The Word Made Fresh
1I am a flower of Sharon,
a lily of the valley.
2My lover among all the girls
is like a lily among briars.
3My lover among young men
is like a fruit tree among the trees of the forest.
I sat in his shadow filled with joy,
tasting his fruit, so sweet to the taste.
4He brought me to the banquet hall,
and his love for me was so evident.
5Feed me raisins and allay my hunger with apples,
for I am overcome with love.
6O that I might lie embraced with his right hand,
his left hand beneath my head.
7Daughters of Jerusalem, I urge you to follow the gazelles and wild deer,
and do not stir up love and awaken it until it is ready.
8Ah, I hear the voice of my lover!
Here he approaches hurrying over the mountains and hills
9like a gazelle or young stag. Look – there he stands at our wall,
peeking in through the windows, looking through the latticework.
10He speaks, saying to me,
‘Arise, my love, my beautiful love, and come away with me.
11The winter is far gone and all the rain is past and over.
12Flowers are sprouting up from the ground.
It is the time of singing!
The call of the turtledove is heard in the land.
13The fig trees put forth their fruit and the vines are in bloom.
Their fragrance is coming forth.
Arise, my love, my beautiful, and come away!
14Come, my dove! There – there in the clefts of the rock,
under the cover of the cliff let me see your lovely face.
Let me hear your sweet voice.
15Let us chase and capture the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards – they are in blossom now.’
16My lover is mine and I am his;
he has pastured his flock among the lilies
17and lets them rest until the day breaks and the shadows flee.
Turn now, my lover like a gazelle or young stag on the hillside.
1-7: At first it appears that this is a dialogue between the two lovers, but it is rather a poetic rendering of their thoughts for and about one another. Verse 1 describes what she wants to be for him — a rose (actually a crocus) of Sharon. Sharon was a lovely grazing land in the rolling hills near Mt. Carmel. Verse 2 is how he sees her, as a lily among brambles. In other words, all the other girls are unattractive next to her. Verses 3 to 7 record her thoughts and desires for him. Verse 7 affirms that all her love affairs before now were a waste of time.
8-17: Her fantasy of love is described in the kind of language we might expect from within an agrarian culture, with many references to animals and places in the wild. She imagines that her beloved sneaks into her quarters and spirits her away to the countryside.
True to form (both then and now!) the girl daydreams about their love for one another and imagines scenarios of them together in private.