As on last Friday, so today: I’ll sum up some ideas about love and marriage from our reading this week of Song of Solomon 1:12–2:7.
I suggest you ask yourself these questions: Does your love for your loved one evoke imagination of that person’s presence? Does your love create dialogues that spar in degrees of admiration? Do you wait for love to mature? Do you see your love as delightful?
1. The evocative power of imagination. This woman is intoxicated with her love for her shepherd-lover. His absence leads her to dream about him and to imagine his embraces. She imagines him as myrrh and henna blossoms and she imagines lying with him in a verdant wooded location, and she imagines herself as a rose and lily — and his love as sweet fruit. We are unsure when we read this section if the woman is in the presence of the man or if she only imagines him.
2. The need for admiration dialogues: they banter back and forth between themselves almost vying for who can say the nicest line or create the most poetic expression for the other. “Look at you!,” he says, “Your eyes are doves.” She relishes this and echoes back, “Look at you! … our bed is verdant.”
3. The importance of letting love happen: her words to the daughters of Jerusalem are not strict moralistic teaching so much as profound wisdom. Love comes; you can’t control that, but you should wait for it, nurture it, be ready, but don’t rush it. (So I read 2:7.)
4. Most importantly, we watch — a bit like voyeurs — as this couple tenderly, emotively, and erotically toys with one another in loving delight of the person and body of the other.