The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 5


G 1 I have come to my garden, my sister, my bride;
I gather my myrrh and my spices,
I eat my honey and my sweetmeats,
I drink my wine and my milk.
D Eat, friends; drink! Drink freely of love!


B 2 I was sleeping, but my heart kept vigil;
I heard my lover knocking:
"Open to me, my sister, my beloved,
my dove, my perfect one!
For my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the moisture of the night."


3 I have taken off my robe,
am I then to put it on?
I have bathed my feet,
am I then to soil them?


My lover put his hand through the opening;
my heart trembled within me,
and I grew faint when he spoke.


I rose to open to my lover,
with my hands dripping myrrh:
With my fingers dripping choice myrrh
upon the fittings of the lock.


4 I opened to my lover -
but my lover had departed, gone.
I sought him but I did not find him;
I called to him but he did not answer me.


5 The watchmen came upon me
as they made their rounds of the city;
They struck me, and wounded me,
and took my mantle from me,
the guardians of the walls.


I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem,
if you find my lover -
What shall you tell him?-
that I am faint with love.


D How does your lover differ from any other,
O most beautiful among women?
How does your lover differ from any other,
that you adjure us so?


B 6 My lover is radiant and ruddy;
he stands out among thousands.


His head is pure gold;
his locks are palm fronds,
black as the raven.


His eyes are like doves
beside running waters,
His teeth would seem bathed in milk,
and are set like jewels.


His cheeks are like beds of spice
with ripening aromatic herbs.
His lips are red blossoms;
they drip choice myrrh.


His arms are rods of gold
adorned with chrysolites.
His body is a work of ivory
covered with sapphires.


His legs are columns of marble
resting on golden bases.
His stature is like the trees on Lebanon,
imposing as the cedars.


His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is all delight.
Such is my lover, and such my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.



1 [1] Eat, friends; drink!: the lovers are encouraged to enjoy the delights of their love, symbol of Christ's union with the Church.

2 [2-8] A trial similar to that in Song 3:1-5.

3 [3-4] The bride's hesitation is due, not to levity, but to strong emotion.

4 [6] The disappearance of the lover seems to be a deliberate trial and test inflicted on the girl.

5 [7] The watchmen do not know the reason for the girl's appearance in the city streets; cf Song 3:2-4.

6 [10-11] In answer to the question of Song 5:9 the girl sings her lover's praises ( Song 5:10-16). Gold: indicates how precious the lover is. Palm fronds: his thick, luxuriant growth of hair.

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