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 8 (Problems and Reunions)
v 8 The sound of my lover!
She has obviously been waiting/ listening for his return.
v 9 See, he is coming, leaping over mountains, bounding over hills.
He is obviously in a hurry to see her.
v 9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.
These are two animals associated with a Canaanite goddess of love and may be used here to represent love as we use Cupid in our culture today.
He is standing behind our wall, staring through the window, peeking through the lattice.
As excited as he is, he is unsure of his welcome…
v 10 My lover responded and said to me, “Rise up my darling, my beautiful one, and come…”
This time the man issues the invitation. Note the endearments and compliments that help reassure the woman of his love.
v 11 For now winter has passed, the rains have come and gone.
This may be a literal winter and spring or it may indicate that there was trouble either in the world that he needed to leave her to attend to or in their relationship.
v 12 Blossoms appear in the land, a time of spring has arrived, and the sound of turtledoves is heard in our land.
These events occur in April in Israel… Spring is the universal time for ‘love’ in nature.
v 13 The fig tree ripens its fruit, and the vines, in blossom, spread their fragrance, Rise up my darling, my beautiful one, and come.
These verses form a chiasm, a simple, ancient poem. They are more properly seen as they parallel each other and form a point that points to the main idea.
Rise up, my darling, my beautiful one, and come…
For now the winter has passed, the rains have come and gone,
Blossoms appear in the land,
A time of singing has arrived,
And the sound of turtledoves is heard in our land,
The fig tree ripens its fruit and the vines, in blossom, spread their fragrance.
Rise up, my darling, my beautiful one, and come.
The main idea is that this is a time for singing (having fun, rejoicing). The winter/ hard times are over. He reassures her that all is well and is lavish with the compliments. He repeats his invitation as she has not yet come to him. Many military families experience this as the wife often fears that the husband did not miss her as she missed him while he was away. It is also a good idea after a period of ‘bad times.’ The arguments, hopefully resolved, should be left in the past, as they are resolved and it is a new time in your relationship.
v 14 My dove, in the crevices of the rock, in the middle of the hiding place in the cliff, let me see your form!
He wants to go off to be alone with her and is letting her know he desires her.
Let me hear your voice! For your voice is agreeable and your form is pleasant.
He loves their conversations as well as their intimate relationship. Since there are Jewish and cultural teachings at this time instructing men to limit their time spent talking to their wife, this scripture contradicts those instructions. This man enjoys his wife physically and mentally.
v 15 “Grab the foxes, the little foxes! They are ruining the vineyards, our vineyards, in bloom,”
Fix the little problems (implies- before they get big) because they ruin our relationship.
v 16 My lover is mine and I am his; he grazes among the lilies.
The word ‘lilies’ is agreed by most to represent a female body part, though they argue over which one. You can go from a G-rated translation of ‘lips’ to PG to R with this one; and maybe all are correct since, as we will see in the next verse, the encounter lasts all night.
The point here is that she answers his request and responds that she is his. The relationship is restored.
v 17 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, all night long, turn my lover, be like a gazelle or a young stag in the mountains of Bether.
Romantic encounters in this poem are never short, and both parties seem pleased… something to think about.