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Chapter 3

Loss and Discovery

W(A) On my bed at night I sought him[a]
    whom my soul loves—
I sought him but I did not find him.
“Let me rise then and go about the city,[b]
    through the streets and squares;
Let me seek him whom my soul loves.”
    I sought him but I did not find him.
The watchmen found me,
    as they made their rounds in the city:
    “Him whom my soul loves—have you seen him?”
(B)Hardly had I left them
    when I found him whom my soul loves.[c]
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.
(C)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

D(D) Who is this coming up from the desert,[d]
    like columns of smoke
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
    with all kinds of exotic powders?
See! it is the litter of Solomon;
    sixty valiant men surround it,
    of the valiant men of Israel:
All of them expert with the sword,
    skilled in battle,
Each with his sword at his side
    against the terrors[e] of the night.
King Solomon made himself an enclosed litter
    of wood from Lebanon.
10 He made its columns of silver,
    its roof of gold,
Its seat of purple cloth,
    its interior lovingly fitted.[f]
Daughters of Jerusalem, 11 go 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.


  1. 3:1–5 See the parallel in 5:2–8.
  2. 3:2 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.
  3. 3:4 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.
  4. 3:6–11 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.
  5. 3:8 Terrors: cf. Ps 91:5; perhaps bandits lying in wait, unidentified dangers lurking in darkness.
  6. 3:10 Lovingly fitted: translation uncertain. The phrase “Daughters of Jerusalem” is read here with the following verse.