1 Where has your beloved gone,
O most beautiful among women?
Where has your beloved turned
that we may seek him with you?
2My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the garden bed of the spice,
to pasture his flock and to gather lilies in the garden.
Mutual Possession Refrain
3I belong to my beloved and he belongs to me;#Literally “I for my beloved and he for me”
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
Solomon’s Praise of His Beloved
4You are beautiful, my beloved, as Tirzah,
lovely as Jerusalem,
overwhelming as an army with banners.#Literally “terrible as the bannered ones”
5Turn away your eyes from before me,
for they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of the goats
that moves down from Gilead.
6Your teeth are like a flock of the ewes
that have come up from the washing,
all of them bearing twins,
and there is none bereaved among them.
7Your cheeks behind#Literally “from behind” your veil
are like halves of a pomegranate.
The Maiden’s Beauty Is without Peer
8Sixty queens there are, eighty concubines,
and maidens beyond number.
9My dove, she is the one;#Literally “she is one”#The term “one” functions here as an adjective of quality: “unique, singular, the only one”
my perfect, she is the only one;#Literally “she is one”#Or “the only daughter of her mother.” Although the latter option is permissible, the term is used elsewhere of the heir as the favored child (e.g., Gen 22:2; Prov 4:3). This nuance is supported by the parallel term “favorite”
she is the favorite of#Or “she is the pure one.” Since there are two Hebrew terms spelled the same way, some relate this to the adjective that means “pure.” Others relate it to the verb that means “to choose, select.” The parallelism favors the latter#Literally “the favorite for” her mother who bore her.
Maidens see her and consider her fortunate;#Or “call her happy” or “call her blessed” or “bless her”
queens and concubines praise her:
10“Who is this that looks down like the dawn,
beautiful as the moon,
bright as the sun,#Literally “pure as the glow”#Or “bright as the heat of the sun.” The Hebrew term “glow” poetically refers to the bright rays of the sun (Psa 19:7; Isa 24:23; 30:26)
overwhelming as an army with banners?”#Literally “terrible as the bannered ones”
The Journey to the Valley
11I went down to the orchard of the walnut trees
to look at the blossoms of the valley,
to see whether the vines have sprouted,
whether the pomegranates have blossomed.
12I did not know my heart#Literally “soul” set me
in a chariot of my princely people.#Or “Before I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib” (KJV, ASV) or “Before I knew it, my desire set me mid the chariots of Ammi-nadib” (JPS) or “Before I was aware, my soul set me over the chariots of my noble people” (NASB) or “Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people” (NIV) or “… among the chariots of Amminadab” (NIV margin) or “… among the chariots of the people of the prince” (NIV margin)
13#Song of Songs 6:13–7:13 in the English Bible is 7:1–14 in the Hebrew Bible Turn, turn,#Or “Return, return …!” O Shulammite!#Or “O perfect one,” “O peaceful one,” “O bride.” Many interpreters take this moniker as suggesting the maiden was from the village of Shulem (alternately called Shunem)
Turn, turn#Or “Return, return …!” so that we may look upon you!
Why do you look upon the Shulammite
as at a dance of the two armies?