ReadBibleAlive.com                                          Front Page

Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Song of Songs

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Song of Solomon 8:

 

Preliminary Comments: Please ensure you have read the notes in the Introduction. Very well, to begin with, the study which simply seeks to help the reader absorb the text more easily:

 

Possible breakdown :

v.1-4 Speculations about how life might have been different

v.5 She is seen with him returning from the wilderness

v.6,7 She speaks of the strength of their love

v.8,9 Possibly looking back there is wondering how she would grow up

v.10-12 She declares her maturity and readiness for love

v.13,14 The two conclude with calls to each other

 

 

v.1 [If you were my brother I could kiss you with complete propriety] If only you were to me like a brother,
    who was nursed at my mother's breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
    I would kiss you,
    and no one would despise me.
v.2 [I could take you home] I would lead you
    and bring you to my mother's house –
    she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
    the nectar of my pomegranates.
v.3 [but now he just embraces me – in private?] His left arm is under my head
    and his right arm embraces me.
v.4 [again you observers, don't expect love to blossom too fast] Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

 

Friends

 

v.5 [Another picture – who is this coming?] Who is this coming up from the wilderness
    leaning on her beloved?

 

She

 

[here love and life continue] Under the apple tree I roused you;
    there your mother conceived you,
    there she who was in labour gave you birth.
v.6 [your love is like a seal on my life but burning strong that cannot be put out] Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.
v.7  [true love cannot be put out, worth all the money in the world] Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one's house for love,
    it would be utterly scorned.

 

Friends

 

v.8 [the friends worry about her when she was young] We have a little sister,
    and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister
    on the day she is spoken for?
v.9 [we will both enhance her beauty and provide protection for her] If she is a wall,
    we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
    we will enclose her with panels of cedar.

 

She

 

v.10  [I am mature and I am ready for love] I am a wall,
    and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes
    like one bringing contentment.
v.11 [Solomon might have been rich and powerful but what I have is mine alone to give] Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
    he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit
    a thousand shekels of silver.
v.12  But my own vineyard is mine to give;
    the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
    and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.

 

He

 

v.13 [lady of prominence let me hear you speak] You who dwell in the gardens
    with friends in attendance,
    let me hear your voice!

 

She

 

v.14 [Very well, my love, let's go together.] Come away, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
    on the spice-laden mountains.

 

[Concluding Comment: This final chapter seems to be reflections how life might have been different: if her lover had been her brother [v.1,2] but love is now a reality [v3,4] having grown into a powerful force [v.5-7], how there had been concern for her when she was young [v.8,9] but now is able to declare her confidence in who she has become [v.10-12]. Finally there is this interaction between the two of them, he calling her close, and she, in response, calling him to take her away. Note in this chapter the third and final question, “Who is this?” [8:5] and it is clearly her.

 

To Conclude: From the text, and with no other guidance, the couple are unidentified and although there are brief allusions to Solomon it seems clear that the writer [presumably Solomon from 1:1] did not want to identify himself and so it is left as a simple poem about a young Jewish couple. The difficulties over specific phases simply leave the reader to speculate as to meanings, as good poetry often does.]

 

And now the drama:

The Text: The Drama

8 1 If only you were to me like a brother, who was nursed at my mother's breasts! Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me.

2 I would lead you and bring you to my mother's house-- she who has taught me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the nectar of my pomegranates. 3 His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me. 4 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

If you were my brother then, when we were in public, it would be perfectly all right for me to kiss you, and no one would comment. I could take you home and that would be fine. Now it can only be here on the grass as I dreamt of it before.

He puts an arm under my head for me to lean on and his other arm embraces me.

As I said, my friends, don't rush love, let it take its course and develop in the right way.

 

FRIENDS

5 Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?

 

(the lights and backdrop fade, and as they come back, the backdrop is of a sloping road and couple are seen close together as they walk up the road. The chorus break in)

So, who is this returning from a desert experience, having found her lover again?

 

SHE

Under the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived you,

there she who was in labor gave you birth. 6 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it D would be utterly scorned.

 

(she looks up into his face)

Do you remember when we were first together. Make me like a seal over your heart so that nothing and no one else can enter in there. Because my love is fixed unto death and I will be as jealous for you as the grave will eventually be for us. Until then our love burns as an ever consuming fire that cannot be quenched. Even the waters of mighty rivers cannot quench the fire of this love. All the money in the world cannot buy or break this love.

(they pause at the centre of the stage)

 

FRIENDS

8 We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? 9 If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.

 

(The chorus break in)

We have a young sister who is like you but not yet fully grown. How shall we prepare for the day when she is spoken for, as you are now? If she is tall and strong we will adorn her with precious things. If she is open and vulnerable, we will guard her and protect her.

 

SHE

10 I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment. 11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon; he let out his vineyard to tenants. Each was to bring for its fruit

a thousand shekels of silver. 12 But my own vineyard is mine to give;

the thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon, and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.

(she speaks to the audience)

I was like a wall as I grew up. I had a quite confidence and strength and now, for my love, I can bring contentment. My Solomon was completely self-sufficient – he had more than he needed. I had just myself, but that was enough to give, so I gave all that I am.

 

 

HE

13 You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice!

 

(he looks at the audience, smiles at her and says)

Well my dear, you my regal queen, with all your friends here, who listen in, what more can you say?

 

SHE

14 Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag

on the spice-laden mountains.

(she looks at the audience, she looks at him and smiles coyly)

Come away, my love, let's leave these people. Come away with me, we've only just started to learn what this love means.

(they turn their backs on the audience and, arm in arm, they walk off stage as the lights dim.)

 

  

The Producer recaps:

And so, my friends, we come to the end of this tale of love. We have seen the girl catch sight of the man and her heart is caught, but she is completely unworthy of him. But in his eyes she is utterly beautiful. They speak out their opening thoughts of each other. She imagines the wonder of love with him, but it is a romantic love that needs to be proved. He comes to her home and calls her out. So the reality of their relationship begins. When he is not there, she yearns for him and goes seeking him until she finds him and takes him back to her home. So the end of the story is that they are married, but that is not the end of the production.

 

She opens her heart and tells us that it nearly didn't happen. There was a time before the wedding when he came to her and so slow was she in her response to him that he left. Had she left him with the idea that she didn't care? She went looking for him but missed him and was bruised by the world keepers. Her friends challenged her love for him, so she came to a point of declaring, herself, the wonder of him. He came to her and told her of the things he had to attend to that took him away and then reiterated his love and longing for her, again and again. By the end there is no doubt of their love for each other. She declares it is for life and that nothing must come between. They are an example for others to follow. At the finale they leave us to live out this life of love, this married couple, devoted to each other and determined to go on in it.

 

And just one final word, before we leave this production. There are those who say this is a picture of Jesus and his bride. He lets her see him and she's attracted with a romantic love. He speaks words of love to her, yet she has to learn the depth of that love, the sense of utter desolation when he seems far away. The relationship must deepen in the walk together. There is no question of His love for her. This story is about her love for him, being made sure as it grows, day by day, and through trial by trial. May you too, know that love.