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Song of Solomon 1-8 The Message (MSG)

The Song—best of all songs—Solomon’s song!

The Woman

2-3 Kiss me—full on the mouth!
    Yes! For your love is better than wine,
    headier than your aromatic oils.
The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook.
    No wonder everyone loves to say your name!

Take me away with you! Let’s run off together!
    An elopement with my King-Lover!
We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing,
    we’ll make great music.
Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine.
    Everyone loves you—of course! And why not?

5-6 I am weathered but still elegant,
    oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem,
Weather-darkened like Kedar desert tents,
    time-softened like Solomon’s Temple hangings.
Don’t look down on me because I’m dark,
    darkened by the sun’s harsh rays.
My brothers ridiculed me and sent me to work in the fields.
    They made me care for the face of the earth,
    but I had no time to care for my own face.

Tell me where you’re working
    —I love you so much—
Tell me where you’re tending your flocks,
    where you let them rest at noontime.
Why should I be the one left out,
    outside the orbit of your tender care?

The Man

If you can’t find me, loveliest of all women,
    it’s all right. Stay with your flocks.
Lead your lambs to good pasture.
    Stay with your shepherd neighbors.

9-11 You remind me of Pharaoh’s
    well-groomed and satiny mares.
Pendant earrings line the elegance of your cheeks;
    strands of jewels illumine the curve of your throat.
I’m making jewelry for you, gold and silver jewelry
    that will mark and accent your beauty.

The Woman

12-14 When my King-Lover lay down beside me,
    my fragrance filled the room.
His head resting between my breasts—
    the head of my lover was a sachet of sweet myrrh.
My beloved is a bouquet of wildflowers
    picked just for me from the fields of Engedi.

The Man

15 Oh, my dear friend! You’re so beautiful!
    And your eyes so beautiful—like doves!

The Woman

16-17 And you, my dear lover—you’re so handsome!
    And the bed we share is like a forest glen.
We enjoy a canopy of cedars
    enclosed by cypresses, fragrant and green.

I’m just a wildflower picked from the plains of Sharon,
    a lotus blossom from the valley pools.

The Man

A lotus blossoming in a swamp of weeds—
    that’s my dear friend among the girls in the village.

The Woman

3-4 As an apricot tree stands out in the forest,
    my lover stands above the young men in town.
All I want is to sit in his shade,
    to taste and savor his delicious love.
He took me home with him for a festive meal,
    but his eyes feasted on me!

5-6 Oh! Give me something refreshing to eat—and quickly!
    Apricots, raisins—anything. I’m about to faint with love!
His left hand cradles my head,
    and his right arm encircles my waist!

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem,
    by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer:
Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up,
    until the time is ripe—and you’re ready.

8-10 Look! Listen! There’s my lover!
    Do you see him coming?
Vaulting the mountains,
    leaping the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle, graceful;
    like a young stag, virile.
Look at him there, on tiptoe at the gate,
    all ears, all eyes—ready!
My lover has arrived
    and he’s speaking to me!

The Man

10-14 Get up, my dear friend,
    fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over;
    the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over.
    The whole world’s a choir—and singing!
Spring warblers are filling the forest
    with sweet arpeggios.
Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed,
    and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms.
Oh, get up, dear friend,
    my fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Come, my shy and modest dove—
    leave your seclusion, come out in the open.
Let me see your face,
    let me hear your voice.
For your voice is soothing
    and your face is ravishing.

The Woman

15 Then you must protect me from the foxes,
    foxes on the prowl,
Foxes who would like nothing better
    than to get into our flowering garden.

16-17 My lover is mine, and I am his.
    Nightly he strolls in our garden,
Delighting in the flowers
    until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.

Turn to me, dear lover.
    Come like a gazelle.
Leap like a wild stag
    on delectable mountains!

1-4 Restless in bed and sleepless through the night,
    I longed for my lover.
    I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.
So I got up, went out and roved the city,
    hunting through streets and down alleys.
I wanted my lover in the worst way!
    I looked high and low, and didn’t find him.
And then the night watchmen found me
    as they patrolled the darkened city.
    “Have you seen my dear lost love?” I asked.
No sooner had I left them than I found him,
    found my dear lost love.
I threw my arms around him and held him tight,
    wouldn’t let him go until I had him home again,
    safe at home beside the fire.

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem,
    by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer:
Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up,
    until the time is ripe—and you’re ready.

6-10 What’s this I see, approaching from the desert,
    raising clouds of dust,
Filling the air with sweet smells
    and pungent aromatics?
Look! It’s Solomon’s carriage,
    carried and guarded by sixty soldiers,
    sixty of Israel’s finest,
All of them armed to the teeth,
    trained for battle,
    ready for anything, anytime.
King Solomon once had a carriage built
    from fine-grained Lebanon cedar.
He had it framed with silver and roofed with gold.
    The cushions were covered with a purple fabric,
    the interior lined with tooled leather.

