This commentary is based on my notes after reading The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Song of Songs, by Tremper Longman III, 2001
Poem 7 (Love Takes TIme and Energy)
v 1 I am a flower of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
She is feeling insecure again. This is a common flower, of which there are many…
v 2 Like a lily between thorns is my darling among girls.
The other women are thorns compared to you! He answers and addresses her insecurities and does not dismiss or belittle her for having them. Instead he reassures her. This is not the first time in this poem she has been insecure, indicating that insecurity will need to be dealt with when it arises throughout the relationship.
v 3 Like an apple among the trees of the forest is my lover among boys.
Notice that they see each other as special, better than others, and they both tell each other so!
I desire his shade and I dwell there;
She likes to be close to him.
His fruit is sweet to my palate.
This may, or may not, be a euphemism for oral sex (likely it is given Song 1:3). Male fluids are somewhat sweet as they contain fructose, the same sugar that is in fruit.
v 4 He has brought me to the wine house,
The wine house is a place to drink, a tavern (likely not a place to bring your wife at this time). She is indicating that he makes her feel intoxicated. Likely it has sexual connotations. Their love life is very fulfilling and she fully enjoys herself.
And his banner over me was “Love.”
It is obvious to all, including her, that he loves her.
This banner is a flag that is used during a military campaign to identify different units. They are a team. Military terminology is used throughout the Bible to describe a husband and wife relationship. They have each other’s ‘six’ as they say and everyone knows they are a strong team.
v 5 Sustain me with raisin cakes (can also be translated as flagons of wine),
Refresh me with apples (remember, he is the apple tree),
For I am faint/ sick with love.
The woman is tires from their time together and needs rest and refreshment. Their physical relationship is draining her energy indicating it is lengthy and robust.
The raisin cakes may be translated as flagons of wine. Since raisin cakes are made with crushed raisins (and are very sweet) much like wine it makes the translation difficult.
In Canaanite fertility rituals both apples and raisin cakes are aphrodisiacs.
v 6 His left hand is under my head and his right hand embraces me.
They are laying together and he is holding her.
v 7 I adjure you (Promise me), daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the deer in the field not to awaken love until it desires.
The woman is warning other women who want what she has not to force a relationship but to wait until the right one comes along because it is worth the wait! Artificial love, a passing fling, is not the same. The use of the two works ‘awaken’ and ‘arouse’ indicates that there are at least two different ways to get into a bad relationship. What those ways are is unclear.