Song of Solomon 8 has our maiden expressing her desires for her love. “I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother”. The maiden wanted to enjoy the intimacy of married love with her beloved, but to enjoy within the approval of her family. There was nothing impure or secretive about their love. They express it openly and with great passion and desire. While reading this chapter may make some blush, it describes the intimacy that God created when He made man and woman one through the bonds of marriage.
“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases”. This idea is a plea to leave her romantic dream and desires uninterrupted. It can be understood both in the context of relationship and in passion. That is the reality of the kind of love God desires within a marriage. True love is built on deep relationship between a husband and wife. This relationship can only be built by spending time together and truly getting to know one another at the level of the heart. Then we can express passion based on a strong foundation.
The issue for many is that they want to start with passion, or physical intimacy, before we do the hard work and take the time to build the foundation of emotional an spiritual relationship upon which we can then safely and effectively express passion. We tend to rush right for the intimacy and sex part of marriage, or even relationship, and it can cheapen and reduce the sacredness of a marriage relationship. Done right, love produces a genuinely pleasing relationship. Done incorrectly and out of order, with a focus on going fast, we can skip the foundation and find out later that our love is built on sinking sand and won’t stand the test of time.
“Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved”? The idea here is not that the maiden is old and needs help but rather that she accompanies her beloved and walks with him together as husband and wife. Charles Spurgeon used this as a picture of the closeness and dependence of the Church upon Jesus Christ. Many things could be said as true regarding both the maiden and the people of God.
- She leaned because she was weak and needed strength.
- She leaned because the way was long.
- She leaned because the way was perilous.
- She leaned because the path was ascending, going higher and higher.
- She leaned because her progress took her more and more away from others and more and more to her beloved’s side.
- She leaned because she was sure her beloved was strong enough to bear her weight.
- She leaned because she loved him.
Song of Solomon teaches us much about love and marriage relationships, but also gives us insight into our Savior and His love for us. We need to study this book well and understand how we can live it out with both our spouse and our Lord!
Song of Solomon 7 has Solomon again describing his maiden in great detail, now for the third time. It is yet another extended description of the maiden’s beauty. This comparison strengthens the impression that it is far more important for a woman to be assured of and confident in her beauty than it is for a man. Solomon goes to great lengths to not just express her beauty, but to dive into the specific details of how that beauty was expressed and his appreciation for it.
He does it these ways, as Guzik describes it:
- The first description of beauty (Song of Solomon 4:1-5) is in the context of the wedding night; the beloved praised the beauty of the maiden before she yielded her virginity to him.
- The second description of beauty (Song of Solomon 6:4-9) is the context of restoring a relationship after a conflict; the beloved assured the maiden that she was just as beautiful to him then as she was on the wedding night.
- This third description of beauty (Song of Solomon 7:1-5) is perhaps a more public description, further assuring the maiden of her beauty.
While all these descriptions seem to be between a man and his bride, if the Song has any allegorical significance, it would be that God finds us much more amazing than we find him. We are beautifully and wonderfully made by our God, the Creator.
Solomon reinforces his love through words. “How beautiful and pleasant you are”. It isn’t a passing comment or meaningless set of words. He goes deep in describing just how much appreciation he has for his maiden. He exudes joy and pleasure in her, and goes to great lengths to express his love verbally. Men are often quick to express that love physically, but God created woman to desire to hear it and be treated softly and gently, not rushing to the physical until the emotional and spiritual connection are in place. Solomon seems to get that here, paying close attention to his words.
And in response, the maiden is all his. “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me”. This is a picture of the mutual love that should exist between a man and his bride. Committed, dedicated, exclusive love that is intimate and deep. That is God’s design for marriage and sex, and He is indeed the creator and author of both. Man has managed to mess up both in a lot of ways, but God’s plan is for us to love each other and have only eyes and a desire for one another. While it isn’t an ownership, it is a committed relationship that He designed. If we live that out marriage and the sexual relationship will be amazing!
Song of Solomon 6 has the maiden still looking for her beloved who seems to be lost. She believes he has “gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies”. This would indicate that he is taking care of his responsibility to feed the flocks but also that he was thinking of her in gathering lilies. She believes the best in Him, even though she doesn’t know where he might be. That’s what trust is all about – believing the best about someone in the absence of facts or knowledge. Trust is given, not earned.
