Loss and Discovery
1W#a. [3:1–5] Sg 5:2–8. On my bed at night I sought him#See the parallel in 5:2–8.
whom my soul loves—
I sought him but I did not find him.
2“Let me rise then and go about the city,#The motif of seeking/finding here and elsewhere is used by later Christian and Jewish mystics to speak of the soul’s search for the divine.
through the streets and squares;
Let me seek him whom my soul loves.”
I sought him but I did not find him.
3The watchmen found me,
as they made their rounds in the city:
“Him whom my soul loves—have you seen him?”
4#b. [3:4] Sg 8:2. Hardly had I left them
when I found him whom my soul loves.#Whom my soul loves: the fourfold repetition of this phrase in vv. 1–4 highlights the depth of the woman’s emotion and desire. Mother’s house: cf. 8:2; a place of safety and intimacy, one which implicitly signifies approval of the lovers’ relationship.
I held him and would not let him go
until I had brought him to my mother’s house,
to the chamber of her who conceived me.
5#c. [3:5] Sg 2:7; 8:4. I adjure you, Daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles and the does of the field,
Do not awaken or stir up love
until it is ready.
Solomon’s Wedding Procession
6D#d. [3:6] Sg 6:10; 8:5. Who is this coming up from the desert,#This may be an independent poem. In context it portrays the lover as King Solomon, escorted by sixty armed men, coming in royal procession to meet a bride.
like columns of smoke
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
with all kinds of exotic powders?
7See! it is the litter of Solomon;
sixty valiant men surround it,
of the valiant men of Israel:
8All of them expert with the sword,
skilled in battle,
Each with his sword at his side
against the terrors#Terrors: cf. Ps 91:5; perhaps bandits lying in wait, unidentified dangers lurking in darkness. of the night.
9King Solomon made himself an enclosed litter
of wood from Lebanon.
10He made its columns of silver,
its roof of gold,
Its seat of purple cloth,
its interior lovingly fitted.#Lovingly fitted: translation uncertain. The phrase “Daughters of Jerusalem” is read here with the following verse.
Daughters of Jerusalem, 11go out
and look upon King Solomon
In the crown with which his mother has crowned him
on the day of his marriage,
on the day of the joy of his heart.
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