Bible Studies/Song of Songs

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Question
I have been looking at this book with an interest in its poetry.

Songs 1,v7 in the New English Bible has a curious line about "picking lice" that is not at all like any other Bible translation that I can find. Can you illuminate, please?
"Tell me, my true love,
     where you mind your flocks,
   where you rest them at midday,
   that I may not be left picking lice
     as I sit among your companionsí herds."NEB

Answer
Most translations have the speaker "wrapped", presumably in a cloak or shawl.  The term is based on a verb which usually means "to wrap".  Other translations follow early versions which translate "wander", which requires the same letters, but in a different order.  However, an influential lexicon (Koehler-  Baumgartner) allows for an alternative meaning in Jeremiah 43, "grasp/pluck lice".  My guess is that the NEB translaters were feeling adventurous. Incidently, the Revised English Bible follows the NEB with "picking lice".
I hope this is helpful
Jim Miller

Bible Studies

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Jim Miller

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Biblical Studies -- including Ancient Near East, Intertestamental Literature and early Christian literature.

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