is a fragment containing a portion of the Song of Songs
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...
. Fragments from three such scrolls were found in Cave 4 at Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...
. These, and 6Q6
6Q6 is a small portion of a scroll from Cave 6 at Qumran, containing Song of Songs 1:1-7 in Hebrew. Together with three scroll portions found in Cave 4, they comprise the total witness to the Song from the Dead Sea Scrolls...
from Cave 6, estimated from 2nd century BCE, comprise the total witness to the Song from the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...
, known so far.
It is evident that 4Q108 is not from the other two manuscripts of the Song found in the cave. The last two words of Song 3:7, g'bore Israel
("warriors of Israel") are already accounted for in 4Q106
4Q106 is one large and three small fragments from three columns of a scroll containing portions of the Song of Songs in Hebrew. It is one of three scrolls found in Cave 4 at Qumran that have been reconstructed as copies of the Song of Songs...
; and the letters of 4Q107
4Q107 is a fragment of the Song of Songs in Hebrew found in Cave 4 at Qumran in the West Bank and which comprises part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. From the palaeography on the fragment it has been identified as being early-Herodian, i.e. c.30-31 BCE. The scribe responsible for 4Q107 did not write...
are formed by an observably different hand to 4Q108. The manner of composition (ductus
) of the letters aleph
differs between the manuscripts. Additionally, the lacuna
A lacunaPlural lacunae. From Latin lacūna , diminutive form of lacus . is a gap in a manuscript, inscription, text, painting, or a musical work...
in the second column of 4Q107 does not provide enough space to accommodate 4Q108.
4Q108 is a "tiny fragment"
containing only ten letters from two lines — five letters each from verses seven and eight of chapter three. The five letters from verse seven are: למה lmh
, the last three letters of the name Solomon
; and שש šš
), the six
in the word sixty
. The five letters from verse eight are a single word אחוזי aḥuzi
, the passive participle of the verb meaning grasp
. So 4Q108 reads:
- [7Behold the seat of So]lomon six[ty warriors surrounding it, from the warriors of]
- [Israel, 8all of them] equipped [with sword ...]
- The Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...
spells the verb of verse eight with only four letters; 4Q108, however, contains a consonant (vav) representing one of the distinctive vowels (u) of the passive participle.
- The passive construction used here — aḥuzi ḥereb (grasped of sword) — is not unique to either the Song (see Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....
43:6) or to Hebrew.