Dialogue between Maiden and Her Beloved
1I am a rose#More likely “meadow saffron” or “crocus.” Hebrew scholars and botanists suggest the term refers to Ashodelos (lily family), Narcissus tazetta (narcissus or daffodil), or Colchicum autumnale (meadow saffron or crocus) (e.g., Isa 35:1). The location of this flower in Sharon suggests a common wild flower rather than a rose. The maiden compares herself to a simple, common flower of the field of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.
2Like a lily among the thorns,#Or “brambles”
so is my love among the maidens.
3As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men.
In his shade I sat down with delight,#Literally “I sat down and I delighted”
and his fruit was sweet to my palate.
Banquet Hall of Love
4He brought me to the house of the wine,
and his intention was love toward me.
5Sustain me with the raisins,
refresh me with the apples,
for I am lovesick.#Literally “for I myself am sick with love”
Double Refrain: Embrace and Adjuration
6His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces#Or “would embrace me” me.
7I adjure you, O maidens of Jerusalem,#Literally “O daughters of Jerusalem”
by the gazelles or by the does of the field,
do not arouse or awaken love until it pleases!#Or “Do not stir up or awaken the love until it is willing,” or “Do not disturb or interrupt our lovemaking until it is satisfied”
Rendezvous in the Countryside
8The voice of my beloved!
Look! Here he#Literally “this one” comes leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills!
9My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.#Literally “the fawn of the stag”
Look! He is#Literally “This is he” standing behind our wall,
gazing through#Literally “from” the window,
looking through#Literally “from” the lattice.
10My beloved answered and said to me,
“Arise,#Literally “Arise, you” my beloved! Come, my beauty!#Literally “And come, you”
11For look! The winter is over;
the rainy season#Literally “the rain” has turned and gone away.#Literally “is over; it is gone”
12The blossoms appear#Literally “is seen” in the land;#Literally “on the earth”
the time of singing#Most likely, a subtle word play occurs here since there are two different words in Hebrew spelled the same way: “pruning” and “singing.” The former plays upon the first line and the latter upon the third line has arrived;#Literally “the time of the song arrived”
the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13The fig tree puts forth her figs,
and the vines are in blossom; they give fragrance.
Arise,#Literally “Arise, to you!” my beloved! Come, my beauty!”#Literally “My beauty, come, you”
14My dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the secluded place#Literally “in the secret place”#Or “in the covering” in the mountain,#Literally “foothold in the rock”#Or “cliff”
Let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.
15Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes destroying vineyards,
for#Or “while” our vineyards are in blossom!
Poetic Refrain(s)
16My beloved belongs to me and I belong to him;#Literally “My beloved for me and I for him”
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
17Until the day breathes and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved!
Be like#Literally “Be like for you” a gazelle#Or “a buck gazelle” or young stag#Literally “the fawn of the stag” on the cleft mountains.#Or “the mountains of Bether”