1 By night on my bed I sought the one I love; I sought him but I did not find him.
2 “I will rise now,” I said, “and go about the city; In the streets and in the squares, I will seek the one I love.” I sought him, but I did not find him.
3 The watchmen who go about the city found me; I said, “Have you seen the one I love?”
4 Scarcely had I passed by them, when I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go, Until I had brought him to the house of my mother, and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
5 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases (Song of Solomon 3:1-5).
The Shulemite was having one of those restless nights when she couldn’t sleep because all she could think about was the one she loved. That state of mind has landed on most of us. We toss, we turn, and thrust ourselves out of bed to go find the one we love. But there are barriers that prevent us from doing that. The watchmen, for example. Those are probably angels that God sent to turn us back to our beds. But no, we persevere, and we find him or her. Then the Holy Spirit steps in and guides us to a good ending. The Shulemite takes him to her proper mother’s house.
I’m so glad we have a Father who watches all our activities and prevents us, through angels, through good conscience, or however, to abandon our desire for sin and to do the right thing in the end. Mama would not want her daughter spending the night with this man. Then the Shulemite charges the chorus of women to keep her beloved asleep until it was appropriate for him to be awake.
16 My beloved is mine, and I am His. He feeds His flock among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, turn my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains of Bether (Song of Solomon 2:16, 17).
The mountains of Bether means “separation.” The Sulemite and the Beloved belong to each other, yet there are times when they must part from one another. Though he is diligent to feed his flocks well, obeying the laws of nature, he must also obey the laws of God. That’s why she warns him not to come around at night, but to wait to see her in the morning light. Night brings too many temptations with it.
Brothers of the Shulamite
Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines are tender grapes (Song of Solomon 2:1).
Oh, how true this is. It’s the little things in life that get us harried, that ruin our peace and stir up strife. Little foxes have very sharp teeth, as do little rumors, or a little gossip, or a little rejection. How often it is when we share some desire or dream, or a plan that would change our lives, and those in our circle of trust turn into little foxes and rip our dreams to shreds. How fortunate the Shulamite is to have brothers who want to protect her.
So many people love to jump into my dreams and tell me how it will not work. “So and so tried that, and it ended in catastrophe.” Oh, somebody catch those little foxes for me so that my dream won’t be eaten alive. After all, my dream is like those tender grapes, sweet to the taste yet destroyed by sharp rhetoric.
And don’t tell me you are just trying to help by pointing out how things will not work out. You are forgetting one thing: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If my dream needs correcting, He’ll do it. He’ll make it better than I could ever do.
The Beloved’s Request
8 The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes Leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; he is looking through the windows, gazing through the lattice.
10 My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11 For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!
14 “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” (Song of Solomon 2:8–14).
Desire. I remember my first love. Sixteen—both of us. We would meet halfway between our houses and run to be with one another. We didn’t do anything against God’s laws, but we used our words like these verses recommend.
Desire. Again, another gift from God. I wish I would have married that first love. The man I did marry used words to complain and condemn. I cannot find that usage of words anywhere in the Bible, and all they did for me was to drain desire out of me.
If we want to be like Jesus, we will behave like the Shulamite’s beloved: full of passion, full of poetry, full of a desire to win someone’s heart. You, my reader, have my heart, and I pray your life is filled with singing, pleasant aromas, sweetness, tenderness, loveliness.
6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me. 7 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases (Song of Solomon 2:6, 7).
I’m not quite sure how anyone can read verse 6 without thinking about the foreplay of the sex act. In the Bible?!? Of course. The sex act was God’s idea. Don’t you think He would write about it? Some people have thought over the ages that sex was simply for procreation. Laws were passed against using sex for pleasure. Men were known to wear little cages over their private parts while they slept to protect themselves from having sex dreams.
This one verse, in my opinion smashes all those ancient ideas. Obviously, God created us to fit together nicely for an enjoyable time together. Pleasure, the release of stress, etc. was God’s intention, and then, of course, the prize was the arrival of the baby, but God’s first intention was pleasure. Let’s be clear: in His Kingdom, doing things God’s way, sex is to be abstained until the two people are married. Then, two virgins come together and awaken love that pleases.
