Creative Commons License

The Aramaic Targum to Song of Songs

English Translation by Jay C. Treat

Introduction: The Ten Songs

1:1 Songs and praises which Solomon the prophet, king of Israel, spoke by the Spirit of Prophecy before the Lord of all the World, YY 1.

Ten songs were spoken in this world, this song being the best of them all. The first song Adam spoke at the time his guilt was forgiven him and the Sabbath Day arrived and protected him. He opened his mouth and said, “A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath Day” (Psalm 92).

The second song Moses said with the children of Israel at the time the Master of the World divided the Reed Sea for them. All of them opened their mouths together and spoke the song, as it is written: “Then sang Moses and the Israelites” (Exodus 15:1).

The third song the children of Israel spoke at the time the well of water 2 was given to them, as it is written, “Then sang Israel” (Numbers 21:17).

The fourth song Moses, the prophet, uttered, when his time had come to depart from the world. And by it he reproved the people of the house of Israel, as it is written, “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak” (Deuteronomy 32:1).

The fifth song Joshua, son of Nun, spoke when he waged war in Gibeon, and the sun and moon stood for him thirty-six hours and they ceased to utter the song [of their praise]. He opened his mouth and sang the song, as it is written: “Thus sang Joshua before YY” (Joshua 10:12).

The sixth song Barak and Deborah said on the day YY delivered Sisera and his camp into the hands of the Children of Israel, as it is written: “Then sang Deborah and Barak, son of Abinoam” (Judges 5:1).

The seventh song Hannah said at the time she was granted a son from before YY, as it is written: “And Hannah prayed in the Spirit of prophecy and said” (1Samuel 2:1).

The eighth song David, king of Israel, said because of all the miracles which YY had performed for him. He opened his mouth and spoke a song, as it is written, “And David praised in prophecy before YY” (2Samuel 22:1).

The ninth song Solomon, King of Israel, said by the Holy Spirit, before the Master of all the World, YY (Song of Songs).

And the tenth song the children of the Exile are destined to say at the time they are redeemed from Exile, as it is written and explained by the hand of Isaiah the prophet, as it is written: “You shall have this song for joy, as on the night the feast of Passover is sanctified, and for gladness of heart, as the people who go to appear before YY three times a year with varieties of music and the sound of the drum, to come up to the mountain of YY and to worship before YY, the Strength of Israel” (Isaiah 30:29).

Section 1: The Wilderness

1:2 Solomon the prophet said: “Blessed be the name of YY who gave us the Torah by the hand of Moses the great scribe, inscribed on two tablets of stone, and [gave us] six orders of the Mishnah and the Gemara by oral tradition, and conversed with us face to face (as a man who kisses his companion) out of the great love with which He cherished us, more than the seventy nations.

1:3 “At the sound of your miracle and might which you performed for the people, the House of Israel, all the nations who heard the report of your might and good signs trembled; and your Holy Name was heard in all the earth, and it was more choice than the oil of high office with which the heads of kings and priests were anointed. And therefore the righteous loved to follow the path of your goodness in order that they may possess this world and the world to come.”

1:4 When the people of the House of Israel went out from Egypt, the Presence 3 of the Lord of the World was their leader; it went before them with a pillar of cloud by day and with a pillar of fire by night. The righteous of that generation said: “Master of all the World, draw us after you and we will run after the path of your goodness. So draw us near to the base of Mount Sinai and give us your Laws from your treasure house of the Firmament. And we will rejoice and be glad with the twenty-two letters with which they are written and we will be mindful of them and will love your divinity and will remove ourselves from the idols of the nations. And all the righteous who do what is upright in your sight will revere you and love your commands.”

1:5 When the House of Israel made the [Golden] Calf, their faces grew dark like the children of Cush [Ethiopians] who dwell in the tents of Qedar. And when they turned in repentance and their guilt was pardoned them, the splendor of their faces’ glory increased like the angels, because they made the curtains for the Tabernacle and the Presence of YY dwelt among them. And Moses their master went up to the Firmament and made peace 4 between them and their King.

1:6 The Assembly of Israel said to the nations: “Do not despise me because I am darker than you, because I have done according to your deeds and have bowed down to the sun and the moon. For false prophets caused the powerful fury of YY to be drawn down upon me. They taught me to worship your idols and walk according to your laws. But the Lord of the World, who is my God, I did not serve and did not follow after His laws, nor keep His commands and His Law.”

1:7 When the time came for Moses the prophet to depart from the world, he said before YY: It has been revealed to me that this people will sin and be carried into Exile. Now tell me how they will sustain themselves and live among the nations whose decrees are as strong as the heat of the noonday sun at the summer solstice, and why they will be carried away among the flocks of the children of Esau and Ishmael who treat their idols as Your companions.

1:8 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses the prophet: “If the Assembly of Israel (which is compared to a beautiful young woman whom my soul loves) wishes to wipe out the Exile, let her walk in the ways of the righteous, let her order her prayers by the mouth of the shepherd’s assistants 5 and the leaders of her generation; let her teach her children (which are compared to the kids of goats) to go to the Synagogue and the House of Study and by that merit, they will be sustained in the Exile until the time when I send the King, the Messiah, who will lead them in rest to their dwelling-place, the Temple that David and Solomon, the shepherds of Israel, will build for them.”

1:9 When Israel went out from Egypt, Pharaoh and his army pursued after them with chariots and horsemen, and the way was closed for them on four sides. On the right and left were wildernesses that were full of fiery serpents, behind them was the wicked Pharaoh with his armies, and in front of them was the Reed Sea. What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do? He revealed himself in the fullness of His strength at the Sea. He dried up the sea, but the mud He did not dry up. The wicked (the mixed multitude of foreigners who were among them) said, “He can dry up the waters of the Sea, but the mud He cannot dry up.” At that time, YY became very angry with them and He would have drowned them in the waters of the Sea just as Pharaoh, his armies, his chariots, his horsemen, and horses were drowned–if it had not been for Moses the prophet, who stretched out his hands in prayer before YY and turned back the anger of YY from them. And he and the righteous of that generation opened their mouths and sang songs. And they passed in the midst of the Reed Sea on dry land by virtue of the merits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the beloved ones of YY.

