So, a twitter conversation today about weird similes in love songs made me think about my favorite weird simile in a love song, from the Song of Solomon. I know it best translated as:
Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
However, a google search turned up this page of various translations of the verse
. It's remarkable how a difference of a word or two can completely change the tenor of the line. Some favorites:
New International Version:
You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners.
I don't particularly care for "darling", and "troops" just makes me think of Pentagon press briefings. However, "majestic" might be closer to the intended effect than "terrible".
New Living Translation:
You are beautiful, my darling, like the lovely city of Tirzah. Yes, as beautiful as Jerusalem, as majestic as an army with billowing banners.
This is the "Y'all totally don't know what Tirzah is, do you?" translation. Feels wordy to me.
GOD'S WORD Translation:
You are beautiful, my true love, like Tirzah, lovely like Jerusalem, awe-inspiring like those great cities.
Where my army with banners at? This is the "Forget Tirzah, you're not entirely sure what Jerusalem is," translation.
Bible in Basic English:
You are beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, as fair as Jerusalem; you are to be feared like an army with flags.
Thank you for playing, but no!
There are a lot of valiant attempts on that page, but I don't think any of them really improves on the King James version. What do you think? Anyone want to make a case for "you are to be feared like an army with flags"?