3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
The Shulamite to the Daughters of Jerusalem
4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. 5 Sustain me with cakes of raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am lovesick (Song of Solomon 2:3-5).
Likewise, the Shulamite describes her beloved with wonderful words of visual love. Trees in the woods normally are not flowering trees. An apple tree, usually shorter than trees that make up the forest, would be lost in the shade of the larger, stronger trees, but she sees him as “one in a million,” someone extraordinary, flowering and fruit producing in spite of the circumstances. Wouldn’t our own loved ones flower and produce fruit if we held the opinion of them that she does of her beloved?
She speaks well of him to her friends and neighbors, describing his love for her to them. Words spoken produce an effect. It never hurts to brag about the ones we love. Here’s a snatch from an old song. It would do well for us to accomplish this:
“Latch onto the affirmative. Eliminate the negative. And don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween.”
1 I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys.
2 Like a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters (Song of Solomon 2:1, 2).
In verse one of chapter two, the Shulamite woman is speaking. Because she is loved by her beloved, she speaks well of herself. So often we speak negatively about ourselves, but if we’ll take the time to see ourselves through our Beloved’s eyes, we will see our good points instead of our bad. We are taught not to do this. The thinking behind such teaching is that it is arrogant to speak well of oneself, making positive words a sin. But our Beloved never speaks negatively about us. He does not think it a sin to encourage ourselves in Him like David did. A positive assessment about ourselves makes the difference between victory and defeat.
How can she speak so well of herself? Look at what her beloved says about her: she is a lily among thorns. In other words, she exceeds all those around her. How can anyone think badly about themselves when the opinion of our Beloved holds us higher than all others? Of course, we can’t get into a competition here. He thinks that about everyone He loves. We will never lose (in our own inner competition with ourselves) if we will simply look at ourselves through the eyes of Jesus. He loves us so much he went through torture and died for us. Did anyone else ever love us like that? He paid for our sins, for our sicknesses, for our poverty. We are the lilies of the valley in His eyes. See it for yourself. Being loved like that causes us to love others as well. That raises us even further in His eyes!
Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! …The beams of our houses are cedar, and our rafters of fir (Song of Solomon 1:16, 17).
This is you and/or me speaking to our Lord Jesus. Some people like to say that Jesus was not handsome, but I think they take that from the description of Him after He had been tortured. I see Him just like this verse says: Handsome. Pleasant.
As our beloved, He builds our lives for us. Cedars are heavy and durable. Houses are where we live, tightly wrapped up by Him with His very best materials, safe and secure. Fir trees have a very pleasant aroma. He causes us to live in pleasant places.
Because of my vocation, I have lived in many, many abodes—51 to be exact. Each house was placed in my life by Jesus, and each house had an adventure waiting for me. I praise Him for my life! Let’s praise Him together!
Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes (Song of Solomon 1:15).
This is Jesus, our lover, speaking to us. He calls us fair. Let me quote Webster for the definition of this word, “fair.”
What I like about being compared to a dove, at least to its eyes, is that birds’ eyes are phenomenal. Look at how sharply they see! A worm wiggles its way out of the ground and a bird from fifty feet sees the head emerge and swoops down to pull the rest of the worm from the earth. I’d like to be able to see my objective that clearly, and then so easily obtain it. But, wait, the Bible says we have that!
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things (1 John 2:20).
While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance (Song of Solomon 1:12).
This line is being said by you and/or me. Both men and women go to great lengths to be noticed. In this case it is perfume that the Lord can smell even while dining across the room. I can think of many stupid things I’ve done to be noticed, and, well, yes, there were a few successful things I did.
My mother tells me of a party she gave before which she put me firmly to bed. No, I could not attend the party! When all the guests had arrived, I came screaming out of my bedroom in my pajamas and slid across the living room floor like a baseball player sliding into Home Plate. The guests thought I was adorable, even as my mother, with every muscle in her body bristling, took me back to bed. I didn’t mind. I’d made my entrance.
So, the question is, what can we do to capture and maintain the attention of God? That’s easy because He never takes His eyes off of us. But if we want to really arrest His attention and retain it, what does the Bible say to do?
Follow His Commandments. That is how God knows that we love Him.
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him (John 14:21).