Song of Solomon 6; Song of Solomon 7; Song of Solomon 8; Galatians 4

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Song of Solomon 6

1 Where did your beloved go, most beautiful of women? Where did your beloved turn? We will look for him with you.
2 My beloved went to his garden, to the beds of spices, to graze his flock in the gardens and gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine. He is the one who grazes his flock among the lilies.
4 You are beautiful, my true love, like Tirzah, lovely like Jerusalem, awe-inspiring like those great cities.
5 Turn your eyes away from me. They enchant me! Your hair is like a flock of goats moving down from Gilead.
6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep, sheep that come up from the washing. All of them bear twins, and not one has lost its young.
7 Your temples behind your veil are like slices of pomegranate.
8 There are 60 queens, 80 concubines, and countless virgins,
9 but she is unique, my dove, my perfect one. Her mother thinks she is unique. She is pure to the one who gave birth to her. Her sisters saw her and blessed her. Queens and concubines saw her and praised her.
10 Who is this young woman? She looks like the dawn. She is beautiful like the moon, pure like the sun, awe-inspiring like those heavenly bodies.
11 I went to the walnut grove to look at the blossoms in the valley, to see if the grapevine had budded and if the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 I did not know that I had become like the chariots of my noble people.
13 Come back! Come back, young woman from Shulam! Come back! Come back so that we may look at you! Why do you look at me, the young woman from Shulam, as you look at the dance of Mahanaim?

Song of Solomon 7

1 How beautiful are your feet in their sandals, noble daughter! The curves of your thighs are like ornaments, like the work of an artist's hands.
2 Your navel is a round bowl. May it always be filled with spiced wine. Your waist is a bundle of wheat enclosed in lilies.
3 Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are like pools in Heshbon, pools by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like a Lebanese tower facing Damascus.
5 You hold your head as high as Mount Carmel. Your dangling curls are royal beauty. Your flowing locks could hold a king captive.
6 How beautiful and charming you are, my love, with your elegance.
7 Young woman, your figure is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters.
8 I thought, "I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its fruit." May your breasts be like clusters on the vine. May the fragrance of your breath be like apples.
9 May your mouth taste like the best wine . . . . . . that goes down smoothly to my beloved and glides over the lips of those about to sleep.
10 I am my beloved's, and he longs for me.
11 Come, my beloved. Let's go into the field. Let's spend the night among the henna flowers.
12 Let's go to the vineyards early. Let's see if the vines have budded, if the grape blossoms have opened, if the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes give off a fragrance, and at our door are all kinds of precious fruits. I have saved new and old things for you alone, my beloved.

Song of Solomon 8

1 If only you were my brother, one who nursed at my mother's breasts. If I saw you on the street, I would kiss you, and no one would look down on me.
2 I would lead you. I would bring you into my mother's house. (She is the one who was my teacher.) I would give you some spiced wine to drink, some juice squeezed from my pomegranates.
3 His left hand is under my head. His right hand caresses me.
4 Young women of Jerusalem, swear to me that you will not awaken love or arouse love before its proper time!
5 Who is this young woman coming from the wilderness with her arm around her beloved? Under the apple tree I woke you up. There your mother went into labor with you. There she went into labor and gave birth to you!
6 Wear me as a signet ring on your heart, as a ring on your hand. Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. Love's flames are flames of fire, flames that come from the LORD.
7 Raging water cannot extinguish love, and rivers will never wash it away. If a man exchanged all his family's wealth for love, people would utterly despise him.
8 We have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What will we do for our sister on the day she becomes engaged?
9 If she is a wall, we will build a silver barrier around her. If she is a door, we will barricade her with cedar boards.
10 I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. So he considers me to be one who has found peace.
11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon. He entrusted that vineyard to caretakers. Each one was to bring 25 pounds of silver in exchange for its fruit.
12 My own vineyard is in front of me. That 25 pounds is yours, Solomon, and 5 pounds go to those who take care of its fruit.
13 Young woman living in the gardens, while your friends are listening to your voice, let me hear. . . .
14 Come away quickly, my beloved. Run like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.

Galatians 4

1 Let me explain further. As long as an heir is a child, he is no better off than a slave, even though he owns everything.
2 He is placed under the control of guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.
3 It was the same way with us. When we were children, we were slaves to the principles of this world.
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son [into the world]. A woman gave birth to him, and he came under the control of God's laws.
5 God sent him to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws so that we would be adopted as his children.
6 Because you are God's children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, "Abba! Father!"
7 So you are no longer slaves but God's children. Since you are God's children, God has also made you heirs.
8 When you didn't know God, you were slaves to things which are really not gods at all.
9 But now you know God, or rather, God knows you. So how can you turn back again to the powerless and bankrupt principles of this world? Why do you want to become their slaves all over again?
10 You religiously observe days, months, seasons, and years!
11 I'm afraid for you. Maybe the hard work I spent on you has been wasted.
12 Brothers and sisters, I beg you to become like me. After all, I became like you were. You didn't do anything wrong to me.
13 You know that the first time I brought you the Good News I was ill.
14 Even though my illness was difficult for you, you didn't despise or reject me. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were God's messenger or Christ Jesus himself.
15 What happened to your positive attitude? It's a fact that if it had been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
16 Can it be that I have become your enemy for telling you the truth?
17 These people [who distort the Good News] are devoted to you, but not in a good way. They don't want you to associate with me so that you will be devoted only to them.
18 (Devotion to a good cause is always good, even when I'm not with you.)
19 My children, I am suffering birth pains for you again until Christ is formed in you.
20 I wish I were with you right now so that I could change the tone of my voice. I'm completely puzzled by what you've done!
21 Those who want to be controlled by Moses' laws should tell me something. Are you really listening to what Moses' Teachings say?
22 Scripture says that Abraham had two sons, one by a woman who was a slave and the other by a free woman.
23 Now, the son of the slave woman was conceived in a natural way, but the son of the free woman was conceived through a promise [made to Abraham].
24 I'm going to use these historical events as an illustration. The women illustrate two arrangements. The one woman, Hagar, is the arrangement made on Mount Sinai. Her children are born into slavery.
25 Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia. She is like Jerusalem today because she and her children are slaves.
26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
27 Scripture says: "Rejoice, women who cannot get pregnant, who cannot give birth to any children! Break into shouting, those who feel no pains of childbirth! Because the deserted woman will have more children than the woman who has a husband."
28 Now you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac.
29 Furthermore, at that time the son who was conceived in a natural way persecuted the son conceived in a spiritual way. That's exactly what's happening now.
30 But what does Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, because the son of the slave woman must never share the inheritance with the son of the free woman."
31 Brothers and sisters, we are not children of a slave woman but of the free woman.