Reading for September 20th

Song of Solomon 5-8 (Listen)


I came to my garden, my sister, my bride,

I gathered my myrrh with my spice,

I ate my honeycomb with my honey,

I drank my wine with my milk.



Eat, friends, drink,

and be drunk with love!


The Bride Searches for Her Beloved


I slept, but my heart was awake.

A sound! My beloved is knocking.

“Open to me, my sister, my love,

my dove, my perfect one,

for my head is wet with dew,

my locks with the drops of the night.”

I had put off my garment;

how could I put it on?

I had bathed my feet;

how could I soil them?

My beloved put his hand to the latch,

and my heart was thrilled within me.

I arose to open to my beloved,

and my hands dripped with myrrh,

my fingers with liquid myrrh,

on the handles of the bolt.

I opened to my beloved,

but my beloved had turned and gone.

My soul failed me when he spoke.

I sought him, but found him not;

I called him, but he gave no answer.

The watchmen found me

as they went about in the city;

they beat me, they bruised me,

they took away my veil,

those watchmen of the walls.

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,

if you find my beloved,

that you tell him

I am sick with love.



What is your beloved more than another beloved,

O most beautiful among women?

What is your beloved more than another beloved,

that you thus adjure us?


The Bride Praises Her Beloved


My beloved is radiant and ruddy,

distinguished among ten thousand.

His head is the finest gold;

his locks are wavy,

black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves

beside streams of water,

bathed in milk,

sitting beside a full pool.

His cheeks are like beds of spices,

mounds of sweet-smelling herbs.

His lips are lilies,

dripping liquid myrrh.

His arms are rods of gold,

set with jewels.

His body is polished ivory,

bedecked with sapphires.

His legs are alabaster columns,

set on bases of gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon,

choice as the cedars.

His mouth is most sweet,

and he is altogether desirable.

This is my beloved and this is my friend,

O daughters of Jerusalem.



Where has your beloved gone,

O most beautiful among women?

Where has your beloved turned,

that we may seek him with you?


Together in the Garden of Love


My beloved has gone down to his garden

to the beds of spices,

to graze in the gardens

and to gather lilies.

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine;

he grazes among the lilies.


Solomon and His Bride Delight in Each Other


You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love,

lovely as Jerusalem,

awesome as an army with banners.

Turn away your eyes from me,

for they overwhelm me—

Your hair is like a flock of goats

leaping down the slopes of Gilead.

Your teeth are like a flock of ewes

that have come up from the washing;

all of them bear twins;

not one among them has lost its young.

Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate

behind your veil.

There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,

and virgins without number.

My dove, my perfect one, is the only one,

the only one of her mother,

pure to her who bore her.

The young women saw her and called her blessed;

the queens and concubines also, and they praised her.


“Who is this who looks down like the dawn,

beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun,

awesome as an army with banners?”



I went down to the nut orchard

to look at the blossoms of the valley,

to see whether the vines had budded,

whether the pomegranates were in bloom.

Before I was aware, my desire set me

among the chariots of my kinsman, a prince.



Return, return, O Shulammite,

return, return, that we may look upon you.



Why should you look upon the Shulammite,

as upon a dance before two armies?


How beautiful are your feet in sandals,

O noble daughter!

Your rounded thighs are like jewels,

the work of a master hand.

Your navel is a rounded bowl

that never lacks mixed wine.

Your belly is a heap of wheat,

encircled with lilies.

Your two breasts are like two fawns,

twins of a gazelle.

Your neck is like an ivory tower.

Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,

by the gate of Bath-rabbim.

Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,

which looks toward Damascus.

Your head crowns you like Carmel,

and your flowing locks are like purple;

a king is held captive in the tresses.


How beautiful and pleasant you are,

O loved one, with all your delights!

Your stature is like a palm tree,

and your breasts are like its clusters.

I say I will climb the palm tree

and lay hold of its fruit.

Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,

and the scent of your breath like apples,

and your mouth like the best wine.



It goes down smoothly for my beloved,

gliding over lips and teeth.


I am my beloved's,

and his desire is for me.


The Bride Gives Her Love

Come, my beloved,

let us go out into the fields

and lodge in the villages;

let us go out early to the vineyards

and see whether the vines have budded,

whether the grape blossoms have opened

and the pomegranates are in bloom.

There I will give you my love.

The mandrakes give forth fragrance,

and beside our doors are all choice fruits,

new as well as old,

which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.


Longing for Her Beloved

Oh that you were like a brother to me

who nursed at my mother's breasts!

If I found you outside, I would kiss you,

and none would despise me.

I would lead you and bring you

into the house of my mother—

she who used to teach me.

I would give you spiced wine to drink,

the juice of my pomegranate.

His left hand is under my head,

and his right hand embraces me!

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,

that you not stir up or awaken love

until it pleases.


Who is that coming up from the wilderness,

leaning on her beloved?


Under the apple tree I awakened you.

There your mother was in labor with you;

there she who bore you was in labor.


Set me as a seal upon your heart,

as a seal upon your arm,

for love is strong as death,

jealousy is fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire,

the very flame of the Lord.

Many waters cannot quench love,

neither can floods drown it.

If a man offered for love

all the wealth of his house,

he would be utterly despised.


Final Advice


We have a little sister,

and she has no breasts.

What shall we do for our sister

on the day when she is spoken for?

If she is a wall,

we will build on her a battlement of silver,

but if she is a door,

we will enclose her with boards of cedar.



I was a wall,

and my breasts were like towers;

then I was in his eyes

as one who finds peace.


Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;

he let out the vineyard to keepers;

each one was to bring for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver.

My vineyard, my very own, is before me;

you, O Solomon, may have the thousand,

and the keepers of the fruit two hundred.



O you who dwell in the gardens,

with companions listening for your voice;

let me hear it.



Make haste, my beloved,

and be like a gazelle

or a young stag

on the mountains of spices.