Song of Solomon 8.11–14
By Don Ruhl
Love’s Gift – Song of Solomon 8.11–12
Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon;
He leased the vineyard to keepers;
Everyone was to bring for its fruit
A thousand silver coins.
My own vineyard is before me.
You, O Solomon, may have a thousand,
And those who tend its fruit two hundred.
Solomon rented out a vineyard for 1000 pieces of silver annually. Whatever the workers earned above that figure, they kept.
The Shulamite was like a vineyard that was freely available to Solomon, but she wanted him to recompense her brothers for protecting her and saving her for him.
Love freely gives.
Love seeks the best.
Love’s Joy – Song of Solomon 8.13–14
You who dwell in the gardens,
The companions listen for your voice—
Let me hear it!
Make haste, my beloved,
And be like a gazelle
Or a young stag
On the mountains of spices.
He sought to hear her voice. Notice that in 2.14, Solomon wanted to hear her voice and she fulfilled his request (2.17), with almost the same words as we have here in chapter 8.
He wants to hear her voice, what will she do? Verse 14 shows that she fulfilled his request.
What shall we do with this section of the Song of Solomon?
Consider some concluding remarks to the Song of Solomon,
“The Song of Solomon is a notable example of how one love poet solved the problem of depicting romantic, sexual love in literature. On the one hand, the poet avoids the pitfall of allowing the love to evaporate into an abstraction by continually making physical attractiveness the main ingredient of the romantic relationship. On the other hand, the poet avoids pornography by consistently choosing to portray the sexual love that is his subject through the use of symbolism. The result is that we get a strong impression of the sexual attractiveness of the lovers and the value of their physical love without being asked to picture the physical details of their relationship” (Leland Ryken, The Literature of the Bible, p. 230).
“The Song of Solomon is the most thoroughly poetic book in the Bible, but it need not be a closed book. It pains me to see what interpreters have done with it, and how people steer away from it because they do not know what to do with it. My advice is simple: read it as love poetry and abandon yourself to the rapture of the images and sentiments. The moment an interpretation requires us to be on our guard, seeing some of the characters and sentiments as bad and others as good, the spell is already broken and we have lost the impact of the book. The Song of Solomon is affective, not analytic, in its approach to love. Both its style and its lyric content require a sense of abandonment on the reader’s part” (Leland Ryken, Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible, p. 289).