1 WHERE HAS your beloved gone, O you fairest among women? [Again the ladies showed their interest in the remarkable person whom the Shulammite had championed with such unstinted praise; they too wanted to know him, they insisted.] Where is your beloved hiding himself? For we would seek him with you.
2 [She replied] My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved's [garden] and my beloved is mine! He feeds among the lilies [which grow there].
4 [He said] You are as beautiful as Tirzah [capital of the northern kingdom's first king], my love, and as comely as Jerusalem, [but you are] as terrible as a bannered host!
5 Turn away your [flashing] eyes from me, for they have overcome me! Your hair is like a flock of goats trailing down from Mount Gilead.
6 Your teeth are like a flock of ewes coming from their washing, of which all are in pairs, and not one of them is missing.
7 Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.
8 There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number;
9 But my dove, my undefiled and perfect one, stands alone [above them all]; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed and happy, yes, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. [Col. 2:8, 9.]
10 [The ladies asked] Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, clear and pure as the sun, and terrible as a bannered host?
11 [The Shulammite replied] I went down into the nut orchard [one day] to look at the green plants of the valley, to see whether the grapevine had budded and the pomegranates were in flower.
12 Before I was aware [of what was happening], my desire [to roam about] had brought me into the area of the princes of my people [the king's retinue].
13 [I began to flee, but they called to me] Return, return, O Shulammite; return, return, that we may look upon you! [I replied] What is there for you to see in the [poor little] Shulammite? [And they answered] As upon a dance before two armies or a dance of Mahanaim.
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