Closed garden

The bride of the Song is a closed garden (4:12), her spices and fruits inaccessible, her springs of living water sealed up. Winds blow over the garden of the bride, spreading her fragrance (v. 16). But no one can feast, or drink, or see her beauties, until the Lover enters the garden (5:1). He . . . . Continue Reading »

Wound of Love

Commenting on the Song of Songs 4:10, Paul Griffiths ( Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) , 108-9 ) points out that love’s wound is not only the result of failed love or love’s absence, but inherent in love itself: “As the lover caresses his beloved’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Veiled Bride

It’s not difficult to see how allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs inspires the topsy-turvy world of Jewish and Christian mysticism. The poem speaks of the veiling of the bride (1:7; 4:1, 3; 6:7). That’s natural and literal, of course, since ancient Israelite women wore veils . . . . Continue Reading »

At the breast

The Torah never mentions breasts as an object of erotic fascination; they are solely nourishment for infants. In the wisdom literature, things are different. Solomon encourages young men to delight in the breasts of their wives - not of another, a strange woman (Proverbs 5) -, and in the Song . . . . Continue Reading »

Uncontained beauty

Solomon describes the beauty of his beloved in a neat and symmetrical poem in Song of Songs 7:1-6. Framed by “how beautiful you are” (vv. 1, 6), the poem describes ten features of her body. He starts with her feet and his gaze makes its way up. The ten features are neatly divided into . . . . Continue Reading »

Offering delight

Delight, writes Paul Griffith in Song of Songs (Brazo’s Theological Commentary on the Bible) (92-3) is “an offering rather than an asking.” By gazing appreciatively at his beloved and praising her in words, the lover offers “the beloved his appreciation of her and, in making . . . . Continue Reading »

On my bed I sought him

Beds in Scripture are sick beds (Hezekiah) or death beds (Jacob, David). Beds are also analogous to altars. In 2 Kings 4:8ff, the woman who sets up a room for Elisha quips the room with a table and a menorah and a chair and a bed. This is an upper room for the man of God, who bears the presence of . . . . Continue Reading »

Like a deer

Griffiths again ( Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) , 62) on the “gazelle and hind” of the oath in Song of Songs 2:7. He connects this passage to the image of the hart longing for God in Psalm 42 “When the lovers like one another to deer in the Song, this . . . . Continue Reading »

Course of true love

Griffiths again ( Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) , 60): “The placement of the adjuration formula is important. Here in 2:7 it concludes a series of endearment exchanges between the lover and the beloved (1:9-2:6). Those exchanges have a rhythm: they move from . . . . Continue Reading »

Awakening love

Working from the Vulgate text, Paul Griffiths ( Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) , 59) has this helpful comment on the adjuration of the daughters of Jerusalem in Song of Songs 2:7: The “charge to [the daughters] can be read simply as an adjuration not to wake her . . . . Continue Reading »