1 [LOOKING FORWARD to the shepherd's arrival, the eager girl pictures their meeting and says] Oh, that you were like my brother, who nursed from the breasts of my mother! If I should find you without, I would kiss you, yes, and none would despise me [for it]. [Ps. 143:6.]
2 I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, who would instruct me. I would cause you to drink spiced wine and of the juice of my pomegranates.
3 [Then musingly she added] Oh, that his left hand were under my head and that his right hand embraced me! [Exod. 19:4; Deut. 33:27.]
4 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you never [again attempt to] stir up or awaken love until it pleases.
5 Who is this who comes up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved? [And as they sighted the home of her childhood, the bride said] Under the apple tree I awakened you; there your mother gave you birth, there she was in travail and bore you.
6 Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame [the very flame of the Lord]! [Deut. 4:24; Isa. 49:16; I Cor. 10:22.]
7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man would offer all the goods of his house for love, he would be utterly scorned and despised.
8 [Gathered with her family and the wedding guests in her mother's cottage, the bride said to her stepbrothers, When I was a little girl, you said] We have a little sister and she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for in marriage?
9 If she is a wall [discreet and womanly], we will build upon her a turret [a dowry] of silver; but if she is a door [bold and flirtatious], we will enclose her with boards of cedar.
10 [Well] I am a wall [with battlements], and my breasts are like the towers of it. Then was I in [the king's] eyes as one [to be respected and to be allowed] to find peace.
11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard to keepers; everyone was to bring him a thousand pieces of silver for its fruit.
12 You, O Solomon, can have your thousand [pieces of silver], and those who tend the fruit of it two hundred; but my vineyard, which is mine [with all its radiant joy], is before me!
13 O you who dwell in the gardens, your companions have been listening to your voice–now cause me to hear it.
14 [Joyfully the radiant bride turned to him, the one altogether lovely, the chief among ten thousand to her soul, and with unconcealed eagerness to begin her life of sweet companionship with him, she answered] Make haste, my beloved, and come quickly, like a gazelle or a young hart [and take me to our waiting home] upon the mountains of spices!
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1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation