Song of Songs 7
by Pastor David Groendyk
This chapter begins with another one of the man’s extended speeches about the beauty of the woman (vv. 1–9a). Many of these descriptions are repeated from his two previous speeches, but one unique element to this speech is actually what the man says at the very end of 6:13. Like much of the book, this verse is very difficult to understand, but the point seems to be that he is jealous for his bride-to-be. The “you” in “Why should you look upon the Shulammite…” is a plural “you”. As the ESV Study Bible explains, he seems to be speaking either to a group of other men or possibly to the society at large. Either way, the point comes across that it is inappropriate for others to “look upon” the woman, and so the man intervenes. Here again we get a sense of the man protecting the rock-solid commitment that is marriage, which is fueled and protected by their white-hot intimacy (vv. 1–13).
Spouses should be jealous for one another. We often use jealousy and envy interchangeably in our language, but do you know there’s actually a difference between the two? Envy is wanting something that someone else has; jealousy is worrying that someone else will take something you have. It’s in this way that God himself is often described as jealous (Ex. 20:5; 34:14), or it’s the way that believers can be jealous for God (1 Kgs. 19:10), or it’s the way a husband should feel about his wife when he suspects unfaithfulness (Num. 5:29–30). It is good and right for a person to desire that no one else have their spouse because of the covenantal commitments they’ve made to one another. Likewise, God is very jealous for his own people and for his own glory. No one else should lure his people away, and no one else should get the honor and worship that he deserves. And when God acts upon his jealousy for us and for his glory, then that means that we are being recovered from our wandering, purified from our sin that’s enticed us, and brought back to God. It is for our good that God is jealous. And it is for good that a person be jealous over their spouse. When it’s working the right way, jealousy promotes purity, steadfast love, and faithfulness. May we all learn to be jealous for our God and for his glory, and may everyone who is married learn this right kind of jealousy for their spouse and so imitate Christ’s love for us.
The rest of the chapter (vv. 9b–13) is one final invitation from the woman to the man and an expression of her deep longing to be with her husband-to-be. This being a book about godly marriage together with all of the outdoors-y imagery in these verses, it’s hard not to be reminded of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden before the fall. In a sense, this description of marriage in Song of Songs is pointing us back to what marriage would have been like if sin hadn’t entered the world. Deep love and longing, joy, and fulfillment would be present in our marriages, but selfish rebellion ruined it, just like it ruined our perfect relationship with God. It’s important for us to remember that, just like our relationship with God is a work in progress while we grow in sanctification and holiness, so our marriages are a work in progress. Each of us, whether the offender or the offended, must learn to grow in patience and forgiveness and the steadfast love that God shows us in Christ. And as we grow in that holiness, not only will we be learning what that pre-fall marriage looks like, but we will also be looking forward to the perfection that awaits us in heaven.