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Song of Solomon 1-3

The Young Shulammite Bride and Jerusalem’s Daughters

The [a]Song of Songs [the best of songs], which is Solomon’s.

[b](The Shulammite Bride)


“May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!” [Solomon arrives, she turns to him, saying,]
“For your love is better than wine.

“The aroma of your oils is fragrant and pleasing;
Your name is perfume poured out;
Therefore the maidens love you.

“Draw me away with you and let us run together!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.”

[c](The Chorus)

“We will rejoice and be glad in you;
We will remember and extol your love more [sweet and fragrant] than wine.
Rightly do they love you.”

(The Shulammite Bride)


“I am deeply tanned but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
[I am dark] like the tents of [the Bedouins of] Kedar,
Like the [beautiful] curtains of Solomon.

“Do not gaze at me because I am deeply tanned,
[I have worked in] the sun; it has left its mark on me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me keeper of the vineyards,
But my own vineyard (my complexion) I have not kept.”

“Tell me, O you whom my soul loves,
Where do you pasture your flock,
Where do you make it lie down at noon?
For why should I be like one who is veiled
Beside the flocks of your companions?”

Solomon, the Lover, Speaks

(The Bridegroom)


“If you do not know [where your lover is],
O you fairest among women,
Run along, follow the tracks of the flock,
And pasture your young goats
By the tents of the shepherds.


“To me, my love, you are like
My [favorite] mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.
10 
“Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,
Your neck with strings of jewels.”

(The Chorus)

11 
“We will make for you chains and ornaments of gold,
[Studded] with beads of silver.”

(The Shulammite Bride)

12 
“While the king was at his table,
My perfume (Solomon) sent forth [his] fragrance [surrounding me].
13 
“My beloved is to me like a pouch of myrrh
Which lies all night between my breasts.
14 
“My beloved is to me a cluster of henna flowers
In the [fragrant] vineyards of [d]Engedi.”

(The Bridegroom)

15 
“Behold, how beautiful you are, my darling,
Behold, how beautiful you are!
Your eyes are dove’s eyes.”

(The Shulammite Bride)

16 
“Behold, how fair and handsome you are, my beloved;
And so delightful!
Our arbor is green and luxuriant.
17 
“The beams of our houses are cedars,
Our rafters and panels are cypresses.

The Bride’s Admiration

“I am the rose [of the plain] of Sharon,
The lily of the valleys [that grows in deep places].”

(The Bridegroom)


“Like the lily among the thorns,
So are you, my darling, among the maidens.”

(The Shulammite Bride)


“Like an apple tree [rare and welcome] among the trees of the forest,
So is my beloved among the young men!
In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
And his fruit was sweet and delicious to my palate.

“He has brought me to his banqueting place,
And his banner over me is love [waving overhead to protect and comfort me].

“Sustain me with raisin cakes,
Refresh me with apples,
Because I am sick with love.

“Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”

(The Bridegroom)


“I command that you take an oath, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field [which run free],
That you do not rouse nor awaken my love
Until she pleases.”

(The Shulammite Bride)


“Listen! My beloved!
Behold, he comes,
Climbing on the mountains,
Leaping and running on the hills!

“My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he is standing behind our wall,
He is looking through the windows,
He is gazing through the lattice.

10 
“My beloved speaks and says to me,
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
11 
‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
12 
‘The flowers appear on the earth once again;
The time for singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13 
‘The fig tree has budded and ripens her figs,
And the vines are in blossom and give forth their fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
And come away [to climb the rocky steps of the hillside].’”

(The Bridegroom)

14 
“O my dove, [here] in the clefts in the rock,
In the sheltered and secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

(The Chorus)

15 
“Catch the foxes for us,
The little foxes that spoil and ruin the vineyards [of love],
While our vineyards are in blossom.”

(The Shulammite Bride)

16 
“My beloved is mine and I am his;
He pastures his flock among the lilies.
17 
“Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away,
Return quickly, my beloved, and be like a gazelle
Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether [which separate us].”

The Bride’s Troubled Dream

(The Shulammite Bride)

“On my bed night after night [I dreamed that] I sought the one
Whom my soul loves;
I sought him but did not find him.

I said ‘So I must arise now and go out into the city;
Into the streets and into the squares [places I do not know]
I must seek him whom my soul loves.’
I sought him but I did not find him.

“The watchmen who go around the city found me,
And I said, ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’

“Scarcely had I passed them
When I found him whom my soul loves.
I held on to him and would not let him go
Until I had brought him to my mother’s house,
And into the chamber of her who conceived me.”

(The Bridegroom)


“I command that you take an oath, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
That you do not rouse nor awaken my love
Until she pleases.”

Solomon’s Wedding Day

(The Shulammite Bride)


“What is this coming up from the wilderness
Like [stately] pillars of smoke
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
With all the fragrant powders of the merchant?”

(The Chorus)


“Behold, it is the couch ([e]palanquin) of Solomon;
Sixty mighty men around it,
Of the mighty men of Israel.

“All of them handle the sword,
All expert in war;
Each man has his sword at his thigh,
Guarding against the terrors of the night.

