Scripture reading – Song of Solomon 8; Proverbs 1

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Today’s Scripture reading concludes our study of The Song of Solomon and introduces a new Bible study series in the book titled “The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, King of Israel.”  This is the first of two Bible studies.

Song of Solomon 8

Returning to our love story, we find Solomon and his young bride returning to her humble home in the villages of northern Israel. She invited her king to leave the stately walls of his palace in Jerusalem and “go forth into the field; [and]… lodge in the villages” (7:11). The adage, “there’s no place like home,” comes to mind when we read of her longing for the vineyards laden with tender grapes, and the buds of the pomegranates (7:12). (Note – There are many who propose allegorical interpretations to Song of Solomon 8, but I will continue with a literal interpretation of this beautiful love story.)

The Bride’s Love and Longing for Her Husband’s Companionship (8:1-3)

Like many newlywed couples who make 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 in her 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). In my opinion, the wine was unfermented juice and not the wine that would induce drunkenness, which Solomon often condemned in his writings (Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:20-21; Proverbs 23:29-35; Proverbs 31:4-5).

 

The Bride Leaning on Her Beloved (8:4-5)

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 becoming 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 Bride’s Family Received Her and Her Husband (8:8-10)

Returning to her village, the young bride’s brothers greeted their sister and her husband. They reminded her how they protected her when she was a girl and before her betrothal (8:8). Drawing upon the analogy of a great wall, they protected her virtue when she was young (8:9). Solomon’s bride acknowledged her brothers’ remembrances and affirmed how she maintained her purity and found favor in the eyes of her beloved (8:10).

 

The Bride’s Vineyard: Her New Lease on Life (8:11-13)

Verse 11 seemed to indicate the vineyard where she first met Solomon was leased by him to her family. She and her brothers were laborers and keepers in a vineyard that belonged to another (8:11). As the king’s wife, she shared the vineyard with Solomon and appeared to negotiate a new lease for the vineyard more favorable to her family (8:12). She joyfully returned with her husband and his palatial gardens (8:13).

 

The Bride’s Longing for Her Husband (8:14)

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” (8:14).

 

Closing thoughts –

Hollywood has painted a tragic picture of love and marriage that is fed by lust and is far from what the Creator intended for man and woman. Our society has sacrificed innocence and purity and pursued instant gratification and pleasure. Sadly, it seems the membership of the 21st-century church is no better. 

The Scriptures encourage believers to reflect in their marriages an earthly portrait of Christ’s love for His Church that is self-sacrificing, enduring, honorable, and loving.

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 © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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