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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Song of Songs: Poem 15

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Photo by Matija Barrett

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 15

(The Man Compliments the Woman- Again. Here the theme is ‘She is unique and wonderful!’)

Notice that the Song of Songs contains many more compliments from the man to the woman, though the woman does lavishly compliment the man. This may be an indication that women need more reassurance than men. Whether that is societal- men receive many more compliments from others, as they are out in society more at this time, or whether this is due to innate differences between men and women is up for debate.

The Man

v 4 You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, attractive as Jerusalem.

Tirzah is the capitol of the Northern Kingdom under Jeroboam before Omri moved it to Samaria. In Psalm 50:2 Jerusalem is described as the perfection of beauty. These are two powerful cities. It also emphasizes that he believes she is the most beautiful woman anywhere. Today, comparing a woman to cities, no matter how grand may not be as appreciated…

Awesome as an army under banners.

She is strong and capable- impressive.

v 5 Turn your eyes away from me; for they unsettle me;

He is aroused by her attention.

Your hair is like a flock of goats, streaming from Gilead.

She has long, thick hair- though this is another compliment that may not go over as well with women today.

v 6 Your teeth are like a flock of ewes, coming up from the washing.

Each is paired, not one of them is missing.

Having all your teeth was more unusual when this was written…

v 7 Like a slice of pomegranate is your temple behind your veil.

v 8 There may be sixty queens and eighty concubines, even countless young women,

v 9 but my dove, my flawless one- she is unique!

He believes his wife to be unique, the best among women of any class. We see this sentiment in Proverbs 31 as well.

She is the only one of her mother; She is favored of the one who bore her.

There is an implication that parental attention is important in raising a wonderful human being.

The daughters (of Jerusalem) saw her and called her blessed!

Queens and concubines praised her!

She is praised by others- we see this in Proverbs 31 as well. She is capable, competent and likable and others acknowledge this as well.

v 10 Who is like this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army under banners?

He believes that she is the best!

Song of Songs: Poem 14

This commentary is based on my notes after reading The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Song of Songs, by Tremper Longman III, 2001IMG_2537

Poem 14 (Missed Signals)

The Woman

v 2 I was sleeping, but my mind was alert.

(Literally this should be translated as heart, but at this time the heart represented where one thinks, so we translate this as mind today)

She was likely just getting to sleep.

“Open for me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one.

My head is full of dew, my locks with drizzle of the night.”

Note again the abundant compliments. I do not think the over the top amount of compliments is there by accident. Love is a very fragile, insecure thing, and reassurance of love is needed.

The man has been working late, and he is wet from being out in the weather. He is requesting intimacy.

v 3 “I have taken off my clothes (fine garments), should I get dressed again?

I have washed my feet, should I get them dirty?

Feet at this time are a euphemism for genitalia, likely due to the phrase “covering ones feet” as a euphemism for squatting to relieve oneself.

She is tired and has the mistaken impression that she needs to make herself beautiful for him, even though he is obviously a bit disheveled (the woman caring about her looks while the man cares a bit less than perhaps he should is a common marital discrepancy even today). She is also concerned that she has just washed and does not wish to have to bathe again. This may be due to the fact that he is less than freshly washed when he arrives…

In either case, he wishes to be intimate and she is less than excited.

v 4 My lover sent his hand through the hole, and my innards roiled towards him.

The hole is likely a hole in the door to unlatch it. Since most holes do not allow a human hand to get through, for obvious security reasons, most believe this is an euphemism.

The man is making another move towards intimacy, and the woman is responding.

I stood (woke?) up to open to my lover, and my hands dripped with myrrh and my fingers with liquid myrrh on the handles of the lock.

She is aroused and ready for intimacy. The myrrh may be a euphemism, or it may be that she has gotten up and prepared herself putting on perfume etc. In either case, there is an argument here for a ‘come as you are’ attitude in marriage; while also mentioning that women do not enjoy men who are less than clean, and take a little while longer to get in the mood.

v 6 I opened to my lover, but my lover had gone away; he had left.

He believes she does not want him, and gave up early.

My spirit had gone out at his speaking. I sought him, but did not find him.

I called him, but he did not answer;

She is now looking for him to restore the relationship.

Note throughout this that she misses him physically, mentally and spiritually.

v 7 The guards found me, those who make their rounds in the city.

They struck me; they bruised me.

They lifted my garments from me, those guards on the walls.

She wishes to go after him, but it is dangerous for a woman to be out alone, especially at night. Those who are supposed to guard her often don’t. This is a theme in this poem, as her brothers do not care for her as they should either. In his disappointment, he does not realize he has put her in a very unprotected/ vulnerable situation.

This also emphasizes societies unfriendliness/ judgmental attitude towards those with relationship issues. Instead of helping her, they are making her situation more taxing.

v 8 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my lover, what should you say to him? That I am sick with love!

The Women of Jerusalem

v 9 How is your lover better than (another) lover, O most beautiful of women?

How is your lover better than (another) lover, that we should so swear?

Why should we help you? Just get yourself a new lover.

She asks for their help, and they do not understand why she loves him so much when she could have any man. The thought here is that one man (or woman) is very much like another, so if this one is not satisfying you, find another. It also ignores that the initial problem was not entirely with him, but with her response to his advance (though there was fault/ miscommunication on both sides).

The Woman

v 10 My lover is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand!

This man is energetic and works hard/ outside long enough to be tan/ slightly burnt. She believes he is better than any other man- as a wife should.

(Remember, there are not many inside jobs in this culture, so a hard working man would not be expected to be pale.)

v 11 His head is pure gold, (tanned)

His locks are wavy, black like a raven.

v 12 His eyes are like doves by water streams,

His teeth washed in milk (white), sitting by pools. (Each has its reflection- he has all his teeth.)

While we may not understand/ appreciate this imagery, it is clear she likes how he looks. Again, like the compliments the man gave to the woman, she starts at his head and works her way down.

v 13 His cheeks are like spice beds growing aromatics.

He has a full beard.

His lips are lilies, dripping with liquid myrrh.

v 14 His arms are bars of gold, set with Tarshish stones. (a yellow-gold jasper)

He is well muscled.

His member is an ivory tusk, ornamented with lapis (a blue stone- likely representing his veins).

v 15 His legs are pillars of marble, founded on gold pedestals.

White legs with tan feet.

His appearance is like Lebanon, choice like the cedars.

Lebanon is known for their cedar trees. He is built thick- like a tree.

v 16 His palate is sweet.

She enjoys his kisses. No bad breathe?

He is totally desirable.

She loves the way he looks, pale white legs and all!

This is my lover and this is my darling, O daughters of Jerusalem.

The Women of Jerusalem

Ch 6 v 1 Where did your lover go, O most beautiful of women?

Where did your lover turn, that we may search for him with you?

Her friends are now willing to help her find him. They are convinced that this is a relationship worth saving.

The Woman

v 2 My lover went down to his garden,

to the bed of spices, to graze in the garden and to pluck the lilies.

The word garden is a euphemism for female sexuality. She has found her lover and they are intimate again.

v 3 I belong to my lover, and my lover belongs to me-

Note that this is a mutual belonging, an equality in relationship.

he grazes among the lilies.

and they are intimate. The relationship has been restored.

Song of Songs (Chapter 1)


Somehow Chapter 1 disappeared from the feed, so here is a reprint…

Song Of Songs


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


v 1 The Song of Songs, which concerns Solomon

Poem 1: The Woman’s Pursuit

Note: In Song of Songs the woman speaks 53% of the time and the man 39%. While some commentaries make much of this, to me, it seems like a normal relationship…

The Woman:

v 2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,

For your lovemaking is better than wine.

v 3 How wonderful the scent of your oils (semen);

Your name (sem in Hebrew) is poured out oil (semen).

-This is wordplay, a joke within a compliment. “Name” in scripture indicates what a person is known for, in this relationship she is implying he should be known for his lovemaking- a compliment I believe most men would enjoy!

This poem also changes pronouns randomly- this is not uncommon in poetry of this region.

V 2 and 3 contain a chiasm, a simple poem with repetition and the main idea at the ‘point.’ It is not a perfect chiasm, but you will get the idea.

For good

            is your lovemaking

                                    more than wine (most important point)

                                    (as for scent)

            your oils (semen)

are good.

The repetition of ‘good’ indicates his lovemaking/ semen (equivalent points) are better than wine for making her feel good.

Therefore the young women love you.

She is likely referring to herself in the third person plural in an exaggerated compliment, ie Who could resist you? (Also a compliment men typically enjoy.)

v 4 Draw me after you; Let’s run! (note her urgency)

The king has brought me into his bedroom. (can also be translated as private place or storeroom)

Note: She wants to run to privacy, she is excited and sure he wants her sexually.

The Women of Jerusalem: (Chorus)

We will rejoice and feel happy for you! (no jealousy or condemnation)

We will praise/ celebrate your love.

– Her friends confirm she has made a good choice. This is not lust and she is not deluded by love, she has made a wise decision and her friends acknowledge it. They are also happy for her. These are good women who are glad their friend is doing well.

The Woman:

Righteousness loves you. (What they are doing is good in God’s eyes.)


  1. The married woman takes initiative for sex (Draw me after you… Let him kiss me…). She is not forcing, or throwing herself at him, but asking and confident in a positive response.
  2. She yearns for him.
  3. Their lovemaking is intoxicating- mood changing.
  4. The Song incorporates all the senses:

-taste: kiss

-smell- his scent

-hearing: compliments spoken

-sight: compliments re: body

-mind: wordplay/ joking

  1. Her friends confirm this is a good choice.
  2. A wedding ritual in this region has the groom as a ‘king’ and the bride as a ‘queen.’ They would be crowned as such in the ceremony. A king is the best, most powerful man, worthy of the highest honors, likewise a queen is the best, most powerful woman, also worthy of highest honors.

Poem 2 (Insecurities)

The Woman:

v 5 I am dark (likely tanned due to working in the sun- not pampered)

but beautiful (healthy self-esteem)

daughters of Jerusalem (she is now speaking to the pampered women who would look down on her)

like the tents of Qedar, like the curtains of Solomon (she compares herself to 2 powerful, respected groups)

v 6 Don’t look at me, because I am swarthy (dark) because the sun scorched me.

She is speaking to the other woman and hoping for understanding/ compassion/ empathy. There is no indication re: whether, or not, they respond positively. The implication is that they should show understanding.

My mother’s sons (implies a different father- 2nd marriage?) were angry with me.

She may have rejected their advances. Remember during this time half-siblings married- think Sarah and Abraham.

They made me guard/ work the vineyards,

but my vineyard I did not guard/ tend.

While vineyard can refer to sexuality, here is it likely an actual vineyard as she becomes tan when working it. She has not taken care of herself. She is also associated with the laboring/ farm class.

Note that brothers are supposed to protect sisters and arrange for their marriages. These brothers did not indicating she does not come from a supportive, wonderful family.

Poem 3 (Time Together)

The Woman:

v 7 Tell me, one whom my soul loves, Where will you graze?

Where will you make your flocks lie down at noon?

(She does not like being separated from him.)

Why should I be like a veiled woman (prostitute/ having to hide her identity- remember Tamar wore veils when she posed as a prostitute with Judah),

around the flocks of your companions?

She does not like the social taboos that do not allow a wife to be with her husband while he is out with the flocks, but do allow prostitutes. She feels it is stupid that she, who rightfully belongs as a wife, has to be circumspect and stay away. She wants to be near him, by his side and there is an implication that this is where she belongs. The social taboos make no sense.

The Man:

v 8 If you do not know, most beautiful of women (compliment),

follow the tracks of the sheep,

and feed your young goats by the dwellings of the shepherds.

The man too, wants to be with her. He tells her to bring her goats so that she appears to be a shepherdess (like Rebekah and Zipporah) so she does not appear to be inappropriate. He is guarding her honor (like Boaz does for Ruth) while figuring out how to be with her.

Also take note of how many verbal compliments are contained in this Song. This indicates that love is fragile, and much verbal affirmation is a good, perhaps necessary, thing.

Poem 4 (Compliments and Gifts)

Remember- compliments change with time…. Not all women want to be called a ‘mare.’

The Man:

v 9 To a mare among Pharoah’s chariots (strong, powerful, beautiful, sleek, opulent)

I liken you, my darling. (note the term of endearment)

Typically stallions, not mares, drove the chariots. This could be saying she is as good as any man, an equal, in his eyes. There is another theory however. There was a battle strategy where a mare in heat was sent amongst the enemy’s chariots to distract their stallions. He may be saying she is very distracting to him.

v 10 Your cheeks are lovely between earings, your neck with a necklace.

