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Old Jewish Commentaries on the Song of Songs I

The Commentary of Yefet ben Eli- Edited and translated from Judeo-Arabic by Joseph Alobaidi

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Joseph Alobaidi

The commentary of Yefet ben Eli the Karaite (second half of the tenth century) on The Song of Songs is example of an exegetical work obeying two imperatives: The explanation of the divine message of Salvation mixed with the assiduous Karaite effort to prove wrong their adversaries, the Rabbanites, with the help of the Bible. In so doing Yefet ben Eli wrote a thoughtful and original commentary on the very symbolic Song of Songs. Indeed, according to Yefet ben Eli nothing in the Book should be taken realistically. The ability of Yefet to replace symbols by historical events is one of the many marks that show Yefet’s mastery and the originality of his commentary.

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The Judeo-Arabic text of Yefet’s commentary

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] [ , ' ] [ . . 1:1 `hmo)l{v.li rvmi . ][ . 3 In the Ms. Yefet ben Eli 28 ) " 1:5 ( . , ) " 8:8( . . , . . ! ) " 1:2 ( , , , . . ] [ ] [ . . . . . . . 4 . ][ . ) " 1:2 .( ][ . ) " 1:2 ( . . ) " 1:2 ( ] [ ] [ 5 . ) " 1:2 ( ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ . ! ) " 1:2 ( . . 4 In the Ms. 5 In the Ms. Song of Songs 29 . . , ) '26:44 .( . . . 1:3 `^Wb)hea] tAmïl'[] !KEß-l[; ^mn: %B'‘hx'm.f.nIw ] [ . . ) "88:7 ( ' ) "69:3 .( ) "3:55 .( 6 . ) " 1:4 ( . 6 In the Ms. Song of Songs 31 ] [ ) "13:5( ][ ) "80:19( . ) "85:9.( ) " 1:4 ( ) " 1:4 ( ) " 1:4 .( . ) " 1:4 ( . . . ) " 1:4 ( ) "13:6( . ) "35:10 ( . ) " 1:4 .( ) " 1:4 ( . ) " 1:4 ( ' ) "6:5 .( . . 1:5 `hmo)l{v tA[ßyrIyKi rd"êqe yleäh\a'K. ~÷Il'_v'Wry> tAnàB. hw"ëan"w>) ‘ynIa] hr"ÛAxv.. . . . 7 . 7 In the Ms Yefet ben Eli 32 . . ) " 1:5 ( . ) " 1:5 .( . . ) " 1:5 ( ) " 6:1( . ) " 1:5( . ) " 1:5( . . . ) "38:7 ( ) "38:3 ( . ) " 1:5( . , ) " 1:5 ( ' ) "120:5 .( ) "2:40( . ) "51:1( . ) " 1:5 ( . . 1:6 yMiäai ynEôB. vm,V'_h; ynIt.p;Þz"V/v, trx;v. ynIåa]v, ‘ynIWa’r>Ti-la; `yTir>j")n" al{ï yLiÞv, ymiîr>K; ~ymiêr"K.h;-ta, hr"äjenO ‘ynImu’f' ybiª-Wrx]nI) Song of Songs 33 8 . ) " 1:5 ( . . . . . . . . 9 . , ) "8:22( . . . ) "8:10 ( 10 ) "8:11 .( ! ) " 1:6( . ) " 1:6 ( . ) " 1:6 ( . , ][ ' ) "43:27 .( . ) " 1:6 ( ' ) " 28:48( . ) " 1:6 ( [...] 8 In the Ms. With the meaning of “striving, desiring” 9 In the Ms 10...

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