Song of Solomon 8
Why would she break the parallel language and say that he “has desire” for her instead of saying he “belongs” to her as she does to him? Certainly he does belong to her, now that they are intimately bound in covenant. Her words may be said in light of Genesis 3:16, the passage where God outlines humanity’s punishment for their first sin. There it is narrated that Eve is to have desire for her husband who will rule over her. What the woman has said here is the exact opposite of the post-sin marriage structure: it is the man who desires the woman. Therefore, the depiction of the marriage relationship in Song of Songs gives a glimpse of what marriage might have looked like prior to the first sin in Eden. God designed the relationship between husband and wife to be one of love, passion, and pleasure. This should be the ideal all couples strive for in their marriages as they work together to avoid sin in their lives.
8 Her (to him): If only you were like my brother, my love,
nursed at my mother’s breast!
Then we could show our affection in public.
I would kiss you, and no one would think anything of it.
Nobody would look down on me.
2 I would take you by the hand
and bring you to my mother’s house—
she has taught me to be a woman.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
and you could enjoy the juice of my pomegranates.
3 His left hand cradles my head,
and his right hand reaches out to embrace me.
4 (to the young women of Jerusalem) Heed my warning:
I charge you not to excite your love until it is ready.
Don’t stir a fire in your heart too soon, until it is ready to be satisfied.
Three times in this most beautiful song (2:7; 3:5; 8:4), the female lover encourages her friends not to stoke the fires of passion until the proper time. This is wise instruction because unbridled passion can be very satisfying or quite destructive. The woman is presumably reminding the royal harem of this proverb to hold off on sexual intimacy. The “young women of Jerusalem” is probably a reference to the concubines of the king and how they, like most women, want to experience true and lasting intimacy. The difficulty is that these women may only know one night with the king and have their dreams of deep relationship go unrequited.
5 Young Women of Jerusalem: Who is this woman coming up from the desert,
leaning on her love?
Her: Under the apple tree I roused your love for me,
in the place where your mother conceived you,
in the place where she gave birth to you.
6 Set me as a seal over your heart;
wear me as an emblem on your arm
For love is as strong as death,
and jealousy is as relentless as the grave.
Love flares up like a blazing fire, a very ardent flame.
7 No amount of water can quench love;
a raging flood cannot drown it out.
If a person tried to exchange all of his wealth for love,
then he would be surely rejected.
8 Young Women of Jerusalem: We have a little sister
whose breasts have not yet developed.
How shall we protect her
until the time when she is spoken for?
9 If she is a wall,
we will build silver towers of protection;
If she is a door,
we will barricade the door with the strongest cedar.
10 Her: I was a wall,
and now my breasts are like towers;
At that time I found completeness and satisfaction in his eyes.
11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal-hamon;
he let farmers tend it and charged each a ransom for its produce—1,000 pieces of silver.
12 My vineyard is my own—mine to lend or mine to lease.
Solomon, you may have your 1,000;
Those who tend the fruit, your 200.
13 Him: You who dwell in the gardens,
whose friends are always attentive to your voice,
Let me hear it.
14 Her: Come quickly, my love.
Be like a gazelle or young stag on the mountains of spices.