1:10 When they went out to the wilderness, YY said to Moses: “How fit is this people to be given the Law’s commands!–which will be like bridles between their jaws so that they do not depart from the good path, just as a horse which has a bridle between its jaws does not depart. And how fit is their neck to bear the yoke of my commands!– which will be on them like a yoke is on the neck of an ox that plows in the field and supports himself and his master.”

1:11 Thus it was said to Moses: “Come up to the Firmament, and I will give you the two tables of stone hewn from the sapphire of My glorious throne, bright as pure gold, arranged in lines, written by My finger, upon which are inscribed the Ten Commandments, refined more than silver purified seven times seven (totalling forty-nine, the number of ways to interpret what is in them), and I will give them by your hand to the people of the House of Israel.”

1:12 And while Moses their rabbi was still in the Firmament to receive the two tablets of stone, the Law and the Ordinance, the wicked of that generation and the mixed multitude among them arose and made the golden calf, and they corrupted their deeds. And they earned a bad reputation in the world. While previously their fragrance had gone forth in the world, after this they smelled like nard, which has a terrible odor, and the plague of leprosy came down upon their flesh.

1:13 At that time YY said to Moses: “Go; descend, for your people have done wrong. Go away from Me and I will destroy them.” Then Moses turned and begged mercy from YY. And in their favor YY remembered the binding of Isaac, whose father bound him on the altar on Mount Moriah. And YY turned from His anger and made His Presence dwell among them as before.

1:14 Listen! Then Moses came down with the two tablets of stone in his hands but his hands were heavy because of the sins of Israel–and the tablets fell and were broken! Then Moses went and crushed the calf, and scattered its dust in the river and made the Children of Israel drink, and he killed everyone who deserved to be killed. And he ascended a second time to the Firmament and prayed before YY and made atonement for the Children of Israel. Then he was commanded to make the Tabernacle and the Ark. At that time Moses hurried and made the Tabernacle, all its vessels, and the Ark, and he put in the Ark two other tablets. And he appointed the sons of Aaron the priest to offer up the sacrifice on the altar and to offer a libation of wine at the sacrifice. And where did they get the wine for libations? They were in the desert, weren’t they?–not a convenient place for agriculture; and surely no figs, vines, or pomegranates! But they went to the vineyards of En-Gedi and took bunches of grapes from there and pressed the wine from them and offered it as a libation on the altar, a quarter of a hin for each lamb.

1:15 When the Children of Israel did the will of their King, He praised them with His Word in the household of the holy angels. And this is what He said: “How beautiful are your deeds, My beloved daughter, Assembly of Israel, when you do my will, engaging in the dictates of My Law! And how proper are your deeds and affairs!–like turtledoves, the nestlings of doves that are fit to be offered on the altar.”

1:16 The Assembly of Israel replied before the Lord of the World and this is what she said: “How beautiful is your Holy Presence when You dwell among us and receive our prayer with favor, when You cause love to dwell in our bed and many children to dwell on the earth, and we increase and multiply like a tree planted by a spring of water, whose foliage beautiful and whose fruit is plentiful!”

1:17 Solomon the prophet said, “How beautiful is the Temple of YY that was built by my hands from cedar! But even more beautiful will be the Temple that is destined to be built in the days of the King, the Messiah, the beams of which will be from the cedars of the Garden of Eden, and the pillars of which will be from fir, juniper, and cypress.”

2:1 The Assembly of Israel said, “During the time that the Lord of the World makes His Presence dwell among us, I am like the narcissus fresh from the Garden of Eden and my actions are beautiful like the rose in the valley of the Pleasure-Garden of Eden.

2:2 “But when I turn from the path which is straight before me, and He removes His Holy Presence from me, I am like the rose that blooms among thorns which pierce and tear her foliage. In the same way, I am pierced and torn by the evil decrees in the Exile among the nations.

2:3 “Just as the citron 6 is beautiful and is praised among ornamental trees and all the world acknowledges it, in the same way the Master of the World 7 was praised among the angels when He revealed Himself on Mount Sinai, at the time He gave the Law to His people. At that time, I longed to dwell under the shadow of His Presence, and the commands of His Law were like spice to my palate–and the reward for my observances was stored up on my behalf for the world to come.”

2:4 The Assembly of Israel said: “YY brought me into the House of Study at Sinai to learn the Law from the mouth of Moses, the great Scribe. And I received the banner of His commandments over me with love, and I said: ‘All that YY Has commanded I will do and I will obey.’

2:5 “And when I heard the voice of His Word that was speaking from within the flame of fire, I trembled and finally shook from fear. Then I approached Moses and Aaron and I told them, ‘You receive the voice of YY’s words from within the fire. But bring me to the House of Study and sustain me with the words of the Law, upon which the world is based. And put chains upon my neck, explaining the holy words which are sweet to my palate as apples of the Garden of Eden. And I will be occupied with them–perhaps they will heal me, since they have made me lovesick.’”

2:6 While the people of the House of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, four clouds of glory surrounded them from the four winds [i.e., directions] of the earth, so that the Evil Eye had no power over them. Another cloud was above them, so that neither the heat nor the sun, and neither rain nor hail would overcome them. Another was below them, and it carried them as a nursing father carries the infant in his bosom. Another ran before them three days’ journey to level mountains and raise valleys; it killed all the poisonous serpents and scorpions in the wilderness; and it would scout out for them a suitable place for them to rest, so that they could be occupied with instruction in the Law which had been given to them by the right hand of YY.

