1 Where has your lover gone, most beautiful of women? Which way did your lover turn, that we may look for him with you?
Well it’s clear that you’re quite taken with this gentleman, so let us help you find him. Where do you think he’s gone? Is there a spot that he goes to when he needs to get some space and collect himself? Just tell us where you think he may be and we’ll give you a hand in looking for him; we can’t bear to see you in this dreadful state any longer.
2 My lover has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies.
Chances are he’s gone down to his favorite place in the whole world. It’s a luscious garden filled with flowers and scenery that is to die for. There are certain flowers there that he always picks for me. I wonder if he’s gathering them for me even now?
3 I am my lover’s and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies.
Come to think of it, why don’t I go to his favorite place and you look for him elsewhere. I’m almost sure I’ll find him there if I know him at all. For I am my lover’s and my lover is mine.
As I rounded the bend on the north side of the garden, my eyes caught his and I stopped to see if his face spoke of any ill will. I was delighted to see that his smile was welcoming and warm. I ran into his arms and he swung me in circles as he held me tight in his embrace.
4 You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners.
Let me look at you, my darling. Stunning as ever. I wondered if you would engage in my chivalrous game of hide and seek. I knew it wouldn’t be long before you discovered my whereabouts. This is, as you know, our romantic getaway.
5 Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me.
Look away from me, my love, for your eyes overwhelm me. Every time you gaze upon me as you do, I feel as though you are peering into my very soul.
Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.
Your hair looks especially dashing tonight, disheveled though it is from the impassioned search. I love to comb my fingers through your locks of loveliness, grazing your shoulders as I move down your back with my hand.
6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is alone.
The tilt of your head as you smirk in delight pleases me to no end. I cannot tell you the pleasure I feel in giving you pleasure. When I touch you and you close your eyes and smile, I melt with satisfaction.
7 Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Your forehead glistens, your temples pulsate with passion coursing through your veins, and I can hardly contain my lust for your affections.
8 Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number;
You could line up queen after queen, concubine upon concubine, virgins as far as the eye could see and I wouldn’t, more than that, I couldn’t be distracted from your loveliness, my baby.
9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.
You stand alone among them all, fairer than the fairest in the land. I know that you say you see nothing special in yourself, but I don’t agree at all. You are uniquely formed in body, fashioned in spirit, and I am utterly wonderstruck that you have chosen me among men to court your heart. Even other women can see that you are a cut above in form and features, so I’m not simply spouting off biased nonsense. You must believe me.
10 Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?
The universe itself cowers and bows as you move toward your man. The moon pales in its resplendence. The sun even acknowledges your countenance. The stars in all their majesty don’t sparkle like your eyes in the twilight. You are radiant, indeed.
11 I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom.
There are days that I can’t hold myself together. I double take and pinch myself to see if this dream could be true. I question whether I am man enough for someone as precious as yourself. Am I capable? Do I have what it takes? These questions burn inside my chest.
12 Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.
Sometimes I catch myself in a daze of sorts lost in my own self-doubt. I have to snap myself out of these paralyzing feelings and recognize that I have chosen you and you have chosen me and nothing can destroy our love for each other.
13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite; come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!
Maiden, fair maiden, come back so that we can catch one more look of you before your lover steals you away from us and envelops you with his love. It’s hard for us to believe that the little girl who we grew up with is the same woman we are blown away with today. You have exceeded all our expectations. It’s a Cinderella story!
Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?
ManCinderella story to you maybe, but it’s a love story to me. You may think that she doesn’t deserve me, but I’m here to tell you the exact opposite. I am the one who is humbled and honored to be her choice. She is beyond my worth and I am a lucky man to be seen by her side in public places.