She makes it clear that there was no question in her commitment to her beloved, nor in his toward her. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”. This is the perfect picture of what marriage should look like, and also our relationship with Christ. Without a doubt He never gives up on us, but do we always treat him the same way? Jesus paid the ultimate price for us on the Cross, and His steadfast love for us will never change. We need to be sure we don’t waver in that relationship with him, as well as the relationship with our spouse.
The concept of oneness is a very important concept for us to grab on to. The maiden sensed and valued their spiritual, emotional, physical, and life connection. From the Apostle Paul’s strong and repeated exhortations of this principle of oneness to husbands, we understand that women tend to sense and value oneness in marriage by instinct; men have to learn to sense and value it. Oneness only happens as we invest and spend intentional time to create it. But it is a vital part of our marriage relationship and something worth all the investment we make.
She goes on to say “Turn away your eyes from me, for they overwhelm me”. Spurgeon related these words to Jesus and the church, noting that Jesus is overcome with love when He looks upon the church. This was true before the incarnation, as He walked this earth, and now that He has ascended into heaven.
- The eyes that show repentance overcome Him.
- The eyes that mourn over sin overcome Him.
- The eyes that look to Jesus for salvation overcome Him.
- The eyes that long for assurance of salvation overcome Him.
- The eyes that trust Him and look to Him for all provision overcome Him.
- They eyes of prayer overcome Him.
Our Savior has His eyes on us, and He is watching and listening to see where our eyes go, to and fro, and whether we are solely looking and depending on Him!
Song of Solomon 5 has the beloved knocking at the door to gain entry into the place his maiden is. It is late and he wakens her. “My beloved is knocking. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.”” He asks her to open the door as he finds himself locked out. He uses several phrases to describe her:
- “my sister
- My love
- My dove
- My perfect one”
He turns up the charm as he goes through the list. ‘Sister’ is a word used in that day to describe a bride and reflected the permanence of the relationship as once a sister, always a sister. So it really is a marital reference here, talking abou their longevity and future as a couple. Calling her ‘my love’ defined his feelings for her. Calling her ‘my dove’ was a reference to her chastity and constant faithfulness to him as her husband. And finally, ‘my perfect one’, probably refers to her ethical and moral stature as a woman of high integrity.
The maiden answers with excuses when her man is at the door trying to get in. “I had put off my garment; how could I put it on? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them”? She didn’t want to get up – to be inconvenienced by his request to open the door. She finally went but it was so slowly and reluctantly that he had given up by then. “I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer”. We’ve got some issues happening here in this marriage – a bit of selfishness and inability to understand one another. Men and women are wired differently. She obviously doesn’t understand him.
She goes looking for him and fails to find him. In her dream, which this likely was, she is mistreated by the watchmen who guarded the city. But the real outcome was she failed to find her lover. “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love”. And as he described her in the previous chapter, she gives a very detailed description of him here:
- “My beloved is radiant and ruddy
- distinguished among ten thousand
- His head is the finest gold
- his locks are wavy, black as a raven
- His eyes are like doves beside streams of water
- His cheeks are like beds of spices
- His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh
- His arms are rods of gold, set with jewels
- His body is polished ivory, bedecked with sapphires
- His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold
- His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars
- His mouth is most sweet
- he is altogether desirable”
They were obviously intimately acquainted with one another and very descriptive of the details of their makeup and desires!
Song of Solomon 3 has the maiden having a bad night. She woke up and instantly felt alone, missing her beloved. “On my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not”. There was a constant longing to be together. This is another dream or daydream of the maiden expressing how much she wants to be with her soul mate. When she awoke, she didn’t just miss him, she took action and sought after him. It caused her to take action and pursue him to be with him again.
Can you imagine the difference in our walk with Christ if we were to wake up and realize we were not with Him, and then we sought Him like this story portrays? The maiden gets up in the middle of the night, goes into town, asks the watchmen to help, and finds her beloved. “Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves”. This is not merely a picture of the deep love we should have for our mate, but an even greater picture of what our relationship with Jesus Christ ought be. We need to pursue being with Him as much…..
