Today’s Scripture reading completes our study of The Song of Solomon, and introduces a new study series in the book titled, “Proverbs.” I penned a year-long series of devotionals in Proverbs several years ago (www.HeartofAShepherd.com), and I invite you to refer to those in your daily Scripture readings.
In today’s study, we find Solomon with his young bride arriving at her home in the villages of northern Israel. She had invited him to leave the stately walls of the palace in Jerusalem and “go forth into the field; [and]… lodge in the villages” (7:11). She longed for the vineyards of the countryside, laden with tender grapes, and buds of the pomegranates (7:12).
Like many a newlywed who made their journey home, it seemed our young bride did not find her household as receptive, or comfortable as she had hoped (8:1). In her mother’s house, she did not feel the liberty to express her affection for her husband as she would have in her own bedchamber. She judged, had Solomon been her brother, she might have kissed him and none would despise or condemn her (8:1). There, in her mother’s house, she introduced her husband, the king, and “[caused him] to drink of spiced wine of the juice of [her] pomegranate” (8:2). The wine was unfermented juice, and not the wine that would induce drunkenness, which Solomon often condemned in his writings (Proverbs 20:1; 23:20-21; 23:29-35; 31:4-5).
After warning the young maidens, the “daughters of Jerusalem,” to not stir or arouse desires before marriage (8:4), she appeared to go and visit an elder, perhaps a grandmother or aunt, who had taught and urged her to guard her purity when she was young (8:5). Of course, the reward of her virtue was she had become the prized bride of the king.
With a passion that seemed to betray her insecurity as the king’s bride, she pleaded, “6Set me as a seal upon thine heart, As a seal upon thine arm: For love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as the grave: The coals thereof are coals of fire, Which hath a most vehement flame” (8:6). Knowing the king might one day take unto him wives after the custom of kings (though contrary to God’s ordained order that man and woman would be “one flesh,”Genesis 2:18, 21-24), she longed for the assurance that his love for her would be sealed in his heart. With the words of a poet, Solomon assured her, though flood waters might quench a fire, his love for her would never be quenched (8:7).
The young bride’s brothers, received their sister and her husband, and seemed to have reminded her that they had been her protector when she was a young girl, and before she had been “spoken for” (8:8). They had protected her virtue, as though they had built a great wall around her (8:9). She responded to her brothers, and reminded them she had maintained the wall of her innocence, and she had found favor in the eyes of her beloved (8:10).
Verse 11 would seem to indicate the vineyard in which we first met this young Shulamite woman was one her family had leased from Solomon (8:11). We are also reminded that while she labored in a vineyard that belonged to another (1:6), she had her own vineyard (1:6; 8:12). Now married to the king, she settled upon a price to lease her vineyard, and joyfully returned to her husband and his palatial gardens (8:13).
This beautiful love story concludes with our young bride urging Solomon, “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe [gazelle] or to a young hart [deer] upon the mountains of spices.”
Closing thoughts – Hollywood has painted a picture of love and marriage that is fed by lust, and is a far cry from what the Creator intended for man and woman. Our generation has sacrificed innocence and purity, and pursued instant gratification and pleasure. Sadly, it seems the 21st century church is hardly better.
The Scriptures exhort believers to reflect in their marriages, an earthly portrait of Christ’s love for His Church: Self-sacrificing, enduring, honorable, and passionate love.
Ephesians 5:25, 33 – “ 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith