Song of Songs Lesson 2 Lesson Plan
IV. 1-2. You are fair; your eyes are doves behind your veil (hidden but alluring) (beautiful) (or dove-like constancy); your hair like flock of shorn goats streaming down Mt. Gilead (motion) (as in pure white wool) (like sacrifices at Solomon’s dedication of Temple) (includes all, even the common).
The people are devoted to God’s ways in their deeds, like a dove in bringing light into the world.
For Christians: veiling suggests modesty; eyes suggest teachers; hair closest to Christ; saints like goats in love of lofty heights; hair like holy thoughts and words springing from devout soul.
Your teeth are like a flock of ewes well-counted coming up from the washing (numerous, beautiful, white), all twinning and none bereft, as if unblemished in their vigorous action (without sin). (…as priests eating sacrifice in the Temple).
For Christians: Doctors of the Church or teachers, washing as baptism, both rows of teeth as OT and NT, religious are pure as teeth are white.
IV. 3-4. Scarlet lips (tied to High Priest’s prayer on Day of Atonement as to scarlet thread on scapegoat which turned white when people’s sins were forgiven (What emanates from your mouth is as pure as that thread became) or pledge of spies to Rachav in form of scarlet thread that she was to wave, mouth (instrument of speech) comely (as prayers or chanting in Temple service), brow like a pomegranate (full of pious deeds as seeds) slice (redness of cheeks)– behind your veil.
Neck (seat of the Sanhedrin – spiritual/ethical stronghold of Israel or the righteous who stand erect as a model) is like Tower of David, built as a landmark (erect, beautiful, pure, insurmountable model for others to see/learn).
This may be all about the Temple.
With 1000 shields hung upon walls of Tower (Torah in the Sanhedrin or teachings of Torah as weapons or force at rest), all quivers (students) of the mighty/heroes (a strong society).
IV. 5-7. Breasts like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, browsing on the lotus (or roses) (nipples on the breast, Moses and Aaron (who “nurse” Israel and graze sheep in rose-like bounty), twin tablets, written/oral law, full of milk/full of Torah).
Christians – two testaments, love of God/love of neighbor, outer/inner man, shunning of evil/doing of good, maternal tenderness.
While day comes to end (fleeing shadows or demons dispelled by incense in Temple) (from presence in the desert to abandonment and anger to house of eternity and Temple at end of day) (Shiloh to Moriah, from fleeing to pleasing and present), I go to the myrrh mountain, the frankincense hill (return of exiles to resumption with God)
Christian – Passion as mystery hidden on hill.
You are all fair, my darling, without blemish (beautiful bride, the people at Sinai, the repentant cleansed upon return from exile, living in sync with God).
IV. 8-10.Come from Lebanon, bride, from peak of Amana (from the beginning in faith by following God in the desert) and of Senir and Hermon, lions’ dens, panthers’ lairs (seeking all to return to Israel, especially after exile, God will return, too).
Christian – seeking Gentiles
You ravish my mind (capture the heart, sensually perhaps, of beauty, sister/Bride, with one of your eyes (spiritual perception of greatness of Torah, with a single gem (Moses) of your necklace.
How fair your love, Bride (shown at altars/Tabernacle/etc., sweeter your love than wine, the scent of your perfume than any spice, from Sages/righteous)
IV. 11-12. Your lips drop honey, honey and milk under your tongue (the land of milk and honey, prayers of priests, knowledge of sages that drips like honey, grasp of Way and capacity to understand Scripture, Torah, sometimes “kept under tongue,” concealed); the scent of your robes is like scent of Lebanon (fragrant garments of priests, precepts, manners acquired as are clothes, that which can affect or impress others).
A garden locked is like my sister/bride – a pool locked, a fountain sealed (virginity, sexual connotation, modesty, propriety, precious water, and Divine expectation of fidelity.
IV. 13-14. Your groove (an arid area (such as least gifted) that can still produce) a pomegranate grove, with delectable fruit, cypress with nard (fruitful, life, fruit at bottom of priest’s robe, fertility, sweet, choice, full of rich precepts and love of plentiful good, many good deeds, offspring of wisdom, good reputation will waft as do sweet fragrance; others go to sexual connotation)
Christian – spread through teaching and planting churches, ruddy Apostles, flow of baptizing waters, virtues of the Virgin, martyred apostles (pomegranate), choice fruits=devout souls
Nard, saffron, with all fragrant woods, myrrh and aloes, with all prime perfumes (finest qualities of “A” materials or highest virtues, exotics, modest/good women who gladdened husbands’ hearts in wilderness)
Christian – finest spices spiritual gifts of Holy Ghost, or great doctrines of Church. Some even explain each in different phases of life of Jesus.
