1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.
9 What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? What is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?
10 My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
14 His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
15 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
Cedars of Lebanon
A tall and majestic evergreen tree (averaging 120 feet in its maturity), the cedar of Lebanon was highly valued in antiquity. It’s durability and dimensions provided ships and furnishings, and Egyptians prized its resin for mummification.
Nebuchadnezzar wrote hauling felled cedars to Babylon from Mount Lebanon, an abundance source of timber in the ancient Near East (cf Isa 37:24). The temple and palace complex in Jerusalem were lavishly adorned with cedar (1 Kgs 7:2; 1 Chr 22:24), and cedar wood was used for purification rituals (Lev 14:4).
Attesting to the use of cedar in monumental architecture, remnants of charred cedar beam were found in a Middle Bronze Age palace at Lachish (16th century B.C.).
The height and commanding presence of the species yields vivid Biblical images. Yahweh’s majesty stands above all cedars (Ps 148:9,13) and his voice is so powerful that it shatters them (Ps 29:5).
The development of a righteous person is compared to the cedar’s steady maturing process (Ps 95:12). In the Song of Solomon the lover’s appearance evokes the tree’s exquisite worth (Sol 5:15). Yet, the cedar’s height can also be human pride and arrogance (Isa 2:12-15; Eze 31:3, 10-12).