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Song of Solomon 1-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Love Is Better than Wine

This is Solomon’s
    most beautiful song.

She Speaks:

Kiss me tenderly!
Your love is better than wine,
    and you smell so sweet.
All the young women adore you;
the very mention of your name
    is like spreading perfume.
Hurry, my king! Let’s hurry.
    Take me to your home.

The Young Women Speak:

We are happy for you!
And we praise your love
    even more than wine.

She Speaks:

Young women of Jerusalem,
it is only right
    that you should adore him.
My skin is dark and beautiful,
like a tent in the desert
    or like Solomon’s curtains.
Don’t stare at me
just because the sun
    has darkened my skin.
My brothers were angry with me;
they made me work in the vineyard,
    and so I neglected
    my complexion.

Don’t let the other shepherds
    think badly of me.[a]
I’m not one of those women
who shamelessly follow
    after shepherds.[b]
My darling, I love you!
Where do you feed your sheep
    and let them rest at noon?

He Speaks:

My dearest, if you don’t know,
just follow the path
    of the sheep.
Then feed your young goats
    near the shepherds' tents.
You move as gracefully
as the pony
that leads
    the chariot of the king.
10 Earrings add to your beauty,
and you wear a necklace
    of precious stones.
11 Let’s make you some jewelry
    of gold,
woven with silver.

She Speaks:

12 My king, while you
were on your couch,
    my love was a magic charm.[c]
13 My darling, you are perfume
    between my breasts;
14 you are flower blossoms
    from the gardens of En-Gedi.[d]

He Speaks:

15 My darling, you are lovely,
so very lovely—
    your eyes are those of a dove.

She Speaks:

16 My love, you are handsome,
    truly handsome—
the fresh green grass
    will be our wedding bed
17 in the shade of cedar
    and cypress trees.

Love Makes Everything Beautiful

She Speaks:

I am merely a rose[e]
from the land of Sharon,
    a lily from the valley.

He Speaks:

My darling, when compared
with other young women,
    you are a lily among thorns.

She Speaks:

And you, my love,
are an apple tree
    among trees of the forest.
Your shade brought me pleasure;
    your fruit was sweet.
You led me to your banquet room
    and showered me with love.
Refresh and strengthen me
with raisins and apples.
    I am hungry for love!
Put your left hand under my head
and embrace me
    with your right arm.

Young women of Jerusalem,
promise me by the power
    of deer and gazelles[f]
never to awaken love
    before it is ready.

Winter Is Past

She Speaks:

I hear the voice
    of the one I love,
as he comes leaping
over mountains and hills
    like a deer or a gazelle.
Now he stands outside our wall,
looking through the window
10     and speaking to me.

He Speaks:

My darling, I love you!
    Let’s go away together.
11 Winter is past,
    the rain has stopped;
12 flowers cover the earth,
    it’s time to sing.[g]
The cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 Fig trees are bearing fruit,
while blossoms on grapevines
    fill the air with perfume.
My darling, I love you!
    Let’s go away together.
14 You are my dove
hiding among the rocks
    on the side of a cliff.
Let me see how lovely you are!
Let me hear the sound
    of your melodious voice.
15 Our vineyards are in blossom;
we must catch the little foxes
    that destroy the vineyards.[h]

She Speaks:

16 My darling, I am yours,
    and you are mine,
as you feed your sheep
    among the lilies.
17 Pretend to be a young deer
dancing on mountain slopes[i]
    until daylight comes
    and shadows fade away.

Beautiful Dreams

She Speaks:

While in bed at night,
I reached for the one I love
    with heart and soul.
I looked for him,
    but he wasn’t there.
So I searched through the town
    for the one I love.
I looked on every street,
    but he wasn’t there.
I even asked the guards
    patrolling the town,
“Have you seen the one
    I love so much?”
Right after that, I found him.
I held him and would not let go
    until I had taken him
    to the home of my mother.
Young women of Jerusalem,
promise me by the power
    of deer and gazelles,[j]
never to awaken love
    before it is ready.

The Groom and the Wedding Party

Their Friends Speak:

What do we see approaching
from the desert
    like a cloud of smoke?
With it comes the sweet smell
of spices,
including myrrh
    and frankincense.
It is King Solomon
    carried on a throne,
surrounded by sixty
    of Israel’s best soldiers.
Each of them wears a sword.
They are experts at fighting,
    even in the dark.
The throne is made of trees
    from Lebanon.
10 Its posts are silver,
    the back is gold,
and the seat is covered
    with purple cloth.
You women of Jerusalem
have taken great care
    to furnish the inside.[k]
11 Now come and see the crown
given to Solomon
by his mother
    on his happy wedding day.

