Gent in love
- 7:1 Look at those gorgeous feet standing in those sandals.
You are the daughter of a prince.
As for the curve of those hips, wow.
They’re like something you’d see on fine jewelry
- 7:2 And that belly button.1 Umm, like a wine glass
Always full of mixed blends.
Your tummy is like a little mound of wheat2
Framed in lilies.
- 7:3 Your breasts are a beautiful sight, like two fawns,
Young twins of a gazelle,
- 7:4 Your neck is an ivory tower,
And your eyes look like the deep pools of Heshbon3
Beside the Bath Rabbim city gate.
And my, have you got a nose4—like a Lebanon tower,
The one that faces Damascus.
- 7:5 Your head is a crown as stately as the Carmel mountains.5
Each hair is a thread of royal purple.
Those locks of hair snag and bag the king. He’s trapped.
- 7:6 You are delovely and delightful.
And I want to get me some of that charm.
- 7:7 You stand straight and tall like a palm tree.
Those breasts of yours are clusters of sweet fruit.
- 7:8 I’m telling you this, I’m gonna climb that tree.
And I’m gonna to fill my hands with fruit.
Oh yeah. May your breasts fill my hands like big clusters of fruit.
I hope your breath is sweet as apple,
- 7:9 And the nectar of your mouth is like premium wine.
Oh yeah. That wine is smooth.
It flows gently from the mouth of my lover
As we fall asleep kissing.
Lady in love
- 7:10 I am my lover’s woman.
I’m the one he wants.
- 7:11 Sweetheart, let’s get out of here.
Let’s go to the countryside for a date night among
- 7:12 We can wake up early and walk to the vineyards
To see if the buds are opening
And the pomegranates have bloomed.
That’s where I’ll show you some love.
- 7:13 The mandrake7 aroma is working.
There’s fresh fruit8 hanging on the front door.
And there’s something old and something new,9
Which I’ve saved for you, my lover.
Some scholars say it’s not clear if the poet is actually talking about the navel or metaphorically referring to a lower altitude when the subject is vertical.
Some scholars say this is a reference to the woman’s fertility, which again might suggest that the “tummy” isn’t the body part the poet has in mind.
Heshbon was a city east of the Jordan River, in what is now the Arab country of Jordan. Archaeologists say it was probably located at the hilltop ruins called Tell (meaning “mound”) Hisbon, about 12 miles (20 km) south of Jordan’s capital, Amman. This is a fertile area above the Jordan River Valley.
It sounds like she had a big nose, which the gentleman considered attractive. He compares it to an important defensive tower, either protecting the city of Damascus or perhaps protecting against an invasion from Damascus.
The Carmel ridge of hills rise above the fertile Jezreel Valley, on the valley’s south side. Israel and the Palestinian Territories are built mainly along the backbone of the Judean Hills running north to south, But the Carmel range, beautiful and stately high above the valley, slices across northern Israel, east to west. It’s a distinct and attractive feature on Israel’s landscape.
Some scholars say “villages” should be translated “henna.” Jews copied their Hebrew Bible onto scrolls in shorthand, to preserve space on their leather scrolls. They used only consonants. No vowels. Hebrew for “villages”—kaphr. But if we fill in the word with different vowels, kapher, that’s Hebrew for “henna.” Henna has erect clusters of large blossoms that some said were lifegiving. The Song of Songs describes the Gent in love as a sweet bouquet of henna blossoms in 1:14.
Some in ancient times said mandrake plants were an aphrodisiac and could cure infertility—a double blessing. In the story of Jacob with his two wives, one wife was infertile: Rachel. Leah, the other wife, had a mandrake plant. So Rachel traded her night with Jacob for a mandrake plant, hoping it would help get her pregnant. But her sister wife (literally, since Rachel and Leah were sisters) got pregnant instead (Genesis 30:17). Mandrake 0, sexual intercourse 1. Mandrake roots sometimes vaguely resembled a human body, with a torso, arms, and legs. The Hebrew word for mandrake looks and sounds a bit like the words the Song’s poet often uses for “love” and “lover.”
Bible experts debate what she’s talking about. Some say she’s referring to her body. An ancient Jewish tradition reported in the Talmud, a collection of revered Jewish writings, say Jews used to hang fruit in the wedding tent. That could make this an ancient version of a fruit basket.
Who knows what the poet means by something old and something new? Some scholars guess it refers to the fruit and possibly other plants, including some older and well-established aromatic plants. Or, maybe she’s teasing him with more sexual banter.