Scripture reading – Song of Solomon 2

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The love and courtship of King Solomon and his unsuspecting but beautiful peasant maiden continues in today’s Scripture reading. Employing the geographical and agricultural setting of the day, Song of Solomon 2 makes us privy to the courtship and affections between the king (whom I suggested was disguised as a lowly shepherd) and the object of his affections, a young Shulamite woman (Song of Solomon 6:13).

The young woman was conscious of her appearance and that her labors in the sun darkened her skin (Song of Solomon 1:5); nevertheless, she dreamed of the shepherd’s love and affection.

 

Song of Solomon 2 – An Unroyal Courtship

In the opening verses of chapter 2, we find a dialog between the Shulamite maiden and Solomon (whom she believed to be a shepherd). There is some disagreement between scholars concerning who is speaking in the opening verses of chapter 2, but I have come to believe it is Solomon (and, prophetically, Jesus Christ).

The Shepherd King’s Love for the Shulamite Maiden (Song of Solomon 2:1-2)

The king, professing his love for the young maiden, stated, “I am the rose of Sharon [cactus rose], and the lily [flower] of the valleys” (Song of Solomon 2:1). He admired his beloved’s beauty and said to her, “As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters” (Song of Solomon 2:2a).

 

The Maiden’s Love and Courtship with the Shepherd (Song of Solomon 2:3-7)

The young woman shared her shepherd’s affections and answered, “3As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste” (Song of Solomon 2:3). Comparing her suitor to a flowering, fragrant, fruit-bearing tree (Song of Solomon 2:3), she felt secure “under his shadow.” She glowed with joy (Song of Solomon 2:3b).

She believed her courtship was with a humble shepherd but came to understand she was the object of the king’s affections when “he brought [her] to the banqueting house, and his banner over [her]was love” (Song of Solomon 2:4). Secure in Solomon’s presence, she asked him to stay by her side (Song of Solomon 2:5), and imagined his loving, assuring embrace (Song of Solomon 2:6).

The Maiden’s Anticipation of the Shepherd’s Coming (Song of Solomon 2:8-13)

The young maiden was in love, and her beloved, the king, cherished her! Her heart leaped when she imagined hearing his voice (Song of Solomon 2:8). She dreamed of Solomon coming in the strength of his young manhood (Song of Solomon 2:8). He was to her, like a male gazelle, “a roe or a young hart” (deer). When he looked through the lattice work of her window, the king called her to himself (Song of Solomon 2:9).

Like many young women who dream of love and marriage, the young maiden fantasied Solomon sweeping her away with his affections and saying,” Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Solomon 2:10). She described her courtship as the passing of winter and the joys of springtime (Song of Solomon 2:11). Spring came. Joy and love were in the air (Song of Solomon 2:12). Their love was likened to fig trees that put forth their fruit and green leaves in spring and the fragrance of flowering grapevines that filled the air (Song of Solomon 2:13a). The young maiden’s dream concluded with Solomon coming, and saying, “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Solomon 2:13b).

The Shepherd’s Invitation to the Maiden (Song of Solomon 2:14-17)

Song of Solomon 2:14-15 expressed beautifully Solomon’s poetic affections. Knowing the young woman of his affection lived in the mountains, the king identified the beauty of her rural home and said:

14O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, Let me see thy countenance [the beauty of her face], let me hear thy voice; For sweet is thy voice [the melodious sound of her voice], and thy countenance is comely” (Song of Solomon 2:14). Shunning any that might intrude upon their love, Solomon described them as foxes: “15Take us the foxes, The little foxes, that spoil the vines: For our vines have tender grapes” (Song of Solomon 2:15). [Foxes running through flowering grape vines would ruin the fruit.]

Our Scripture reading concludes with the young maiden expressing her love for Solomon and saying, “16My beloved is mine, and I am his: He feedeth [grazes his sheep] among the lilies” (Song of Solomon 2:16). With the shadows of daylight fading into the night, she dreamed her beloved would return to her (Song of Solomon 2:17).

Closing thoughts –

My prior devotional from Song of Solomon 1 concluded with the principle, “Love is not blind.” I want to suggest a second principle on love: Sincere love focuses on the positives.

Solomon and his maiden gushed with words of tender love. She thought of herself as a cactus rose (Song of Solomon 2:1), but he encouraged her that she was his “lily…[and his] love” (Song of Solomon 2:2). He showered her with his love and attention (Song of Solomon 2:4), and she dreamed of him calling for her (Song of Solomon 2:8-9).

Sincere love is unconditional and focuses on the positive traits of one’s beloved.

Love overlooks flaws and wrongdoings and does not drag up past sins and expose failures (Ephesians 4:31). Love is kind, tender, forgiving, and self-sacrificing (Ephesians 4:32). Love chooses to give the best (Ephesians 5:25-27).

What about you? Does your relationship with your spouse, family, and friends pass the love test? (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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