Song of Songs 3:1-11; 4:1-16
Chapter 3:1-5 The Bride’s Dream
The bride (to be) is alone dreaming of her beloved. It is not clear where the dream begins or ends, but it is a major feature of the book. The dream seems to be at night because she sees a ‘watchman’ in her dream. The dream has a nightmarish quality as she is almost frantically searching but cannot find her love until verse 4. When she finds him, she brings him to her mother’s home. In verse 5, she again references her future wedding night and how beautiful that will be. Paraphrasing verse 5: we are not to stir up or awaken love until the proper time. A reminder that fornication and adultery are not the way of the Lord.
3:6-11 Solomon Arrives for the Wedding
I smile at these verses! Nightmare gives way to fantasy and as she dreams of her wedding day, she transforms it into a royal occasion with her lover as a king. Solomon’s guards are there to protect the wedding day and doubly, to banish her fears of the night from verse 3:1. It is noticeable to me that only a mother is referenced in verse 11, with no mention of a father.
This Shulammite girl and her beloved shepherd are a beautiful romantic picture. This rural girl sees her shepherd boy as a king. The Song shows a world in which a country girl and a shepherd can be as happy and fulfilled as a king on his throne!
Chapter 4 Solomon Admires His Bride’s Beauty
In this chapter, the man praises the Shulammite (4:1-15), she responds with an invitation (4:16), and he accepts (5:1). The words the man uses to describe the charm he sees in his bride are beautiful, yet different than would be spoken today. Nevertheless, we can feel the powerful emotions he has for his beloved bride. He unabashedly spends a fair amount of time telling her of his love. She has captivated his heart ‘with one glance of your eyes’!
In verse 16a, he speaks of his garden and in 16b, she unlocks the ‘garden’ of her virginity to her beloved and in 5:1, he accepts the invitation. Such a magnificent picture of what the beginning of a marriage should look like!
Again, in these chapters, we are living the dream of the bride-to-be. It is a beautiful dream! God chose to share this with us in His Word.
One final note regarding Verse 3:5:
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.
This refrain is found 3 times in this book and it creates movement and suspense. The lovers experience separation, hostility and interference, but nevertheless, the relationship moves forward. There is a sense of fulfillment at the end of the book when the lovers, together at last and at ease in public, walk arm-in-arm to the home of the parents, the place where their relationship began. The author of this book understands the we no longer live in the Garden of Eden, but in a fallen world, where love, too, has its pain. But idealism remains and one day, those who have received Christ will experience a New Heaven and a New Earth and will know the love of the Bridegroom in its fullness. AMEN!! — Mary Mauderer