4 “How fair and beautiful you are, my darling,
How very beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are like those of a dove;
Your hair is like [the shimmering black fleece of] a flock of [Arabian] goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead [beyond the Jordan].
“Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn ewes
Which have come up from washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.
“Your lips are like a ribbon of scarlet,
And your mouth is lovely.
Your temples are like a slice of the pomegranate
Behind your veil.
“Your neck is like the tower of David,
Built with rows of [glistening] stones,
Whereon hang a thousand shields,
All of them shields of warriors.
“Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle
Which feed among the lilies.
“Until the day breaks
And the shadows flee away,
[In my thoughts] I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh
And to the hill of frankincense.
“O my love, you are altogether beautiful and fair.
There is no flaw nor blemish in you!
“Come away with me from Lebanon, my [promised] bride,
May you come with me from Lebanon.
Journey down from the top of Amana,
From the summit of Senir and Hermon,
From the dens of lions,
From the mountains of leopards.
“You have ravished my heart and given me courage, my sister, my [promised] bride;
You have ravished my heart and given me courage with a single glance of your eyes,
With one jewel of your necklace.
“How beautiful is your love, my sister, my [promised] bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all kinds of balsam and spices.
“Your lips, my [promised] bride, drip honey [as the honeycomb];
Honey and milk are under your tongue,
And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
“A garden enclosed is my sister, my [promised] bride—
A rock garden locked, a spring sealed up.
“Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates,
[A paradise] with precious fruits, henna with fragrant plants,
Fragrant plants and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
With all trees of frankincense,
Myrrh and aloes, along with all the finest spices.
“You are a fountain in a garden,
A well of fresh and living water,
And streams flowing from Lebanon.”
“Awake, O north wind,
And come, south wind [blow softly upon my garden];
Make my garden breathe out fragrance, [for the one in whom my soul delights],
Let its spices flow forth.
Let my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choicest fruits.”
5 “I have come into my garden, my sister, my [promised] bride;
I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam and spice [from your sweet words].
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;
I have drunk my wine with my milk.
Drink and drink deeply, O lovers.”
“I was asleep, but my heart was awake.
A voice [in my dream]! My beloved was knocking:
‘Open to me, my sister, my darling,
My dove, my perfect one!
For my head is drenched with the [heavy night] dew;
My hair [is covered] with the dampness of the night.’
“I had taken off my dress,
How can I put it on again?
I had washed my feet,
How could I get them dirty again?
“My beloved extended his hand through the opening [of the door],
And my feelings were aroused for him.
“I arose to open for my beloved;
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid [sweet-scented] myrrh,
On the handles of the bolt.
“I opened for my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and was gone.
My heart went out to him when he spoke.
I searched for him, but I could not find him;
I called him, but he did not answer me.
“The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me.
They struck me, they wounded me;
The guardsmen of the walls took my shawl from me.
“I command that you take an oath, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
As to what you tell him—
[Say that] I am sick from love [sick from being without him].”
“What is your beloved more than another beloved,
O most beautiful among women?
What is your beloved more than another beloved,
That you should so command us to take an oath?”
“My beloved is exquisitely handsome and ruddy,
Outstanding among ten thousand.
“His head is like [precious] gold, pure gold;
His hair is [curly] like clusters of dates
And black as a raven.
“His eyes are like doves
Beside streams of water,
Bathed in milk
And reposed in their setting.
“His cheeks are like a bed of balsam,
Banks of sweet, fragrant herbs.
His lips are lilies
Dripping sweet-scented myrrh.
“His hands are rods of gold
Set with beryl;
His abdomen is a figure of carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
“His legs are [strong and steady] pillars of alabaster
Set upon pedestals of fine gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
Stately and choice as the cedars.
“His mouth is full of sweetness;
Yes, he is altogether lovely and desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.”
3 O you foolish and thoughtless and superficial Galatians, who has bewitched you [that you would act like this], to whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified [in the gospel message]? 2 This is all I want to ask of you: did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying [the requirements of] the Law, or was it the result of hearing [the message of salvation and] with faith [believing it]? 3 Are you so foolish and senseless? Having begun [your new life by faith] with the Spirit, are you now being perfected and reaching spiritual maturity by the flesh [that is, by your own works and efforts to keep the Law]? 4 Have you suffered so many things and experienced so much all for nothing—if indeed it was all for nothing? 5 So then, does He who supplies you with His [marvelous Holy] Spirit and works miracles among you, do it as a result of the works of the Law [which you perform], or because you [believe confidently in the message which you] heard with faith?
6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, [as conformity to God’s will and purpose—so it is with you also]. 7 So understand that it is the people who live by faith [with confidence in the power and goodness of God] who are [the true] sons of [a]Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the good news [of the Savior] to Abraham in advance [with this promise], saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then those who are people of faith [whether Jew or Gentile] are blessed and favored by God [and declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with Him] along with Abraham, the believer.
10 For all who depend on the Law [seeking justification and salvation by obedience to the Law and the observance of rituals] are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed (condemned to destruction) is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, so as to practice them.” 11 Now it is clear that no one is justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing] before God by the Law, for “The righteous (the just, the upright) shall live by faith.” 12 But the Law does not rest on or require faith [it has nothing to do with faith], but [instead, the Law] says, “He who practices them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [instead of faith].” 13 Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law and its condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs [crucified] on a tree (cross)”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might also come to the Gentiles, so that we would all receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit through faith.
15 Brothers and sisters, I speak in terms of human relations: even though a last will and testament is just a human covenant, yet when it has been signed and made legally binding, no one sets it aside or adds to it [modifying it in some way]. 16 Now the promises [in the covenants] were decreed to Abraham and to his seed. God does not say, “And to seeds (descendants, heirs),” as if [referring] to many [persons], but as to one, “And to your Seed,” who is [none other than] Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the Law, which came into existence four hundred and thirty years later [after the covenant concerning the coming Messiah], does not and cannot invalidate the covenant previously established by God, so as to abolish the promise. 18 For if the inheritance [of what was promised] is based on [observing] the Law [as these false teachers claim], it is no longer based on a promise; however, God granted it to Abraham [as a gift] by virtue of His promise.
19 Why, then, the Law [what was its purpose]? It was added [after the promise to Abraham, to reveal to people their guilt] because of transgressions [that is, to make people conscious of the sinfulness of sin], and [the Law] was ordained through angels and delivered to Israel by the hand of a mediator [Moses, the mediator between God and Israel, to be in effect] until the Seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now the mediator or go-between [in a transaction] is not [needed] for just one party; whereas God is only one [and was the only One giving the promise to Abraham, but the Law was a contract between two, God and Israel; its validity depended on both]. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a system of law had been given which could impart life, then righteousness (right standing with God) would actually have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has imprisoned [b]everyone [everything—the entire world] under sin, so that [the inheritance, the blessing of salvation] which was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe [in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s precious Son].
23 Now before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, [perpetually] imprisoned [in preparation] for the faith that was destined to be revealed, 24 with the result that the Law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to Christ, so that we may be [c]justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God] by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under [the control and authority of] a tutor and disciplinarian. 26 For you [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges] through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union with the Christ, the Anointed] have clothed yourselves with Christ [that is, you have taken on His characteristics and values]. 28 There is [now no distinction in regard to salvation] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority]. 29 And if you belong to Christ [if you are in Him], then you are Abraham’s descendants, and [spiritual] heirs according to [God’s] promise.