Song of Solomon 1:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance.

King James Bible
While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

American Standard Version
While the king sat at his table, My spikenard sent forth its fragrance.

Douay-Rheims Bible
While the king was at his repose, my spikenard sent forth the odour thereof.

English Revised Version
While the king sat at his table, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance.

Webster's Bible Translation
While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth its smell.

Song of Solomon 1:12 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Shulamith now explains, to those who were looking upon her with inquisitive wonder, how it is that she is swarthy:

6a Look not on me because I am black,

     Because the sun has scorched me.

If the words were בי (תּראינה) אל־תּראוּ, then the meaning would be: look not at me, stare not at me. But אל־תּראני, with שׁ (elsewhere כּי) following, means: Regard me not that I am blackish (subnigra); the second שׁ is to be interpreted as co-ordin. with the first (that ... that), or assigning a reason, and that objectively (for). We prefer, with Bttch., the former, because in the latter case we would have had שׁהשׁמשׁ. The quinqueliterum שׁחרחרת signifies, in contradistinction to שׁחור, that which is black here and there, and thus not altogether black. This form, as descriptive of colour, is diminutive; but since it also means id quod passim est, if the accent lies on passim, as distinguished from raro, it can be also taken as increasing instead of diminishing, as in יפיפה, הפכפּך. The lxx trans. παρέβλεπσέ (Symm. παρανέβλεπσέ) με ὁ ἣλιος: the sun has looked askance on me. But why only askance? The Venet. better: κατεῖδέ με; but that is too little. The look is thought of as scorching; wherefore Aquila: συνέκαυσέ με, it has burnt me; and Theodotion: περιέφρυξέ με, it has scorched me over and ov. שׁזף signifies here not adspicere (Job 3:9; Job 41:10) so much as adurere. In this word itself (cogn. שׁדף; Arab. sadaf, whence asdaf, black; cf. דּעך and זעך, Job 17:1), the looking is thought of as a scorching; for the rays of the eye, when they fix upon anything, gather themselves, as it were, into a focus. Besides, as the Scriptures ascribe twinkling to the morning dawn, so it ascribes eyes to the sun (2 Samuel 12:11), which is itself as the eye of the heavens.

(Note: According to the Indian idea, it is the eye of Varuna; the eye (also after Plato: ἡλιοειδέστατον τῶν περὶ τὰς αἰσθήσεις οργάνων) is regarded as taken from the sun, and when men die returning to the sun (Muir in the Asiatic Journal, 1865, p. 294, S. 309).)

The poet delicately represents Shulamith as regarding the sun as fem. Its name in Arab. and old Germ. is fem., in Heb. and Aram. for the most part mas. My lady the sun, she, as it were, says, has produced on her this swarthiness.

She now says how it has happened that she is thus sunburnt:

6b My mother's sons were angry with me,

     Appointed me as keeper of the vineyards -

     Mine own vineyard have I not kept.

