Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
New Living Translation
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.
English Standard Version
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.
Berean Study Bible
Set me as a seal over your heart, as a seal upon your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy as unrelenting as Sheol. Its sparks are fiery flames, the fiercest blaze of all.
New American Standard Bible
"Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD.
King James Bible
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Christian Standard Bible
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death; jealousy is as unrelenting as Sheol. Love's flames are fiery flames--an almighty flame!
Contemporary English Version
Always keep me in your heart and wear this bracelet to remember me by. The passion of love bursting into flame is more powerful than death, stronger than the grave.
Good News Translation
Close your heart to every love but mine; hold no one in your arms but me. Love is as powerful as death; passion is as strong as death itself. It bursts into flame and burns like a raging fire.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death; ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol. Love's flames are fiery flames-- the fiercest of all.
International Standard Version
Set me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, passion as intense as Sheol. The flames of love are flames of fire, a blaze that comes from the LORD.
Set me like a cylinder seal over your heart, like a signet on your arm. For love is as strong as death, passion is as unrelenting as Sheol. Its flames burst forth, it is a blazing flame.
New Heart English Bible
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for love is strong as death. Jealousy is as cruel as Sheol. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a very flame of the LORD.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Wear me as a signet ring on your heart, as a ring on your hand. Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. Love's flames are flames of fire, flames that come from the LORD.
JPS Tanakh 1917
Set me as a seal upon thy heart, As a seal upon thine arm; For love is strong as death, Jealousy is cruel as the grave; The flashes thereof are flashes of fire, A very flame of the LORD.
New American Standard 1977
“Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD.
Jubilee Bible 2000
Set me as a seal upon thine heart as a sign upon thine arm; for love is strong as death; jealousy is hard as Sheol; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which have a most vehement flame.
King James 2000 Bible
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm: for love is as strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame.
American King James Version
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.
American Standard Version
Set me as a seal upon thy heart, As a seal upon thine arm: For love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as Sheol; The flashes thereof are flashes of fire, A very flame of Jehovah.
Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames.
Darby Bible Translation
Set me as a seal upon thy heart, As a seal upon thine arm: For love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as Sheol: The flashes thereof are flashes of fire, Flames of Jah.
English Revised Version
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the flashes thereof are flashes of fire, a very flame of the LORD.
Webster's Bible Translation
Set me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals of it are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
World English Bible
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for love is strong as death. Jealousy is as cruel as Sheol. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a very flame of Yahweh.
Young's Literal Translation
Set me as a seal on thy heart, as a seal on thine arm, For strong as death is love, Sharp as Sheol is jealousy, Its burnings are burnings of fire, a flame of Jah!
Study BibleLonging for Her Beloved
…5Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? The Bride I roused you under the apple tree; there your mother conceived you, there she travailed and brought you forth. 6Set me as a seal over your heart, as a seal upon your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy as unrelenting as Sheol. Its sparks are fiery flames, the fiercest blaze of all. 7Mighty waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.…
and if a feeling of jealousy comes over her husband and he suspects his wife who has defiled herself--or if a feeling of jealousy comes over him and he suspects her even though she has not defiled herself--
For jealousy enrages a husband, and he will show no mercy in the day of vengeance.
Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me.
"As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on My right hand, I would pull you off.
On that day, declares the LORD of Hosts, I will take you, My servant, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and I will make you like My signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of Hosts."
Treasury of Scripture
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.
as a seal
Seal.--See Jeremiah 22:24; Haggai 2:23, &c. A symbol of something especially dear and precious.
Jealousy.--Strong passion, from a word meaning to be red with flame; not in a bad sense, as the parallelism shows:--
"Strong as death is love,
Inexorable as Sheol is ardent passion."
Grave.--Heb. sheol. Perhaps, as in the LXX., Hades, with its figurative gates and bars (Psalm 6:5, Note).
