Gent in love
- 4:1 My darling, you are gorgeous.
I am looking at a wonderfully beautiful woman.
I see beneath that veil the eyes of a mourning dove.
Your hair flows gracefully upon your shoulders,
like a flock of goats gliding down Mount Gilead.1
- 4:2 Your teeth are as white as freshly sheared sheep
Climbing out of the bathwater.
Every one is there.
Not a one is missing.
- 4:3 Your lips are scarlet threads
Resting upon a lovely mouth.
And those cheeks,2 rosy as slices from a pomegranate.
All, hidden behind that veil.
- 4:4 Your neck is like the Tower of David,3
Built with row upon row of stones.
The tower is armored with a thousand shields,
Round shields of the king’s best warriors.
- 4:5 Your breasts are a beautiful sight, like two fawns,
Young twins of a gazelle,
Browsing4 among the lilies.
- 4:6 I’m going to those fragrant hills,
The mountain of myrrh
And the hill of frankincense.
I’ll stay till the cool of morning,
When shadows of night flee the day.
- 4:7 Everything about you is beautiful, my darling.
I see nothing but perfection.
- 4:8 Let’s leave Lebanon behind.
Let’s get out of here.
We’ll travel down the slopes of Mount Amana,5
Down the heights of Senir,6 Mount Hermon,
Past mountain dens of lions,
Home of leopards.
- 4:9 Dear woman, my bride, you make my heart race,
Faster and faster.
All it takes is one glance from you,
As you stand there wearing that necklace.
- 4:10 You are one beautiful lover, my woman, my bride.
I’ll take your love over wine any day.
And that perfume, ahh,
Better than any fragrant spice around.
- 4:11 Sugar Lips, my bride,
I taste honey and sweet milk under your tongue.
Your clothes are fragrant,
With the scent of cedar from the forests of Lebanon.
- 4:12 My woman and my bride,
you are my own personal garden of delight.
You’re my personal spring of water,
locked to everyone but me.
- 4:13 Your branches and buds and twigs are my garden.
They’re an orchard of pomegranates
With premium fruits
And henna7 and nard.8
- 4:14 There’s saffron, calamus, and cinnamon.9
There are all the plants producing fragrant incense,
Myrrh10 and aloe,
And the finest aromatic spices on earth.
- 4:15 You’re a double delight. You’re a spring in a garden.
And you’re a well of fresh, flowing water
Streaming down the hills of Lebanon.
Lady in love
- 4:16 Wake up north wind.
South wind, too.
Catch the aroma of my garden
And carry its fragrant breath along the way.
This garden is open for business.
Lover, have I got some fruit for you.
Okay, so the original Hebrew says only, “Your hair is like a flock of goats.” People who don’t herd goats probably need a little help seeing the beauty of the description. A herd of goats bounding gracefully down a hillside is a wonderful sight to a shepherd. It’s a bit like watching synchronized swimming, but with goats.
It’s unclear what the man is describing. Some say it’s her temples. But it’s hard to imagine why a guy in love would compliment her temples. But sweet cheeks are another matter, and seemingly the better guess. Among the body parts men love about women and compliment, temples may rank just a little above wrists and elbows.
This verse, like many others, is a compliment, though it might not sound like one today. The man is describing the woman’s neck as gracefully constructed and beautifully adorned with jeweled necklaces.
Feeding. Deer and gazelle “browse,” eating leaves and other vegetation above the ground. “Grazing” is eating vegetation on the ground. Sheep graze.
Ancient name for the Anti-Lebanon Mountains of Lebanon.
Senir was the Amorite name for Mount Hermon, on the borders of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel (Deuteronomy 3:9).
Henna is a shrub or small tree that blossoms into fragrant flowers from a range of colors between white and red.
Nard, which has the earthy fragrance of cyprus, was one of the most expensive perfumes and anointing oils available. Nard was extracted from spikenard plants native to India’s Himalayan Mountains, some 2,500 miles (4,000 km) east of what is now Israel. It took about a year’s salary for the average working man to buy a flask of 16 ounces (half a liter), Mark 14:5.
Saffron is a kind of crocus with a sweet, flowery fragrance. Calamus is literally “cane” and possibly sweet cane with a woodsy aroma. Cinnamon goes nicely with toast and butter.
Myrrh comes from dried sap of an evergreen shrub, Commiphora abyssinica, which grew in parts of Egypt and neighboring nations in Africa. People mixed it with olive oil and other scents and spices, to create perfume. People used these scented oils in place of soap and deodorant, neither of which seems to have been invented in King Solomon’s day, some 3,000 years ago.