11 Come and look, sisters in Jerusalem.
    Oh, sisters of Zion, don’t miss this!
My King-Lover,
    dressed and garlanded for his wedding,
    his heart full, bursting with joy!

The Man

1-5 You’re so beautiful, my darling,
    so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled
By your hair as it flows and shimmers,
    like a flock of goats in the distance
    streaming down a hillside in the sunshine.
Your smile is generous and full—
    expressive and strong and clean.
Your lips are jewel red,
    your mouth elegant and inviting,
    your veiled cheeks soft and radiant.
The smooth, lithe lines of your neck
    command notice—all heads turn in awe and admiration!
Your breasts are like fawns,
    twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers.

6-7 The sweet, fragrant curves of your body,
    the soft, spiced contours of your flesh
Invite me, and I come. I stay
    until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.
You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love,
    beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.

8-15 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride.
    Leave Lebanon behind, and come.
Leave your high mountain hideaway.
    Abandon your wilderness seclusion,
Where you keep company with lions
    and panthers guard your safety.
You’ve captured my heart, dear friend.
    You looked at me, and I fell in love.
    One look my way and I was hopelessly in love!
How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend—
    far more pleasing than a fine, rare wine,
    your fragrance more exotic than select spices.
The kisses of your lips are honey, my love,
    every syllable you speak a delicacy to savor.
Your clothes smell like the wild outdoors,
    the ozone scent of high mountains.
Dear lover and friend, you’re a secret garden,
    a private and pure fountain.
Body and soul, you are paradise,
    a whole orchard of succulent fruits—
Ripe apricots and peaches,
    oranges and pears;
Nut trees and cinnamon,
    and all scented woods;
Mint and lavender,
    and all herbs aromatic;
A garden fountain, sparkling and splashing,
    fed by spring waters from the Lebanon mountains.

The Woman

16 Wake up, North Wind,
    get moving, South Wind!
Breathe on my garden,
    fill the air with spice fragrance.

Oh, let my lover enter his garden!
    Yes, let him eat the fine, ripe fruits.

The Man

I went to my garden, dear friend, best lover!
    breathed the sweet fragrance.
I ate the fruit and honey,
    I drank the nectar and wine.

Celebrate with me, friends!
    Raise your glasses—“To life! To love!”

The Woman

I was sound asleep, but in my dreams I was wide awake.
    Oh, listen! It’s the sound of my lover knocking, calling!

The Man

“Let me in, dear companion, dearest friend,
    my dove, consummate lover!
I’m soaked with the dampness of the night,
    drenched with dew, shivering and cold.”

The Woman

“But I’m in my nightgown—do you expect me to get dressed?
    I’m bathed and in bed—do you want me to get dirty?”

4-7 But my lover wouldn’t take no for an answer,
    and the longer he knocked, the more excited I became.
I got up to open the door to my lover,
    sweetly ready to receive him,
Desiring and expectant
    as I turned the door handle.
But when I opened the door he was gone.
    My loved one had tired of waiting and left.
And I died inside—oh, I felt so bad!
    I ran out looking for him
But he was nowhere to be found.
    I called into the darkness—but no answer.
The night watchmen found me
    as they patrolled the streets of the city.
They slapped and beat and bruised me,
    ripping off my clothes,
These watchmen,
    who were supposed to be guarding the city.

I beg you, sisters in Jerusalem—
    if you find my lover,
Please tell him I want him,
    that I’m heartsick with love for him.

The Chorus

What’s so great about your lover, fair lady?
What’s so special about him that you beg for our help?

The Woman

10-16 My dear lover glows with health—
    red-blooded, radiant!
He’s one in a million.
    There’s no one quite like him!
My golden one, pure and untarnished,
    with raven black curls tumbling across his shoulders.
His eyes are like doves, soft and bright,
    but deep-set, brimming with meaning, like wells of water.
His face is rugged, his beard smells like sage,
    His voice, his words, warm and reassuring.
Fine muscles ripple beneath his skin,
    quiet and beautiful.
His torso is the work of a sculptor,
    hard and smooth as ivory.
He stands tall, like a cedar,
    strong and deep-rooted,
A rugged mountain of a man,
    aromatic with wood and stone.
His words are kisses, his kisses words.
    Everything about him delights me, thrills me
        through and through!

That’s my lover, that’s my man,
    dear Jerusalem sisters.

The Chorus

So where has this love of yours gone,
    fair one?
Where on earth can he be?
    Can we help you look for him?

The Woman

2-3 Never mind. My lover is already on his way to his garden,
    to browse among the flowers, touching the colors and forms.
I am my lover’s and my lover is mine.
    He caresses the sweet-smelling flowers.

