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First Reading: Song of Songs Chapter 1 and 2 and 3
Song of Songs 1
1 The Song of songs, which is Solomon's.
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; For thy love is better than wine.
3 Thine oils have a goodly fragrance; Thy name is `as' oil poured forth; Therefore do the virgins love thee.
4 Draw me; we will run after thee: The king hath brought me into his chambers; We will be glad and rejoice in thee; We will make mention of thy love more than of wine: Rightly do they love thee.
5 I am black, but comely, Oh ye daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar, As the curtains of Solomon.
6 Look not upon me, because I am swarthy, Because the sun hath scorched me. My mother's sons were incensed against me; They made me keeper of the vineyards; `But' mine own vineyard have I not kept.
7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, Where thou feedest `thy flock', Where thou makest `it' to rest at noon: For why should I be as one that is veiled Beside the flocks of thy companions?
8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, And feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.
9 I have compared thee, O my love, To a steed in Pharaoh's chariots.
10 Thy cheeks are comely with plaits `of hair', Thy neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make thee plaits of gold With studs of silver.
12 While the king sat at his table, My spikenard sent forth its fragrance.
13 My beloved is unto me `as' a bundle of myrrh, That lieth betwixt my breasts.
14 My beloved is unto me `as' a cluster of henna-flowers In the vineyards of En-gedi.
15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; Behold thou art fair; Thine eyes are `as' doves.
16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: Also our couch is green.
17 The beams of our house are cedars, `And' our rafters are firs.
Song of Songs 2
1 I am a rose of Sharon, A lily of the valleys.
2 As a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters.
3 As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, So is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4 He brought me to the banqueting-house, And his banner over me was love.
5 Stay ye me with raisins, refresh me with apples; For I am sick from love.
6 His left hand `is' under my head, And his right hand doth embrace me.
7 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the roes, or by the hinds of the field, That ye stir not up, nor awake `my' love, Until he please.
8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh, Leaping upon the mountains, Skipping upon the hills.
9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: Behold, he standeth behind our wall; He looketh in at the windows; He glanceth through the lattice.
10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11 For, lo, the winter is past; The rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth; The time of the singing `of birds' is come, And the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land;
13 The fig-tree ripeneth her green figs, And the vines are in blossom; They give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, In the covert of the steep place, Let me see thy countenance, Let me hear thy voice; For sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, That spoil the vineyards; For our vineyards are in blossom.
16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: He feedeth `his flock' among the lilies.
17 Until the day be cool, and the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart Upon the mountains of Bether.
Song of Songs 3
1 By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
2 `I said', I will rise now, and go about the city; In the streets and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
3 The watchmen that go about the city found me; `To whom I said', Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?
4 It was but a little that I passed from them, When I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, Until I had brought him into my mother's house, And into the chamber of her that conceived me.
5 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the roes, or by the hinds of the field, That ye stir not up, nor awake `my' love, Until he please.
6 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all powders of the merchant?
7 Behold, it is the litter of Solomon; Threescore mighty men are about it, Of the mighty men of Israel.
8 They all handle the sword, `and' are expert in war: Every man hath his sword upon his thigh, Because of fear in the night.
9 King Solomon made himself a palanquin Of the wood of Lebanon.
10 He made the pillars thereof of silver, The bottom thereof of gold, the seat of it of purple, The midst thereof being paved with love, From the daughters of Jerusalem.
11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon, With the crown wherewith his mother hath crowned him In the day of his espousals, And in the day of the gladness of his heart.
Second Reading: Galatians Chapter 4
1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all;
2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father.
3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world:
4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
8 Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods:
9 but now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again?
10 Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years.
11 I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain.
12 I beseech you, brethren, become as I `am', for I also `am become' as ye `are'. Ye did me no wrong:
13 but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time:
14 and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, `even' as Christ Jesus.
15 Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
16 So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth?
17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them.
18 But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you--
20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you.
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman.
23 Howbeit the `son' by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the `son' by the freewoman `is born' through promise.
24 Which things contain an allegory: for these `women' are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar.
25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children.
26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him `that was born' after the Spirit, so also it is now.
30 Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman.
31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
SONG OF SOLOMON
The Song of Solomon was believed to be written by King Solomon about 900 B.C. Its content includes speeches in Hebrew poetry. It depicts the beauty and pure love between a man and a woman which develops into a mature undying relationship. More in-depth symbolism shows the relationship between Christ and his bride, the body of believers, which will be consummated at his return. The basic message is the purity and sacredness of love.
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