IV. 15-16. A garden fountain, a well of living water, cascading from Lebanon (emanating from God, source of spiritual truths, Torah, a place of love, enables fields to be fruitful, source of water in Israel, supporting acquisition of knowledge of Torah; Lebanon associated with Temple; flow of exiles back to Israel)
Christian – fountain as Holy Scripture, or Church, irrigates all churches, souls.
Stir, north-wind; come, south-wind; breathe on garden, let its spices flow, let my love enter his garden, let him eat its delectable fruits (a plea to God to inspire/bless/breathe life and soul into us and our gardens to produce fruit/good deeds/love to do our part in all this to help create a world that serves God (including offerings; invitation to God to receive offerings in Temple, winds to spread fragrance far and wide)
Bride’s charms for pleasing the Groom
Christian – Church’s inviting Christ to see children it raised up for Him; new converts. Virginal life
Some see sexual.
Perhaps this starts with God wanting to spread fragrance afar, especially “on that day,” or with coming of Messiah. God has praise Israel (maintaining vitality of Torah), wanting it to be nourished by winds and will want all (including exiles) to return/come.
Israel responds at end of verse, hoping God will dwell with it in Temple, accepting offerings.
V. 1-2. (…continuation of previous verse…) I entered my garden, plucked my myrrh (incense), ate my honeycomb with honey (offerings), drank my wine, with milk (gifts of Promised Land), eat, friends (priests), drink, be drunk with love (God-intoxication), O beloved (all Israel, as in peace offerings).
God dwells in the Tabernacle, feasts on offerings, and seeks to share with those with whom He’s near.
Marriage has taken place, enjoyment. Celebration of Temple opening/dedication.
I slept but my mind was alert. My love knocks. Open to me, my darling, dove, for my head is drenched with dew, locks with night mist.
This could be consummation. God had been distant until people showed readiness to return and nearness, as would occur in Temple.
Dream quickly moves from scene to scene. Wedding songs. Lovers had been parted but eventually find each, and eternally.
Could clearly be post-exilic, and still attached to God in seeking and finding return. Sin/exile/repentance/return. Wetness, due to penitent tears? Opening, the small way back for the penitent?
Christian – sleep, that short time in the grave? Opening, for the many to come
Some say this is Israel speaking…I let my devotion slumber, but God is awake and knocks…and then God beckons all to return, ready to shower returnees with blessings
V. 3-5. I’ve removed my tunic; how do I put it on? I’ve washed my feet. How do I soil them? (Is she considering whether to open the door to him? Targum sees first part as relating to Israel removing yoke of commandments and second as God’s questioning how to allow them back in, dirty. Or Israel cleaned feet at Sinai, washing off idolatry.
Or Israel has taken off clothing of God, and God says I’m clean of you.
My love thrust his hand through latch opening (keyhole in the front door); my heart/innards pound for him. (Some see sexual.) (Some say some were recalcitrant to repent, and thus God kept hand on door, while some longed for God.)
I rose to open for my beloved; my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on handles of the bolt. (Some repented and returned through this process, with fragrances, incense, offerings, to open the door. But there’s a sense God doesn’t open for all.)
V. 6-7. I opened to my love but he had gone. My soul sank. I sought but could not find him. I called but he didn’t answer. (Removal of Divine Presence from Israel, leading to Babylon, and prayer was no longer of avail).
The guards found me; they patrol the city; they struck /wounded me/took my veil from me/they who guard the wall. (Maybe Nebuchadnezzar’s forces who implemented retribution. Watchmen, those who are God’s instruments, here, sadly, after it’s too little, too late. Even angels join in inflicting the revenge here.
Christian – pagan Roman rulers.
