Song of Solomon3:8

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all of them holding swords,

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all experienced in battle,

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each with his sword on his thigh,


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prepared for the terrors of the night.

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ready to protect

against any eventuality,

providing protection that is close at hand,

ready for the worst thing imaginable.



The sword is a symbol of destruction, but it can destroy for the purpose of defending the homeland or for the purpose of plundering some other land. In this case it is defensive, not offensive.

2: “experienced in battle”

The Hebrew word used here means “able to teach.” Some have translated it to English as “experts,” which is fine if we take the Hebrew concept rather than the American concept of an expert. We tend to think of an expert as someone who has specialized education; they considered someone an expert based on experience. Experience gave soldiers the advantage of having seen almost everything and thus they were ready for anything. Nothing could take them by surprise, and none of the horrible aspects of war would cause them dismay or fear or discouragement.


Having the sword strapped to one’s thigh was a sign of readiness. An analytical mind wants to point out an inconsistency and ask a question. It wants to say, “The text says the swords were in their hands, and then it says they were on their thighs. Which was it?” Actually, it can be both because this is symbolism. The author was putting together the symbols that communicated his idea, even if they don’t make sense when translated literally. We need to shut off the analyzing part of our brains and seek to feel the impact of the images. See the paraphrase.


Night by itself is seen as containing an element of fear. The phrase “terrors of the night” would be “the worst things imaginable.”