2:7 After this, Moses was told by a prophecy from YY to send messengers to spy out the land. When they returned from spying they brought a bad report about the land of Israel, and they were delayed forty years in the wilderness. Moses opened his mouth and this is what he said, “I adjure you, O Assembly of Israel, by YY of Hosts, by the Mighty of the land of Israel, that you do not presume to go up to the land of Canaan until it is YY’s will and the whole generation of warriors in the camp finally dies out. Do not be presumptuous like your brothers the Ephraimites, who left Egypt thirty years before the end had come and fell into the hands of the Philistines living in Gath, who killed them. But wait the period of forty years and then your children will go up and take possession of it.”

2:8 Solomon the king said, “While the people of the House of Israel were living in Egypt, their complaint arose to heaven above. Then suddenly, the glory of YY was revealed to Moses on Mount Horeb. And He sent him to Egypt to deliver them and to bring them out from the bitter oppression of Egypt. And he skipped to the appointed end by virtue of the merit of their patriarchs (who are compared to mountains) and skipped a hundred and ninety years of the time of slavery because of the righteousness of their matriarchs (who are compared to hills).”

2:9 The Assembly of Israel said, “At the time when the glory of YY was revealed in Egypt on the night of Passover and He killed every firstborn, He rode on a swift thunder-cloud and ran like a gazelle or an antelope fawn, and he shielded the houses where we were. And he stood behind our wall and looked through the window and peered through the lattice. And He saw the blood of the Passover sacrifice and the blood of the circumcision which was marked on our doors, and He hastened from heaven above and saw His people eating the sacrifice of the Passover feast, roasted by fire, along with bitter herbs and endives and unleavened bread, and He had mercy on us and did not allow the Destroying Angel to destroy us.”

2:10 And at morning time my Beloved answered and said to me, “Arise, O Assembly of Israel, my beloved from of old, beautiful in deeds. Depart, go forth from the slavery of the Egyptians.

2:11 ”For, behold, the time of slavery (which is like winter) is over; the years of which I spoke to Abraham in “the covenant between the parts” 8 have been cut short; the bitterness of the Egyptians (which is compared to constant rain) is over and gone–and you will never see them again.

2:12 “And Moses and Aaron (who are likened to palm branches) have appeared to perform miracles [sounds like “blossom”] in the land of Egypt. The time has arrived for the slaying of the firstborn and for the voice of the Holy Spirit of Redemption of which I spoke to your father Abraham (You have already heard what I said to him: ‘I will judge the nation they will serve, and afterwards they will go out with many possessions.’). I wish to do now what I swore to him by My Word.”

2:13 The Assembly of Israel (likened to the first fruits of the figs) opened her mouth and sang the Song at the Reed Sea. Even youths and sucklings praised the Lord of the World with their tongue. Immediately, the Lord of the World said to them: “Arise, O Assembly of Israel, My beloved, My beautiful one, go from here to the land which I promised to your ancestors.”

2:14 And when wicked Pharaoh pursued the people of Israel, the Assembly of Israel was compared to a dove trapped in the clefts of a rock–a snake threatening it from within and a hawk threatening it from without. In the same way, the Assembly of Israel was trapped in all four directions: in front of them was the sea, behind them the enemy pursued, and on either side were wildernesses full of fiery serpents which wound and kill people with their sting. Then immediately the Assembly opened her mouth in prayer before YY and an echo 9 came from the heaven above and this is what it said, “You, O Assembly of Israel, who resemble a dove, pure and hiding in the hiding-place of the clefts of the rocks or in the hidden places of the stairs: show me your face and your worthy deeds and let me hear your voice. For your voice is sweet when it prays in the small Temple and your face is beautiful when you perform good deeds.”

2:15 After they had crossed the Sea, they grumbled about the water and wicked Amalek came upon them, he who kept a grudge against them on account of the birthright and the blessing which Jacob our father took from Esau. And he came to wage war against Israel because she neglected the words of the Law. And from beneath the edges of the cloud of glory, the wicked Amalek would steal souls from the tribe of Dan to kill them, because the graven image of Micah was in their hands. At that time the House of Israel would have been condemned to destruction (like a vineyard about to be destroyed), if it had not been for the righteous ones of that generation (who may be compared to a sweet perfume).

2:16 At that time, they turned in repentance. And Moses the prophet stood ready and prayed before YY. Joshua, his servant, was equipped and went forth from beneath the edges of YY’s cloud glory, and with him went righteous heroes (who in their deeds resemble the rose). They waged war against Amalek and shattered Amalek and his people under the ban of YY: death and destruction according to the law of the sword.

2:17 And in a few days, the Children of Israel made the Golden Calf and the cloud of glory which had sheltered them was lifted and they were left exposed and deprived of their weaponry on which was inscribed the great Name interpreted in seventy names. And YY would have wiped them from the world, except that He called to mind the covenant He had sworn by His Word to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob who were swift in worshiping Him as a gazelle or an antelope fawn, And he called to mind that Abraham had offered his son Isaac in sacrifice on Mount Moriah and that he had previously offered his sacrifices there and divided them evenly.

3:1 When the people of the House of Israel saw that the clouds of glory been withdrawn from over them and that the crown of holiness which had been given them at Sinai was removed from them, they were left in darkness like the night. And they sought the crown of holiness which had been lifted from them but they did not find it.

3:2 The Children of Israel said to one another, “Let us rise and go and surround the Tent of the Appointed Time which Moses spread outside the camp, and let us request instruction from YY and the Holy Presence which has been removed from us.” Then they went around in the towns, streets, and squares, but they did not find it.

3:3 The Assembly of Israel said, 10 “Moses and Aaron and the Levites, who keep watch over the Word of YY 11 of the Tent of the Appointed Time and who go around it, found me, and I asked them about the Glorious Presence of YY which had been removed from me. Moses, the great Scribe of Israel, answered and this is what he said, ‘I will ascend to heaven on high and pray before YY. Perhaps He will forgive your guilt and make His Presence dwell among you as before.’

