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The most amazing song of all, by King Solomon.

The Shulamite[a]

Let him[b] smother me with kisses—his Spirit-kiss divine.[c]
    So kind are your caresses,[d]
    I drink them in like the sweetest wine![e]
Your presence releases a fragrance so pleasing—
    over and over poured out.
    For your lovely name is “Flowing Oil.”[f]
    No wonder the brides-to-be adore you.[g]
Draw me into your heart.
    We will run away together into the king’s cloud-filled chamber.[h]

The Chorus of Friends

    We will remember your love, rejoicing and delighting in you,[i]
    celebrating your every kiss as better than wine.
    No wonder righteousness adores you![j]

The Shulamite

Jerusalem maidens, in this twilight darkness[k]
    I know I am so unworthy—so in need.

The Shepherd-King

    Yet you are so lovely!

The Shulamite

    I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents
    of the wandering nomads.[l]

The Shepherd-King

    Yet you are so lovely—
    like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.

The Shulamite to Her Friends

Please don’t stare in scorn
    because of my dark and sinful ways.[m]
    My angry brothers quarreled with me
    and appointed me guardian of their ministry vineyards,
    yet I’ve not tended my vineyard within.
Won’t you tell me, lover of my soul,
    where do you feed your flock?
    Where do you lead your beloved ones[n]
    to rest in the heat of the day?
    Why should I be like a veiled woman
    as I wander among the flocks of your shepherds?[o]

The Shepherd-King

Listen, my radiant one—
    if you ever lose sight of me,
    just follow in my footsteps where I lead my lovers.
    Come with your burdens and cares.
    Come to the place near the sanctuary of my shepherds.[p]
My dearest one,[q]
    let me tell you how I see you—
    you are so thrilling to me.
    To gaze upon you is like looking
    at one of Pharaoh’s finest horses[r]
    a strong, regal steed pulling his royal chariot.
10 Your tender cheeks are beautiful[s]
    your earrings and gem-laden necklaces[t]
    set them ablaze.
11 We will enhance your beauty,[u]
    with golden ornaments studded with silver.[v]

The Shulamite

12 As the king surrounded me at his table,[w]
    the sweet fragrance of spikenard[x]
    awakened the night.
13 A sachet of myrrh is my lover,
    like a tied-up bundle of myrrh[y] resting over my heart.
14 He is like a bouquet of henna blossoms—
    henna plucked near the vines at the fountain of the Lamb.[z]
    I will hold him and never let him part.

The Shepherd-King

15 My darling,
    you are so lovely!
    You are beauty itself[aa] to me.
    Your passionate eyes are like gentle doves.[ab]

The Shulamite

16 My beloved one,[ac]
    both handsome and winsome,
    you are pleasing beyond words.
    Our resting place[ad] is anointed and flourishing,
    like a green forest meadow bathed in light.
17 Rafters of cedar branches are over our heads
    and balconies of pleasant-smelling pines.[ae]

