1M#Sg 6:2. I have come to my garden, my sister, my bride;
I gather my myrrh with my spices,
I eat my honeycomb with my honey,
I drink my wine with my milk.
D? Eat, friends; drink!
Drink deeply, lovers!#Eat
lovers: the translation and meaning are uncertain.
A Fruitless Search
2W#Sg 3:1–2. I was sleeping, but my heart was awake.#An experience of anticipation and loss similar to that in 3:1–5. The lover’s abrupt appearance resembles that in 2:8–9.
The sound of my lover knocking!
“Open to me, my sister, my friend,
my dove, my perfect one!
For my head is wet with dew,
my hair, with the moisture of the night.”
3I have taken off my robe,#Robe: knee-length undergarment worn by men and women. Am I then
?: the woman’s refusal is a form of gentle teasing; that she does not really reject her lover is shown by her actions in vv. 5–6. See 1:7–8; 2:14–15, for other teasing interchanges.
am I then to put it on?
I have bathed my feet,
am I then to soil them?
4My lover put his hand in through the opening:
my innermost being#My innermost being: lit., “innards.” In Gn 25:23; Is 49:1; Ps 71:6, the word appears to carry the meaning of “womb.” trembled because of him.
5I rose to open for my lover,
my hands dripping myrrh:
My fingers, flowing myrrh
upon the handles of the lock.
6I opened for my lover—
but my lover had turned and gone!
At his leaving, my soul sank.
I sought him, but I did not find him;
I called out after him, but he did not answer me.#The motif of the locked-out lover is common in classical Greek and Latin poetry.
7The watchmen#The watchmen: they do not know the reason for the woman’s appearance in the city streets; cf. 3:2–4. found me,
as they made their rounds in the city;
They beat me, they wounded me,
they tore off my mantle,
the watchmen of the walls.
8#Sg 2:7; 8:4. I adjure you, Daughters of Jerusalem,
if you find my lover
What shall you tell him?
that I am sick with love.
The Lost Lover Described
9D How does your lover differ from any other lover,
most beautiful among women?
How does your lover differ from any other,
that you adjure us so?
10W My lover is radiant and ruddy;#In answer to the question of 5:9 the woman sings her lover’s praises (vv. 10–16). Ruddy: also used of David (1 Sm 16:12; 17:42). Gold: indicates how precious the lover is. Palm fronds: his thick, luxuriant growth of hair.
outstanding among thousands.
11His head is gold, pure gold,
his hair like palm fronds,
as black as a raven.
12His eyes are like doves
beside streams of water,
Bathing in milk,
: the translation of this line is uncertain; it may continue the metaphor of the lover’s eyes, or refer to another part of his anatomy (e.g., teeth) which has been omitted from the text. by brimming pools.
13His cheeks are like beds of spices
yielding aromatic scents;
his lips are lilies
that drip flowing myrrh.
14His arms are rods of gold
adorned with gems;
His loins, a work of ivory
covered with sapphires.
15His legs, pillars of alabaster,
resting on golden pedestals.
His appearance, like the Lebanon,
imposing as the cedars.
16His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is delightful in every way.
Such is my lover, and such my friend,
Daughters of Jerusalem!