3:4 Then after a little time, YY turned from His fierce anger and He commanded Moses the prophet to make the Tent of the Appointed Time and the Ark and He caused His Presence to dwell within it. And the people of the House of Israel would offer their sacrifices and were occupied with the words of the Law in the chamber of the House of Study of Moses, their rabbi, and in the classroom of Joshua, son of Nun, his assistant.

3:5 When the seven nations heard that the Children of Israel were about to take possession of their land, they rose at once and cut the trees, stopped up the water springs, laid waste their towns and fled. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses the prophet: “I promised the patriarchs of these people to bring up their children to take possession of a land producing milk and honey. But I am bringing their children into a wasted and barren land. I will now detain them forty years in the wilderness, and My Law will be blended into their bodies. And meanwhile these wicked nations will build up what they have destroyed.”

Therefore Moses said to the Children of Israel, “I adjure you, O Assembly of Israel, by YY of Hosts and by the Mighty of the Land of Israel, that you do not presume to go up to the land of the Canaanites until the completion of the forty years and it is the will of YY to deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands. And you will cross the Jordan and the land will be subdued before you.”

3:6 When Israel came up from the wilderness and crossed the Jordan with Joshua, son of Nun, the nations of the land said, “What chosen people is this coming up from the wilderness, perfumed with the incense of spices,”–supported by the merit of Abraham, who worshiped and prayed before YY on Mount Moriah–“and anointed with the oil of high office,”–with the righteousness of Isaac, who was bound for sacrifice in the location of the Temple, called the Mountain of Frankincense, “and for whom miracles are performed?”–through the piety of Jacob, with whom an angel wrestled until the break of dawn and who prevailed over him and was spared, both he and twelve tribes.

Section 2: The Temple

3:7 When Solomon, the king of Israel, built the Temple of YY in Jerusalem, YY said through His Word, “How beautiful is this Temple, built for Me by the hands of King Solomon, son of David. And how beautiful are the priests at the time they spread their hands, standing on their dais, and bless the people of the House of Israel with the sixty letters which were transmitted to Moses their rabbi. And that blessing surrounds them like a high and strong wall, and by it all the heroes of Israel are strengthened and prospered.”

3:8 And the priests and the Levites, and all the tribes of Israel, all of them are distinguished in the words of the Law (which is compared to a sword) and they swing it and turn it among themselves, as heroes experienced in warfare; and each and every one of them has the seal of circumcision on his flesh, just as the flesh of Abraham their father was sealed, and they are strengthened by it like a hero whose sword is girded on his thigh. And on this account they are not afraid of demons or shades that prowl by night.

3:9 Solomon the King built himself a holy Temple from zingiber, box, and cedar which he brought from Lebanon, and he overlaid it with pure gold.

3:10 After he had completed it, he placed in it the Ark of the Testimony, which is the pillar of the world. Inside the ark, he placed the two tablets of stone which Moses had hidden there in Horeb, which were more precious than refined silver, more beautiful than pure gold. And he spread out the curtain of blue and purple to cover it from above. And between the cherubim that were on the mercy-seat dwelled the Presence of YY who caused His name to dwell in Jerusalem out of all the cities of the land of Israel.

3:11 When Solomon the King came to make the dedication of the Temple, the herald went forth with strength and this is what he said, “Inhabitants of the districts of the land of Israel and people of Zion, come and see the crown and diadem with which the people of the House of Israel have crowned King Solomon on the day of dedication of the Temple. And rejoice with the joy of the Feast of Booths!” For at that time King Solomon celebrated the Feast of Booths for fourteen days.

4:1 On that day King Solomon sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings on the altar and his offering was accepted with favor by YY. An echo came forth from heaven and this is what it said, “How beautiful you are, O Assembly of Israel, and how beautiful are those leaders of the Assembly and the sages sitting in the Sanhedrin, they who enlighten for ever and ever the people of the House of Israel (who resemble turtledoves, the nestlings of a dove); and even the rest of the members of your Assembly and the people of the land are righteous as the sons of Jacob who gathered stones and made a monument on Mount Gilead. 12

4:2 “How beautiful are the Priests and Levites who bring your offerings and eat the holy meat, the tithe, and the heave-offering, and are untainted by any theft or robbery, just as the flocks of Jacob’s sheep were clean at the time they were shorn and came up from the Jabbok river. For none of them was obtained by theft or robbery. All of them resembled one another, they bore twins every time, and none of them was barren or miscarried.”

4:3 And the lips of the High Priest were uttering prayers before YY on the Day of Atonement, and his words changed the sins of Israel (which resembled a scarlet thread) and made them white as clean wool. 13 And the king who was at their head was full of precepts like the pomegranate, not to mention the overseers and rulers who were near the king, who were righteous and in whom there was nothing evil.

4:4 And the head of the Academy, who was master to you, was as mighty in merit and great in good deeds as David the King of Israel, and on the word of his mouth the world was built. And the people of the House of Israel were confident in the teaching of the Law with which he was occupied, and they were victorious in war as if they were holding in their hands all sorts of heroic weapons.

4:5 Your two redeemers who are destined to redeem you, Messiah Son of David and Messiah Son of Ephraim, resemble Moses and Aaron, the sons of Jochebed (who are comparable to two young antelopes, twins of a gazelle). And by their merit they fed the people of the House of Israel for forty years in the wilderness on manna, plump fowl, and the water of Miriam’s well.

4:6 And all the time that the House of Israel held fast to the ways of their righteous fathers, the demons and night-demons and morning-demons and midday-demons 14 fled from among them, because the glorious Presence of YY dwelt in the Temple that was built on Mount Moriah, and all the demons and destroyers would flee from the smell of the spice incense.

4:7 And at the time that the people, the House of Israel, did the will of the Lord of the World, He would praise them in heaven above, and this is what He said: “You are all beautiful, O Assembly of Israel, and there is no blemish in you!”

4:8 YY said by His Word, “The Assembly of Israel (which resembles a chaste bride) will dwell with me, and with Me they will go up to the Temple. And the heads of the people who dwell by the river Amana and who dwell on the peak of Snow Mountain and the nations who are in Hermon will be bringing gifts to you. And those who inhabit strong cities (mighty as lions) will be bringing tribute to you–the offering from cities of the mountains (which are stronger than leopards).

4:9 “Your love is fixed upon the tablet of My heart, O My sister, Assembly of Israel (who are comparable to a chaste bride). Fixed upon the tablet of My heart is the love of the least of your rabbis who is righteous like one of the rabbis of the Sanhedrin and like one of the kings of the House of Judah, upon whose neck was placed the crown of kingship.

4:10 “How beautiful to Me is your love, My sister, Assembly of Israel (who are comparable to a chaste bride). How good to me is your love, more than that of the seventy nations, and the good name of your righteous ones is more fragrant than all spices.

4:11 “And when the priests pray in the court of the Sanctuary, their lips drip flowing honey. And your tongue, O chaste bride, with your utterances–their songs and praises are sweet as milk and honey. And the scent of the garments of the priests is like the scent of frankincense.

4:12 “And your women who are married to husbands are as chaste as a chaste bride and like the Garden of Eden which no man is permitted to enter except the righteous whose souls are sent into it by the hand of the angels. And your virgins are concealed and hidden in chambers and sealed in this way: like the spring of living water which issued from beneath the Tree, was divided into four river-sources, and, if it had not been sealed by the Great and Holy Name, would have come gushing out and flooded the whole world.

4:13 “And your young men are full of precepts (like pomegranates), and they love their wives and beget children righteous as themselves. And their odor is like the pleasant spices of the Garden of Eden: cypress trees with spikenard plants.

4:14 “Spikenard and saffron, fragrant calamus and cinnamon, with all the woods of frankincense, pure myrrh, eaglewood, with all types of spices.

4:15 “And the waters of Siloah flow gently with the rest of the waters that proceed from Lebanon to water the land of Israel for the sake of those occupied with the words of the Law (who are likened to a well of living waters), and by the merit of the oblation of water poured on the altar of the Temple that is built in Jerusalem (which is called Lebanon).”

4:16 And on the northern side was a table and on it were twelve loaves of show-bread; on the southern side was the candlestick to give light; and on the altar the priests offered the sacrifice and on it sent up the spice incense.

The Assembly of Israel said, “Let God, my Beloved, enter the Temple and favorably receive the sacrifices of His people.”

5:1 Then the Holy One, blessed be He, said to His people, the House of Israel: “I have come into my Temple which you built for Me, O My Sister, Assembly of Israel, (who are comparable to a chaste bride). I have caused My Presence to dwell among you. And I have favorably received your spice incense which you performed for My name. I have sent fire from heaven and it devoured the burnt offerings and the holy sacrifices. The libations of red wine and white wine, which the priests poured out on My altar, was favorably received. Now come, O priests who love My precepts, and eat what is left of the offerings and delight yourselves with the bounty made ready for you.”

Section 3: Exile

5:2 After all these things, the people of the House of Israel sinned, and YY delivered them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, and he led them into exile. And in the exile they resembled a man who sleeps and cannot be aroused from his sleep. And the voice of the Holy Spirit enlightened them by means of the prophets and She would awaken them from the slumber of their hearts. The Master of All the World answered and this is what He said, “Return in repentance, open your mouth, pray and praise Me, O My sister, My beloved, Assembly of Israel (likened to the dove in the perfection of your works), for the hair of My head is filled with your tears (like a man the hair of whose head is soaked with the dew of heaven) and the locks of My hair are filled with the drops from your eyes (like the man whose locks of hair are filled with drops of rain that fall in the night).”

5:3 The Assembly of Israel answered before the prophets: “Look, I have already removed the yoke of His commandments from myself and have worshipped the idols of the nations. How can I have the face to return to Him?”

The Lord of the World replied to them by the prophets, “And the same for me. Look, I have already lifted My Presence from among you. How then can I return since you have done evil things? I have cleansed my feet of your filth. How then can I let them get dirty among you 15 from your evil deeds?”

5:4 When it was made clear before YY that the people of the House of Israel were not willing to repent and return to Him, He stretched forth His mighty blow against the tribe of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh on the other side of the Jordan and delivered them into the hand of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, and he exiled them to Lahlahand Habor, rivers of Gozan, and to the cities of Media. And he took from their hand the molten calf which sinful Jeroboam had put in Leshem Dan, which is called Pamios, in the days of Peqah, son of Remaliah. When I heard, my compassion was stirred for them.

5:5 When the mighty stroke of YY came down hard on me, I regretted my actions and the priests brought the sacrifice and offered up spice incense but it was not received favorably, because the Lord of the World had shut the doors of repentance in my face.

5:6 The Assembly of Israel said, “I wished to request instruction from YY but he had lifted His Presence from within me. My soul longed for the sound of His Words and I sought the Presence of His Glory, but I did not find it. I prayed before Him, but He covered the heavens with clouds and would not accept my prayer.”

5:7 The Chaldeans, who guard the roads, overtook me and battered me all around the city of Jerusalem. Part of me they killed with the sword and part of me they carried into captivity. The people of Babylon, who battered the city and watched the walls–they took the royal crown off the neck of Zedekiah, the King of Judah, and they brought him to Rivlah and put out his eyes.

5:8 The Assembly of Israel said, “I adjure you, O prophets, by the decree of the Word of YY, what if our Beloved is revealed to you? Tell Him that I am lovesick for His love.”

5:9 The prophets answered and said to the House of Israel, “Which God do you wish to serve, O Assembly of Israel, fairest of all the nations? And whom do you wish to revere that you have adjured us in this way?”

