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The instances in chapter 2 are the regular noun, meaning “maidens”. In chapter 4, the word is in the construct state, meaning “maidens of”. This is denoted by the alternative vowelization.


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When נערות is in construct state it has a patach instead of a sh'va and would mean "maidens of" instead of just "maidens".


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Baruch Hashem, I'm not alone. This question is addressed by various sources, all brought in Ma Shehaya Hu Sheyihyeh Shir HaShirim II 5:3 fn. 8 by Rabbi Eliyahu Wolf from Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, Baltimore. He brings as follows: Birkas Aharon Berachos § 268 by Rav Aharon Levine asks this question, as well on how parshas Kedoshim ends. He leaves it as צ"ע. ...


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