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Seeing Solomon's Palanquin (Song of Songs 3:6-11)

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Song 3:6-11 shares distinctive poetic features with the rest of the Song of Songs, such as the impression of immediacy, the conjuring up of the loved one, the blurring of distinctions between past and present, and the address to an audience that includes the reader. This pericope is constructed in such a way as to bring a luxurious conveyance bearing Solomon (the male lover in his royal guise) from the furthest imaginable horizon, the wilderness, closer and closer to the speaker who describes the procession, and through whose eyes we perceive the sight in greater and greater detail. The poetic analysis sheds light on three debated questions in Song of Songs interpretation: (1) who is the speaker in these verses?, (2) who or what is coming up from the wilderness—a person or an object?, (3) do these verses describe a moving means of transport or a fixed structure?

Affiliations: 1: University of Sheffield


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