The Targum to Song of Songs is available in both European and Yemenite manuscripts. The Aramaic text used in this translation is that of Raphael Hai Melamed, “The Targum to Canticles According to Six Yemen Mss. Compared with the ‘Textus Receptus’ (Ed. de Lagarde),” Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, 10 (1919-20): 377-410, 11 (1920-21): 1-20, and 12 (1921-22): 57-117.

This translation began as an adaptation of the translation by Marvin H. Pope, Song of Songs: A New Translation and Commentary, The Anchor Bible 7C (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1977).

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This translation by Jay C. Treat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

1 (note to 1:1a). The divine name is represented in this way throughout the text. Read it “the Lord” or “the Name.”

2 (note to 1:1d). Another reading: the well of Miriam.

3 (note to 1:4). Throughout this text, the word “Presence” translates the word Shekhinah.

4 (note to 1:5). Shalom, a pun on “Solomon.”

5 (note to 1:8). This word refers to a shepherd’s assistant who gathers the scattered flock, and also to the man who calls the congregation to prayer and leads them in it.

6 (note to 2:3). ethrog.

7 (note to 2:3). Some texts add “was beautiful and” at this point.

8 (note to 2:11). The event described in Genesis 15:1-21 is known as “the covenant between the parts” because of a phrase in 15:17. Verse 13 refers to a four-hundred-year period of slavery. See Targum to 2:8.

9 (note to 2:14). In post-biblical Jewish literature, God is frequently depicted as communicating to human beings by means of a Bath-Qol: a “daughter of a voice,” that is, an echo.

10 (note to 3:3). European versions read “The Assembly of Israel said,” here. Yemenite versions omit this clause.

11 (note to 3:3). European versions omit “of YY.”

12 (note to 4:1). Cf. Gen 31:48.

13 (note to 4:3). Cf. Isa 1:18.

14 (note to 4:6). Cf. Psalm 91:5-6.

15 (note to 5:3). Alternative reading: “among the nations.”

16 (note to 5:11). The Yemenite recension reads, “The heads [chief points] of His Law.”

17 (note to 5:14). Some texts add “of the world.”

18 (note to 6:5). Cf. Gen 31:48. Cf. Targum to 4:1.

19 (note to 6:7). Yemenite versions read simply, “who were righteous.”

20 (note to 6:8). Yemenite versions read, “riders.”

21 (note to 6:8). Another reading: Antiochus.

22 (note to 6:12). European versions add “righteous and.”

23 (note to 7:1). The numbers in parentheses give the versification used in English translations.

24 (note to 7:2). European versions add a word meaning “of scarlet” or “of badgers” here. See Exodus 25:5; Ezekiel 16:10.

25 (note to 7:2). Exodus 39:30.

26 (note to 7:5). Heshbon can mean “calculation.”

27 (note to 7:9). R. Loewe, “The Targum to the Song of Songs,” 162, points out that Sifra on Leviticus 18:5 applies Song 7:8, “Your eyes are stately as a palm tree,” to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who stood upright like palm trees rather than bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Daniel 3).

28 (note to 7:11). Cf. Gen 3:16.

29 (note to 8:2). European versions add “Messiah” here.

30 (note to 8:4). Instead of “the Exile,” Yemenite versions have “Jerusalem.”

31 (note to 8:5). European versions insert, “as on the day when they came up out of the wilderness into the land of Israel, and who delight themselves with the love of their Lord,” here.