12 So remember 1 your Creator in the days of your youth –
before 2 the difficult 3 days come,
and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;
2 before the sun and the light 4 of the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds disappear 5 after the rain;
3 when those who keep watch over the house 6 begin to tremble, 7
and the virile men begin to stoop over, 8
and the grinders 9 begin to cease because they grow few,
and those who look through the windows grow dim, 10
4 and the doors along the street are shut;
when the sound of the grinding mill 11 grows low,
and one is awakened 12 by the sound of a bird,
and all their 13 songs 14 grow faint, 15
5 and they are afraid of heights and the dangers 16 in the street;
the almond blossoms 17 grow white, 18
and the grasshopper 19 drags itself along, 20
and the caper berry 21 shrivels up 22 –
because man goes to his eternal home, 23
and the mourners go about in the streets –
6 before the silver cord is removed,
or the golden bowl is broken,
or the pitcher is shattered at the well, 24
or the water wheel 25 is broken at the cistern –
7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was,
and the life’s breath 26 returns to God who gave it.
8 “Absolutely futile!” 27 laments the Teacher, 28
“All of these things 29 are futile!” 30
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, 31
but he also taught knowledge to the people;
he carefully evaluated 32 and arranged 33 many proverbs.
10 The Teacher sought to find delightful 34 words,
and to write 35 accurately truthful sayings. 36
11 The words of the sages are like prods, 37
and the collected sayings are like firmly fixed nails;
they are given by one shepherd.
12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. 38
There is no end to the making 39 of many books,
and much study is exhausting to the body. 40
13 Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: 41
Fear God and keep his commandments,
because this is the whole duty 42 of man.
14 For God will evaluate every deed, 43
including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
1 Solomon’s 1 Most Excellent 2 Love Song. 3
2 The Beloved to Her Lover: 4
Oh, how I wish you 5 would kiss me passionately! 6
For your lovemaking 7 is more delightful 8 than wine. 9
3 The fragrance 10 of your colognes 11 is delightful; 12
your name 13 is like the finest 14 perfume. 15
No wonder the young women 16 adore 17 you!
4 Draw me 18 after you; let us hurry! 19
May the king 20 bring 21 me into his 22 bedroom chambers! 23
The Maidens 24 to the Lover:
We will 25 rejoice and delight in you; 26
we will praise 27 your love more than wine.
The Beloved to Her Lover:
How rightly 28 the young women 29 adore you!
5 The Beloved to the Maidens:
I am dark but lovely, O maidens 30 of Jerusalem,
dark 31 like the tents of Qedar, 32
lovely 33 like the tent curtains 34 of Salmah. 35
6 Do not stare at me because 36 I am dark,
for 37 the sun has burned my skin. 38
My brothers 39 were angry 40 with me;
they made me the keeper of the vineyards.
Alas, my own vineyard 41 I could not keep! 42
7 The Beloved to Her Lover:
Tell me, O you whom my heart 43 loves,
where do you pasture your sheep?
Where do you rest your sheep during the midday heat?
Tell me lest 44 I wander around 45
beside the flocks of your companions!
8 The Lover to His Beloved:
If you do not know, O most beautiful of women,
simply follow the tracks of my flock,
and pasture your little lambs
beside the tents of the shepherds.
9 The Lover to His Beloved:
O my beloved, you are like 46 a 47 mare 48
among Pharaoh’s stallions. 49
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with ornaments;
your neck is lovely 50 with strings of jewels.
11 We 51 will make for you gold ornaments
studded with silver. 52
12 The Beloved about Her Lover:
While the king was at his banqueting table, 53
my nard 54 gave forth its fragrance. 55
13 My beloved is like a fragrant pouch of myrrh 56
spending the night 57 between my breasts.
14 My beloved is like a cluster of henna blossoms 58
in the vineyards of En-Gedi. 59
15 The Lover to His Beloved:
Oh, 60 how beautiful you are, my beloved! 61
Oh, how beautiful you are!
Your eyes 62 are like doves! 63
16 The Beloved to Her Lover:
Oh, how handsome you are, my lover! 64
Oh, 65 how delightful 66 you are!
The lush foliage 67 is our canopied bed; 68
17 the cedars are the beams of our bedroom chamber;
the pines are the rafters of our bedroom.
2 The Beloved to Her Lover:
I am a 1 meadow flower 2 from Sharon, 3
a lily 4 from the valleys.
2 The Lover to His Beloved:
Like 5 a lily among the thorns, 6
so is my darling among the maidens.
3 The Beloved about Her Lover:
Like 7 an apple tree 8 among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men.
I delight 9 to sit 10 in his shade, 11
and his fruit 12 is sweet 13 to my taste. 14
4 The Beloved about Her Lover:
He brought me 15 into the banquet hall, 16
and he looked 17 at me lovingly. 18
5 Sustain 19 me with raisin cakes, 20
refresh me with apples, 21
for I am faint with love. 22
The Double Refrain: Embracing and Adjuration
6 His left hand caresses my head, 23
and his right hand stimulates me. 24
7 The Beloved to the Maidens:
I adjure you, 25 O maidens of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles and by the young does 26 of the open fields: 27
Do not awaken or arouse 28 love 29 until it pleases! 30
8 The Beloved about Her Lover:
Listen! 31 My lover is approaching! 32
Look! 33 Here he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills!
9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. 34
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the window,
peering through the lattice.
10 The Lover to His Beloved:
My lover spoke to me, saying:
“Arise, my darling;
My beautiful one, come away with me!
11 Look! The winter has passed,
the winter rains are over and gone.
12 The pomegranates have appeared 35 in the land,
the time for pruning and singing 36 has come;
the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree has budded,
the vines have blossomed and give off their fragrance.
Arise, come away my darling;
my beautiful one, come away with me!”
14 The Lover to His Beloved:
O my dove, 37 in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places of the mountain crags,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
15 The Beloved to Her Lover:
Catch 38 the foxes 39 for us,
the little foxes, 40
that ruin the vineyards 41 –
for our vineyard is in bloom.
16 The Beloved about Her Lover:
My lover is mine and I am his;
he grazes among the lilies. 42
17 The Beloved to Her Lover:
Until the dawn arrives 43 and the shadows flee,
turn, 44 my beloved –
be like a gazelle or a young stag
on the mountain gorges. 45