Song of Solomon 8:
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:
Speculations about how life might have been different
She is seen with him returning from the wilderness
She speaks of the strength of their love
Possibly looking back there is wondering how she would grow
She declares her maturity and readiness for love
The two conclude with calls to each other
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.
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.
now he just embraces me in private?] His
left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me.
you observers, don't expect
love to blossom too fast]
Jerusalem, I charge you:
do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
picture who is this coming?] Who
is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved?
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.
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.
love cannot be put out, worth all the money in the world]
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 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?
will both enhance her beauty and provide protection for her]
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.
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.
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.
my own vineyard is mine to give;
the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
and two hundred are for those who tend
of prominence let me hear you speak] You
who dwell in the gardens
with friends in attendance,
let me hear your voice!
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.
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
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.]
now the drama:
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.
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.
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.
puts an arm under my head for me to lean on and his other
arm embraces me.
I said, my friends, don't rush love, let it take its course
and develop in the right way.
Who is this coming
up from the desert leaning on her lover?
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)
who is this returning from a desert experience, having found
her lover again?
the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived
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.
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
looks up into his face)
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.
pause at the centre of the stage)
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.
chorus break in)
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.
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
thousand shekels of silver. 12 But my own vineyard is mine
thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon, and two hundred
are for those who tend its fruit.
speaks to the audience)
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.
You who dwell in the
gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice!
looks at the audience, smiles at her and says)
my dear, you my regal queen, with all your friends here,
who listen in, what more can you say?
Come away, my lover,
and be like a gazelle or like a young stag
the spice-laden mountains.
looks at the audience, she looks at him and smiles coyly)
away, my love, let's leave these people. Come away with
me, we've only just started to learn what this love means.
turn their backs on the audience and, arm in arm, they walk
off stage as the lights dim.)
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.
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.
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.