V. 8-11. (girl) I adjure you, Jerusalem girls (prophets? Other nations?), if you find my love, what will you tell him? I’m sick with love. (when the people hope to be allowed to return from exile) (on that day when you ascend to Jerusalem, when you see God on that future day of judgment) (tell him I suffered but am now sick with love and to return and healing) (that I am awakened to repentance after chastisement and you may be, too)
(Jerusalem girls) What is your lover above another that you adjure us so? (What does she see in God that is so great?) (Why are you so loyal even though in pain, suggesting perhaps that you should join us with our gods?)
(girl) My love is radiant and ruddy, conspicuous above a myriad. (God can be both white (as on Shabbat, Yom Kippur, or the world to come, and to Israel; he whitens my deeds) and ruddy (on regular days or in this life, and to Egypt, retribution from enemies) (answer to the nations)
Christian – white in love and ruddy to ungodly and reprobates
His head of finest gold (beginning as in Ten Commandments), locks (crowns on Torah) luxuriant, black as the raven (black fire on white fire). (excellence of God, God’s teachings, attributes, letters and details of sacred text, students of Torah. Gold head of groom is like gold-plated Holy of Holies in the Temple.
V.12-13. His eyes like doves by water-ducts (divine surveillance looking for those who study and implement His words, such as in the Sanhedrin, or the “waters of Torah”), splashing in milky spray (whiteness, purification of priests) (bathing all things in truth and clarity), sitting by brimming pools on the fullness of the earth (perhaps study halls from which water flows.
His cheeks (tablets, as in the 10, or organs of speech) like spice beds, burgeoning aromatics; his lips, lotuses, dripping liquid myrrh (all about activities of the mouth, the charm of discourse in and around the Temple) (with every word from God, the whole world was filled with spices (as in Utterances from Sinai that revive and rejuvenate as do fragrances/spices).
V. 14-16. His arms rods of gold, studded with gems (the Tablets, even greater than gold, as precious as gems); his loins (perhaps the central book of Torah (Leviticus) or the innards of the Torah), smoothest ivory, encrusted with sapphires (the hardness or difficulty of the Law). (The High Priest in his robe and paraphernalia or the features of the Temple, such as doors, or precious stones upon which names of 12 tribes are engraved, or Torah itself which is smooth on the surface but intricate underneath as with sapphires.)
His legs marble pillars (students of Torah or the righteous or columns of Torah), based on sockets of gold. His aspect is like the Lebanon, choice as the cedars. (This has the feel of the Temple, perhaps its colonnades, or Solomon himself, or the Venerable One, Who can make white the sins or make lustrous in the next world or like a blooming forest, akin to limitless and beautiful wisdom, or choicest for strength and height.)
His mouth is sweet (God’s words and directions, mitzvot), and all of him desirable (All of God is our desire). This is my love, my mate, O Jerusalem girls (all in Israel and all the world should know and spread this, or the prophets.) (sums up My Beloved).
One can certainly understand the physicality of this portrayal among lovers, the woman’s perspective on her lover.
VI. 1-2. Where has your love gone, fairest of women; where turned, that we may seek him with you? (Could this be a question from other nations who think God is gone from Israel after, say, destruction of 1st Temple? Or the prophets are asking how could it be that God has fled the people?)
Christians – question to Angels seeking to penetrate the mystery of the Incarnation.
My love has gone down to His garden to the balsam beds, to browse in the gardens, to pluck lotuses. (Perhaps this is where God has gone. Or God has gone to Babylon to rescue and return the people. Or to help build the Temple, yet still seeks those in exile.)
Overall – God has gone into the world to be with Israel to feed through synagogues and houses of study, sometimes gathering righteous people (lotuses), perhaps for return or where they are or just to be with them or in death to bring to Heaven(?).
Christian – “went down” – advent, incarnation, descent to Hell, etc. Garden=church or reading of Holy Scriptures; lilies=souls.
VI. 3-4. I am my love’s, and my love is mine, he who feeds on the lotus (roses) (upper wisdom). (traditional: on return from Babylon, a restoration of love, and the rebuilding of the Temple. (exclusive love)
Fair are you, my darling, pleasing, as beautiful as Jerusalem, awesome with trophies (as armies with banners). (Israel is beautiful in that it does God’s will and builds and serves in the Temple, serves God, and is formidable to enemies.
Christian – the Church is beautiful by virtue of the lives of the Saints.
