This title is actually the first verse of chapter 1
The marginal letters indicate the speaker of the verses: B—Bride; D—Daughters of Jerusalem; G—Bridegroom. In vv 2–7
the bride and the daughters address the bridegroom who appears here as a king, but more often in the poem as a shepherd.
King and shepherd are familiar figures of the Lord in the Sacred Scriptures. Cf Ps 23, 1; Is 40, 11; Jn 10, 1–16
Daughters of Jerusalem: the chorus whom the bride addresses and who ask her questions (Song 5, 9; 6, 1
), thus developing action within the poem. Kedar: a Syrian desert region whose name suggests blackness; tents were often made
of black goat hair. Curtains: tent coverings of Salma, a region close to Kedar.
Swarthy: tanned by the sun from working in her brothers' vineyards. My own vineyard: the bride herself; cf Is 5, 1–7
, where Israel is designated as the vineyard and the Lord is the Lover.
Here and elsewhere in the Song (3, 1; 5, 8; 6, 1
), the bride expresses her desire to be in the company of her lover. These verses point to a certain tension in the poem.
Only at the end (Song 8, 5ff
) does mutual possession of the lovers become final.
The bridegroom compares the girl's beauty to the rich adornment of the royal chariot of Pharaoh.
Nard: a precious perfume, a figure of the bride; cf Song 4, 14
Myrrh: produced from aromatic resin of balsam or roses.
Henna: a plant which bears white scented flowers.
Doves: suggesting innocence and charm.
Though the meeting place of the lovers is but a shepherd's hut of green branches, it becomes a palace with beams of cedar
and rafters of cypress when adorned with their love.
Your access is brought to you by: