In the final chapter of Song of Songs the Bride recalls the importance of family and exclusiveness. The Bride expresses her dependance on her darling, and declares their emotional and physical oneness. She and the community affirm the value of her physical purity and in perfect unity the Bride & Groom go to a life of sweetness together!
Song of Songs 8
(Bride) 1 I wish you were my brother, who nursed at my mother’s breast; then, if I met you outdoors, I could kiss you, and no one would look down on me.
- This is like calling him ‘Brother Groom’, like he called her ‘Sister Bride’
- It speaks of a love that is as strong as a sibling’s loyalty
- She longs to express her love fully in public.
- She cares about the community and wants to be in unity with it
(Bride) 2 I would lead you and bring you to my mother’s house, and she would instruct me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, fresh juice from my pomegranates. 3 His left arm would be under my head and his right arm around me. 4 I warn you, daughters of Jerusalem, not to awaken or stir up love until it wants to arise!
- This is the ideal of marriage God’s way: it is a family affair
- She is going to seek the wisdom of one who has been where she is going
- This wisdom will be like wonderful refreshment for her Groom
- They would be in the perfect position to awaken the fullness of love
(Guests) 5 Who is this, coming up from the desert, leaning on her darling?
- The ‘Who is this’ speaks that transformation has occurred in the Bride
- The community is recognizing the Bride has been in the ‘desert’
- She comes up out of the desert only with the help of her darling
- She has learned to fully lean on Him
(Groom) I awakened you under the apple tree. It was there that your mother conceived you; there she who bore you conceived you.
- The apple tree is a symbol of ongoing goodness, consistent and abundant
- The awakening of the Bride’s love was in the community of her family
- Your Mother conceived and bore you in the community of her family
- This is God’s plan for marriage, that it is blessed by the family (sin ruins ideal)
- Twice in the final chapter is the tie in of family to this marriage being ideal stated
Everything is ready now for the union to be consummated. The lessons have been learned, the fruits have been kept, the obstacles overcome, the community and family are on board.
(Bride) 6 Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, passion as cruel as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, a flame of Yahweh. 7 No amount of water can quench love, torrents cannot drown it. If someone gave all the wealth in his house for love, he would gain only utter contempt.
- A seal such as a bracelet on the arm meant you belonged to someone
- This is the uniting, the consummation
- The Bride says: I want join with my beloved emotionally and physically
- She is now ready…She know what love is (She has learned & lived God’s ideal)
- Strong as death! Death ends each & every life on this earth… Not eternal life
- The cruelty of Sheol is that it is final, every time, for every one
- The flame of love is God’s flame. If you misuse what is His, you get burned
- The passions of love can engulf you… consume you
- Love is unquenchable, it is beyond your control (just like everything else)
- Strong as death…only thing stronger than death is God / Christ / Holy Spirit
- If you think love’s power is for sale, you’re a fool, you shouldn’t take seriously!
This next exchange is an expression of how the community plays a role in marriage. Now that this ideal marriage is happening they are giving some of the back story on how it happened.
(Guests) 8 We have a little sister; her breasts are still unformed. What are we to do with our sister when she is asked for in marriage? 9 If she is a wall, we will build on her a palace of silver; and if she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.
- While the girl is yet a woman the community will keep her from marriage
- When the time is right the community will affirm the ideal bride as pure
- The ‘palace of silver’ gives honor to her, for being a wall, allowing none to pass
- If she has been accessible, she is cared for and enclosed by the community
- She is just not put out there as en example. GRACE!
(Bride) 10 I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers; so in his view I am like one who brings peace.
- Here the Ideal Bride declares that she his barred all access
- Her intimate parts are out of reach, untouchable, inaccessible
- Because of this, her beloved sees her as THE source of peace (Shalom)
- This is God’s ideal for marriage: The exclusiveness is how it was meant to be!
(Bride) 11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-Hamon, and he gave the vineyard to caretakers; each of them would pay for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver. 12 My vineyard is mine; I tend it, myself. You can have the thousand, Solomon, and the fruit-caretakers, two hundred!
- Baal Hamon means: Overlord of Abundance
- Land owner would use share-croppers to tend their lands (common property)
- She is expressing how her abundance is not ‘farmed out’, she keeps it close
- The world (Solomon) can have everything else, she saves herself for the groom
- This is the final declaration of the Bride that she is the groom’s and his alone
(Groom) 13 You who live in the garden, friends are listening for your voice. Let me hear it!
- Now that they are one flesh they literally ‘live in the garden’
- The community wants to affirm their union, the Groom calls His bride to confess
(Bride) 14 Flee, my darling! Be like a gazelle or young stag on the mountains of spices!
- Now the union is complete
- Bride saying: ‘together we go, to live out the ideal
In a biblical marriage or relationship with Christ, we can have a ‘Familial’, sibling type bond, that transcends attraction.
In following Christ & doing marriage God’s way, we are to lean on our spouse and/or our Savior to get through life’s deserts.
God’s way of marriage & relationship with Him is meant to be experienced within the blessing of family.
God’s ideal is that our attachment to our spouses or God is meant to be all-encompassing.
Love is a passion rooted in the very existence of God and meant for His purposes, otherwise it can be deadly.
The community of God’s people has a role to play in setting standards and helping to protect the purity of young people.
We should value ourselves in a way that we save our intimacy for our God given spouse as we are to keep ourselves for God alone.
When united with our spouse or God, His way, we go to a place of sweetness unique to this life.
How might you relate to Jesus more as a ‘perfect’ brother or sister?
How well do you lean on your spouse? How well do you lean on Your Lord & Savior?
How can you treat your marriage or your walk with Christ with more awe and respect?
How can you participate in forming and affirming cultures of biblical marriage and Christ following here at midtown?