5:10 Then the Assembly of Israel began to speak in praise of the Lord of the World, and this is what she said, “The God I desire to worship is that One Who by day is dressed in a robe as white as snow and is occupied with the twenty-four books of the Law, the words of the Prophets, and the Writings; and Who by night is occupied with the six Orders of Mishnah and the glorious splendor of His face blazes like fire from the intense wisdom and judgment–for He innovates new traditions every day and will reveal them to His people on the Great Day. And His banner is over a myriad myriads of angels who minister before Him.

5:11 “His Law 16 is more desirable than pure gold, and the interpretation of its Words contain heaps upon heaps of reasons and precepts. They are white as snow to those who keep them, but black as a raven’s wing to those who do not keep them.

5:12 “His eyes are looking constantly at Jerusalem to do good to her and to bless her, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year (like doves that stand and look at the streams of water) because of the merit of those who sit in the Sanhedrin, occupied with the Law, making justice flow down smoothly like milk, and those who sit in the House of Study and take great care in judgment until they determine to acquit or to condemn.

5:13 “The two stone tablets which He gave to His people were written in ten lines (resembling the lines of the spice garden), multiplying subtleties and reasons as the garden multiplies spices; and the lips of His sages who are occupied with the Law distil reasons on every side and the word of their mouth is like choice myrrh.

5:14 “The twelve tribes of Jacob his servant were enrolled on the breastplate, the holy golden ornament, engraved on twelve gems, with the three fathers 17, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Reuben was engraved on ruby, Simeon was engraved on carnelian, Levi was engraved on corundum, Judah was engraved on black marble, Issachar was engraved on emerald, Zebulun was engraved on diamond, Dan was engraved on a beryl, Naphtali was engraved on a sapphire, God was engraved on topaz, Asher was engraved on turquoise, Joseph was engraved on malachite, Benjamin was engraved on jasper. They resembled the twelve constellations, shining like a lantern, glistening like ivory in their deeds, and shining like sapphires.

5:15 “And the righteous are the pillars of the world, resting on bases of pure gold, those words of the Law with which they are occupied and instruct the people of the House of Israel to do His Will. Like an old scholar, He is filled with compassion for them and makes the sins of the House of Israel as white as the snow. And like a young warrior as strong as cedars, He stands ready to make victorious war against the nations who transgress His Will.

5:16 “The words of His palate are as sweet as honey, and all His commandments are more desirable to His sages than gold and silver. This is the praise of God, my Beloved, and this is the power of the strength of my Lord, my Beloved, O prophets who prophesy in Jerusalem.”

6:1 When they heard the praise of YY from the mouth of the Assembly of Israel, the prophets posed a question, and this is what they said, “For what sin was the Presence of YY withdrawn from you, whose conduct was more beautiful than that of all nations; and where has your Beloved turned when He left your sanctuary?” The Assembly of Israel said, “For the sins of rebellion and insurrection which were found in me.” The prophets said, “Now return in repentance, and let us rise, both you and us, and let us pray before Him and let us beg mercy together.”

Section 4: The Second Temple

6:2 And the Lord of the World received their prayer favorably and went down to Babylon to the Sanhedrin of sages and gave relief to His people and brought them up from their exile by means of Cyrus, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the Elders of the Jews. And they built the Temple, and appointed the priests over the sacrifices, and the Levites over the guardianship of the Holy Word. And He sent fire from heaven and favorably received the sacrifices and the spice incense. And as a man feeds his beloved son with delicacies, that is how He indulged them. And as a man gathers roses from the plain, so He gathered them from Babylon.

6:3 And in that day I worshiped the Lord of the World, my Beloved. And my Beloved made His holy Presence dwell within me and He fed me with delicacies.

6:4 YY said by His Word, “How beautiful you are, My Dear, when your desire is to do My Will. Beautiful is the Temple which you built for Me, like the first Temple Solomon built for me. All the nations are in awe of you, as in the day your four bannered legions marched in the wilderness.

6:5 “Your rabbis, the sages of the Great Assembly, surrounded Me completely to receive me, for they acknowledged My reign during the Exile and they established a House of Study for the instruction of My Law. And the rest of your students and the people of the land acknowledged My justice by the word of their mouth, like the sons of Jacob who gathered stones and made a monument on Mount Gilead. 18

6:6 “And the priests and Levites ate of your sacrifices and of the holy tithe and the heave-offering, and were untainted by any theft or robbery, just as the flocks of Jacob’s sheep were clean at the time they came up from the Jabbok river. For none of them was obtained by theft or robbery. All of them resembled one another, they bore twins every time, and none of them was barren or miscarried.

6:7 “As for the reign of the Hasmonean dynasty, they were all filled with [performance of] the commandments as the pomegranate [is filled with seeds]–not to mention Mattathias the High Priest and his sons, who were more righteous than all of them 19, and who fulfilled the commandments and words of the Law with thirsty eagerness.”

6:8 At the same time the Greeks arose and gathered sixty kings from the sons of Esau, dressed in ring mail and riding on horses, and horsemen, and eighty commanders 20 from the sons of Ishmael, riding on elephants–not to mention the rest of the nations with their innumerable languages, and they appointed Alexander 21 as chief over them, and they came to wage war against Jerusalem.

6:9 And at that time the Assembly of Israel (which resembled a perfect dove) was worshipping the Lord of the World wholeheartedly and was devoted to the Law, occupied with the words of the Law with an undivided heart, and her merit was as pure as on the day she came out of Egypt. Look then, the Hasmoneans and Mattathias and all the people of Israel came out and joined battle with them, and the Lord delivered them into their hand. And when the inhabitants of the provinces saw this, they exalted them and the kings of the land and the rulers praised them.

6:10 The nations said, “The deeds of this people are like daybreak. Her youths are as beautiful as moonlight, and her merits are as bright as the sun. And all the inhabitants of earth are in awe of her, as when her four bannered legions marched in the wilderness.”

