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Two are better than one, because the two of them

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have a better wage

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for their troublesome toil.


It is better to have a companion than to work alone because each of you individually and collectively

will receive a better return for your frustrating work.


1: “the two of them have”

The Hebrew says something akin to “because they, they have . . .” or it could be rendered “they themselves have…” The word “they” is inserted even though it is not necessary; this word is only used for “they” if it is emphatic. The verb is a third person plural so it includes the idea that ”they” are the ones doing the action. This was an obvious method to emphasize the two in contrast to one who is alone, such as in the example just prior to this.

2: “better wage”

While “return” is a possible way to translate this word and one that makes sense in this context, the root idea is that of “wage, salary or pay as recompense for labor,” which also fits well because of the reference to troublesome toil. However, the return he is speaking of is made up mostly of things that are not usually called a wage; they are things like companionship, friendship, someone with the same purpose, celebrating together and suffering hardship together. Although Solomon was surrounded by many people willing to do anything he asked or told them to do, he had become a lonely man. I think this section is still referring indirectly to the death of the Shulammite.