A most vehement flame.--Literally, a flame of Jah, the only place where a sacred name occurs in the book, and here, as in the Authorised Version, adverbially, to express something superlatively great and strong. Southey's lines are a faint echo of this:--
"But love is indestructible,
Its holy flame for ever burneth,
From heaven it came, to heaven returneth."Verses 6, 7. - Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the flashes thereof are flashes of fire, a very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, he would be utterly contemned. Is this to be regarded as the reply of the bride to the tender allusion of her husband to their first love; or is it, as some think, only the first words which belong to the bride, while the rest of the two verses are a kind of chorus echoing her loving appeal, and bringing the general action of the poem to a conclusion? It is difficult to decide this, and the meaning is not affected either way. Perhaps, however, it is best to take it as spoken by the bride, who continues her address to the end of the eighth verse. She is full of joy in the return of perfect confidence; she prays that the full tide of affection may never cease to flow, that there be no ebbing of that happy feeling in which she now delights; and then sings the praise of love itself, as though a prelude of praise to a long and eternal peace. The seal is the signet ring, chotham, from a root "to impress" It was sometimes carried by a string on the breast, and would, therefore, be near the heart (see Genesis 38:18). It was sometimes worn on the hand (see Jeremiah 22:24; and cf. Genesis 41:42; Esther 3:12). It was not worn on the arm like a bracelet (2 Samuel 1:10). Probably it was not the signet ring which is referred to in the second clause: "Set me as a seal on thine heart, and as a bracelet on thine arm." The same simile is not infrequent in the prophets. The desire of Shulamith was to escape all possibility of those declensions of which she had spoken before. "Let me never be out of thy thoughts; let me never go back from my fulness of joy in thy love." The true believer understands well such language. He knows that the maintenance of devout affection is not a matter of mere desire and will. The Lord himself must help us with his blessed gifts, the influence of his gracious Spirit to overcome the feebleness and fickleness of a fallen heart. We want to be close to the heart of the Saviour; we want to be constantly in his eye, and so diligently employed in his service, so closely associated with the work of his mighty arm, that we shall be ever receiving from him the signs and evidences of his approval and affection. The purity and perfection of true love are the theme of every sincere believer. The priceless value of such love is described in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 6:30), in Numbers 22:18, and 1 Corinthians 13:3. It is an unquenchable flame - nothing can resist it. We cannot but recall the rapturous language of one who himself was an example of the highest devotedness to the Saviour, who rejoiced over death and the grave in the consciousness of victory through him from whose love nothing can separate us (Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:54). Certainly the history of the sufferings and trials of the true Church form a most striking commentary upon these words. Floods of persecution have swept over it, but they have not quenched love. The flame has burst forth again and again when it seemed to be extinguished, and it has become a very "flame of the Lord." The bush has been burning, but has not been consumed. By jealousy is intended love in its intensity not bearing arival. The "flame of the Lord" may be compared with "the voice of the Lord," which is described in Hebrew poetry as connected with the fury of the storm. The flame, therefore, would be lightning and the voice thunder. The whole of this passage, which forms a kind of keynote of the poem, is more like a distinct strain introduced to give climax to the succession of songs than the natural expression of the bride's feelings. It has been always regarded as one of the sublimest apostrophes to love to be found anywhere. The enemies of God and of humanity are represented as falling before it, death and the grave. Its vehemence and force of manifestation are brought vividly before us by the comparison of the flash of lightning. It is remarkable that this exaltation of love should be included in the Old Testament, thus proving that the Mosaic Law, with its formal prescriptions, by no means fulfils the whole purpose of God in his revelation to the world. As the New Testament would not have been complete without the message of the beloved disciple, so this Old Testament must have its song of love. Nor is it only the ideal and the heavenly love which is celebrated, but human affection itself is placed very high, because it is associated with that which is Divine. It is a more precious thing than mere wealth or worldly honour, and he that trifles with it deserves the utmost scorn and contempt of his fellows. It is well to remark how consistently the poetic framework is maintained. There is no attempt to leave the lines of human relations even at this point, whets evidently the sentiment rises above them. The love which is apostrophized is not removed from earth in order to be seen apart from all earthly imperfections and impurities. We are invited rather to look through the human to the Divine which embraces it and glorifies it. That. is the method of the Divine revelation throughout. