The Commentary of Yefet ben Eli- Edited and translated from Judeo-Arabic by Joseph Alobaidi
The English Translation of Yefet’s commentary
on the Song of Songs The English translation of the Bible text of the Song of Songs is not that of the masoretic text. It is the translation of Yefet ben Eli’s rendering in Judeo-Arabic of the masoretic text. His understanding and translation are different from our modern interpretation of the Bible text. English words written in standard letters translate Judeo-Arabic words in the manuscript. English words written in italic translate Hebrew words in the manuscript. Chapter 1 1:1 The Song of Songs that belongs to Solomon. Know that [the expression] that belongs to Solomon (Sg 1:1), peace be upon him, [brings to mind] two sciences. The first is a worldly science that he did not record for us. It is what the scribe implies when he states that God gave Solomon wisdom… (1 Kgs 5:9). He then added: Solomon pronounced three thousand proverbs and his songs were [one thousand five] (1Kgs 5:12), he was wiser than all men…(1 Kgs 5:11). The second science is religious, pertaining to life after death and the ways of rein- forcing Judaism.1 The scribe records them for our benefit in this life and for the next. They are represented in three books: The Song of Songs, Proverbs and Qohelet. Each of the three has its own particular style. The Proverbs, [for example,] deals with the principles deduced from the Lord’s Commandments, how to make their observance attractive, how to avoid transgressions of God’s will, recalling his treatment of...
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