear and danger; or, "embrace me" (f); as in Sol 2:6; during the present dispensation, which was as a night in comparison of the everlasting day;
and be thou like a roe, or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether; the same with Bethel, according to Adrichomius (g); where were mountains, woody, set with trees, full of grass and aromatic plants; and so may be the same with the mountains of spices, Sol 8:14; where the Ethiopic version has Bethel; and so that and the Septuagint version, in an addition to Sol 2:9; here; see 2 Kings 2:23; unless Bithron is meant, 2 Samuel 2:29; a place in Gilead, beyond Jordan, so called, because it was parted from Judea by the river Jordan: and the words are by some rendered, "the mountains of division or separation" (h); which, if referred to Christ's first coming, may regard the ceremonial law, the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, broke down by Christ, and the two people divided by it, which were reconciled by him; if to his spiritual coming, the same things may be intended by them as on Sol 2:9; but if to his second coming, the spacious heavens may be meant, in which Christ will appear, and which now interpose and separate from his bodily presence; and therefore the church importunately desires his coming with speed and swiftness, like a roe or a young hart, and be seen in them; see Revelation 22:10.
(b) , Sept. "donec, vel dum spiret", Mercerus, Cocceius; "aspirat", Marckius; "spiraverit", Michaelis. (c) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 47. Senecae Nat. Quaest. l. 5. c. 8. (d) lbid. Aristot. Problem. s. 25. c. 4. "Adspirant aurae in noctem", Virgil. Aeneid. 7. v. 8. (e) "circui", Montanus, Sanctius; "circumito"; some in Michaelis. (f) "Complectere", Marckius. (g) Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 16. (h) "in montibus divisionis", Vatablus, Piscator; "scissionis", Cocceius; "dissectionis", Marckius; "sectionis vel separationis", Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. Night—is the image of the present world (Ro 13:12). "Behold men as if dwelling in subterranean cavern" [Plato, Republic, 7.1].
Until—that is, "Before that," etc.
break—rather, "breathe"; referring to the refreshing breeze of dawn in the East; or to the air of life, which distinguishes morning from the death-like stillness of night. Maurer takes this verse of the approach of night, when the breeze arises after the heat of day (compare Ge 3:8, Margin, with Ge 18:1), and the "shadows" are lost in night (Ps 102:11); thus our life will be the day; death, the night (Joh 9:4). The English Version better accords with (So 3:1). "By night" (Ro 13:12).
Bether—Mountains of Bithron, separated from the rest of Israel by the Jordan (2Sa 2:29), not far from Bethabara, where John baptized and Jesus was first manifested. Rather, as Margin, "of divisions," and Septuagint, mountains intersected with deep gaps, hard to pass over, separating the bride and Jesus Christ. In So 8:14 the mountains are of spices, on which the roe feeds, not of separation; for at His first coming He had to overpass the gulf made by sin between Him and us (Zec 4:6, 7); in His second, He will only have to come down from the fragrant hill above to take home His prepared bride. Historically, in the ministry of John the Baptist, Christ's call to the bride was not, as later (So 4:8), "Come with me," but "Come away," namely, to meet Me (So 2:2, 10, 13). Sitting in darkness (Mt 4:16), she "waited" and "looked" eagerly for Him, the "great light" (Lu 1:79; 2:25, 38); at His rising, the shadows of the law (Col 2:16, 17; Heb 10:1) were to "flee away." So we wait for the second coming, when means of grace, so precious now, shall be superseded by the Sun of righteousness (1Co 13:10, 12; Re 21:22, 23). The Word is our light until then (2Pe 1:19).
Song of Solomon 2:17 Additional Commentaries
16"My beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. 17"Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether."
A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Song of Solomon 2:7
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 2:8
Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.
Song of Solomon 2:9
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.
Song of Solomon 4:6
Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.
Treasury of Scripture
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be you like a roe or a young hart on the mountains of Bether.
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