The Man

4-7 Dear, dear friend and lover,
    you’re as beautiful as Tirzah, city of delights,
Lovely as Jerusalem, city of dreams,
    the ravishing visions of my ecstasy.
Your beauty is too much for me—I’m in over my head.
    I’m not used to this! I can’t take it in.
Your hair flows and shimmers
    like a flock of goats in the distance
    streaming down a hillside in the sunshine.
Your smile is generous and full—
    expressive and strong and clean.
Your veiled cheeks
    are soft and radiant.

8-9 There’s no one like her on earth,
    never has been, never will be.
She’s a woman beyond compare.
    My dove is perfection,
Pure and innocent as the day she was born,
    and cradled in joy by her mother.
Everyone who came by to see her
    exclaimed and admired her—
All the fathers and mothers, the neighbors and friends,
    blessed and praised her:

10 “Has anyone ever seen anything like this—
    dawn-fresh, moon-lovely, sun-radiant,
    ravishing as the night sky with its galaxies of stars?”

11-12 One day I went strolling through the orchard,
    looking for signs of spring,
Looking for buds about to burst into flower,
    anticipating readiness, ripeness.
Before I knew it my heart was raptured,
    carried away by lofty thoughts!

13 Dance, dance, dear Shulammite, Angel-Princess!
    Dance, and we’ll feast our eyes on your grace!
Everyone wants to see the Shulammite dance
    her victory dances of love and peace.

1-9 Shapely and graceful your sandaled feet,
    and queenly your movement—
Your limbs are lithe and elegant,
    the work of a master artist.
Your body is a chalice,
    wine-filled.
Your skin is silken and tawny
    like a field of wheat touched by the breeze.
Your breasts are like fawns,
    twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is carved ivory, curved and slender.
    Your eyes are wells of light, deep with mystery.
    Quintessentially feminine!
Your profile turns all heads,
    commanding attention.
The feelings I get when I see the high mountain ranges
    —stirrings of desire, longings for the heights—
Remind me of you,
    and I’m spoiled for anyone else!
Your beauty, within and without, is absolute,
    dear lover, close companion.
You are tall and supple, like the palm tree,
    and your full breasts are like sweet clusters of dates.
I say, “I’m going to climb that palm tree!
    I’m going to caress its fruit!”
Oh yes! Your breasts
    will be clusters of sweet fruit to me,
Your breath clean and cool like fresh mint,
    your tongue and lips like the best wine.

The Woman

9-12 Yes, and yours are, too—my love’s kisses
    flow from his lips to mine.
I am my lover’s.
    I’m all he wants. I’m all the world to him!
Come, dear lover—
    let’s tramp through the countryside.
Let’s sleep at some wayside inn,
    then rise early and listen to bird-song.
Let’s look for wildflowers in bloom,
    blackberry bushes blossoming white,
Fruit trees festooned
    with cascading flowers.
And there I’ll give myself to you,
    my love to your love!

13 Love-apples drench us with fragrance,
    fertility surrounds, suffuses us,
Fruits fresh and preserved
    that I’ve kept and saved just for you, my love.

1-2 I wish you’d been my twin brother,
    sharing with me the breasts of my mother,
Playing outside in the street,
    kissing in plain view of everyone,
    and no one thinking anything of it.
I’d take you by the hand and bring you home
    where I was raised by my mother.
You’d drink my wine
    and kiss my cheeks.

3-4 Imagine! His left hand cradling my head,
    his right arm around my waist!
Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem:
    Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up,
    until the time is ripe—and you’re ready.

The Chorus

Who is this I see coming up from the country,
    arm in arm with her lover?

The Man

I found you under the apricot tree,
    and woke you up to love.
Your mother went into labor under that tree,
    and under that very tree she bore you.

The Woman

6-8 Hang my locket around your neck,
    wear my ring on your finger.
Love is invincible facing danger and death.
    Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.
The fire of love stops at nothing—
    it sweeps everything before it.
Flood waters can’t drown love,
    torrents of rain can’t put it out.
Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold—
    it’s not to be found in the marketplace.
My brothers used to worry about me:

8-9 “Our little sister has no breasts.
    What shall we do with our little sister
    when men come asking for her?
She’s a virgin and vulnerable,
    and we’ll protect her.
If they think she’s a wall, we’ll top it with barbed wire.
    If they think she’s a door, we’ll barricade it.”

10 Dear brothers, I’m a walled-in virgin still,
    but my breasts are full—
And when my lover sees me,
    he knows he’ll soon be satisfied.

The Man

11-12 King Solomon may have vast vineyards
    in lush, fertile country,
Where he hires others to work the ground.
    People pay anything to get in on that bounty.
But my vineyard is all mine,
    and I’m keeping it to myself.
You can have your vast vineyards, Solomon,
    you and your greedy guests!

13 Oh, lady of the gardens,
    my friends are with me listening.
    Let me hear your voice!

The Woman

14 Run to me, dear lover.
    Come like a gazelle.
Leap like a wild stag
    on the spice mountains.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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