Footnotes

  1. 1:2 The word for “Shulamite” and the word for “Solomon” are taken from the same Hebrew root word; one is masculine, the other feminine. The name Solomon occurs seven times in this book, which points us to the perfect King, Jesus Christ. We are one spirit with our King, united with him. You and I have become the Shulamite.
  2. 1:2 To enter the doorway of Jesus’ heart we must begin by saying, “Let him.” We only bring him a yielded heart and must “let him” do the rest. God’s loving grace means that he will be enough for us. We can “let him” be everything to us. We don’t begin by doing but by yielding.
  3. 1:2 This Spirit-kiss is what made Adam, the man of clay, into a living expression of God. Dust and deity met when the Maker kissed his Spirit-Wind into Adam. The Word of God is the kiss from the mouth of our Beloved, breathing upon us the revelation of his love. The Shulamite doesn’t ask him for power, position, or promotion, but for a kiss. Intimacy with Jesus Christ is more important than anything else he can give us.
  4. 1:2 Or “your breasts” or “your loves.” This speaks of his saving love, keeping love, forgiving love, and embracing love. The love of Jesus cannot be singular; it is so infinite it must be described in the plural.
  5. 1:2 There is a wordplay in the Hebrew, similar to a pun. The word for “kisses” and the word for “take a drink [wine]” is nearly the same. The implication, as seen by ancient expositors, is that God’s lovers will be drunk with love, the intoxicating kisses of his mouth. The Hebrew word for “kiss” is nashaq, which can also mean “to equip” or “to arm (for battle).” We need his kisses to become equipped warriors for him.
  6. 1:3 The Hebrew contains a wordplay with the words “name” (shem) and “oil” (shemen).
  7. 1:3 Because of the order of the consonants, some Jewish sources translate this as “The maidens love you unto death.” (See Goldin, Song, 116; J. Sason, “On Pope’s Song,” 191.)
  8. 1:4 The Hebrew text literally means “the king’s chamber inside of a chamber.” This points us to the Holy of Holies inside the temple chamber.
  9. 1:4 The Hebrew word for “love” (ahav) is found seven times in the Song of Songs (1:3, 4, 7; 3:1, 2, 3, 4). The Hebrew root word for “rejoice” (gyl) is a homonym for “spinning in a circle or dance.” The implication is that we dance for joy when we remember his love.
  10. 1:4 The kiss of God pours out blessing over our hearts. It is the warmth of his love that convinces us that his heart is turned forever toward us. The most common word for worship in the New Testament is proskuneo, which means to fall on your knees before him to kiss him. Our worship, with deep affection, is his reward.
  11. 1:5 Or “black.” The Hebrew root word used here for “black” or “dark” means “twilight darkness” or “morning gray.”
  12. 1:5 Literally “dark as the tent curtains of Kedar.” There is a wordplay in the Hebrew, as the word Kedar means “a dark one” or “a dark place.” This was the name of one of the sons of Ishmael and represents our old Adam-life. See Ps. 120:5.
  13. 1:6 Or “Many morning suns have darkened [stared at] me.”
  14. 1:7 She sees her beloved as a shepherd. This is a metaphor of the role he takes in her eyes. We need not develop a literal story line of a lover and a shepherd, but understand it as a representation of the relationship between us and our Beloved, which cannot be described by one symbol or role.
  15. 1:7 The Hebrew uses the verb ‘atah, which means “to wrap [cloak/veil].” The Aramaic and Latin Vulgate use the verb meaning “to wander.” This translation has included both concepts.
  16. 1:8 Or “graze your goats by the shepherds’ tents.” This is a metaphor that speaks of her responsibilities and labors.
  17. 1:9 Or “darling.” The Hebrew word r’yh is found ten times in the Bible and nine of them are in the Song of Songs. The Hebrew wordplay is seen in that the words for “tend the flock” and “darling” are homonyms.
  18. 1:9 The finest horses in Solomon’s stables were imported from Egypt. See 2 Chron. 1:14–17.
  19. 1:10 Her cheeks represent her emotions, revealed by her countenance. Her emotional life is alive and pleasing to the king.
  20. 1:10 Or “your neck is beautiful with strings of jewels.” The ornaments upon her point us to the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. Your adornments are on the inside (1 Peter 3:3–4).
  21. 1:11 This is possibly the Trinity (“we”), which will be involved in making every Shulamite holy and radiant.
  22. 1:11 Gold always points us to the divine. God’s golden love and grace adorn her now with beauty. The concept of silver in the Bible always points to redemption, the price paid to set us free. The cross is a “stud of silver” planted into Calvary’s hill that opened the grace fountain for all the world to drink from.
  23. 1:12 This points to our enjoyment of the Lord as we have communion at the Lord’s Table.
  24. 1:12 See Mark 14:1–11; John 12:1–11.
  25. 1:13 This tied-up bundle of myrrh is an incredible picture of the cross. Myrrh, known as an embalming spice, was always associated with suffering. The suffering love of Jesus would be over the Shulamite’s heart for the rest of her days. We have the revelation of our Beloved tied onto the cross like a bundle of myrrh.
  26. 1:14 Or “at En-gedi.” En-gedi means “fountain of the Lamb.” The Hebrew word for “henna” has a homonym that can mean “atonement” or “redeeming grace.”
  27. 1:15 The Hebrew word for “beautiful,” yāpāh, is used five times to describe the Shulamite, and three times she is called hayyāpāh bannāšîm (the most beautiful of women). Eight times her beauty is extolled. Eight is the number for new creation life. Hebrew linguists link this word for “beauty” to yapha’, which means “to radiate,” “to burst forth,” or “to emerge from darkness to project beauty.” It is also related to the word yaphat, which means “to create a sense of awe and wonder” or “to be something special.” When we trace this word yāpāh to its Semitic roots, we find it has the idea of a specialness or a uniqueness.
  28. 1:15 The Hebrew text literally means “Your eyes are doves.” Some see this as a hypocorism, but the dove points us to the Holy Spirit. She is commended for seeing him with spiritual revelation as she perceives the glory of the cross with its “myrrh” (see footnote on v. 13).
  29. 1:16 The Hebrew word dôḏî, usually translated “beloved,” is taken from a root word that means “to boil.” The implication is that the beloved causes her heart to boil over with passion. In Matt. 3:17, the Father reveals his Son as “the Beloved.” Paul likewise describes him as “the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).
  30. 1:16 Or “canopied bed” or “luxuriant couch.”
  31. 1:17 Or “cypresses.” Cedar and cypress were the two most common woods used in the construction of Solomon’s Temple.

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