“King Solomon has made for himself a palanquin
From the [cedar] wood of Lebanon.
10 
“He made its posts of silver,
Its back of gold,
Its seat of purple cloth,
The interior lovingly and intricately wrought
By the daughters of Jerusalem.
11 
“Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And gaze on King Solomon wearing the crown
With which his mother [Bathsheba] has crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
On the day of his gladness of heart.”

Footnotes:

  1. Song of Solomon 1:1 Some theologians believe the Song of Solomon to be a collection of songs, but it is more generally understood to be a sort of drama or lyric poem celebrating the wholesomeness of a growing love that leads to maturity in marriage. The ancient rabbis understood it as an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel, and viewed the details as symbolic.
  2. Song of Solomon 1:2 The parenthetical headings indicate that the speakers are not from the Hebrew text nor the Septuagint, but reflect an ancient tradition which appears in some manuscripts.
  3. Song of Solomon 1:5 The purpose of the chorus is to echo and expand the sentiments of the bride and her bridegroom. The members of the chorus are not always known, but have been variously identified as “daughters of Jerusalem,” “daughters of Zion,” “ladies in waiting,” “friends” or “relatives” of the bride.
  4. Song of Solomon 1:14 An oasis on the western side of the Dead Sea.
  5. Song of Solomon 3:7 A conveyance that was used in ancient times especially for the transport of one person, that consisted of an enclosed sedan chair usually in the form of a box with wooden shutters, and that is carried on the shoulders of men by means of projecting poles.
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Galatians 2

The Council at Jerusalem

Then after a period of fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem, [this time] with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up [to Jerusalem] because of a [divine] revelation, and I put before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles. But I did so in private before those of [a]reputation, for fear that I might be running or had run [the course of my ministry] in vain. But [all went well, for] not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled [as some had anticipated] to be circumcised, despite the fact that he was a Greek. My concern was because of the [b]false brothers [those people masquerading as Christians] who had been secretly smuggled in [to the community of believers]. They had slipped in to spy on the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us back into bondage [under the Law of Moses]. But we did not yield to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would continue to remain with you [in its purity]. But from those who were of high reputation (whatever they were—in terms of individual importance—makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality—He is not impressed with the positions that people hold nor does He recognize distinctions such as fame or power)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me [that is, they had nothing to add to my gospel message nor did they impose any new requirements on me]. But on the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (Gentiles), just as Peter had been [entrusted to proclaim the gospel] to the circumcised (Jews); (for He who worked effectively for Peter and empowered him in his ministry to the Jews also worked effectively for me and empowered me in my ministry to the Gentiles). And recognizing the grace [that God had] bestowed on me, James and Cephas (Peter) and John, who were reputed to be pillars [of the Jerusalem church], gave to me and Barnabas the [c]right hand of fellowship, so that we could go to the Gentiles [with their blessing] and they to the circumcised (Jews). 10 They asked only [one thing], that we remember the poor, the very thing I was also eager to do.

Peter (Cephas) Opposed by Paul

11 Now when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him face to face [about his conduct there], because he stood condemned [by his own actions]. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat [his meals] with the Gentiles; but when the men [from Jerusalem] arrived, he began to withdraw and separate himself [from the Gentile believers], because he was afraid of those from the [d]circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in this hypocrisy [ignoring their knowledge that Jewish and Gentile Christians were united, under the new covenant, into one faith], with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas (Peter) in front of everyone, “If you, being a Jew, live [as you have been living] like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how is it that you are [now virtually] forcing the Gentiles to live like Jews [if they want to eat with you]?”

15 [I went on to say] “We are Jews by birth and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 yet we know that a man is not [e]justified [and placed in right standing with God] by works of the Law, but [only] through faith in [God’s beloved Son,] Christ Jesus. And even we [as Jews] have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law. By observing the Law no one will ever be justified [declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty]. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ [by faith], we ourselves are found to be sinners, does that make Christ an advocate or promoter of our sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I [or anyone else should] rebuild [through word or by practice] what I once tore down [the belief that observing the Law is essential for salvation], I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the Law I died to the Law and its demands on me [because salvation is provided through the death and resurrection of Christ], so that I might [from now on] live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]”

Footnotes:

  1. Galatians 2:2 This group would have included the apostles Peter and John, as well as James, Jesus’ half brother who was also the leader of the Jerusalem church.
  2. Galatians 2:4 I.e. the Judaizers (see note 1:7).
  3. Galatians 2:9 A solemn act of partnership signifying acceptance, agreement and trust.
  4. Galatians 2:12 I.e. self-righteous Jewish converts who twisted the gospel to suit their legalistic beliefs, observed Mosaic Law, and would not eat with Gentile believers.
  5. Galatians 2:16 Being justified is a legal or judicial declaration of righteousness. Justification has two parts: (1) Being declared free of blame, acquitted of sin—not guilty. Believers are justified because Jesus Christ personally assumed the guilt for our sin on the cross; (2) God declares the person righteous, that is, placed in a position of right-standing with Him. A person may not be made righteous by his personal behavior, no matter how good, or by the declaration of any other human being.
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