VI. 5-6. Avert your eyes from me, for they drive me wild (arousal in soul when answered by God) (Or is this God not wanting to see the “bride” after she was expelled because compassion is no longer possible once exile has been required?) (Or is there a love of the other that goes too far and gets out of control, perhaps allowing the love to be taken for granted or distorted and thus leading to betrayal?) (Or is it that the eyes won’t be able to see in 2nd Temple times as it had been in 1st before apostasy and exile?)
Your hair is like a flock of goats, streaming from Gilead (Some think this is not complimentary. Or it is a reference to those who’ve chosen a hard life and ascend slowly. Or, even with flaws, common sons are still beloved as the sons of Jacob, as in a goat-like procession down the mountain)
Some Christian: It could be admonition of the worshipper not to gaze not too hard and suffer harm
Your teeth (leaders?) like a flock of ewes, coming from washing, each has a twin, none bereft. (perhaps related to chastity and virtue being pure, consistent, and beautiful)
Christian – teeth as words of the Church
VI. 7-8. Like a slice of pomegranate your cheeks, behind your veil (perhaps stock phrases, as in 4:3) (as in house of Hasmoneans, great deal of righteousness, fulfilling mitzvoth with eagerness, or after war with Midian, full of observance and good deeds, as in seeds of fruit) (or merits of all, even those who are unworthy within modest veil, as would be the case during less admirable 2nd Temple period).
60 queens, 80 concubines, girls without number (perhaps nations of the world, perhaps to create war with Israel, or perhaps to join with Israel one day to serve God) (or family heads from Abraham first 60 and Noah and descendants to Abraham in 80, and w/o number would be those who then branched out).
VI. 9-10. Unique is my dove…favorite of her parent. (This nation striving for truth, wholehearted with her mate, the Shechinah) The girls saw and praised her; queens and concubines lauded her. (As Abraham; as Israel, at its best, as Balaam saw her; as when assembly lived true to Torah and/or sought to comprehend principles of Torah; as will one day be the nation that brings the nations to the mountain on that day; as Joseph).
Christian – spotless humanity of Christ; Church Universal with One Lord, one faith, one baptism; the only offspring of the Virgin Mary
Who is this that looks forth as the dawn (God?), fair as the moon (Israel, reflecting the light of God, youths), bright as the sun (merits, reflecting God’s light), (“double adornment”), awesome as with trophies? (Beautiful are all the youths of Israel, related to passages of the Bible, the good deeds of the people)
Christian – all phases of Church’s existence, full light of the Gospel (sun)
VI.11-12.To the walnut grove (Paradise?) (Israel?) (like nut-tree pruned for own good, shorn of wealth and later renewed) (The shell protects nut like ordinary protect those who study Torah or wisdom.) (If a nut falls in the dirt, it can be cleaned like a person who cleanses himself through atonement) I went down to view the green valley, to see if the vines had blossomed, if pomegranates had bloomed. (God, at time of Second Temple, God caused Presence to dwell in order to see good works, good people, to see if sages increased, likened to the vine, good works like pomegranates.)
Unawares I was set in the chariot with the prince. (God liberates people from exile, leading chariots; OR Israel, worried about its current plight, responds sadly, upon straying, as one whose devices harnessed her; or people tempted to stay in Babylon; or people suddenly elevated.) (So many possibilities!)
(This may be the hardest verse in the Song.)
VII. 1-2. Come back (or leap), O Shulamite (uncertain word, maybe feminine version of Solomon or a person from a certain place, or epithet of a goddess, or residents of Shalem, Jerusalem), let us gaze (mirror to the world) on you.
(It could be return as if to focus on coming back out of exile, in repentance and conversion back, reunion of Israel and Judah perhaps. Taking up timbrels long silent and dancing joyously, as in Jeremiah with people reunited and satisfied with the good things of the land, uttering cries of triumph.) Or both return from exile AND return after 7 years of service to Laban) (It might be the way other nations look at and question Israel as she returns, perhaps tempting her to turn away from God.) (Or God may be the speaker.) (perhaps a convo between God and prophets)
(Or what can be seen by the king in a peasant girl, she asks?)
Israel: How will you gaze on Shulamite in the dance of the two camps? (This could be Israel’s response to the heathen nations: what can you offer me?) (perhaps the camps of the ministering angels and Israel at Sinai) (maybe contrasting with the place where Jacob when he went out from Laban or where the angels confronted Jacob) (perhaps a dance the morning after the consummation of the marriage)
(OR it’s Israel doubting the true prophets urging return OR it’s Israel contesting the false prophets!)
