Song of Solomon 7:1-13(2-14)

The description of the Shulammite in verses 1 through 5 (2 through 6) may be understood as applying to her while she danced. In the previous verse, the Septuagint referred to her as coming like a “company,” that is, a company of dancers. “In sandals,” the feet (“steps” [LXX]) of the Shulammite (here addressed as “noble daughter” or princely young woman) looked “beautiful.” Her “curved thighs” resembled “ornaments [necklaces (LXX)],” the “work of the hands of an artisan.” (7:1[2]; see the Notes section.)

The “naval” of the Shulammite is compared to a round bowl (literally, a “bowl of roundness”) never without mixed wine or never lacking in potential to give pleasure. Her belly is likened to a “heap of wheat surrounded with lilies.” For an agricultural people, a large pile of golden threshed wheat or “grain” (LXX) encircled by lilies would have suggested something truly beautiful to behold. (7:2[3]; see the Notes section.)

The “breasts” of the Shulammite are likened to two fawns, “twins of a gazelle.” This description appears to relate to beauty and, by extension, a source of delight or pleasure. (7:3[4])

Possibly because of its being erect and shapely, the neck of the Shulammite is compared to an “ivory tower.” It may be on account of the beauty of her shining or sparkling eyes that they are likened to “pools in Heshbon by the gate of Bath-rabbim.” The name “Bath-rabbim” literally means “daughter of many,” and this is the rendering in the Septuagint. It could be a designation for a populous city. Ancient Heshbon was located east of the Jordan River about midway between the Arnon and the Jabbok. (7:4[5])

The well-proportioned nose of the Shulammite appears to be portrayed as a prominent and pleasing feature of her attractive face. This facial feature is compared to a “tower of Lebanon overlooking the face [or area] of Damascus.” (7:4[5])

In her bearing, the Shulammite appears to be portrayed as holding her head erect in a dignified manner. The “head upon [her]” is described as being “like Carmel,” a mountain range close to the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and extending in a southeastern direction for a distance of some 30 miles (50 kilometers). In being referred to as being “like purple,” the sheen of the black “hair” (dalláh) of her head may be compared to purple cloth. The Hebrew word dalláh is linked to a root meaning to “hang down” and has been understood to refer to “loose hair” or to “flowing locks.” There is uncertainty about what it was that bound or captivated a king. The Hebrew word is a plural form of ráhat. Based on context, lexicographers have suggested “locks of hair” as a possible meaning. In other contexts, ráhat is understood to refer to a “trough,” “leather strip,” and “beam of a loom.” For this verse, a common rendering in modern translations is “tresses” (“a king is held captive in the tresses” [NRSV]; “the king is held captive by its tresses” [NIV]). The Septuagint contains a plural form of paradromé, a word that lexicographers have defined as meaning “retinue,” “train,” “passage,” and “gallery.” (7:5[6])

The king extolled the beauty of the Shulammite. “How beautiful and how pleasant [you are], O loved one among delights!” The expression rendered “delights” probably applies to women who were a source of exquisite delight. According to the Septuagint, the reference is to the Shulammite’s delights (“in your delights”). (7:6[7])

The “stature” of the Shulammite was “like a [date] palm,” with her “breasts” being like clusters of dates. (7:7[8])

The king expressed his desire to enjoy the pleasure he could have in the company of the Shulammite, likening these pleasures to the enjoyment of fruit and pleasing fragrances. “I said, I will climb the [date] palm. I will take hold of its branches” or take hold of its fruit stalks. “O may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the fragrance of your nose like apples.” (7:8[9])

The king’s desire was that the “palate” (“throat” [LXX]) of the Shulammite be “like good wine,” pleasurable like wine of the best quality. This reference to the “palate,” or (according to the Septuagint) the “throat,” could apply to it as being the source of words that would bring delight. (7:9[10])

The wine is described as “going down for my lover, with smoothness [plural in Hebrew], gliding over lips of sleepers.” This could mean that the wine would be of such a nature that even persons who were half asleep would be able to drink and swallow it without any problems. In view of the reading “my lover,” it appears that the speaker is the Shulammite. This is also indicated in Codex Sinaiticus, which contains the introductory comment, “the bride.” The wording in the Septuagint about the wine is, “going to my beloved in straightness” or in a straight line (perhaps directly to him and to no one else), “suiting my lips and teeth” (or having a pleasant taste as the Shulammite perceived it). (7:9[10])

When the king is regarded as the beloved, the response of the Shulammite could be understood as expressing her love for him. “My darling, I am yours, and you desire me.” (CEV) Those who consider her beloved to be the shepherd interpret the response to be focused on him, not the king. “I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire” (“turning” or “attention” [LXX]) is “for me.” (7:10[11])

The Shulammite extended an invitation to her dear one to accompany her. “Come, my beloved, let us go out to the field; let us lodge among the henna plants [in villages (LXX)].” (7:11[12]) “Let us rise early” to go “to the vineyards. Let us see whether the vine has budded, whether the [grape] blossom has opened” and the “pomegranates are in bloom.” There, in the field, the Shulammite promised to bestow her dear one with expressions of her love. According to the Septuagint rendering, she would give him her “breasts.” (7:12[13])

The Shulammite had prepared herself to make available to her dear one many expressions of her love, doing so as if surrounded by a pleasant aroma and having delightful fruits within easy reach. “The mandrakes” were giving forth their fragrance. By the doors of the two lovers, there were all kinds of “choice fruits” — “new as well as old.” The Shulammite assured her dear one that she had treasured up these fruits for him alone. (7:13[14])


The translator of the Septuagint apparently understood the Hebrew word nadív to be a proper noun and transliterated it as “Nadab.” In other contexts, the adjective nadív means “willing” but here, in verse 1(2), it appears to describe the Shulammite as a “noble” or “princely” young woman.

In verse 3(2), the Septuagint describes the bowl with the adjective toreutós a word that has been defined as meaning “carved” or “worked in relief.”