The Lovers Speak
1“Oh, that you were like a brother to me,
Who nursed at the breasts of my mother.
If I found you out of doors, I would kiss you;
No one would blame me or despise me, either.
2I would lead you and bring you
Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me;
I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.
3Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”
4“I command you to take an oath, O daughters of Jerusalem,
That you do not rouse nor awaken my love
Until she pleases.”
5“Who is this coming up from the wilderness
Leaning upon her beloved?”
“Under the apple tree I awakened you [to my love];
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.
6Put me like a seal on your heart,
Like a seal on your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead).
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
[A most vehement flame] the very flame of the #Heb YHWH (Yahweh).Lord!
7Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can rivers drown it.
If a man would offer all the riches of his house for love,
It would be utterly scorned and despised.”
8“We have a little sister
And she has no breasts.
What shall we do for our sister
On the day when she is spoken for [in marriage]?
9If she is a wall (discreet, womanly),
We will build on her a turret (dowry) of silver;
But if she is a door (bold, flirtatious),
We will enclose her with planks of cedar.”
10“I was a wall, and my breasts were like the towers.
Then I became in the king’s eyes
As one [to be respected and allowed] to find peace.
11Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers;
Each one was to bring him a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.
12My very own vineyard is at my disposal;
The thousand [shekels of silver] are for you, O Solomon,
And two hundred are for those who tend the fruit.”
13“O you who sit in the gardens,
My companions are listening for your voice—
Let me hear it.”
14“Hurry, my beloved and come quickly,
Like a gazelle or a young stag [taking me home]
On the mountains of spices.”