Song Of Songs 1
Thoughts of the Beloved (1:1–4)
1–4 The beloved (the young woman) thinks romantically of her lover, King Solomon. She can understand why the maidens (verse 3)—the daughters of Jerusalem (verse 5)—are attracted to him. She desires that he take her away so that they can be alone together.
Friends—probably the maidens—echo the beloved’s thoughts; they too rejoice and delight in Solomon (verse 4).
The Beloved’s Self-Consciousness (1:5–8)
5–8 The young woman thinks about the darkness of her skin compared to that of the other young women of Jerusalem. Her brothers had made her tend the family’s vineyards and, as a result, she had neglected her own vineyard—her body (verse 6).
Her thoughts then turn from herself to her lover (verse 7):she portrays her lover as a shepherd4 and she wants to be with him in the fields. She asks to know exactly where to find him; she doesn’t want to appear like a veiled woman (a prostitute) looking for clients among the other shepherds.
But the friends, the daughters of Jerusalem, merely tell her to follow the tracks of the sheep (verse 8).
The Lover’s Praise (1:9–11)
9–11 Solomon reassures his beloved that she is beautiful—like a beautiful mare (verse 9). The mare represents grace, nobility and beauty. Solomon promises to give her jewelry that will add to her beauty (verse 11).
Love’s Fragrance (1:12–17)
12–14 The scene shifts to the king’s palace. Solomon’s perfume surrounds the beloved, just as if he were a sachet of myrrh hung from her neck,5 or a cluster of fragrant blossoms (verses 13–14). Solomon’s physical attractiveness is like a sweet aroma to which the beloved is drawn.6
15–17 Here the lovers express their love for each other. The beloved says: . . . our bed is verdant (verse 16)—that is, green; they are again out in a grassy woodland, where the cedars and firs serve as the beams and rafters of their “house” (verse 17).