Our next reading is Song of songs 2:1-7
In the marital relationship the husband and the wife each have their own different roles to fulfil. It is only when we are in the right place, doing what we ought to be doing, that we will be able to properly fulfil the role that G-d has given to each of us. It is in this place that we will receive His provision and His anointing.
Throughout this book, the Shulamite is constantly wanting to leave the location she finds herself in to go to where the Shepherd is (the right location). When she is not where she is meant to be she displays a degree of uncertainty or doubt. The Shepherd responds to her by frequently affirming her and assuring her that he would always be where he ought to be, doing the things he ought to be doing.
v1: (The Shulamite): Sharon: The area known as the Sharon is a place that is most fitting for growing roses.
- Lily: The word שֽׁוֹשַׁנַּ֖ת is used here. It can be translated ‘rose’. In English, this word is also frequently translated lily (Note: regardless of how it is translated we know that it is speaking of beautiful flowers). This kind of flower is found in the valleys and not in the mountains.
Note: In a physical sense the Shulamite is not where she wants to be or where she should be. This, however, does not change her identity. Physical circumstances (or physical location) did not change her – she remained faithful to G-d (and her spouse). When she describes herself, in this way, she is simply affirming that being taken into Solomon’s house did not change who she was and nor did it limit her access to G-d’s provision. G-d’s provision allowed her to overcome obstacles and flourish – despite her physical location.
v2: (The Shepherd): A lily (rose) among thorns: There is a great difference between the thorns on a rose bush and the rose itself. Here we see another example of the Shepherd affirming his spouse. To him she is unique. He likens her to a rose. Taking it a step further, he likens the rest of the women to thorns when compared to her.
- Thorns: Thorns speak of opposition, but they also speak about protection. Thorns protect the beautiful blossom of a rose.
Note: It is very important for a man to convey that he sees his wife as unique, different, and special in comparison to all other women.
v3: (The Shulamite): An apple tree among the trees of the woods: Most trees in a forest do not provide anything other than shade. An apple tree in the woods/forest is unique, it is a treat. She is saying that he, in his uniqueness, provides for her.
- So is my beloved among the sons: She recognises that he, too, is different or set apart from the other men. She compares him to a fruitful apple tree among a forest of ordinary trees.
Note 1: They are both affirming that they see something special in each other. When we said “I do” we entered into a marital covenant – an institution ordained by G-d. Only with this person will we be able to fulfil G-d’s purpose in this marital covenant.
- Shade: The shade of his shadow is a comfort to her. She is taking comfort/delight in him and not in someone else.
Note 2: Another serious pitfall for marriages is when someone else, other than our spouse, meets a need/s in our lives. A marriage is in a dangerous place when either in that marital relationship (whether the husband or the wife) begin to find satisfaction in spending time with another individual of the opposite sex. This emotional connection is wrong, and oftentimes it can be laying a foundation damaging to the marital covenant. We need to guard ourselves from having that type of interaction (finding pleasure, satisfaction, our needs being met etc) with another individual who is not our spouse.
- Taste: Can be translated ‘mouth’ or ‘palate’. She is affirming that this relationship brings sweet satisfaction to her. This does not mean that our relationships are always going to be sweet, but our relationships should be a source, as much as possible, for pleasure and delight. Like the Shulamite, we too need to acknowledge and cherish those times of delight we have with our spouse.
v4: He brought me to the banqueting house: In chapter 1:4 the Shulamite was unhappy with where she was – the king having forced her into his chambers- and she wanted out. In contrast to that the shepherd brought her to the house of love.
- Banner: Speaks of victory or dominance. He did not demand or force her to submit to him but she, willingly and joyfully, submitted to him because of the love he had demonstrated toward her (Eph 5:25, Eph 5:22). When the husband demonstrates love, and the wife responds in submissiveness both are drawn closer to the L-rd. By drawing closer to the L-rd the couple will also draw closer to each other, gaining a great deal of satisfaction that comes from a heavenly provided intimacy that most marriages sorely lack.
v5: Sustain me: She is talking about his provision. This phrase also hints to a degree of regularity – regularly he provides special things for her. In modern Hebrew, this word refers to upholstery. Without padding a chair would be uncomfortable and eventually become displeasing to sit on.
- Raisin (cakes): Today we would call it a dessert – treats eaten on special occasions.
- Lovesick: When a person longs for home we call them “homesick”. Here the Shulamite is longing for the love she had with the Shepherd. We could call her “lovesick”. She is unhappy in the king’s chambers.
v6: His left hand is under my head: This shows a degree of support. He thinks of his spouse first. This attitude, that he has, leads to closeness, and to deep (heartfelt) affection.
- Right hand: The right hand shows integrity and an uprightness.
- Embraces: Hugs
Note: He is expressing two things to her:
- His understanding of her need to be supported by him. She feels more secure when she knows that he is putting her and her needs before his own.
- As he draws her to him it is done with honesty and integrity and not for selfish reason. i.e.He is not embracing her (loving her) manipulatively in order to get his own way.
v7: I charge you: A charge is something to be taken seriously and is associated with taking an oath.
- Daughters of Jerusalem: Women of uprightness. Although love is able to overcome obstacles it can, very easily, be harmed. If we thoughtlessly violate the principles of the marriage covenant it can damage our marriage and make it very hard to be repaired. Here the Shulamite is counselling these women that marriage needs to be guarded and taken care of.
- Gazelles: Ibex. A type of deer.
- Do not stir up: Do not agitate or wake it up. Do not allow things to interfere with the roles and the Biblical perspective that we should have in regard to our marital relationship.
Note: The enemy is constantly wanting to attack the covenant of marriage. The purpose of a covenant (including a marriage covenant) is to glorify G-d. Is G-d pleased with our marriages? Within our marriages are we fulfilling what G-d has called us to fulfil, and, in so doing, are they bringing glory to Him?