The value of love is clearly outlined in Song of Songs 8. It is both as strong as death and beyond price. Solomon and his ‘keepers’ (ESV) try and pay for access to the ‘wall’ or through ‘ the door’ which is the woman. However, she will not open herself up to one who jus tries to purchase her with money. This is astounding in the culture of the Ancient Near East where women were seen as possessions. However, this beautiful woman sees herself as a free spirit. Although it would seems that her brothers tried to lock her away and Solomon has purchased her from them she has the freedom of mind to long for escape and her lover will help her escape the desert of Solomon’s harem. Of course, this could mean death for the woman and her lover, but this love is as strong as death.
Only in the Bible has love really conquered death. Love is eternal because God is eternal. The self-serving, angst-ridden desire to be loved that many people pursue is the result of killing God in our society. Hollywood tries to promote a blind romanticism where love is a strong as death – however, there is no reason for it. It is a foundationless optimism given the other beliefs that people hold on to. If people were consistent with the prevailing story of our culture, we are born and have an urge to procreate for the survival of our species. The urge to procreate is pleasurable and we call it love. However, with an eternal and benevolent God we can have a love as strong as death and we can have the erotic love of Song of Songs as well as love in all its many other aspects. Because God is eternal, love is eternal. Intuitively we know this to be true. Our longing reflects a God-given sense of reality. Our war with God is the death of love.
Song of Songs 8
Oh that you were like a brother to me
who nursed at my mother’s breasts!
If I found you outside, I would kiss you,
and none would despise me.
2 I would lead you and (A)bring you
into the house of my mother—
she who used to teach me.
I would give you (B)spiced wine to drink,
the juice of my pomegranate.
3 (C)His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!
4 I (D)adjure you, O (E)daughters of Jerusalem,
(F)that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.
5 (G)Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?
Under the apple tree I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you;
there she who bore you was in labor.
6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as (H)a seal upon your arm,
for (I)love is strong as death,
(J)jealousy[a] is fierce as the grave.[b]
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very (K)flame of the Lord.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his (L)house,
he[c] would be utterly despised.
8 We have a little sister,
and she (M)has no breasts.
What shall we do for our sister
on the day when she is spoken for?
9 If she is a wall,
we will build on her a battlement of silver,
but if she is a door,
we will enclose her with (N)boards of cedar.
10 (O)I was a wall,
and my (P)breasts were like towers;
then I was in his eyes
as one who finds[d] peace.
11 Solomon had (Q)a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
he (R)let out the vineyard to (S)keepers;
each one was to bring for its fruit (T)a thousand pieces of silver.
12 My vineyard, my very own, is before me;
you, O Solomon, may have the thousand,
and (U)the keepers of the fruit two hundred.
13 (V)O you who dwell in the gardens,
with (W)companions listening for your voice;
(X)let me hear it.
14 (Y)Make haste, my beloved,
and be (Z)like a gazelle
or a young stag
on (AA)the mountains of spices.
- Why does the woman long for her lover to be like a brother?
- How is the eternal power of love emphasized?
- In whom is love’s power best displayed and how?
- How do you regularly, selflessly offer up all that you have to your lover sexually and otherwise?
- How do you overcome powerful obstacles like time-commitments to work, family demands, and mutual misunderstanding that seek to quench love?