The sequence of Song of Songs 4:16 is significant. The verse begins with an invocation to the winds. The Bride awakens the north wind and invites the south wind, and these winds breathe out ( haphiychiy , from puach , which rhymes with ruach ) the fragrances of the garden. Wind blows from the north and carries the aromas south, while the south wind picks up the fragrances and bears them north. puach is typically associated with the breath of speech (Proverbs 6:19; 12:17; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9), and here too the scented air from the garden conveys a message. Here is an allegory of mission: the Spirit blows through the garden of the church, picks up the scent of Christ, and carries it to the four corners. Or, the wind is itself the Spirit-born disciples. Either way, the church needs to be a cultivated garden to have an aroma strong and sweet enough to bear north and south.

In the midst of this dispersion, there is a shift of ownership. The wind blows through the Bride’s garden ( ganniy ), but she invites the Bridegroom to come to his garden ( ganno ). The garden is the Bride, and there is a mutual ownership: She has her vineyard in her possession, but it is also his; her fruit is also his. But the sequence is important: It is only after the breath of the winds has passed through her garden and been wafted abroad that Dodi is invited into a garden that qualifies as his . Allegorically, it’s the fragrance of the church, and the scented wind of the Spirit, that prepares the garden as the Bridegroom’s, where Jesus can come to eat His Bride and her choice fruits.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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