Song of Songs 5:2-8

The female in Song of Songs has an anxiety dream.  These are dreams in which one fears a future event or circumstance and works through the possibilities of its happening.  The dreamer is barred from fulfilling their wishes by something beyond their control and they can only escape by waking.  My wife has these kind of dreams frequently.  In her dreams, there is usually a production or performance and my wife is unprepared and anxious.  This leads to her waking in the middle of the night and then scurrelously completing forms and completing work to make sure nothing is left to chance.  Of course, we can see easily the relationship between such dreams and desire for control.  We are meant to have dominion over what is truly ours, but we do not have dominion for things that exist outside of our borders.  Unfortunately love brings us into close proximity with someone over whom we may have influence, but we should lack control.  Imagine the absurdity of the lover saying to the beloved, “You must love me!”  Because of our desires and our dreams being unmet we experience pain and loss, evenin the arms of the ones we love.  It is good to enter into frequent dialog to try and soften the pain and to meet each others’ expectaions sacrificially and joyfully, but even then not every desire or every attempt to connect can be fulfilled.

Men and women are made differently.  What may satisfy one or excite one may not interest the other.  Of course, the ultimate love is shown as we learn to joyfully sacrifice our own wants and desires to meet the desires and wants of our beloved.  Of course, this involves intimate communication and will lead to affirmation within the relationship.  It seems to be beyond many wannabe lovers.

In the dream of Song of Songs 5:2-8, the woman is comfortable in her chambers and has retired for the night.  Being awoken by an aroused lover seems to be too much trouble for her.  He is obviously disappointed in his efforts and withdraws.  When she is more fully awake she realises what a mistake she has made.  Her wishes to be intimate with her lover have been dashed by her own sleepiness and reluctance to prepare herself for him.  The thought of losing him drives her out into the night and into danger – in fact her subconscious leaves her wounded physically and emotionally for not grasping at the chance for sexual intimacy when it arose.  She ends with a sad plea that whoever does find her elusive lover should tell him how overcome with love she is for him.

Her greatest fear is losing her lover.  Her greatest fear is being the very cause for his leaving her and so she works against this by employing all her charms and exhausting all her efforts.  Her lack of control brings anxiety, but love must sacrifice control.  The only control we are encouraged to have is over subordinates or over the self.  Any other control is an illusion and it kills love. 

Fears from our past come into our present and prevent us from loosening up and relaxing.  We are afraid what will happen when we give ourselves over.  We are afraid what will happen if we hold nothing back.  we are afraid to trust.  But in as much as love does not not trust and fights for control is the measure of how our love is deficient.  It will always be a struggle – but when we engage with the pain of truly giving ourselves away, we are able to rest in the arms of the one we love even though our sleep may be troubled.

Song of Songs 5:2-8

2 I slept but my heart was awake.
   Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
   my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
   my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3 I have taken off my robe—
   must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
   must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
   my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
   and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
   on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
   but my beloved had left; he was gone.
   My heart sank at his departure.[a]
I looked for him but did not find him.
   I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me
   as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
   they took away my cloak,
   those watchmen of the walls!
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
   if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
   Tell him I am faint with love.


  1. How do we know this is a anxiety dream sequence?
  2. What does the dreamer wish for?
  3. What prevents the dreamer from getting what she wants?
  4. What do you wish for in each of your significant relationships?
  5. How do your physical limitations, your lack of desire, or life’s distractions lead you away from your desire?
  6. When do you go to God to help him strengthen you in your primary relationship with him and your secondary relationship with others?

Going Deeper

Meditate on the following truths:

  • “You are in Christ.  He has died and been raised, therefore, you have died and been raised, therfore sin has no right to hold any sway over you.  So don’t let sin make you obey its desires.”
  • “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  1 Corinthians 6:11
  • You belong to the Risen Christ.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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