Lover, 1a

Song 5:1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.

Friends, 1b

Eat, O friends, and drink;
drink your fill, O lovers.

Beloved, 2-8

Song 5:2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My lover is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
Song 5:3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
Song 5:4 My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
Song 5:5 I arose to open for my lover,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the lock.
Song 5:6 I opened for my lover,
but my lover had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
Song 5:7 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!
Song 5:8 O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my lover,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.

Friends, 9

Song 5:9 How is your beloved better than others,
most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
that you charge us so?

Beloved, 10-16

Song 5:10 My lover is radiant and ruddy,
outstanding among ten thousand.
Song 5:11 His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
Song 5:12 His eyes are like doves
by the water streams,
washed in milk,
mounted like jewels.
Song 5:13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
dripping with myrrh.
Song 5:14 His arms are rods of gold
set with chrysolite.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with sapphires.
Song 5:15 His legs are pillars of marble
set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as its cedars.
Song 5:16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is altogether lovely.
This is my lover, this my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.

Tremper Longman writes: ‘The role of the woman throughout the Song of Solomon is truly astounding, especially in the light of its ancient origins.  It is the woman, not the man, who is the dominant voice throughout the poems that make up the Song.  She is the one who seeks, pursues, initiates.  In Song 5:10-16 she boldly exclaims her physical attraction [“His abdomen is like a polished ivory tusk, decorated with sapphires…” (14)]…Most English translations hesitate in this verse.  The Hebrew is quite erotic, and most translators cannot bring themselves to bring out the obvious meaning…This is a prelude to their love making.  here is no shy, shamed, mechanical movement under the sheets.  Rather, the two stand before each other, aroused, feeling no shame, but only joy in each other’s sexuality.’  (Cited by Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 221f.)

He is altogether lovely – One of the defining characteristics of beauty is symmetry.  In the best of men there is imbalance and inconsistency, and as the tallest building throws the longest shadow, so the greatest people have the most prominent faults.  Virtue slips into vice; courage turns into cowardice; purity into prudery.  Not so with the Lord Jesus.  In him all virtues were maintained, in perfect harmony and without eclipse.  He was as eloquent in silence as in speech; as loving in judgement as in mercy.