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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 7


D 1 Turn, turn, O Shulammite,
turn, turn, that we may look at you!
B Why would you look at the Shulammite
as at the dance of the two companies?


D 2 How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince's daughter!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the handiwork of an artist.


Your navel is a round bowl
that should never lack for mixed wine.
Your body is a heap of wheat
encircled with lilies.


Your breasts are like twin fawns,
the young of a gazelle.


3 Your neck is like a tower of ivory.
Your eyes are like the pools in Heshbon
by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower on Lebanon
that looks toward Damascus.


You head rises like Carmel;
your hair is like draperies of purple;
a king is held captive in its tresses.


G How beautiful you are, how pleasing,
my love, my delight!


4 Your very figure is like a palm tree,
your breasts are like clusters.


I said: I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its branches.
Now let your breasts be like clusters of the vine
and the fragrance of your breath like apples,


5 And your mouth like an excellent wine -
B that flows smoothly for my lover,
spreading over the lips and the teeth.


6 I belong to my lover
and for me he yearns.


Come, my lover, let us go forth to the fields
and spend the night among the villages.


Let us go early to the vineyards, and see
if the vines are in bloom,
If the buds have opened,
if the pomegranates have blossomed;
There will I give you my love.


7 The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
and at our doors are all choice fruits;
Both fresh and mellowed fruits, my lover,
I have kept in store for you.



1 [1] Shulammite: so called either because the girl is considered to be from Shulam in the plain of Esdraelon (cf 1 Kings 1:3) or because the name may mean "the peaceful one," and thus recall the name of Solomon. As at the dance of the two companies: the meaning is uncertain. The question in this verse could be construed as a refusal to dance; more probably, however, the girl accedes, as the following verses suggest.

2 [2-6] A flattering description of the girl's charms. Rounded . . . jewels: the meaning of these Hebrew words is not certain. Wine and wheat are symbolic of fertility; they are here associated with parts of the body which have a close relation to fruitfulness.

3 [5] The comparison emphasizes the stateliness and whiteness of the neck, and the limpidity of the eyes. Bath-rabbim: a proper name which occurs only here; there was a city of Rabbah northeast of Heshbon in Transjordan. Cf Jeremiah 49:3.

4 [8-9] Palm tree: a figure of stateliness. The bridegroom is eager to enjoy the possession of his bride.

5 [10] The bride delicately turns his compliment into an expression of the love and tenderness she feels for him.

6 [11-13(14)] The girl's answer assures him of her affection and invites him to return with her to the rural delights which are associated with their love and which recall the meeting described in Song 6:11, 12.

7 [13(14)] Mandrakes: herbs believed to have power to arouse love and promote fertility; cf Genesis 30:14-16.

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