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Song of Solomon 6-8The Message (MSG)

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, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Galatians 4The Message (MSG)

1-3 Let me show you the implications of this. As long as the heir is a minor, he has no advantage over the slave. Though legally he owns the entire inheritance, he is subject to tutors and administrators until whatever date the father has set for emancipation. That is the way it is with us: When we were minors, we were just like slaves ordered around by simple instructions (the tutors and administrators of this world), with no say in the conduct of our own lives.

4-7 But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

8-11 Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know the real God—or rather since God knows you—how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? For that is exactly what you do when you are intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos, and superstitions associated with special days and seasons and years. I am afraid that all my hard work among you has gone up in a puff of smoke!

12-13 My dear friends, what I would really like you to do is try to put yourselves in my shoes to the same extent that I, when I was with you, put myself in yours. You were very sensitive and kind then. You did not come down on me personally. You were well aware that the reason I ended up preaching to you was that I was physically broken, and so, prevented from continuing my journey, I was forced to stop with you. That is how I came to preach to you.

14-16 And don’t you remember that even though taking in a sick guest was most troublesome for you, you chose to treat me as well as you would have treated an angel of God—as well as you would have treated Jesus himself if he had visited you? What has happened to the satisfaction you felt at that time? There were some of you then who, if possible, would have given your very eyes to me—that is how deeply you cared! And now have I suddenly become your enemy simply by telling you the truth? I can’t believe it.

17 Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important.

18-20 It is a good thing to be ardent in doing good, but not just when I am in your presence. Can’t you continue the same concern for both my person and my message when I am away from you that you had when I was with you? Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. Oh, I keep wishing that I was with you. Then I wouldn’t be reduced to this blunt, letter-writing language out of sheer frustration.

21-31 Tell me now, you who have become so enamored with the law: Have you paid close attention to that law? Abraham, remember, had two sons: one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. The son of the slave woman was born by human connivance; the son of the free woman was born by God’s promise. This illustrates the very thing we are dealing with now. The two births represent two ways of being in relationship with God. One is from Mount Sinai in Arabia. It corresponds with what is now going on in Jerusalem—a slave life, producing slaves as offspring. This is the way of Hagar. In contrast to that, there is an invisible Jerusalem, a free Jerusalem, and she is our mother—this is the way of Sarah. Remember what Isaiah wrote:

Rejoice, barren woman who bears no children,
    shout and cry out, woman who has no birth pangs,
Because the children of the barren woman
    now surpass the children of the chosen woman.

Isn’t it clear, friends, that you, like Isaac, are children of promise? In the days of Hagar and Sarah, the child who came from faithless connivance (Ishmael) harassed the child who came—empowered by the Spirit—from the faithful promise (Isaac). Isn’t it clear that the harassment you are now experiencing from the Jerusalem heretics follows that old pattern? There is a Scripture that tells us what to do: “Expel the slave mother with her son, for the slave son will not inherit with the free son.” Isn’t that conclusive? We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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