Love on Spring Break: Song of Songs 2:8-17

This is a continuation of the Song of Songs series. This is a look at 2:8-17, Lover takes Beloved with him on spring break for physical and emotional love making. Italics indicate the NET Bible assumption of who is talking. All Bible quotes from the NET.

The Beloved about Her Lover:
2:8 Listen! My lover is approaching!
Look! Here he comes,

leaping over the mountains,

bounding over the hills!
2:9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,

gazing through the window,

peering through the lattice.

In the previous verse Beloved warns the maidens not to awaken love until it so desires. It seems that Lover has desired and is coming to visit. There is a sound he makes that excites her. It probably isn’t a gastro-intestinal sound either. Perhaps it is the sound of his royal chariot. He is undeterred by the obstacles that hinder his goal of her company. She has waited for him and he comes to find her at full throttle. As mentioned earlier, gazelles and young stags are symbols of virility and love, see an example found in Egyptian poetry here. Solomon is virile and nimble and unswayed in his focus, Beloved. He seems to have come to the common room of his maidens. She says it “our” wall with a window and a lattice. If it’s possible to draw a modern day application it might be that he came to her job to take her out for a surprise lunch and he is impressing all her girlfriends.

The Lover to His Beloved:
2:10 My lover spoke to me, saying:
“Arise, my darling;

My beautiful one, come away with me!
2:11 Look! The winter has passed,
the winter rains are over and gone.
2:12 The pomegranates have appeared in the land,
the time for pruning and singing has come;
the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
2:13 The fig tree has budded,
the vines have blossomed and give off their fragrance.

Arise, come away my darling;

my beautiful one, come away with me!”

Lover did not say, “Whoever is up for a trip to the country and a good time, hop in.” He spoke specifically to his darling Beloved. He sneaks in another complimentary pet name, “Beautiful One.” Complimentary pet names get a great deal of mileage in this marriage. They are a symbol of unique intimacy and commitment and safety and should be used liberally. His inspiration for a trip is that spring has arrived, the time when the aphrodisiacs are in bloom and everybody is singing from the farmers to the love birds. Pomegranates appear a few times in the Old Testament in the context of intercourse. His intentions are clear though hidden in allusions. He promises beautiful sights and wonderful smells. Then he repeats his request for her company with complimentary pet names.
The Lover to His Beloved:
2:14 O my dove,
in the clefts of the rock,

in the hiding places of the mountain crags,

let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.

“My dove” is another pet name given by Solomon to his Beloved. He knows that this woman who handled herself well in her brothers’ vineyard and in his own pasture, who had her skinned toasted under the hot sun, who can handle hundreds of competing wives, is still a tender person. He adores her. He doesn’t want her to hide from him. Maybe she is trying too hard at playing “hard-to-get.” He requests her face and voice then tells her why, because of her sweetness and loveliness. The poem is full of affirmation and unashamed admiration. There is no concern about swelling the other’s ego. It’s an adolescent crush between two married adults. This kind of marriage is still around and can make others uncomfortable as no one can believe someone could be that infatuated for someone so gray, fat, bald, wrinkly, etc. But that’s a lie. Love is blind and it blinds one to another’s imperfections. There is a love for the total person that no attack by old age can quench. Familiarity only stokes the fire instead of quenching it. Your spouse will never tire of hearing your admiration. Don’t stop.

The Beloved to Her Lover:
2:15 Catch the foxes for us,

the little foxes,
that ruin the vineyards –
for our vineyard is in bloom.

2:16 My lover is mine and I am his;
he grazes among the lilies.

2:17 Until the dawn arrives and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved –
be like a gazelle or a young stag
on the mountain gorges.

It is doubtful that she is ordering Solomon out into the vineyards to trap literal foxes. This vineyard is their marriage. Those little foxes are the little things that put a marriage at risk. This tough country woman is like a dove in the hiding places. There is a hint of fear. She is concerned. We don’t know exactly what concerns her. Each marriage has its own little foxes, those neuroses and quirks and temptations and ghosts. When we “forsake all others” shall we not also forsake those foxes that follow us into this vineyard? The hardest problem is letting our spouse name the foxes. For some reason we are so insecure and need to defend the animals and call them red dogs, or funny raccoons, or ugly cats, but not foxes. “Please don’t ask me to toss this furry creature out of our marriage,” we plead. Old letters from old flames, drinking buddies, cigars, myspace or facebook pages, attractive co-workers; all are likely foxes. Foxes aren’t beautiful or lovely or sweet or worth holding onto in a marriage. They are part of your identity but your identity is now part of a new creature, united in marriage. That married creature doesn’t need that junk.
Solomon must have answered in the right way because she declares their mutual belonging. She considers him all hers and consequently she is all his. Since she gives herself completely to this “gazelle” she lets him graze among her “lilies” and implores him to graze all night in the mountain valleys! Security in marriage opens up panoramic vistas of physical love. Make your spouse secure.


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