6:11 The Lord of the World said, “I have caused my Presence to dwell in the second Temple which was built by the hands of Cyrus, in order to see the good deeds of my people and to see whether perhaps the sages (who are comparable to a vine) were increasing and multiplying their blossoms full of good deeds (like pomegranates).”

6:12 And when it became clear before YY that they were 22 occupied with the Law, YY said by His Word, “I will not humiliate them again and I will not exterminate them, but I will consider how to do good to them and to lift them on high in the company of kings, because of the merits of the righteous of the generation, which resemble Abraham their father in their actions.”

7:1 (6:13) 23, Return to Me, O Assembly of Israel, return to Jerusalem, return to the House of Instruction of the Law, return to receive prophecy from the prophets who prophesy in the Name of the Word of YY. Why do you false prophets mislead the people of Jerusalem with your prophecies, speak rebellion against the Word of YY, and defile the camp of Israel and Judah?

7:2 (1) Solomon in the spirit of prophecy said before YY, “How beautiful are the feet of Israel when they go up to appear before YY three times a year in sandals 24, bringing their vow offerings and free-will offerings. And the children that come from their loins are as beautiful as the sparkling gems set in the Holy Crown 25 that Bezalel the craftsman made for Aaron the priest.

7:3 (2) “The head of your council, by whose merit the whole world is sustained (as a fetus is sustained by the navel in the womb of its mother) was as bright with [knowledge of] the Law as the disk of the moon, when he goes forth to declare pure or impure, innocent or guilty. The words of the Law are never lacking in his mouth, just as the water of the great river that emerged from Eden never fails. And seventy sages surrounded him like a round threshing floor. And their storehouses were full of the holy tithes, the vow offerings, and the free-will offerings that Ezra the priest, Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah and Mordecai Bilshan, the men of the Great Synagogue (who resembled roses) had fenced off for their use, in order to enable them to be occupied with the Law day and night.

7:4 (3) “Your two redeemers who are destined to redeem you, Messiah the son of David and Messiah the son of Ephraim, are like Moses and Aaron, sons of Jochebed, who resemble two fawns, twins of a roe.

7:5 (4) “The President of the Court who adjudicates your lawsuits has power over the people to compel them and to exact punishment from one who is sentenced by the court, as did King Solomon, who made an ivory tower, subdued the people of the House of Israel, and brought them back to the Lord of the World. Your Scribes are full of wisdom (like water channels), and they know how to calculate 26 intercalations and declare leap years and how to determine the beginnings of months and the beginnings of years in the gate of the House of the Great Sanhedrin. And the chief of the family of the House of Judah is like King David, who built the Citadel of Zion, which is called the Tower of Lebanon–anyone who stands on it can count all the towers in Damascus.

7:6 (5) “The king appointed to be head over you is as righteous as Elijah the prophet, who showed zeal for the Lord of Heaven, slew the false prophets on Mount Carmel, and restored the people of the House of Israel to the fear of YY God. And the lowly of the people who walk with bowed head because they are poor are destined to be clothed in purple, even as Daniel was clothed in the city of Babylon and Mordecai in Susa, on account of the merit of Abraham, who long ago acknowledged the reign of the Lord of the World, through the righteousness of Isaac, whom his father bound in order to sacrifice him, and through the piety of Jacob, who peeled the rods in the watering troughs.”

7:7 (6) King Solomon said, “How beautiful you are, O Assembly of Israel, at the time you bear the yoke of My reign, at the time I chasten you with afflictions for your sin and you receive them with love and they seem in your sight as delights.

7:8 (7) “[How beautiful you are] at the time the priests spread their hands in prayer and recite the blessing on their siblings of the house of Israel, the fingers of their hands stretch out like the branches of a palm tree, their stature are like a date tree, and your congregations stand facing the priests, their faces bent to the ground like a cluster of grapes.”

7:9 (8) YY said by His Word, “I will go and test Daniel and see whether he will be able to stand this trial, as Abraham (who resembled a palm branch) stood in ten trials. And I will also test Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah 27, whether they are able to stand in their trials. Because of their merit, I will redeem the people of the House of Israel (who are comparable to a cluster of grapes). And the fame of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah will be heard in all the earth and their fragrance will spread like the fragrance of the apples of the Garden of Eden.”

7:10 (9) Daniel and his companions said, “We will take upon ourselves the decree of the Word of YY, as Abraham our father (who was like old wine) took it upon himself. And we will walk in paths that are proper in His sight, just as the prophets Elijah and Elisha walked, by whose merits the dead rose like a man who slumbers; or like Ezekiel, the son of Buzi the priest, by the prophecy of whose mouth the sleeping dead were awakened in the valley of Dura.”

Section 5: The Final Exile, Redemption, and Temple

7:11 (10) Jerusalem said, “All the time that I walk in the way of the Lord of the World, He makes His Presence dwell in my midst and His longing is for me. But when I deviate from His way, He removes His Presence from me and carries me away among the nations, and these rule over me as a man rules over his wife.” 28

7:12 (11) When the people of the House of Israel sinned, YY exiled them to the land of Seir, the field of Edom. And the Assembly of Israel said, “I beseech You, Master of the whole World, receive my prayer which I pray before You in the cities of Exile and the districts of the nations.”

7:13 (12) The Children of Israel said one to the other, “Let us get up early in the morning and go to the Synagogue and to the House of Study and search in the Books of the Law and let us see whether the time of Redemption has come for the people of the House of Israel (who are likened to the vine) to be redeemed from their Exile. Let us ask the sages whether the merit of the righteous (who are full of precepts like the pomegranate) is revealed before the Lord, and whether the appointed time has come to go up to Jerusalem, in order to give praise there to the God of Heaven, and to bring burnt offerings and holy oblations.”

