Wednesday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Song of Solomon 5-8 (NKJV)
5:1 THE BELOVED I have come to 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.
(TO HIS FRIENDS) Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones!
2 THE SHULAMITE I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one; For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night.” 3 I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them? 4 My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him. 5 I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock. 6 I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. 7 The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; The keepers of the walls took my veil away from me. 8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am lovesick!
9 THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you so charge us?
10 THE SHULAMITE My beloved is white and ruddy, chief among ten thousand. 11 His head is like the finest gold; His locks are wavy, and black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. 13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices, banks of scented herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh. 14 His hands are rods of gold set with beryl. His body is carved ivory inlaid with sapphires. 15 His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of fine gold. His countenance is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. 16 His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!
6:1 THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM Where has your beloved gone, O fairest among women? Where has your beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with you?
2 THE SHULAMITE My beloved has gone to his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies.
4 THE BELOVED O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners! 5 Turn your eyes away from me, for they have overcome me. Your hair is like a flock of goats going down from Gilead. 6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep which have come up from the washing; Every one bears twins, and none is barren among them. 7 Like a piece of pomegranate are your temples behind your veil. 8 There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number. 9 My dove, my perfect one, is the only one, the only one of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 10 Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?
11 THE SHULAMITE I went down to the garden of nuts to see the verdure of the valley, to see whether the vine had budded and the pomegranates had bloomed. 12 Before I was even aware, my soul had made me as the chariots of my noble people.
13 THE BELOVED AND HIS FRIENDS Return, return, O Shulamite; Return, return, that we may look upon you!
THE SHULAMITE What would you see in the Shulamite—as it were, the dance of the two camps?
7:1 THE BELOVED How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter! The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a skillful workman. 2 Your navel is a rounded goblet; It lacks no blended beverage. Your waist is a heap of wheat set about with lilies. 3 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. 4 Your neck is like an ivory tower, your eyes like the pools in Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon which looks toward Damascus. 5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel, and the hair of your head is like purple; A king is held captive by your tresses. 6 How fair and how pleasant you are, O love, with your delights! 7 This stature of yours is like a palm tree, and your breasts like its clusters. 8 I said, “I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of its branches.” Let now your breasts be like clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, 9 and the roof of your mouth like the best wine.
THE SHULAMITE The wine goes down smoothly for my beloved, moving gently the lips of sleepers. 10 I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth to the field; Let us lodge in the villages. 12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see if the vine has budded, whether the grape blossoms are open, and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. 13 The mandrakes give off a fragrance, and at our gates are pleasant fruits, all manner, new and old, which I have laid up for you, my beloved.
8:1 Oh, that you were like my brother, who nursed at my mother’s breasts! If I should find you outside, I would kiss you; I would not be despised. 2 I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, she who used to instruct me. I would cause you to drink of spiced wine, of the juice of my pomegranate.
3 (TO THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM) His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me. 4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
5 A RELATIVE Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I awakened you under the apple tree. There your mother brought you forth; There she who bore you brought you forth.
6 THE SHULAMITE TO HER BELOVED Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.
8 THE SHULAMITE’S BROTHERS We have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister in the day when she is spoken for? 9 If she is a wall, we will build upon her a battlement of silver; And if she is a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar.
10 THE SHULAMITE I am a wall, and my breasts like towers; Then I became in his eyes as one who found peace. 11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon; He leased the vineyard to keepers; Everyone was to bring for its fruit a thousand silver coins.
12 (TO SOLOMON) My own vineyard is before me. You, O Solomon, may have a thousand, and those who tend its fruit two hundred.
13 THE BELOVED You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice—let me hear it!
14 THE SHULAMITE Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.
Several times in the Song of Solomon the Beloved refers to His love as a garden or vineyard. In Isaiah God’s people are shown to be God’s vineyard. Isaiah says, “My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it…and cleared it…and planted it with the choicest vine… He expected it to bring forth good grapes…What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?” (Is. 5:1-4). God did everything for them and they still rejected Him.
This same theme is carried forward into the New Testament. Just as the vineyard Isaiah spoke of was planted with the choicest vine, so too Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you…I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing…If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples…These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:1-11).
We pray: O Lord, by Your mercy, keep Your Church from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.