Blaz0ej S0trba, «hn#$w#$ of the Canticle», Vol. 85 (2004) 475-502
The term hn#$w#$ is revisited
primarily in the Canticle of Solomon. The most ancient translation –– "lily" ––
of this flower though questioned in recent decades is still widely used. The
LXX’s rendering kri/non is examined and found as the
best translation for the lexeme N#$w#$ –– meaning
"lotus" –– being an Egyptian loan word. This translation fits to the OT
references better than "lily". The textual employment of
hn#$w#$ in the poetry of the Canticle is a chief and commanding proof for
"lotus". The "lily" translation for both hn#$w#$
and kri/non for the majority of the OT cases is seen
as incorrect since it does not pay due attention to the literary and historical
context of the Canticle.
of the Canticle 489
eration (68). In fact, the idea of regenerating â€“ all-transforming love is
associated with her once for all. Just as v. 2b is formed in a direct
parallel with v. 3a (69), so the idea of awaking in 2(ab) is resumed and
confirmed by the allusion to arousing power (cf. 2,5; 7,9; 8,5)
associated with him in 3(ab).
b) Cant 7,3
In 7,1-5 we have a second descriptive song of the girl (70). It is
more compact and clearer when compared to the first one in 4,1-7.
Though the song 7,1-5 is more straightforward it does not Lose its
complexity and describes the girl as aristocratic and queenly.
Describing her from bottom to top, just in the centre, her belly is
compared to â€œa heap of wheat, encircled with Âµynvwvâ€, v. 3b. The
solemnity of this one who is called Shulammite is achieved by a kind
of restrain on the part of the girl.
3 (a) Your belly is a heap of wheat
Âµyfj tmr[ Ëšnjb
(b) encircled with Ï€Ã´Ï€annÃ®m
(68) Cf. â€œLotosâ€, LÃ„ III, 1092-1095; WILKINSON, Reading Egyptian Art, 120-
121. KEEL, Hohelied, 80. O. Keel has indicated also some iconographic material
dated to the first half of the first millennium BCE found in Palestine, on which the
child sun is born from the lotus flower; cf. his â€œParallÃ¨les littÃ©rairesâ€, 42. The
recently excavated scarabs with the carvings of the divinity seated on the lotus
flower also support this idea; cf. A. MAZAR â€“ N. PANITZ-COHEN, Timnah (Tel
Batash) (Qedem 42; Jerusalem 2001) II, 266-271. In order to avoid misunder-
standings around the Egyptian concept of passing away from this life to another,
the best choice is to employ the word transformation rather than regeneration.
The concept of transformation corresponds (in the Egyptian belief) better to the
idea of the entrance into the life after death, and not â€” as it is widespread in the
common misconception â€” to resurrection or transmigration of the soul; cf. O.
GOELET, â€œA Commentary on the Corpus of Literature and Tradition Which
Constitutes The Book of Going Forth by Dayâ€, The Egyptian Book of the Dead.
The Book of Going Forth by Day. Being the Papyrus of Ani (eds. E. VON DASSOW
â€“ J. WASSERMAN) (San Francisco 1994) 151-152.
(69) Cf. WATSON, â€œWord Pairsâ€, 785-786.
v. As Ï€Ã´Ï€annah among the thorns
twnbh Ë†yb yty[r Ë†k Âµyjwjh Ë†yb hnvwvk
2b so is my friend among the maidens.
v. As an apple tree among the trees of the forest
Âµynbh Ë†yb ydwd Ë†k r[yh yx[b jwptk
3a so is my beloved among the young men.
(70) This first descriptive song 4,1-7 is more detailed and complicated, yet the
second is not less sublime. The first song was directly spoken out by him who â€”
compared with Solomon (cf. 3,11) â€” repeats twice at the beginning â€œyou are
beautifulâ€, 4,1. The second song, 7,1-5, is recited by his (?) chorus which
compares the girl to the Shulammite and describes her nobility and royalty.