2 May[c] you kiss me[d] passionately with your lips,[e]
for your love is better than wine.[f]
3 As fragrance, your perfumes[g] are delightful;[h]
your name is poured out perfume;[i]
therefore young women love you.
4 Draw me after you, let us run!
May the king bring me into his chambers![j]
Let us be joyful and let us rejoice in you;
let us extol your love more than wine.
Rightly do they love you!
5 I am black but beautiful,[k] O maidens of Jerusalem,[l]
like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not gaze at me because I am black, [m]
because the sun has stared at me.
The sons of my mother were angry with me;
they made me keeper of the vineyards,
but my own “vineyard”[n] I did not keep.
Dialogue between Shepherdess and Shepherd
7 Tell me, you whom my heart[o] loves,
where do you pasture your flock,
where do your sheep lie down at the noon?
For why should I be like[p] one who is veiled[q]
beside the flocks of your companions?
8 If you do not know, O fairest among women,
follow the tracks[r] of the flock,
and pasture your little lambs[s] beside the tents of the shepherds.
Man’s Poetic Praise of His Beloved
9 To a mare[t] among the chariots[u] of Pharaoh,
I compare you, my beloved.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with ornaments,
your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make ornaments of gold for you
with studs[v] of silver.
Maiden’s Poetic Praise of Her Beloved
12 While the king was on his couch,
my nard gave its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a pouch[w] of myrrh,
he spends the night[x] between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of blossoms of henna
in the vineyards of En Gedi.
15 Look! You are beautiful, my beloved.
Look! You are beautiful;
your eyes are doves.
16 Look! You are beautiful, my beloved,
Truly our couch is verdant;[y]
17 the beams of our house are cedar;
our rafter is cypress.
- Song of Solomon 1:1 This construction conveys a superlative connotation, e.g., “The most exquisite song”
- Song of Solomon 1:1 Or “by Solomon” or “about/concerning Solomon”
- Song of Solomon 1:2 In the maiden’s soliloquy, she thinks about her beloved in her thoughts (“May he kiss me!”), then poetically speaks to him as if he were in her presence (“for your love is better than wine”). To avoid confusion, the translation uses the second-person form throughout vv. 2–4
- Song of Solomon 1:2 Literally “May he kiss me”
- Song of Solomon 1:2 Literally “with the kisses of his mouth”
- Song of Solomon 1:2 The shift from the third person “he … his” to the second person “you … your” in vv. 2–4 should not be interpreted as suggesting two different referents, that is, one male whom the maiden is addressing as “you,” and another to whom she refers as “he.” Rather, this shift is a poetic device (called “grammatical differentiation”) that is not uncommon in Hebrew poetry (e.g., Gen 49:4; Deut 32:15; Psa 23:2–5; Isa 1:29; 42:20; 54:1; Jer 22:24; Amos 4:1; Mic 7:19; Lam 3:1; Song 4:2; 6:6). This shift is characteristic of a soliloquy, a dramatic or literary form in which a character reveals her thoughts without addressing a listener who is actually present (e.g., 2 Sam 19:4). In this case, the maiden’s private thoughts about her beloved (v. 2a) shift to an imaginary address to her beloved (vv. 2b–4a)
- Song of Solomon 1:3 Literally “your oil lotions”
- Song of Solomon 1:3 Literally “good”
- Song of Solomon 1:3 Literally “oil lotion”
- Song of Solomon 1:4 Or “The king has brought me into his chambers”
- Song of Solomon 1:5 Or “black and beautiful”
- Song of Solomon 1:5 Literally “O daughters of Jerusalem”
- Song of Solomon 1:6 This is figurative for the maiden’s physical appearance; her skin was darkly tanned
- Song of Solomon 1:6 Literally “my vineyard that for me”
- Song of Solomon 1:7 Literally “soul”
- Song of Solomon 1:7 Literally “For to what will I be like”
- Song of Solomon 1:7 The reading of the MT (“like one who is veiled”) is supported by the LXX. However, several ancient versions (Syriac Peshitta, Latin Vulgate, Symmachus) reflect an alternate Hebrew textual tradition in which two letters are transposed, resulting in the reading “like one who wanders about.” This makes good sense contextually, since the maiden does not know where her beloved would be at noon
- Song of Solomon 1:8 Literally “in the tracks”
- Song of Solomon 1:8 Or “your kids”
- Song of Solomon 1:9 Or “my mare”
- Song of Solomon 1:9 Or “chariot horses”
- Song of Solomon 1:11 Or “droplets”
- Song of Solomon 1:13 Literally “the bag”
- Song of Solomon 1:13 Or “he lays”
- Song of Solomon 1:16 Literally “green”