1 I am a rose of Sharon,[a]
a lily of the valley.
2 As a lily growing among thorns,
so is my beloved among maidens.[b]
3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among young men.
To sit in his shadow is my delight,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
4 He escorts me into his banquet hall
and his banner[c] over me is love.
5 Strengthen me with raisins,
restore me with apples,[d]
for I am sick with love.
6 His left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me.
7 I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem,[e]
by the gazelles and the wild does:
Do not stir up or awaken love
before its time has come.
Let Me See You
8 Hark! I hear the voice of my beloved.
Look, here he comes,
leaping across the mountains[g]
bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Look where he stands
behind our wall,
peering in through the windows,
gazing through the lattice.
10 My beloved speaks,
and he says to me:
“Arise, my beloved,
my fair one, and come!
11 [h]For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
12 The flowers appear in the countryside;
the season of joyful songs has arrived,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth its figs
and the blossoms on the vine give forth their fragrance.
Arise, my beloved,
my fair one, and come!”
14 O my dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,
in the sheltered recesses of the cliff,
let me see you,
let me hear your voice.
For your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
15 Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes
that ruin our vineyards,
for our vineyards are blossoming.
16 My beloved belongs to me, and I am his;[i]
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
17 Before the dawn[j] comes,
and the shadows flee,
return, my beloved,
like a gazelle or a young stag
upon the mountains of the covenant.
- Song of Songs 2:1 Sharon: a plain on the seacoast, extending from Joppa to Mount Carmel, which was proverbial for its beauty, fertility, and pasturage (see 1 Chr 27:29; Isa 35:2). Lily of the valley: a symbol of loveliness (see also Song 2:16; 4:5; 6:3).
- Song of Songs 2:2 Maidens: see note on Song 1:3.
- Song of Songs 2:4 Banner: i.e., a military flag; just as such a flag is used to show location or possession, her bridegroom’s love does the same in her case (see Num 1:52; Ps 20:6).
- Song of Songs 2:5 Raisins . . . apples: probably a reference to the affection and embraces of love.
- Song of Songs 2:7 This refrain also occurs in Song 3:5; 8:4. Daughters of Jerusalem: see note on Song 1:5.
- Song of Songs 2:8 In her home, the bride longs for the return of her bridegroom; he appears in the window and invites her to take a walk in the freshness of springtime. How each of them wishes to reach the heart of the other. But their time together turns short. The young woman’s companions appear and liken the lovers to the marauding little foxes that people distrust (v. 15)—in spring the foxes set their cubs down amid the flowering vines. The bride responds sharply and protests her love; she invites the bridegroom to return that evening.
God too searches for his people; obstacles ceaselessly appear and prevent the rediscoveries even when Israel is in her own land. More than once God seems to disappear. Rediscovering the new strength of its love, the community pleads for the return of the Lord, who offers his people a covenant, a union capable of fulfilling all the aspirations of human beings.
- Song of Songs 2:8 Mountains: i.e., of Judah (see Isa 40:3-5, 9-11; 52:7; 62:10-12).
- Song of Songs 2:11 Spring in bloom is the time of love as well as the symbol of salvation (see Hos 14:6-8).
- Song of Songs 2:16 This verse is patterned after the covenant formula of the Prophets: “They . . . will be my people, and I will be their God” (Jer 32:38; see also Hos 2:25; Jer 31:33).
- Song of Songs 2:17 Dawn: the image of the dawn symbolizes the hour of deliverance (see Ps 17:15). Covenant: literally, “Bether,” whose meaning is uncertain.