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." We do not need to take Solomon's Song as an allegory. It is a song of human love, but as such it is a symbol of that which is Divine. Ephesians 1:13. The allusion seems to be to the high: priest, a type of Christ, who had the names of the children of Israel engraved on precious stones, and bore by him on his shoulders, and on his heart, for a memorial before the Lord continually; or to the names of persons, engraved on jewels, wore by lovers on their arms or breasts, or to their pictures put there; not to signets or seals wore on those parts, but to the names and images of persons impressed on them: the Ethiopians (p) understand it of something bound upon the arm, by which persons might be known, as was used in their country. The church's desire is, that she might be affectionately loved by Christ, be deeply fixed in his heart, be ever in his view, owned and acknowledged by him, and protected by the arm of his power. Her reasons follow:
for love is strong as death; that is, the love or the church to Christ, which caused her to make the above requests: death conquers all; against it there is no standing; such was the love of the church, it surmounted all difficulties that lay in the way of enjoying Christ; nothing could separate from it; she was conquered by it herself (q); and could not live without him; a frown, an angry look from him, was as death unto her; yea, she could readily part with life and suffer death for his sake; death itself could not part her from him, or separate him from her love (r); so that her love was stronger than death;
jealousy is cruel as the grave: the jealousy she had of Christ's love to her which was her weakness; and yet it was very torturing and afflicting, though at the same time it showed the greatness of her love to Christ: or "envy", that is of wicked men, she was the object of, which exceeds cruel wrath and outrageous anger, Proverbs 27:4; or rather her "zeal" (s), which is no other than ardent love for Christ his Gospel, cause, and interest; which ate up and consumed her spirits, as the grave does what is cast into it. Psalm 119:139. Virgil (t) gives the epithet of "cruel" to love;
the coals thereof are coals of fire; which expresses the fervency of her love to Christ, and zeal for the honour of his name: which, though sometimes cold and languid, is rekindled, and becomes hot and flaming; and is, like fire, insatiable, one of the four things that say, "It is not enough", Proverbs 30:16;
which hath a most vehement flame; nothing is, nor, common with other writers (u), than to attribute flame to love, and to call it a fire; here a most vehement flame. Or, "the flame of Jah" or "Jehovah" (w); an exceeding great one: the Hebrews use one or other of the names of God, as a superlative; so the mountains of God, and cedars of God, mean exceeding great ones; and here it expresses the church's love in the highest degree, in such a flame as not to be quenched, as follows: or it signifies, that the flame of love in her breast was kindled by the Lord himself (x), by his Spirit, compared to fire; or by his love, shed abroad in her heart by him, Hence it appears to be false, what is sometimes said, that the name of God is not used in this Song; since the greatest of all his names, Jab or Jehovah, is here expressed.
(p) Apud Ludolph. Lexic. Ethiopic. p. 341. (q) "Omnia vincit amor, et nos cedamus amori", Virgil. (r) "Nostros non rumpit funus amorea", Lucan. Pharsal. l. 5. v. 761, 762. (s) "zelus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Marckius. (t) "Crudelis amor", Bucolic. Eclog. 10. v. 29. (u) Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. de Nutpt. Honor. v. 16. & Laude Stilico, v. 74. So love is said to kindle a more vehement flame than at Vulcan's forge, Theocrit. Idyll. 2. prope finem. (w) "flamma Domini", Montauus, Mercerus; "Dei", Tigurine version, Cocceius; "Jah", Vatablus, to Marckius. (x) So the Tigurine version, Castalio.
seal—having her name and likeness engraven on it. His Holy Priesthood also in heaven (Ex 28:6-12, 15-30; Heb 4:14); "his heart" there answering to "thine heart" here, and "two shoulders" to "arm." (Compare Jer 22:24, with Hag 2:23). But the Holy Ghost (Eph 1:13, 14). As in So 8:5, she was "leaning" on Him, that is, her arm on His arm, her head on His bosom; so she prays now that before they part, her impression may be engraven both on His heart and His arm, answering to His love and His power (Ps 77:15; see Ge 38:18; Isa 62:3).
love is strong as death—(Ac 21:13; Ro 8:35-39; Re 12:11). This their love unto death flows from His (Joh 10:15; 15:13).
jealousy … the grave—Zealous love, jealous of all that would come between the soul and Jesus Christ (1Ki 19:10; Ps 106:30, 31; Lu 9:60; 14:26; 1Co 16:22).
cruel—rather, "unyielding" hard, as the grave will not let go those whom it once holds (Joh 10:28).
a most vehement flame—literally, "the fire-flame of Jehovah" (Ps 80:16; Isa 6:6). Nowhere else is God's name found in the Song. The zeal that burnt in Jesus Christ (Ps 69:9; Lu 12:49, 50) kindled in His followers (Ac 2:3; Ro 15:30; Php 2:17).
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