Do you long for the lowing herds, Astair?
The king is asking a question, but he already knows the answer: Astair misses her animals; she misses the sounds of the herds that she used to take care of.
This is our first hint that Astair belonged to a nomadic tribe.
Nomads travel from place to place, leading their herds to wherever the grazing is good.
The next few lines are also a list, of sorts. It's a list of the things that Astair probably "longs for" (misses).
[Do you long] for the hawk-eyed tribesman's coarse hard fare,
We now learn that the men of Astair's tribe are "hawk-eyed"—which could mean that they have excellent vision, or it could mean that their eyes pierce your soul like the eyes of a hawk. Either way, I get the the feeling that these men are rather handsome.
We also learn what kind of fare (food) Astair is used to eating: It's coarse (rough) and hard. In short, it's poor man's food.
Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant, but all you wanted was a grilled-cheese sandwich? I think that's how Astair feels, eating at the palace.
[Do you long for] the brown firm limbs that are hard and bare,
Okay, I have a slight problem with this line. I find it easy to believe that Astair and her people have brown, sun-darkened skin. And the people of her tribe would have certainly had limbs that were muscled and strong. But are these people really going around with bare limbs?
Possibly, considering that this story takes place some 3,000 years ago. But today, Bedouin tribes tend to cover up.
[Do you long for] the eagle's rocks and the lion's lair,
Growing up in the desert, Astair would have grown attached to the places she she knew and loved.
And she loved watching the eagles that nested among the cliffs, and she loved seeing the lions peek out of their lairs (caves).
Okay, I'm not buying it. Nomadic people with herds of goats and sheep would have hated the sight of any lion. But then again, maybe Astair is special.
By the way, lions flourished in the Middle East until about 1,000 years ago.
[Do you long for] the tents of the Israelite?
The fact that Astair used to live in a tent confirms our hunch that her family and her tribe were nomads. And indirectly, it confirms that she grew up poor. Nomads, as a rule, have very few possessions, as each time they lead their herds to a different pasture, they must carry all they own on their backs (and the backs of their animals).
But there's one thing that nomads do have in abundance: freedom. They enjoy far more freedom than city-folk or farmers, and it's this freedom that Astair, no doubt, is missing.
In this line we also learn something very specific: Astair belonged to a tribe of Israelites. In other words, she belonged to one of the Hebrew tribes that comprised the Kingdom of Israel. In today's language, we'd say that Astair is Jewish.