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True Love

Set me as a seal[a] upon your heart,
    as a seal upon your arm;
For Love is strong as Death,
    longing is fierce as Sheol.
Its arrows are arrows of fire,
    flames of the divine.
(A)Deep waters[b] cannot quench love,
    nor rivers sweep it away.
Were one to offer all the wealth of his house for love,
    he would be utterly despised.

An Answer to the Brothers

W “We have a little sister;[c]
    she has no breasts as yet.
What shall we do for our sister
    on the day she is spoken for?

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  1. 8:6 Seal: this could be worn bound to the arm, as here, or suspended at the neck, or as a ring (Jer 22:24). It was used for identification and signatures. Strong…fierce: in human experience, Death and Sheol are inevitable, unrelenting; in the end they always triumph. Love, which is just as certain of its victory, matches its strength against the natural enemies of life; waters cannot extinguish it nor floods carry it away. It is more priceless than all riches. Flames of the divine: the Hebrew is difficult: the short form (-Yah) of the divine name Yhwh found here may associate love with the Lord, or it may be acting as a superlative—i.e., god-sized flames.
  2. 8:7 Deep waters: often used to designate chaos (Ps 93:4; 144:7; Is 17:12–13; Hb 3:15). The fires of love cannot be extinguished, even by waters of chaos. Wealth: love cannot be bought.
  3. 8:8–9 The woman quotes the course of action her elder brothers had decided on. While she is yet immature, they will shelter her in view of eventual marriage. Wall…door: if she is virtuous, she will be honored; if she is not, she will be kept under strict vigilance. Silver turret: a precious ornament.