The garden (Song 6:11-6:12)

Female lover

“I went down

To the nut orchard.

I looked at

The blossoms of the valley.

I wanted to see

Whether the vines had budded.

I wanted to see

Whether the pomegranates were in bloom.

Before I was aware,

My fancy set me

In a chariot

Beside my prince.”

Meanwhile the female lover was back in the garden, the nut orchard garden. She saw the blossoms of the valley and the budding vines. The pomegranates were in bloom. Suddenly, before she was aware of it, the prince in his chariot was there. Will we have a happy ending?

Lost lover (Song 5:8-5:8)

Female lover

“I adjure you!

O daughters of Jerusalem!

If you find my beloved,

Tell him this.

I am faint with love.”

This reference to the daughters of Jerusalem is somewhat the same as in chapters 2 and 3, when the male lover asked them to restrain him. Here the female lover wants them to find her lover, because she is love sick.

She is like a watered spice garden (Song 4:12-4:15)

Male lover

“A garden locked is my sister.

My bride is

A garden locked.

My bride is

A fountain sealed.

Your channel is

An orchard of pomegranates

With all choicest fruits,

Henna with nard,

Nard with saffron,

Sweet grass with cinnamon,

With all trees of frankincense,

Myrrh,

Aloes,

With all chief spices.

She is a garden fountain.

She is a well of living water.

She is a flowing stream from Lebanon.”

His lover, sister, or bride is like a locked garden or a sealed fountain which were signs of fidelity. This metaphor of her waterway, canal, or channel helps the choicest fruits and spices to grow. She is life giving. These may not be your favorite fruits, but there are pomegranates, colored henna, and nard plants with the orange colored saffron. There is a sweet grass and cinnamon along with the classic frankincense, myrrh, and aloes. All the major chief spices were in this marvelous garden. This section ends with the concept of the female lover as a garden fountain of living water that flows from northern Lebanon.

The female lover (Song 1:5-1:6)

Female lover

“I am black.

O daughters of Jerusalem!

I am beautiful,

Like the tents of Kedar,

Like the curtains of Solomon.

Do not gaze at me

Because I am dark.

The sun has gazed on me.

My mother’s sons were angry

With me.

They made me

Keeper of the vineyards.

But my own vineyard

I have not kept.”

This female lover is black but beautiful. Black is beautiful was a major theme of the USA civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s. She seems to be taking to the daughters of Jerusalem. These daughters of Jerusalem will be like a Greek chorus in this presentation. Her beauty is like the tents of Kedar. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the half brother of Isaac. His descendents known as Kedarites were very strong during the Persian period in the 6th century BCE in the Arabian Peninsula. They were known for their large dark colored tents. Obviously the wonderful curtains of Solomon must have been well known also. She did not want to be stared at. She was dark skinned because her angry brothers made her work in sunlight of the vineyards. However, for some reason, she did not take care of her own vineyard. The allegorical part may be that she, like Israel, had to toil or work other vineyards other than her own, an allusion to the Exile.