Christian – the church looking at errant souls who might be returning to God. Armies meeting in perfect alliance with the Peaceful One
Nations (or the prophets) (or Solomon, inspired, praising Israel to God): How beautiful your sandaled feet (feet that bring one to worship God at festivals), O prince’s daughter (children of Abraham), your curvy thighs (words of Torah that though often concealed are beautiful) are like jewels, the work of artist’s hands. (the nations admiring and seeking to join the captivating beauty, daughter of noble people)
VII. 3-4. Your vulva (likely, navel) a rounded crater (center of things, mixing bowl, center of the earth, Jerusalem, semi-circle of Sanhedrin), may it never lack punch/mixed wine (semen, seed, place of perfect union and effusions of love, as in Temple in Jerusalem, or traditionally the head of the Sanhedrin where merit of the world is sustained in Law and Justice, teaching of wisdom, a quorum to decide)! Your belly (body, middle of nation, mountain of Judah, essence) a mound of wheat (agricultural prosperity, the stuff of a satisfying meal, the nourishment that makes justice possible) hedged (separated, fenced) with lotuses/roses (as if words of Torah that prevent a breach with what? – beauty, love, thorns) (Lightest barrier is sufficient to prevent sinning.)
Christian – navel as order of holy preachers, teaching people; goblet that gives drink, as in blood in the sacrament.
Your breasts (fecundity, twin tablets of covenant, or king and high priest) like two fawns (mountains in the north), twins of a gazelle.
VII. 5-6. Your neck (altar and Temple, erect and stately) like an ivory tower (repeated) (strong to bear mitzvot), eyes like pools (wise men aflow w/ springs of complex wisdom, vision to build community in right direction like pools of water nourish garden) in Heshbon by gate of Bat-Rabbim (of many peopled-city); nose (face or forehead) like towering Lebanon overlooking (looking to your future boundary as far as) Damascus.
Your head like Carmel (perhaps w/ name on head as w/ tefillin, as in cliff of mountains), locks on head (as in nazirites) like purple (color of royalty), a king captive in the tresses (as God in the hair of nazirites, or God dwelling in the Temple.) (King should be as righteous as Elijah slaying false prophets, and poor will come to be clothed in purple, as Isaac bound for sacrifice and Jacob peeling rods in watering troughs.)
VII. 7-8. How fair and pleasant you are (for following God’s precepts and giving charity and saying prayers, serving God), O Love (Israel), daughter of delights (for bearing God’s yoke and being chastened when they stray) (befitting pleasures of spiritual love).
Christian – Virgin Mary or Church, fair in faith and pleasant in works
Your stature resembles the palm (tall and stately) (like hands of priests in blessings upon the people), your breasts, like clusters (from your teachers flow sustenance like wine-filled clusters) (like congregation facing priests, countenances lowered toward earth like a cluster of grapes) (sustenance of nourishment).
God responds: My love was most delightful when you were like a palm tree, displaying a unified heart to Me, upright and straight, and when your Torah leaders nourished you, when your leaders nurtured people – all flows forth with abundant goodness as with wine from grapes (or milk from breasts?).
VII. 9-10. (Maybe from God or the shechinah?) I’ll climb the palm, grasp its branches (to harvest dates) (your good deeds cause me to climb your branches). Let your breasts be like grape clusters, the scent of your vulva (could be face or mouth) like apples (sweet nourishment or words) (seeking your teachers to remain like clusters of grapes to flow strength to your young). (Abraham stood tall like a palm in his trials.) (Israel is likened to a cluster of grapes.) (The fragrance of the good wafts like that of the apples in the Garden.) (About Daniel and others who resisted the appeal of idolatry.)
Christian – Jesus goes up to the “tree” before crucifixion. Apples yield both food and drink, as the sweet aroma of the Church. Bride’s breasts become grape clusters, as the soul reaches out of love for what’s next.
(From Israel?) Your palate like the best wine flowing smoothly, stirring sleepers’ lips. (from the shulamite?) (from Daniel and others who talk upon themselves the path of “old wine,” as of Abraham, lingering of taste of fine old wine) (or it’s Israel saying: I shall heed your plea to uphold faith before Beloved in love and uprightness so slumbering fathers move lips in approval, as ripe grapes flow juice to the touch, or as words of departed sages would/should easily flow again.).
