Song of Solomon 8:5-14
The Song of Solomon starts on a high note of love and expectation. The middle is a reality of difficulties encountered. The end is of highness attained and problems worked through. Previously Shulamith has danced for Solomon and that resulted in a great time of love and closeness. Afterwards they lay and planned their anniversary honeymoon back to her home area (8:1-4). Now, in this last flash-back which Shulamith recalls, they are on that honeymoon. She had promised him sexual pleasures outside in their favorite vineyards (7:11-12), some old experiences and some new ones, too (7:13).
SECOND HONEYMOON Evidently the second honeymoon was a great success. Shulamith had promised some surprises for Solomon (8:1-4) and it seems they had a great time. Away from the distractions and pressures of Jerusalem they could focus more on their love and meeting each others’ needs, both physical and emotional. The problem of not enough time and rejection is a million miles away. They are at peace.
Shulamith’s memory starts with picturing them returning to her home from a special time together outside (8:5a). She is thinking of the physical closeness they have just shared (8:5), and of how strong her love is for Solomon at this time. She feels very secure in the fact that he is hers (“seal” shows ownership, v. 6). She feels protected by him (“arm” v. 6). Her love is final and irreversible, something that cannot be changed (like “death” and the “grave” – v. 6). It is an unquenchable fire, burning so intently (v. 6) even a river could not put it out (v. 7).
This kind of love, she realizes, can not be purchased with all the money in the world (v. 7). Actually, trying to buy love fails for that love is scorned and doesn’t last. Shulamith basks in the fact that she doesn’t have to do anything or be anything to earn or keep Solomon’s love. Therefore there is nothing she can do to lose it! Today we try to ‘buy’ love in many ways: money, possessions, flattery, appearance, doing things, etc. Love just can’t be bought. Sex, physical attention, external actions can be bought, but not real, deep love. Often people settle for the lesser, though, because they don’t feel they can ever have the real thing. Shulamith is glad she was raised to know the difference, and to await the real thing. She remembers when she was first taught these truths.
IMPACT OF FATHERS & OLDER BROTHERS ON A YOUNG GIRL Evidently Shulamith’s father was dead, for it seems her brothers raised her (v. 8). Even before puberty they prepared a strategy to help her grow into a fine, godly woman (v. 8). They decided that if she showed an inclination to use her body to get male attention, if she seemed easily seduced (“door”, v. 9) they will step in and protect her from anything like that. If she wasn’t inclined in that direction all the better (“wall” v. 9). Either way, they would build into her a sense of value and specialness (“towers of silver on her,” “panels of cedar” v. 9). They would let her, and those who knew her, be aware of fine traits and inner qualities. They would accept her for herself, the real person inside, and unconditionally love her. They wouldn’t indulge and spoil her, but would make sure she always knew, by word and action, that she was valuable and special for who she was. With this good self esteem she would know her value as a person and act accordingly. This makes a GREAT difference in a young woman!
Too many females in the twentieth century use their looks and appearance to get male attention, feeling that is the only (or best) thing they have to offer. They haven’t been assured of their internal value, and thus don’t treat themselves as worthy people, or expect others to treat them that way, either. Too typical is the young female who uses her body to get male attention and, when she is used or abused, feels that somehow it is her fault and what she deserves in life. Girls seem to marry men like their fathers. If they had a good, loving, accepting father they will look for that in a husband. If they didn’t they will look for a male similar to their father (often with the same weakness) and try anything to get his affirmation of their femininity as a father substitute. Fathers and older brothers have a tremendous impact on a young girl reaching and going through puberty!
To some extent the same is true of boys and their mothers, but it seems especially serious in father-daughter relationships. Both are greatly influenced by how they are raised. Still, each one has his or her own free will choice to make, no matter how they are raised. Shulamith was raised to be pure in all ways, and chose to follow that course when older and the choice was up to her (“wall” v. 10).
FREE WILL CHOICE Shulamith, when of age to make her own choices (“breasts like towers” v. 10), chose the path of virtue and purity (“wall” v. 10). She lives for her future mate. Her choices then were with her coming husband in mind. That is rare, both then and now. Solomon recognized that rarity and appreciated it. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Prov 31:10). Shulamith brought him contentment (v. 10).
Shulamith tells a parable to explain this same truth. Her brothers took care of Solomon’s vineyard for him, producing good fruit which benefited him (v. 11). They also took care of Solomon’s future bride (although they didn’t know that at the time) and with her produced even better fruit (v. 12). From the vineyard Solomon got 20% profit, from Shulamith he got 100% profit! Not only did they keep her pure, but they built value into her. If she wouldn’t have had security and self confidence, she would have shied away from Solomon. People often marry the mate they feel they deserve. If a person doesn’t feel they deserve the best in life they will settle for a mate who is less than the best to them. Feelings of inferiority affect all areas of life!
SECOND HONEYMOON ENDS The second honeymoon ends, as always must happen. Solomon tells Shulamith to say good bye to her childhood friends who have seen her off (v. 13), but he also asks to “hear your voice (v. 13),” evidently with a specific idea in mind. She responds (v. 14) by inviting him to one more time of sexual pleasure before leaving.
THE REST OF THE STORY … The relationship between Solomon and Shulamith started out idealistically, assuming all would be fine when married. Reality and selfishness brought problems that had to be worked through or the relationship would have withered and died. They did work them through with unconditional love and patience for each other. Now they have the rest of their lives to enjoy the fruits of this. Times of difficulties surely continued to come, but with love and commitment, with learning to communicate and put the other first, the relationship became what God wanted it to be. Can you say that of your marriage? With God’s help, that can be true of any and every marriage, but it must be done His way and with His help.