7:14 (13) And when it will be the Lord’s will to redeem His people from Exile, the King Messiah will be told, “The term of the Exile has already been completed, and the merit of the righteous has released its fragrance before Me like the aroma of balsam, and the sages of the generations have been standing fast at the gates of Study, occupied with the words of the Scriptures and the words of the Law. Now rise! Receive the kingdom that I have reserved for you!”

8:1 At that time when King Messiah is revealed to the Congregation of Israel, they will say to Him, “Come, be as a brother to us and let us go up to Jerusalem, and let us suck with you the judgments of the Law, just as a suckling sucks at his mother’s breast. All the time that I was taken away outside my land, as long as I was mindful of the Name of the Great God and gave up my life for His Divinity, even the nations of the earth would not scorn me.

8:2 “I will lead you, O King 29, and bring you up to my Temple. And you will teach me to fear before YY and to walk in His ways. And there we will partake of the feast of Leviathan and will drink old wine preserved in its grape since the day the world was created and from the pomegranates and fruits prepared for the righteous in the Garden of Eden.”

8:3 The Assembly of Israel will say, “I am the chosen of all nations. I bind tefillin on my left hand and on my head and fix the mezuzah to the right side of my door a third of the height from the lintel so that no demon has power to harm me.”

8:4 King Messiah will say, “I adjure you, my people, House of Israel. Why are you warring against the nations of the earth to leave the Exile 30? Why are you rebelling against the forces of Gog and Magog? Wait a little longer until the nations who come up to make war against Jerusalem are destroyed, and after that the Lord of the World will remember for you the love of the righteous, and let it be His will to redeem you.”

8:5 Solomon the prophet said, “When the dead will come to life, the Mount of Olives will be split and all the dead of Israel come forth from beneath it; and even the righteous who died in exile will come from under the earth by way of caverns and will come forth beneath the Mount of Olives. And the wicked who have died and been buried in the land of Israel will be cast up as a man throws up a stone with a stick. Then all the inhabitants of the earth will say, ‘What was the merit of this people that have come up from the earth, myriads upon myriads, 31 as on the day when they appeared beneath Mount Sinai to receive the Law?’ At that hour Zion, mother of Israel, will bear her children and Jerusalem will receive her captive children.”

8:6 The Children of Israel on that day will say to their Lord, “We beseech You, set us as the seal of a ring on your heart, as the seal of a ring on your arm, so that we may never again be exiled. For the love of Your Divinity is as strong as death, and the jealousy which the nations harbor against us is as powerful as Gehinnom. The enmity which they harbor against us is like the coals of the fire of Gehinnom which YY created on the second day of the Creation of the World to burn the idolators with it.”

8:7 The Lord of the World says to His people, the House of Israel, “Even if all the nations (like the waters of the Great Sea) were to gather themselves, they could not quench My love for you. And even if all the kings of the earth were to join together (like the waters of a river flowing with a strong current) they could not sweep you from the world. And if a man gave all the wealth of his house to buy wisdom in the exile, I would restore it to him double in the world to come. And all the spoil taken from the camp of Gog would be his.”

8:8 At that time, the angels will say to one another, “We have one people on earth and her merits are clear, but she has no kings or rulers to go forth and wage war against the camp of Gog. What will we do for our sister in the day when the nations speak of going up against her for war?”

8:9 Then Michael, the chief of Israel, will say, “If she is ready like a fortified wall among the nations and gives her silver to purchase [the right to uphold] the uniqueness of the Name of the Lord of the World, then you and I will be with their scribes and surround them like scaffoldings of silver, and the nations will have no power to rule over her, as the serpent has no power to rule over silver. And even if she is poor in precepts, we will implore mercy on her behalf before YY and He will remember for her the merit of the Law that the young study, which is written upon the tablets of the heart and is ready to oppose the nations like a cedar.”

8:10 The Assembly of Israel answers and says, “I am as strong as a wall in the words of the Law and my children are as sturdy as a tower.” And in that time the Assembly of Israel will find favor in the eyes of her Lord and earth’s inhabitants will seek her welfare.”

8:11 A people came up by lot of the Lord of the World with whom is peace. She is like to a vineyard. He settled her in Jerusalem and delivered her to the rule of the kings of the House of David that they might guard her as a tenant guards his vineyard. And after the death of Solomon, King of Israel, she was left in the hand of Rehoboam, his son. Jeroboam son of Nebat came and divided the kingdom with him and led ten tribes away from him, according to the word spoken by Ahijah of Shiloh, who was a great man.

8:12 When Solomon, King of Israel, heard the prophecy of Ahijah of Shiloh, he wished to kill him. But Ahijah fled from Solomon and went to Egypt. At that very moment it was told to Solomon through prophecy that he would rule over the ten tribes all his days, but after his death Jeroboam son of Nebat would rule over them, and Rehoboam son of Solomon would rule over the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin.

8:13 At the end of his prophecy, Solomon said, “The Lord of the World is destined to say to the Assembly of Israel at the end of days, ‘You, O Assembly of Israel (like a little garden among the nations), sitting in the House of Study with the members of the Sanhedrin, and the rest of the people who listen to the voice of the head of the academy and learn from his mouth words of the Law: make me hear the sound of your words at the time when you sit to acquit or convict and I will be agreeable to all you do.’

8:14 “In that hour the elders of the Assembly of Israel will say, ‘Flee, my Beloved, Lord of the world, from this polluted earth, and let your Presence dwell in heaven above. But in times of trouble, when we pray to you, be like a gazelle which sleeps with one eye closed and one eye open, or like an antelope fawn which looks behind as it runs away. Just so, look on us and regard our pain and affliction from heaven above, until the time when you will be pleased with us and redeem us and bring us up to the mountains of Jerusalem and there the priests will burn before you the incense of spices.’ ”


Sights and Sounds of the Song of Songs

Last Modified: 12 August, 2004
Jay Treat