Just as these wines stimulate the spirit, so do your words jubilate Me.
VII. 11-12. I belong to my beloved, and for me is his desire. (When I walk in God’s ways, God makes His presence dwell in my midst and longs for me) (desire of wife for husband, of penchant of Cain for evil, yearning of rain for the earth
Come, my love (turning to God), let us hie to the field (where lovers go) (mystical sacred marriage) (where Your children serve you) (On Sabbath, King with the Sabbath bride), lie in the cypress. (maybe retreat of exile) (or come and see scholars studying Torah in poverty or in synagogues/schools to find students as budding vines & flowering pomegranates) (or where people still deny You).
VII. 13-14. Let us get to the vineyards to see if the vine sprouts, if the blossoms bud, if the pomegranate flowers, There will I give you my love. (suggestive of Israel, other Biblical scenes with vineyards, but here one that is managed beautifully, as intended, fruitful, with love (God’s and ours) (garden of love, fertility) (to the synagogue/study hall, producing the righteous/prophets) (time of redemption?) (Israel continues to want to invite God to come and observe.)
The baskets of figs/mandrakes (both good and bad) (associated with love and fertility) (narcotic or stimulant) give scent, at our door is every delicacy; things both new and old, my love, I have stored for you.
(Has the feel of the Garden of Eden. A return to the Garden? A feel of heaven? Gate of hope?) (sexual overtones) (return from exile to husband, purified by tribulation, with hope of fruits of re-found love and restoration) (hints of hope in Hosea)
(People store up for God good deeds and thoughts; God stores up treasures of good things.)
Christian – fruitfulness and healing of saints; old and new testaments; gates of the Church; when Apostles spread their sweet teachings.
VIII. 1-2. O that you were as my brother on the breast of my mother, I would find you in the street and kiss you, and none would scorn me (when I return from exile). (brother-sister lovers?) (metaphorical?) (Could brother be as the messiah, sucking the judgments of the Law, or teaching to fear the Lord and walking in His way?)
I would lead you to my mother’s house (Sinai) (Shekinah) (Temple), bring you to the chamber of her who bore me; I would make you drink spice wine (of Torah OR pleasures of good deeds), the juice of my pomegranate (alluding to Temple sacrifices and libations) (decoration on the priest’s robes) (flowing juice of superior characteristics)
(Mishnah > Talmud).
(Israel in exile: despite my wrongs, You (God) could comfort me as Joseph did, like a brother nurtured bosom of mother, if in streets I found your prophets I would kiss you and embrace You through them. Emotional expression of her affection, seeking to removing obstacles to wholehearted serving Him)
VIII. 3-4. His left hand is under my head, his right hand embracing me. (I am the chosen of all peoples – tefillin on left hand and mezuzah on right side of door.) God loves me even during laments in exile.
I adjure you, Jerusalem girls, that you neither incite nor excite love until it is eager. (like other similar verses) (The king or Messiah adjures people from warring against others to escape exile OR the people are saying to others that Beloved holds its hand while in exile, with hope soon of redemption)
VIII. 5-6. God notes how worthy is she (still-exiled Israel) spiritually in Torah, cleaving with the Shekinah, in friendship (one who ascends from the steppe, leaning on her lover, aroused under apple tree, conceived by mother).
Is this entry into Canaan after Egypt? Or is it after Babylon?
Or is it resurrection after netherworld?
Some say Israel is saying this: Under the suspended Sinai (like the apple, which blooms in the spring, as did Torah from Sinai), I aroused Your love, jumping to say “we will do and we will obey.” This subjected her to travail through enmity from the heathen world.
For the sake of my love, set me a seal (signet) upon Your heart, Your arm so You don’t forget me. This shows magnitude of the people’s love for God, even in face of feelings toward and from other nations that appear to be faring well.
Love is as strong as death, passion fierce as hell, its darts are darts of fire, its flames…
It may have been at Sinai, or freedom from tribulation, or at moment of reciting the Shema.
For Christians – Bridegroom to the bride or bride to groom– be faithful to keep Christ as a seal on heart and arm by remembering all words, etc.
