Song of Songs 8 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
Most lovers today would probably not compare their romantic relationship to that of a brother and a sister, for that would seem out of place. But in ancient times, “PDA,” or a public display of affection between a husband and wife was certainly out of place. However, a brother and sister could hug and even kiss one another in public, not with any prolonged display of course, but the Shulamite simply desires to be near her lover at that moment and to touch him in a tender way. Of course, she desires more than that, though, for she also speaks of bringing her lover into her mother’s house and giving him spiced wine to drink from the pomegranate. Certainly, she is referencing her desire for love-making but with a specific purpose. She not only desires to share her body with him, but to share children with him as well. Each time mandrakes and pomegranates are mentioned in the text, it is in reference to fertility and fruitfulness. She not only wants to share her life with him but to raise a family with him as well. And this time when his left hand is under her head and his right hand is embracing her, she is ready and willing to give herself fully to her lover, for they are properly married having the blessing of God. And she takes the opportunity once again to warn her bridesmaids “not to stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” Now it is finally time to stir up and to awaken.
Then, in v.5, she is pictured leaning on her beloved coming up from the wilderness. This seems to suggest that she has entrusted her life to him and is now relying upon him for his love and provision. And once again, she mentions her desire to have children with him, referencing apples coming from the tree that just as he was the fruit of his mother’s womb, so she too would be in labor with her own little man. Clearly, she has given herself fully to her beloved not only in body but also in soul, envisioning her future with him, sharing her dreams with him of their life together. It is in this context, that she begins to wax eloquent on the glory of love.
In v.6 she urges her beloved to set her as a seal upon his heart and upon his arm. She wants to know that he is fully devoted to her and will be faithful to her. She is opening herself fully to him and wants to be assured that he will treasure the love that she has given to him, for she says, “love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. It’s flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.” Again, the concept of a righteous jealousy is associated with love for it seeks to guard that which has been entrusted to it, to keep safe the purity of the love shared between them. When either party seeks to share that love with someone else it is a breach of trust. It is a violation of a promise and covenant between a husband and wife, and for such violations the wrath of God burns with great intensity. Therefore it ought to be protected as the greatest of treasures. It is not to be bought or sold or else it would be utterly despised.
Strangely, then, we hear a word from the bride’s brothers about her breasts and other intimate parts of her body. Here, they are not making fun of her but are instead seeking to preserve her purity and her reputation. The reference to a wall and a door signifies the purity of virginity verses the looseness of promiscuity, and they state that if their sister is a wall, they will honor her and protect her reputation. However, if she is a door, they will seek to hide her away from society for the shame she would bring upon their family.
But the bride assures her brothers and her bridesmaids and all who would listen to her testimony that she was indeed a wall, a pure virgin on her wedding night that her husband might look upon her in peace and in love knowing that he alone would take delight in her body. In fact, she compares the purity of her own body, her vineyard to that of the 1000 vineyards, the seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines that Solomon has tended.
With this final profession of her own purity and her desire for her husband, he expresses his delight to hear her testimony and the purity in her voice, and then, with confidence, this time, she encourages her beloved to make haste like a young stag and to consummate their love with the great expectation of fruitfulness. Now, indeed it is the time of spring, the time of love, and the time for the blooming of flowers and the budding of fruit.
In applying this relationship of the husband and wife to that of Christ and His Church, certainly we think of Christ’s own love and jealousy for his bride. He will not tolerate her infidelities. He gives to her his own spirit that she might grow more and more in purity and in fruitfulness, but also so that he might share in a more intimate, loving relationship with her. He too longs to hear the voice of his bride in prayer as she offers herself unto him, leaning upon him in life, entrusting herself and her future to her beloved. He wants all the world to hear her testimony and to see that she has given herself fully unto him that they also might see how he has loved her with an everlasting love, a love even stronger than death.