The Word Made Fresh
1You are beautiful, my love, so very beautiful!
Your eyes are doves behind your veil;
your hair like a flock of goats
flowing down the slopes of Gilead.
2Your teeth are like a flock of ewes newly shorn,
coming up from the pool, like twins, not one of them missing.
3Your lips are crimson, making your mouth so lovely.
Your cheeks are like pomegranates behind your veil.
4Your neck is like the tower of David coursing upward;
clothed with a thousand warriors’ shields.
5Your breasts are like twin fawns of a gazelle
moving among the lilies.
6Until the night is over, and the shadows flee
I will hurry to the mountain of myrrh
and the hill of frankincense.
7For you are altogether beautiful, my love;
there are no flaws in your beauty.
8Come with me, my bride.
Come with me from Lebanon.
Leave the peak of Amana from Senir and Hermon.
Depart from the den of lions and hills of leopards.
9You have overcome my heart, my sister, my bride.
You have overcome my heart with a mere glance of your eyes,
and with but one jewel of your necklace.
10Your love is sweet, my sister, my bride!
Much better than wine is your love,
and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!
11Your lips taste of nectar, my bride;
around your tongue is the taste of honey and milk.
12My sister, my bride is like a locked garden; like a sealed fountain.
13The path to you is an orchard of pomegranates,
with choice fruits of henna and nard,
14saffron, calamus and cinnamon, frankincense,
myrrh and aloes and all the special spices.
15It is an orchard garden with a well of flowing water
and with flowing streams from Lebanon.
16Awake, north wind! Come forth, south wind!
Blow softly upon my garden and lift its fragrance abroad
Let my love come to his garden and partake of its choicest fruit.
1-7: Now it is his turn to flatter her, and he does so in language that makes the casual reader blush. She is described in the terms common to an agrarian culture, with parts of her body compared to doves, goats, shorn ewes, pomegranates, and gazelles.
8: Is she Lebanese? The color of her skin notwithstanding (see 1:5) that seems to be the case, and Solomon married many women to seal trade agreements with neighboring powers. The mountainous region of Lebanon is aptly described as a place of lions and leopards, which it was in Biblical times.
15: He is obviously head-over-heels. While the previous paragraph used mostly animal imagery, now he relies primarily on things found in the fields, orchards, and vineyards. She is, to him, a veritable garden of delights.
16: And she accepts the flirting, inviting him to enjoy what he sees.
Any of us who have ever fallen head-over-heels in love will both blush and relate to much of the Song of Solomon. The imagery is not altogether relatable because it reflects the agrarian economy from which it comes, but the sentiments are certainly in line with our own experiences of blossoming love and hopeless attractions.