Song of Solomon 7.9b–8.2
By Don Ruhl
Is verse 9b,c a continuation of his thought from verse 8, or the beginning of hers? J. M. Fuller in Barnes’ Notes solves the problem this way, “Words of the bride interrupting the king, and finishing his sentence…” (p. 135).
Various translations render it one way or the other, so that it is hard to conclude who is speaking. I shall follow the majority of the popular translations and consider the last two lines as her words, because the expression “my beloved” is used, and it is always her who uses it in reference to him.
Love Enjoys – Song of Solomon 7.9b
The wine goes down smoothly for my beloved,
Moving gently the lips of sleepers.
In the first line of verse 9, he had said to her that he wanted her to be like the best wine, and she complements or finishes that thought, that the wine of her mouth would go down smoothly, and that it can move the lips of sleepers, perhaps referring to daydreaming.
Love is happy for the loved one.
Love Enjoys Being Possessed – Song of Solomon 7.10
I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is toward me.
She continued expressing her desire to give herself to him, for she saw that his desire was towards her. In Genesis 3.16, the Lord God said to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband.” However, marriage is not one-sided, but both desire one another. In the Song of Solomon, do you see Solomon and the Shulamite living as 50/50 or 100/100?
Love desires the loved one.
Love desires to be loved.
Love Enjoys Being Together – Song of Solomon 7.11–13
Come, my beloved,
Let us go forth to the field;
Let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards;
Let us see if the vine has budded,
Whether the grape blossoms are open,
And the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
The mandrakes give off a fragrance,
And at our gates are pleasant fruits,
All manner, new and old,
Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.
Remember his invitation to her earlier in 2.10–14.
She invites him to go with her, because she wanted to see somethings with him. They had both spoken of wine, and so she wanted to go to a place where grapes were grown. What would she do there? She would give him her love. She wanted to be with him and to give to him as evidenced by verse 13.
Love wants to include the loved one.
Love wants to discover with the loved one.
Love wants to share with the loved one.
Love Enjoys Giving – Song of Solomon 8.1, 2
Oh, that you were like my brother,
Who nursed at my mother’s breasts!
If I should find you outside,
I would kiss you;
I would not be despised.
I would lead you and bring you
Into the house of my mother,
She who used to instruct me.
I would cause you to drink of spiced wine,
Of the juice of my pomegranate.
(Song 8.1, 2)
She desires for him to be like her brother. Is she wishing that Solomon was literally her brother? If not, what is it about her brother that she wishes Solomon was like? She desires the freedom to express her love to Solomon publicly without shame as she would her brother. The nursing pictures the unashamed nature of her love.
“In their society, a proper lady did not show outward romantic affection to a man—even her husband. Such restraint still prevails in much of Asian society. The social regulations were very restrictive. But a respectable lady could greet her brother with a kiss without shame. She feels confined when in public with her husband because of protocol. If only he were her brother, she could cling to him and greet him with a kiss like she so much wanted to do” (John Waddey, p. 123).
What is the significance of her finding him outside? Most of the time they have spoken of a private atmosphere. However, when in public she desires to be able to show her affection.
If she found him outside, here is what she would do: She would kiss him, like she would her brother. She would not be despised, such as when she kissed her brother and no one thought anything of it. She would bring him into the house of her mother, and instruction would be given, that is, she would learn from her mother how to love Solomon. Titus 2.3–5 instructs the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands. She would cause him to drink spiced wine, of the juice of her pomegranate. This seems to be a way of referring to giving Solomon her love. Drinking spiced wine would be a sweet and tangy experience, and so would the love that she would give Solomon. Here she gives herself totally to him.
Love wants to be intimate with the loved one.
Love wants to give to the loved one.
What shall we do with this section of the Song of Solomon?
- Enjoy love.
- Give 100% of yourself.
- Plan for time together.