What a Beautiful Bride

He Speaks:

My darling, you are lovely,
    so very lovely—
as you look through your veil,
    your eyes are those of a dove.
Your hair tosses about
as gracefully as goats
    coming down from Gilead.
Your teeth are whiter
    than sheep freshly washed;
they match perfectly,
    not one is missing.
Your lips are crimson cords,
    your mouth is shapely;
behind your veil are hidden
    beautiful rosy cheeks.[l]
Your neck is more graceful
    than the tower of David,
decorated with thousands
    of warriors' shields.

Your breasts are perfect;
they are twin deer
    feeding among lilies.
I will hasten to those hills
sprinkled with sweet perfume
    and stay there till sunrise.
My darling, you are lovely
    in every way.
My bride, together
    we will leave Lebanon!
We will say good-by
to the peaks
of Mount Amana,
    Senir, and Hermon,
where lions and leopards
    live in the caves.

My bride, my very own,
    you have stolen my heart!
With one glance from your eyes
and the glow of your necklace,
    you have stolen my heart.
10 Your love is sweeter than wine;
the smell of your perfume
    is more fragrant than spices.
11 Your lips are a honeycomb;
milk and honey
    flow from your tongue.
Your dress has the aroma
    of cedar trees from Lebanon.

12 My bride, my very own,
you are a garden,
a fountain
    closed off to all others.
13 Your arms[m] are vines,
covered with delicious fruits
    and all sorts of spices—
henna, nard, 14 saffron,
    calamus, cinnamon,
frankincense, myrrh, and aloes
    —all the finest spices.
15 You are a spring in the garden,
    a fountain of pure water,
and a refreshing stream
    from Mount Lebanon.

She Speaks:

16 Let the north wind blow,
    the south wind too!
Let them spread the aroma
    of my garden,
so the one I love
may enter
and taste
    its delicious fruits.

He Speaks:

My bride, my very own,
I come to my garden
    and enjoy its spices.
I eat my honeycomb and honey;
    I drink my wine and milk.

Their Friends Speak:

Eat and drink
until
    you are drunk with love.

Another Dream

She Speaks:

I was asleep, but dreaming:
The one I love was at the door,
    knocking and saying,
“My darling, my very own,
my flawless dove,
    open the door for me!
My head is drenched
    with evening dew.”

But I had already undressed
    and bathed my feet.
Should I dress again
    and get my feet dirty?
Then my darling’s hand
reached to open the latch,
    and my heart stood still.
When I rose to open the door,
my hands and my fingers
    dripped with perfume.

My heart stood still
    while he spoke to me,
but when I opened the door,
    my darling had disappeared.
I searched and shouted,
but I could not find him—
    there was no answer.
Then I was found by the guards
patrolling the town
    and guarding the wall.
They beat me up
    and stripped off my robe.

Young women of Jerusalem,
    if you find the one I love,
please say to him,
    “She is weak with desire.”

Their Friends Speak:

Most beautiful of women,
why is the one you love
    more special than others?
Why do you ask us
    to tell him how you feel?

She Speaks:

10 He is handsome and healthy,
the most outstanding
    among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy,
    black as a raven.
12 His eyes are a pair of doves
bathing in a stream
    flowing with milk.[n]
13 His face is a garden
    of sweet-smelling spices;
his lips are lilies
    dripping with perfume.

14 His arms are branches of gold
    covered with jewels;
his body is ivory[o]
    decorated with sapphires.
15 His legs are columns of marble
    on feet of gold.
He stands there majestic
like Mount Lebanon
    and its choice cedar trees.
16 His kisses are sweet.
    I desire him so much!
Young women of Jerusalem,
    he is my lover and friend.

Their Friends Speak:

Most beautiful of women,
tell us where he has gone.
    Let us help you find him.

She Speaks:

My darling has gone down
    to his garden of spices,
where he will feed his sheep
    and gather lilies.
I am his, and he is mine,
as he feeds his sheep
    among the lilies.