If "mother's sons" is the parallel for "brothers" (אחי), then the expressions are of the same import, e.g., Genesis 27:29; but if the two expressions stand in apposition, as Deuteronomy 13:76, then the idea of the natural brother is sharpened; but when "mother's sons" stands thus by itself alone, then, after Leviticus 18:9, it means the relationship by one of the parents alone, as "father's wife" in the language of the O.T. and also 1 Corinthians 5:5 is the designation of a step-mother. Nowhere is mention made of Shulamith's father, but always, as here, only of her mother, Sol 3:4; Sol 8:2; Sol 6:9; and she is only named without being introduced as speaking. One is led to suppose that Shulamith's own father was dead, and that her mother had been married again; the sons by the second marriage were they who ruled in the house of their mother. These brothers of Shulamith appear towards the end of the melodrama as rigorous guardians of their youthful sister; one will thus have to suppose that their zeal for the spotless honour of their sister and the family proceeded from an endeavour to accustom the fickle or dreaming child to useful activity, but not without step-brotherly harshness. The form נחרוּ, Ewald, 193c, and Olsh. p. 593, derive from חרר, the Niph. of which is either נחר or נחר ( equals נחרר), Gesen. 68, An. 5; but the plur. of this נחר should, according to rule, have been נחרוּ (cf. however, נחלוּ, profanantur, Ezekiel 7:24); and what is more decisive, this נחר from חרר everywhere else expresses a different passion from that of anger; Bttch. 1060 (2, 379). חרה is used of the burning of anger; and that נחרוּ (from נחרה equals נחרה) can be another form for נחרוּ, is shown, e.g., by the interchange of אחרוּ and אחרוּ; the form נחרוּ, like נחלוּ, Amos 6:6, resisted the bringing together of the ח and the half guttural ר. Něhěrā (here as Isaiah 41:11; Isaiah 45:24) means, according to the original, mid. signif. of the Niph., to burn inwardly, ἀναφλέγεσθαι equals ὀργίζεσθαι. Shulamith's address consists intentionally of clauses with perfects placed together: she speaks with childlike artlessness, and not "like a book;" in the language of a book, וישׂמוּני would have been used instead of שׂמני. But that she uses נטרה (from נטר, R. טר equals τηρεῖν; cf. Targ. Genesis 37:11 with Luke 2:51), and not נחרה, as they were wont to say in Judea, after Proverbs 27:18, and after the designation of the tower for the protection of the flocks by the name of "the tower of the nōtsrīm" the watchmen, 2 Kings 17:9, shows that the maid is a Galilean, whose manner of speech is Aramaizing, and if we may so say, platt-Heb. ( equals Low Heb.), like the Lower Saxon plattdeutsch. Of the three forms of the particip. נטרה, נוטרה, נוטרת, we here read the middle one, used subst. (Ewald, 188b), but retaining the long ē (ground-form, nâṭir). The plur. את־הךּ does not necessarily imply that she had several vineyards to keep, it is the categ. plur. with the art. designating the genus; custodiens vineas is a keeper of a vineyard. But what kind of vineyard, or better, vine-garden, is that which she calls שׁלּי כּרמי, i.e., meam ipsius vineam? The personal possession is doubly expressed; shělli is related to cǎrmī as a nearer defining apposition: my vineyard, that which belongs to me (vid., Fr. Philippi's Status constr. pp. 112-116). Without doubt the figure refers to herself given in charge to be cared for by herself: vine-gardens she had kept, but her own vine-garden, i.e., her own person, she had not kept. Does she indicate thereby that, in connection with Solomon, she has lost herself, with all that she is and has? Thus in 1851 I thought; but she certainly seeks to explain why she is so sunburnt. She intends in this figurative way to say, that as the keeper of a vineyard she neither could keep nor sought to keep her own person. In this connection cǎarmī, which by no means equals the colourless memet ipsam, is to be taken as the figure of the person in its external appearance, and that of its fresh-blooming attractive appearance which directly accords with כּרם, since from the stem-word כּרם (Arab.), karuma, the idea of that which is noble and distinguished is connected with this designation of the planting of vines (for כּרם, Arab. karm, cf. karmat, of a single vine-stock, denotes not so much the soil in which the vines are planted, as rather the vines themselves): her kěrěm is her (Arab.) karamat, i.e., her stately attractive appearance. If we must interpret this mystically then, supposing that Shulamith is the congregation of Israel moved at some future time with love to Christ, then by the step-brothers we think of the teachers, who after the death of the fathers threw around the congregation the fetters of their human ordinances, and converted fidelity to the law into a system of hireling service, in which all its beauty disappeared. Among the allegorists, Hengstenberg here presents the extreme of an interpretation opposed to what is true and fine.

Song of Solomon 1:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the king

Songs 7:5 Your head on you is like Carmel, and the hair of your head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.

Psalm 45:1 My heart is gushing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Matthew 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father...


Songs 4:16 Awake, O north wind; and come, you south; blow on my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden...

Matthew 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner...

Matthew 26:26-28 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take...

Luke 24:30-32 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them...

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him...


Songs 4:13-16 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard...

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair...

Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell...

Revelation 8:3,4 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense...

Cross References
Mark 14:3
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.

John 12:3
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Song of Solomon 1:11
We will make for you ornaments of gold, studded with silver.

Song of Solomon 4:14
nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all choice spices--

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