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David Beckham’s Manly Tattoo

9th June 2006

With the 2006 FIFA World Cup starting today, I figured I should post something related to football (i.e., soccer for those of us in North America). Then I thought, why not profile the Hebrew tattoo on England’s celebrity skipper, David Beckham? I have posted on David Beckham’s Hebrew tattoo before, though I didn’t have a picture of it until recently (An individual from Germany who wanted some advice on a Hebrew tattoo sent it to me). As with many of the tattoos profiled in my previous post on incorrect Hebrew tattoos, David Beckham’s tattoo just doesn’t make sense. Here is a picture of the tattoo:

beckham_tattoo_sm.jpg

The words on the tattoo are taken from the Song of Songs 6:3 which reads as follows:

×?Ö²× Ö´×™ לְדֹּודִי וְדֹּודִי לִי הָרֹעֶה בַּש×?ֹּוש×?Ö·× Ö¼Ö´×™×?
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, he pastures his flock among the lilies” (Song 6:3)

While this is a very nice verse from the Song of Songs, it really isn’t appropriate for a man to have tattooed on his body! First, the word דֹּוד “beloved” in Biblical Hebrew is a term of endearment for a man, not a woman. It also can be used in the Bible to refer to your father’s brother (i.e., uncle), which is the primary meaning in modern Hebrew. It is not unisex like the English term “lover.” Second, the masculine reference is underscored with the last phrase of the tattoo: “he pastures his flock among the lilies.” The Qal participle “pasture” is masculine and clearly refers to a man. Some even argue that the image here is of a man kissing the tender part of his lover’s body. Thus, Beckham’s tattoo is totally inappropriate if he meant it to refer to his wife. And if he meant it to refer to his uncle, then it’s just sick! When it comes right down to it, this passage is really only appropriate for a woman to say to her male lover. It would have to be modified signifcantly to make it appropriate for a man to say to his female lover.

The moral of this story is, if you are a celebrity sports star with a lot of money and are thinking about getting a Hebrew tattoo, make sure you get it checked out by someone who knows what they are doing!

In fact, as a public service to all rich celebrities, I would be more than willing to advise them on their tattoos, or on anything related to the Hebrew Bible! That reminds me, do you want some more tutoring, Nicole?


5 Responses to “David Beckham’s Manly Tattoo”

  1. Scott Says:

    If Beck’s was goint to butcher the Greek and put a tattoo on his other forearm that was incorrect, or inappropriate, but looked pretty, any suggestions what that might be? Or are people only doing this with Hebrew?

  2. Eric Rowe Says:

    Beckham may interpret the verse to refer to God or Jesus. If so, it would place hime outside of the mainsteam of historical-critical exegesis, but in very good company with ancient rabbinic and patristic interpreters of the Song of Songs. Frankly, it may even be appropriate to say that the book would not appear in the Bible at all if it had not been read that way by those who preserved the Scriptures for us in the crucial centuries prior to and following the time of Jesus. And, at the very least, whether Song of Songs SHOULD be read that way or not, its words can be aptly applied to the relationship between God and his loved ones on earth in ways that comport nicely with most any Christian and Jewish theology.

  3. Concerned Bastard Says:

    I don’t think the tatto was such a good idea.

  4. Eric Says:

    How could this passage be edited to refer to a woman?

  5. Folquerto Says:

    It is perfect if you let Victoria speak the line. In complete agreement with David’s vanity also. The spelling of Victoria’s name is surprisingly learned, “vhikToriyâ”, with the scientific ligature of va and ha, which few common Hindi speakers use, or even are acquainted with, to indicate the English phoneme v, which is unknown in Hindi. David need not be embarrased, his ignorant country folk ought to. Whether you like tattoos or not.