He Speaks:

My dearest, the cities of Tirzah
and Jerusalem
    are not as lovely as you.
Your charms are more powerful
than all of the stars
    in the heavens.[p]
Turn away your eyes—
    they make me melt.
Your hair tosses about
as gracefully as goats
    coming down from Gilead.
Your teeth are whiter
    than sheep freshly washed;
they match perfectly,
    not one is missing.
Behind your veil are hidden
    beautiful rosy cheeks.[q]

What if I could have
sixty queens, eighty wives,
    and thousands of others!
You would be my only choice,
    my flawless dove,
the favorite child
    of your mother.
The young women, the queens,
    and all the others
tell how excited you are
    as they sing your praises:
10 “You are as majestic
    as the morning sky—
glorious as the moon—
    blinding as the sun!
Your charms are more powerful
    than all the stars above.”[r]

She Speaks:

11 I went down to see if blossoms
were on the walnut trees,
grapevines, and fruit trees.
12 But in my imagination
I was suddenly riding
    on a glorious chariot.[s]

Their Friends Speak:

13 Dance! Dance!
Beautiful woman from Shulam,
    let us see you dance!

She Speaks:

Why do you want to see
this woman from Shulam
    dancing with the others?[t]

The Wedding Dance

He Speaks:

You are a princess,
and your feet are graceful
    in their sandals.
Your thighs are works of art,
    each one a jewel;
your navel is a wine glass
    filled to overflowing.
Your body is full and slender
like a bundle of wheat
    bound together by lilies.
Your breasts are like twins
    of a deer.
Your neck is like ivory,
    and your eyes sparkle
like the pools of Heshbon
    by the gate of Bath-Rabbim.
Your nose is beautiful
like Mount Lebanon
    above the city of Damascus.
Your head is held high
    like Mount Carmel;
your hair is so lovely
    it holds a king prisoner.[u]

You are beautiful,
    so very desirable!
You are tall and slender
like a palm tree,
    and your breasts are full.
I will climb that tree
    and cling to its branches.
I will discover that your breasts
    are clusters of grapes,
and that your breath
    is the aroma of apples.
Kissing you is more delicious
than drinking the finest wine.
    How wonderful and tasty![v]

She Speaks:

10 My darling, I am yours,
    and you desire me.
11 Let’s stroll through the fields
    and sleep in the villages.
12 At dawn let’s slip out and see
if grapevines and fruit trees
    are covered with blossoms.
When we are there,
    I will give you my love.
13 Perfume from the magic flower[w]
    fills the air, my darling.
Right at our doorstep
I have stored up for you
    all kinds of tasty fruits.

If Only You and I. . .

She Speaks:

If you were my brother,
    I could kiss you
whenever we happen to meet,
and no one would say
    I did wrong.
I could take you to the home
of my mother,
    who taught me all I know.[x]
I would give you delicious wine
    and fruit juice as well.
Put your left hand under my head
and embrace me
    with your right arm.

Young women of Jerusalem,
promise me by the power
    of deer and gazelles[y]
never to awaken love
    before it is ready.

Their Friends Speak:

Who is this young woman
    coming in from the desert
and leaning on the shoulder
    of the one she loves?

She Speaks:

I stirred up your passions
under the apple tree
    where you were born.
Always keep me in your heart
and wear this bracelet
    to remember me by.
The passion of love
    bursting into flame
is more powerful than death,
    stronger than the grave.
Love cannot be drowned
    by oceans or floods;
it cannot be bought,
    no matter what is offered.

Their Friends Speak:

We have a little sister
whose breasts
    are not yet formed.
If someone asks to marry her,
    what should we do?
She isn’t a wall
that we can defend
    behind a silver shield.
Neither is she a room
that we can protect
    behind a wooden door.

She Speaks:

10 I am a wall around a city,
    my breasts are towers,
and just looking at me
    brings him great pleasure.
11 Solomon has a vineyard
    at Baal-Hamon,
which he rents to others
for a thousand pieces
    of silver each.
12 My vineyard is mine alone!
Solomon can keep his silver
    and the others can keep
    their share of the profits.

He Speaks:

13 You are in the garden
with friends all around.
    Let me hear your voice!

She Speaks:

14 Hurry to me, my darling!
Run faster than a deer
    to mountains of spices.

Footnotes:

