The Song Of Solomon 8.1-7

With one final ode to their love before the book starts to close, the bride again speaks:

“Oh, how I wish you were my little brother,
nursing at my mother’s breasts;
if I saw you outside, I could kiss you—
surely no one would despise me! 
I would lead you and bring you to my mother’s house,
the one who taught me. 
I would give you spiced wine to drink, 
the nectar of my pomegranates. 

His left hand is under my head,

and his right hand embraces me. 

I admonish you, O maidens of Jerusalem:

“Do not arouse or awaken love until it pleases!”

Who is this coming up from the wilderness,

leaning on her beloved?

Under the apple tree I aroused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who bore you was in labor of childbirth.

Set me like a cylinder seal over your heart, 
like a signet on your arm. 
For love is as strong as death, 
passion is as unrelenting as Sheol.
Its flames burst forth, 
it is a blazing flame. 
Surging waters cannot quench love;
floodwaters cannot overflow it.
If someone were to offer all his possessions to buy love, 
the offer would be utterly despised. 

(The Song Of Solomon 8.1-7, NET)

The bride wishes her relationship would be so open and so accepted by those around her, much like that of a brother and sister (vv.1-2). Surely, she feels, when that does happen no one would despise [her] and she would be free to conduct herself as one madly in love as and where she pleases (vv.1b-2).

After, it seems, drifting into more daydreaming (vv.3-5) we read of the bride’s desire to have their relationship recognised as permanent and lasting (vv.6-7). Love, she says, cannot be purchased (v.7b) and should be passionate (v.6). It should, she says, be modelled on the very love of God (v.6b, perhaps your Bible translates blazing flame as flame of the Lord).

From this passage we can take two major points for our own lives and relationships;

First, that love is to be recognised as permanent (v.6).

We should not enter lightly into relationships and we should never take the covenant of marriage as something that can be lightly broken (cf. Matthew 19.9). Love is, we read, as strong as death…as unrelenting as Sheol.

Second, that love cannot be bought (v.7).

Love is something that we learn of and first experience as coming from God (cf. 1 John 4.7, Psalm 86.15). As we accept and live in this kind of love, a love that is totally undeserved and totally unearned, we are then called to go and offer this to others. No, it won’t all be in the same context as the marital love we have read of in much of The Song Of Solomon, but the truth of loving others more than ourselves, of putting the needs of others before our own, and loving without expectation of any return is a lesson we can all take and all apply.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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