Well, Chapter One didn't get on the romantic note I had been led to believe; but I'm sure that's equal parts lack of knowledge for some of the cultural reference required to understand and my general frustration with some of the psalms and proverbs.
I'll try and have a more positive approach today.
In verse one, the woman says she is a rose of Sharon. A lily of the valleys. The Plains of Sharon run down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of the Sea of Galilee. And lilies are beautiful, but delicate and commonplace. So it could be interpreted that she is being humble.
He responds by saying she is a lily among thorns, so not commonplace, but spectacular in comparison.
She then comments that her beloved is also unique in comparison, an apple tree in a forest. Sweet and providing shade.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall;
Let His banner over me be love.Song of Solomon 2:4
Ok. This made me cry. This is the romantic stuff I came for. 🙂
All joking aside; I did tear up to think about Jesus, who is really being referred to here, as I understand it.
After everything we've done and all the worst that we are...after everything I've done, and thought, and said...after the worst of who I am...the banner He holds over my head on the way to the wedding banquet is...love. Agape, Godly love that we can only conceptualize and attempt to mirror- but not completely understanding that kind of love until we get home.
The NASB footnote is that troops used a large banner to regroup the troops. Their interpretation with that in mind is that everyone could see his love for her.
The woman goes on to say that she is faint with love and implores the other women not awaken love until it so desires.
Those early days of love are so heady. I've read and heard that the brain chemistry of those newly in love is very similar to those who are struggling with some mental illnesses and I believe that, it makes you crazy. And stirring it up too young or when you've already made a commitment to someone else, leaves someone spinning out of control sometimes.
Side note: I have to admit, starting with the NIV version makes this a much more pleasant experience. Along I do look forward to reading the NASB, I usually read it first; but made an exception when the reading was more clear yesterday in the NIV.
Then she describes her beloved bounding over the hill toward her place, peering through the lattice, into the window to find her and beckon her to go with him.
See the winter has past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard cooing in our land.Song of Solomon 2:11-12
This whole section of the bridegroom beckoning his bride is such beautiful imagery if you picture it as Jesus Christ describing our lives in HIs reign. Winter behind us, flowers and singing and the peace that is often associated with doves. Fruit, and blossoms, and fragrances...while being called beautiful by our beloved.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
Then they lose me a little bit. The man talks about her being a dove with a beautiful voice...which seems fairly straight forward. The NASB translate that verse to mean that he wants to know everything about her. But then he asks he dove to catch the foxes that ruin the vineyard. I think. It's not obvious to me the metaphor. Or even how a dove could take care of a fox.
In the NASB, verse 15, regarding the foxes, is a separate speaker, now it's the chorus. Which makes more sense than having it combined with the dove.
And then the chapter ends in the middle of the woman speaking. She says my beloved is mine and I am his. And then she says that browses among the lilies until daybreak and then he flees. So...um...if she's the lily...then...I think he must be kicking the tires before he bought the car? I doubt it. I think it just means spending time together.
It's interesting trying to process it from a perspective of the man we know as Solomon- a biblical historical perspective...and also as a metaphor or allegory of Christ the bridegroom and His bride...us. Solomon is so ungodly. It's hard to picture him as someone who loved someone more than himself and treated a woman as something more than just another thing to make himself feel good. So it taints my ability to connect the man in the story to Jesus.
I guess there's a lesson even in that. If we're the only bible many people will read...and if we are Jesus' hands and feet- we have to be so careful that we don't make it hard for them to see us and imagine Jesus.