Song of songs 4:8-16
v8: Lebanon: Lebanon is understood Biblically as a place of exile (similar to Egypt and to Babylon). Lebanon is not where the children of Israel, for the most part, were called to inhabit.
- Look (out) from: This word is a unique word and is used in relation to seeing things from another perspective.
Note: A few mountains are listed here (Amana, Senir and Hermon). The perspective from a mountaintop is very different to the perspective from a valley. The shepherd is encouraging the Shulamite to leave the place where she currently finds herself in order to see the situation (or even see herself) from a different perspective. The implication is that if she does this it would increase her knowledge and would give her encouragement.
- Amana: A word for faithful, and also a word used for truth.
- Senir…Hermon: These are mountains near the region of Babylon (another reference to exile).
- From the lion’s den: She sees herself in a place that she cannot get out of. She feels stuck in her situation, but he is encouraging her that through their togetherness, their unity, she can begin to see things differently and hope can be restored, within her, for a wonderful reunion.
v9: Ravished: Taken. Captured – she has taken his heart in its fullness; she has captured the very essence of him.
- With one look of your eyes: When they look at one another they communicate understanding by just a glance of their eyes.
- One link: Just a very small portion of who she really is captures him.
Note: He is reaffirming his undivided commitment to her.
v10: Wine: Wine gets better with age. Wine is precious and is used at times of celebration and joy.
- Perfume (literally, oil): In chapter 1 oil represented his character, his good name.
- All spices: There is a completeness, a wholeness, a totality to her character – she lacks nothing.
v11: Honeycomb: Her voice and words are very satisfying and pleasing to him. He longs for
conversation with her. A foundation for good intimacy is to have the ability to connect with each other through conversation. Poor communication with our spouse will lead to a lack of connection, and an inability to know what our husband/wife is thinking or feeling in any given situation. It is so important that we listen to our spouse so that we can get to know them and start to recognize how they are feeling. This helps us to minister to one another. We can deal with the hurts, pains, and frustrations of our spouse, becoming sources of comfort and help to them. Be a good listener – not wanting to always share things, but also wanting to hear things.
- Honey and milk: These speak about her sweet words. He hears her words, and he finds them desirable- like a honeycomb.
v12: My sister: At the foundation of this relationship is purity and wholesomeness. The basis for a pleasing relationship, in its fullness, is a relationship that displays holiness and innocence.
- Shut up…sealed: He is affirming that she is sealed to everyone except him. What happened in the past is just that – it is in the past and none of it should make any difference to the relationship in the present. Frequently, couples have to overcome something, that has happened, that has severely damaged their marriage. Here he is saying that those things are over and are no longer relevant for him – those things are behind them.
v13: Orchard: The orchard that she has seeded, so to speak, is a summation of her life. Not only is it fruitful, with many different delicacies, but it also has a fine fragrance – these perfumes of henna and spikenard.
v14: Chief: The best.
Note: He, in a very dynamic way, was saying that anything one could want was found in her. She has it all – all the fragrances, trees, fruit, and spices. She lacks nothing. For her this is an assurance that she does not need to worry about her spouse looking elsewhere for satisfaction– he has found what he wants in her. He has found what is good and pleasing to him. It is so important (particularly for men) to convey this, sincerely, to their spouse. She/he need to know that they are the very best.
v15: A fountain of gardens: Speaks of abundance
- Living waters: Water is a source of life. The Shulamite is G-d’s provision to him, and he is acknowledging that.
- Lebanon: Israel receives water from the north.
v16: (The Shulamite) North … south: This is speaking about a northern wind and a southern wind. The wind blows for the sake of removing things (erasing the past), but wind can also be a source of increasing one’s ability to smell something.
Note: The shepherd has affirmed the Shulamite and has pointed out why she is still the one for him. What happened does not change anything. Secure in the shepherd’s affirmation, the Shulamite is now wanting to give all of herself to him. She does not want to hold anything back. When there is mutual security and surrender in a marriage any obstacles that come against the marriage can be more easily overcome.