  1. 1.6 Don’t. . . me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 1.7 I’m. . . shepherds: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 1.12 magic charm: The Hebrew text has “spikenard” (or “nard”), a sweet-smelling ointment made from a plant that comes from India. The ointment was sometimes used as a love charm.
  4. 1.14 En-Gedi: An oasis west of the Dead Sea.
  5. 2.1 rose: The traditional translation. The exact variety of the flower is not known, though it may have been a crocus.
  6. 2.7 deer and gazelles: Deer and gazelles were sacred animals in some religions of Old Testament times, and they were thought to have special powers.
  7. 2.12 sing: Or “trim the vines.”
  8. 2.15 vineyards: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 15.
  9. 2.17 mountain slopes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 3.5 deer and gazelles: See the note at 2.7.
  11. 3.10 inside: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 4.3 beautiful rosy cheeks: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  13. 4.13 Your arms: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  14. 5.12 milk: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 12.
  15. 5.14 his. . . ivory: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  16. 6.4 all. . . heavens: Or “a mighty army ready for war.”
  17. 6.7 cheeks: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 7.
  18. 6.10 all. . . above: Or “a mighty army ready for war.”
  19. 6.12 chariot: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 12.
  20. 6.13 dancing. . . others: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  21. 7.5 it. . . prisoner: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  22. 7.9 How. . . tasty: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  23. 7.13 magic flower: The Hebrew text has “mandrake,” a plant that was thought to give sexual powers.
  24. 8.2 who...know: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  25. 8.4 deer and gazelles: See the note at 2.7.

Song of Songs 1-8 New International Version (NIV)

Solomon’s Song of Songs.

She[a]

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
    for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
    your name is like perfume poured out.
    No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
    Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Friends

We rejoice and delight in you[b];
    we will praise your love more than wine.

She

How right they are to adore you!

Dark am I, yet lovely,
    daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
    like the tent curtains of Solomon.[c]
Do not stare at me because I am dark,
    because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
    and made me take care of the vineyards;
    my own vineyard I had to neglect.
Tell me, you whom I love,
    where you graze your flock
    and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
    beside the flocks of your friends?

Friends

If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
    follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
    by the tents of the shepherds.

He

I liken you, my darling, to a mare
    among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
    your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make you earrings of gold,
    studded with silver.

She

12 While the king was at his table,
    my perfume spread its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
    resting between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
    from the vineyards of En Gedi.

He

15 How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes are doves.

She

16 How handsome you are, my beloved!
    Oh, how charming!
    And our bed is verdant.

He

17 The beams of our house are cedars;
    our rafters are firs.

She[d]

I am a rose[e] of Sharon,
    a lily of the valleys.

He

Like a lily among thorns
    is my darling among the young women.

She

Like an apple[f] tree among the trees of the forest
    is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
    and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love.
Strengthen me with raisins,
    refresh me with apples,
    for I am faint with love.
His left arm is under my head,
    and his right arm embraces me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Listen! My beloved!
    Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
    Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattice.
10 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

He

14 My dove in the clefts of the rock,
    in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
    let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.
15 Catch for us the foxes,
    the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
    our vineyards that are in bloom.

She

16 My beloved is mine and I am his;
    he browses among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks
    and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
    on the rugged hills.[g]

All night long on my bed
    I looked for the one my heart loves;
    I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
    through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
    So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
    “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
    till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
    to the room of the one who conceived me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
    like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense
    made from all the spices of the merchant?
Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
    escorted by sixty warriors,
    the noblest of Israel,
all of them wearing the sword,
    all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
    prepared for the terrors of the night.
King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
    he made it of wood from Lebanon.
10 Its posts he made of silver,
    its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
    its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, 11 come out,
    and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look[h] on King Solomon wearing a crown,
    the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
    the day his heart rejoiced.

He

How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
    descending from the hills of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
    coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
    not one of them is alone.
Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
    your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
    are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
    built with courses of stone[i];
on it hang a thousand shields,
    all of them shields of warriors.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
    like twin fawns of a gazelle
    that browse among the lilies.
Until the day breaks
    and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
    and to the hill of incense.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
    come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
    from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens
    and the mountain haunts of leopards.
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
    you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
    with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
    How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
    more than any spice!
11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
    milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
    is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
    you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
    with choice fruits,
    with henna and nard,
14     nard and saffron,
    calamus and cinnamon,
    with every kind of incense tree,
    with myrrh and aloes
    and all the finest spices.
15 You are[j] a garden fountain,
    a well of flowing water
    streaming down from Lebanon.

She

16 Awake, north wind,
    and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
    that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
    and taste its choice fruits.

He

I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
    I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
    I have drunk my wine and my milk.

Friends

Eat, friends, and drink;
    drink your fill of love.

She

I slept but my heart was awake.
    Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
    my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
    my hair with the dampness of the night.”
I have taken off my robe—
    must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
    must I soil them again?
My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
    my heart began to pound for him.
I arose to open for my beloved,
    and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
    on the handles of the bolt.
I opened for my beloved,
    but my beloved had left; he was gone.
    My heart sank at his departure.[k]
I looked for him but did not find him.
    I called him but he did not answer.
The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
    they took away my cloak,
    those watchmen of the walls!
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
    Tell him I am faint with love.