VIII. 7-8. Mighty waters can’t quench Love (Perhaps death can’t quench love.); no torrents (nothing can disturb for long the attachment of Bride and her Beloved) sweep it away. If a man gave away all his wealth for love, would he be despised? (One can’t purchase love; if one tries, it’s scorned.) (Marriage, thus, has ethical dimensions.)
(All the peoples of the world, especially heathen nations) can’t quench my love of God. Nor can their leaders and kings sweep You away.
If one used all one’s wealth to buy all the wisdom (Torah) in the Exile, God would restore double in the world to come. This may be a way of performing Deut. 6:5 (love God with all your…)
Our sister is young/has no breasts (a nation that is little, humble, perhaps spurned in Exile, not yet ripe for redemption, without current leaders ala Moses, or without the twin tablets, the ark, as in the 2nd Temple period). What will we (perhaps angels) do for her (help her) when she is bespoken (in/after the exile, or facing attack)?
VIII. 9-10. If she be a wall (protecting, preserving, repelling, girding herself with faith), we’ll build on her a silver buttress (bolstering defense, a fortified city).
If a door (opening, for entering or closing, we’ll close her with a cedar board (strong plank). (This involves Israel’s willingness to assert/defend the unity of God’s name through devotion of resources). Some see this openness as reflective of too loose an attitude, leading to danger and pillaging.
Relatives would want to keep a damsel “closed” (virginal) until the proper time.
Conduct during Exile matters.
Christian – the Church and the soul are both like a wall and a door. Cedar door repels heretic moths/worms. Door allows Master of house and friends, but excludes others.
I (my faith is as firm as) am a wall (Torah? Community of Israel?), and my breasts (scholars? Synagogues and houses of study? Sons?) are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes as one producing shalom (Contentment/wholeness/peace/grace/favor.)
(She says she’s a wall, not a door.)
(Israel is and proclaims it is such a wall, fully developed, secure, with capacity to nourish and battle (on behalf of God’s ways, mighty in the words of Torah) (Jerusalem personified.).
She is ripe for redemption!
This is seen as so by God, especially in its furtherance of the Divine mission of peace throughout the world. Favored in lover’s eyes, can find/make peace in home, a bride found perfect.)
(Sexual maturity, too.)
Christian – founded on the sure Rock, cemented with mortar of divine love. Breasts nourish others spiritually. Wall of church may be seen as Manhood of Jesus and breasts as Apostles whose teachings are weapons of Christian warfare. Related to saints.
VIII. 11-12. Solomon had a vineyard (Baal Hamon) (Israel) (Sanhedrin) (Kingdom of God on earth).
He gave it to keepers (kings of House of David?) (Priests) (Captivity by Nebuchadnezzar?) (Israelites, who had not done duty well in the past, but now will guard the vineyard zealously so that Solomon/God will have his due?)
A man would offer a 1000 silver pieces for its fruit. (The harsh invaders/keepers extorted payments from the people.)
(All of Palestine is the vineyard of God.)
For Christians – planted by Peaceful King. Keepers are Apostles. 1000 pieces are saving fullness of God’s law and commandments. Spent for welfare of poor.
Vineyard – whole Church uniting all nations.
My own vineyard is before me. (I look after my own vineyard.) The thousand is yours, Solomon, and two hundred for those who guard its fruit (the Sages who kept the traditions and wisdom).
(Rashi says this is God re-claiming His vineyard, with payments returned, with principal plus penalty of a fifth.)
(Does this relate to the rupture of the kingdom?)
VIII. 13-14. You who dwell in gardens (perhaps spread across the earth), companions are attentive (Ministering Angels?) (Leaders of the nations?), make Me hear your voice, that God might be sanctified. (Perhaps angels won’t sing to God until people do.
(People – together - in future should be attentive to God and heard by God in Torah, prayer, times of performing justice, and service.)
Christian – Bride addresses Groom with love and duty.
Bolt, my love, be like a buck, or a young stag, on the spice mountains (Temple). (People return to God and hope for God to be fresh, alive, strong, and dominant on the earth.) (Call for Messiah?)
Spice is reminiscent of spices, but also alluding to widespread effect of mitzvoth.
(An understanding of the people that God returns to the high heavens, but in needed moments, a hope that God will be attentive, with Shechinah’s presence, and that one day will redeem us and bring us to the mountain.
(As a love song, in joy, they’re mutually pledged, prepared to be married, and Solomon (or the groom) and the bride sort of frolic away.