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
Chapter 3 Poem 9 (Feeling Neglected)
Jack Lundbom compares this poem with Mary Magdelene seeking Jesus after the crucifixion. Mary goes to the tomb looking for Jesus, and does not find him. She questions the angels (guards) as to where He is. She encounters Jesus, but does not recognize Him. When she does, she holds onto Him, but He must go. They do not end up at her mother’s house, but she will end up with Him in heaven.
Many scholars see prophecy in the Song of Songs. The man is first a shepherd and they are in love (the first coming). He disappears and returns a King (the second coming).
v 1 On my bed (this word indicates a place for intimacy), at nights (this is plural), I searched for the one my soul loves. I searched for him, but did not find him.
Some believe this is a dream/ nightmare as she is in bed. Their relationship is strained and she is worried she has ‘lost’ him.
v 2 “I will get up and go around in the city, in the streets and in the public squares. I will search for the one my soul loves.”
I searched but I did not find him.
The man is busy in the city and has not been paying attention to his wife.
v 3 The guards found me, those who patrol the city,
“Have you seen the one my soul loves?”
v 4 It was a little while after I left them that I found the one my soul loves. I grabbed him and would not let him go until I brought him to my mother’s house, to the room where she conceived me.
Her mother’s house is likely the house they use in the city. Notice that she does not nag to get his attention, but instead shows him in a very physical way how much she misses him. She is not a passive, demure wife, but an ardent lover who will be honest and search for constructive ways to restore her relationship.
v 5 I adjure you (Promise me), daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and deer of the field, not to awaken love until it desires.
Despite their problems, the man and the woman have a healthy relationship, one other women desire. Again she warns the women not to rush love, but to wait for the right man to come into their life at the right time, or this will not be what their relationship looks like.
The city setting is not a place conducive to love as it is teeming with people. As the more positive poems are set in the country, it is an indication that couples need a place away from others to be fully with each other. What this looks like in your relationship is up to you.