This implies she has been given gifts of jewelry- come things do not change!

v 11 Earings of gold we will make for you along with studs of silver.

Given her background, she likely does not have a lot of jewelry. He will give her the things she desires.

Poem 5 (The Cuddle)

The Woman

v12 While the king is on his couch, my nard gives off its scent.

She is aroused by him.

v 13 My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh, lodging between my breasts.

The imagery of smell implies they are close to each other. She is likely lying with him, with his head on her bossom.

v 14 A cluster of henna blossoms is my lover to me in the vineyards of En-Gedi.

En-gedi is a beautiful oasis surrounded by desolate land.

Poem 6 (Compliments)

The Man:

v 15 Behold, you are beautiful, my darling.

You are beautiful; your eyes are doves.

Note the repetitive compliments and term of endearment.

We have no clue what aspect of the dove her eyes would be (though there are guesses), but it does sound better than being compared to a mare these days!

The Woman:

v 16 You are beautiful my lover, so lovely; our bed is verdant!

Verdant can mean luxurious, flourishing or having to do with trees.

v 17 The boards of our house are cedars, its rafters are junipers.

These are strong woods and it implies the foundation of their home/ marriage is strong.

Location: They could be in a well-built house, or in a private part of the woods. Since the previous poem mentioned the oasis En-Gedi, it could be either, with most scholars believing they are outside.

Notice that both the male and the female compliment each other. Here the woman compliments the man on their location implying he had something to do with it. He has either built them a strong house, or arranged a tryst in a secluded location. Either way, he has put some time and effort into this setting and she is grateful.

Song of Songs (Poem 13- Chs 4-5)

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Photo by Matija Barrett

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 13 (Fan the Desire)

The Man

v 10 How beautiful your love, my sister, my bride!

How much better your love than wine (it makes him feel intoxicated)

and the scent of your oils from spices.

Note the compliments are lavish and many. He is attracted to her scent. Since it is better than spices, this is likely her natural odors.

v 11 Your lips drip with honey, O bride,

Honey and milk are under your tongue.

He enjoys kissing her. It is a deep kiss- note the mention of her tongue.

The scent of your garments is like the scent of Lebanon.

Lebanon is known for its cedar trees. Her garments smell like cedar. She stores her clothes carefully and changes them often (which is not a norm at this time).

v 12 You are a locked garden, my sister, my bride.

You are a locked garden, a sealed fountain.

Garden and fountain are euphemisms for female sexuality. She is not permiscuous. Her garden/ fountain are sealed, open only for him.

v 13 Your shoots (hairs) are a garden of pomegranates (fertility) with choice fruits (tasty), henna (hair color) and nard (fragrant oil that smells sweet, woody and spicy).

He is complimenting her genitalia.

v 14 Nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.

He loves her smell. It is better than any spice.

v 15 You are a garden fountain, a well of living water, streaming down from Lebanon.

She refreshes him. Garden and fountain represent female sexuality. Their lovemaking does not just satisfy, it energizes him.

The Man

v 16 Wake up north wind, and come, south wind!

Blow on my garden (sexuality) and let its spices flow forth,

She wants to fan their desire.

Let my lover come into his garden and eat its choice fruit.

She is inviting him to intimacy- again.

Chapter 5

The Man

v1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride,

I have gathered my myrrh with my spices, I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk.

They have been intimate and he has enjoyed many different aspects of their love making, indicating the entire process is to be enjoyed, not just the finale.

The Women of Jerusalem

Eat, friends, drink! Be intoxicated, lovers!

Her female friends are supportive and encouraging of their relationship/ sexuality. They want them to be ‘intoxicated’ with each other, feeling the satisfaction/ “high” that comes with a full, satisfying relationship.

Song of Songs (Poem 12- Ch4)


Photo by Matija Barrett

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 12 (Closeness and Security)

The Man

v 8 With me from Lebanon, my bride; with me from Lebanon, come!

Come down from the top of Amana; from the top of Senir and Hermon,

from the dens of lions, from the heights of leopards.

She is distant; he wants her close. She is in danger; he wants her safe.

v 9 You drive me crazy, my sister, my bride!

You drive me crazy, with one glance from your eyes, with one jewel from your necklace.

It doesn’t take much for her to get his attention.