The difference is that obviously Christ doesn’t leave us in the first place. He won’t wander off or be somewhere else. He’s always there, always with us, whether we are aware and recognize it or not. We need to have the same kind of relationship with Jesus that the maiden demonstrates with her beloved. “I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother’s house”. We need to seek after Jesus and hold on to Him refusing to let go. That’s what a great walk with the Lord looks like. Not the ‘I’ll call out if I need anything’ mentality that we often have.
What does pursuing our mate, or our Lord, look like. Spurgeon shared these steps:
- She loved him.
- She sought him.
- She found him not.
- She found him.
- She held him.
- She brought him.
And he went on to share these thoughts on our walk with Christ. ‘If you are willing to lose Christ’s company he is never intrusive, he will go away from you, and leave you till you know his value and begin to pine for him. ‘I will go,’ says he, ‘and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.’ He will go unless you hold him.’ (Spurgeon)
- Jesus must be held; He will go unless you hold Him.
- Jesus is willing to be held; He is not trying to escape us.
- Jesus can be held; He we can grasp Him by faith.
- Jesus Himself must be held; not merely a creed, tradition, or a ceremony.
Song of Solomon 2 continues the praise between the maiden and her beloved. She begins with “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” As we talked about, this book likely has dual meaning. One is the relationship between a man and woman, the other between God and His Son. This verse shows a major change of her opinion of herself. In chapter one, she was self-conscious and a bit unsure of her appearance. Now she’s moved beyond that and has taken the words of her love and made them her own.
These two flowers and their description are often applied to Jesus to reflect his beauty and glory. There is some debate over whether that was the intent or not. These are somewhat common flowers, still beautiful indeed, but we should realize that they are not the kind of flowers that would be put up high and away from us because they are rare or precious. While Jesus is definitely precious, He is available and wants us to come to Him and have a personal relationship. He isn’t set apart in a way we can’t approach Him.
Another common phrase comes from this chapter and is used in many songs. “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love”. The maiden dreams of her love bringing her to a special place – a place where they could be together and enjoy one another. The literal translation is “the house of wine” which indicates a beautiful space that would appeal to the senses. Her love also was not private in his feelings – he makes it clear with a banner that reflects his love for her. Jesus does that for us as well!
God has a plan for sex in our world. He invented it. But it has guidelines and rules for being what God intended. “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases”. One of the mistakes so many of us make regarding sex is to allow ourselves to get stirred up before we are in an appropriate relationship and place to experience it the way God intends. Sex is designed to be part of a committed loving relationship inside the bonds of marriage. Far too often people are willing to violate God’s design and take it outside His plan, which cheapens and often destroys the impact God intends.
Song of Solomon 1 is a collection of poetic songs that is unique in the Bible. It doesn’t really seem to fit scripture in some ways, but in other ways looking at it through different approaches, it can give us some important truths. Some see the book as a story about the love of God for His people, while others se it primarily about the love between husband and wife. In either case, we know this is “The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s”. God chose to include it in His Holy Bible and we need to do our best to apply it to our life. It very likely may apply to both.
The song begins with a passionate plea of desire. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth”! Love causes us to want to receive and experience our beloved. We can see two key things here. She is not weak and passive but seeks his love. He is someone who is a leader and is worthy of respect. Almost 2/3 of the verses in the Song of Solomon come from her rather than him. And the impact of his love is strong. “For your love is better than wine”. It is intoxicating to her and whe wants to enjoy it more and more.
Spurgeon said this about the love relationship between Jesus and His people. In his sermon titled Better than Wine, he drew forth two main points:
- Christ’s love is better than wine because of what it is not:
- It is totally safe, and may be taken without question – you can’t take too much.
- It doesn’t cost anything.
- Taking more of it does not diminish the taste of it.
- It is totally without impurities and will never turn sour.
- It produces no ill effects.
2. Christ’s love is better than wine because of what it is:
- Like wine, the love of Christ has healing properties.
- Like wine, the love of Christ is associated with giving strength.
- Like wine, the love of Christ is a symbol of joy.
- Like wine, the love of Christ exhilarates the soul.
Solomon praises the Shulamite woman. “Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves”. In spite of her comments that she isn’t as beautiful as she may have liked (“My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept”), certainly the king saw her as beautiful. And she responds in like manner. He points out how he loves her, and she likewise shared words of love and respect of his character throughout this interaction. Love is the key thing a woman needs, while respect is the most important need of a man. God covers that through this chapter and reminds us how important it is to communicate and connect in a way that works.