Friends

How is your beloved better than others,
    most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
    that you so charge us?

She

10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
    outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold;
    his hair is wavy
    and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
    by the water streams,
washed in milk,
    mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
    yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
    dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
    set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
    decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
    set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
    choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
    he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
    daughters of Jerusalem.

Friends

Where has your beloved gone,
    most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
    that we may look for him with you?

She

My beloved has gone down to his garden,
    to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
    and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
    he browses among the lilies.

He

You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
    as lovely as Jerusalem,
    as majestic as troops with banners.
Turn your eyes from me;
    they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
    descending from Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
    coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
    not one of them is missing.
Your temples behind your veil
    are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Sixty queens there may be,
    and eighty concubines,
    and virgins beyond number;
but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
    the only daughter of her mother,
    the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
    the queens and concubines praised her.

Friends

10 Who is this that appears like the dawn,
    fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
    majestic as the stars in procession?

He

11 I went down to the grove of nut trees
    to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
    or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 Before I realized it,
    my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.[l]

Friends

13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
    come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!

He

Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
    as on the dance of Mahanaim?[m]

[n]How beautiful your sandaled feet,
    O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
    the work of an artist’s hands.
Your navel is a rounded goblet
    that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
    encircled by lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
    like twin fawns of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon
    by the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
    looking toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.
    Your hair is like royal tapestry;
    the king is held captive by its tresses.
How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
    my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
    and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
    I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
    the fragrance of your breath like apples,
    and your mouth like the best wine.

She

May the wine go straight to my beloved,
    flowing gently over lips and teeth.[o]
10 I belong to my beloved,
    and his desire is for me.
11 Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
    let us spend the night in the villages.[p]
12 Let us go early to the vineyards
    to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
    and if the pomegranates are in bloom
    there I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
    and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
    that I have stored up for you, my beloved.

If only you were to me like a brother,
    who was nursed at my mother’s breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
    I would kiss you,
    and no one would despise me.
I would lead you
    and bring you to my mother’s house
    she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
    the nectar of my pomegranates.
His left arm is under my head
    and his right arm embraces me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Friends

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
    leaning on her beloved?

She

Under the apple tree I roused you;
    there your mother conceived you,
    there she who was in labor gave you birth.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy[q] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.[r]
Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it[s] would be utterly scorned.

Friends

We have a little sister,
    and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister
    on the day she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
    we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
    we will enclose her with panels of cedar.

She

10 I am a wall,
    and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes
    like one bringing contentment.
11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
    he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit
    a thousand shekels[t] of silver.
12 But my own vineyard is mine to give;
    the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
    and two hundred[u] are for those who tend its fruit.

He

13 You who dwell in the gardens
    with friends in attendance,
    let me hear your voice!

She

14 Come away, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
    on the spice-laden mountains.

Footnotes:

  1. Song of Songs 1:2 The main male and female speakers (identified primarily on the basis of the gender of the relevant Hebrew forms) are indicated by the captions He and She respectively. The words of others are marked Friends. In some instances the divisions and their captions are debatable.
  2. Song of Songs 1:4 The Hebrew is masculine singular.
  3. Song of Songs 1:5 Or Salma
  4. Song of Songs 2:1 Or He
  5. Song of Songs 2:1 Probably a member of the crocus family
  6. Song of Songs 2:3 Or possibly apricot; here and elsewhere in Song of Songs
  7. Song of Songs 2:17 Or the hills of Bether
  8. Song of Songs 3:11 Or interior lovingly inlaid / by the daughters of Jerusalem. / 11 Come out, you daughters of Zion, / and look
  9. Song of Songs 4:4 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  10. Song of Songs 4:15 Or I am (spoken by She)
  11. Song of Songs 5:6 Or heart had gone out to him when he spoke
  12. Song of Songs 6:12 Or among the chariots of Amminadab; or among the chariots of the people of the prince
  13. Song of Songs 6:13 In Hebrew texts this verse (6:13) is numbered 7:1.
  14. Song of Songs 7:1 In Hebrew texts 7:1-13 is numbered 7:2-14.
  15. Song of Songs 7:9 Septuagint, Aquila, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew lips of sleepers
  16. Song of Songs 7:11 Or the henna bushes
  17. Song of Songs 8:6 Or ardor
  18. Song of Songs 8:6 Or fire, / like the very flame of the Lord
  19. Song of Songs 8:7 Or he
  20. Song of Songs 8:11 That is, about 25 pounds or about 12 kilograms; also in verse 12
  21. Song of Songs 8:12 That is, about 5 pounds or about 2.3 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)

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