Song of Songs (Poem 11- Ch 4)


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 4

Poem 11 (Compliments)

Middle Eastern culture contains ancient songs where the bride and groom describe each other physically prior to intimacy. These poems typically start with the person’s head and work their way down. What this tells us is that foreplay begins verbally, and lots of compliments, reassurance that your partner is loved and desired, are good for the relationship.

v 1 Aye, you are beautiful, my darling!

Behold, you are beautiful, (note the repetition)

and your eyes doves behind your veil.

Brides were veiled in ancient times, remember this is how Leah was substituted for Rachel.

Your hair is like a flock of goats, streaming from Mount Gilead.

Compliments have changed over time…

v 2 Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep coming up from washing (white).

Each is paired; not one of them is missing.

Dental hygiene has changed a bit too…

v 3 Like a scarlet thread are your lips, and your mouth is desirable,

Like a slice of pomegranate is your temple behind your veil. (Her skin is pink.)

v 4 Like the tower of David is your neck, built in courses, a thousand shields are hung on it; all are bucklers of heroes.

She has a long neck (no double chin) with many thick gold necklaces.

v 5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of gazelle, grazing among the lilies.

Remember, female undergarments are a modern invention…

v 6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, (all night)

I myself will go to the mountain of myrrh (likely her private parts) and to the hills of frakinscense. (likely her breasts)

v 7 You are totally beautiful, my darling,

You have no blemish/ defect in you.

Note that throughout the Song the man compliments the woman differently and more abundantly than the woman compliments the man indicating that there are differences in what each sees as important. Get to know what your spouse needs/ enjoys hearing and sincerely express your enjoyment as appropriately.

Song of Songs (Poem 10- Chapter 3)


Poem 10 (The Wedding)

There are a few explanations as to why the wedding occurs after the man and woman are obviously already married. One explanation is that these are separate poems and not in order. Another is that it is part of prophecy and the wedding of the bride (us/ the church) to Christ does not occur until the second coming. Another is that they are married secretly, in a place he is known as a shepherd and that this is the official ceremony for the people that makes her his queen. This interpretation supports the need for the couple to establish their relationship in the first year without a lot of interference and is supported by other scriptures that exempt the man from duties, such as military service, as a newlywed so that he may learn to please his wife. (Dt 24:5)

The Woman:

v 6 What/Who is coming from the wilderness like a pillar of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, from all the scented powders of the trader?

Prophetically God is represented as a pillar of smoke in the daytime during the Exodus, Christ returns ‘in the clouds,’ and Christ was given Frankincense and myrrh as a baby, and anointed with them for burial after death.

In the Jewish wedding the bride does not know the exact time the groom will come. She and her wedding party are to await his arrival. (See the parable of the Ten Virgins) The ancient Jewish wedding ceremony is also very prophetic.

v 7 Look sharp (Be aware, Hark), it is the palanquin (transport couch) of Solomon;

sixty heroes surround it, Israel’s heroes.

v 8 All of them bear the sword; they are battle trained. Each one has a sword on his thigh, against the terrors of the night.

Revelations promises that the second coming will not be a time of peace and ease…

In the here and now of the poem, Solomon’s male friends have his back and protect him and his wife.

v 9 The king has made a litter for himself; that is Solomon- from the wood of Lebanon.

v 10 Its posts are made of silver; its canopy of gold; its riding seat of purple; its interior inlaid with love by the daughters of Jerusalem.

The woman’s friends have made sure that the inside is how the woman would like it and they have done it with love for their friend. The Song of Songs also contains hints as to what female friendships should be like as well.

v 11 Come and look, O daughters of Zion, as King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding on the day of his heart’s joy.

Note that it is the mother who affirms that her son is ready to wed. We also see a mother giving instructions to her son about marriage in Proverbs 31.

In Jewish customs, a man may become engaged to a woman, but is not allowed to wed the woman until he has prepared a home for her (to her father’s satisfaction). Here we see that Solomon has provided very well for his wife.

Song of Songs (Chapter 3- Poem 9)


Photo by Matija Barrett

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).

The Woman:

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.

Song of Songs (Poem 8- Chapter 2)


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)

The Woman:

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.

Song of Songs (Chapter 2- Poem 7)


Photo by Matija Barrett

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 2

Poem 7 (Love Takes TIme and Energy)

The Woman:

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…

The Man:

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.

The Woman:

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.


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