The next verse is from the woman — and she speaks to the maidens of Jerusalem. Oh so nice.
Again, live in their delightful language with one another: She speaks to the women and, using the “vineyard” for her sexuality, informs the other women that it is time now for them to “catch us the little foxes” (the males who romp about the area). It is time for love; it is spring. They have no desire to catch a random fox; they want one fox for their own (“catch” and “ruin”).
15 Catch us the foxes,
the little foxes,
that ruin the vineyards—
for our vineyards are in blossom.
That the point is about catching a fox for yourself is confirmed by v. 16: She has a man; “My beloved is mine and I am his.” This theme of exclusive love for another does not rob the lovers of delight. And it is a significant them in this whole book. He’s not one of the foxes that ruins vineyards; he’s mine and I am his. We are faithful.
16 My beloved is mine and I am his;
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
She now summons him to herself. Is it morning or evening? The language is not clear. Does she summon him with “turn” or shoo him away playfully? I agree with Exum: she’s inviting him to spend the night with her and thus she’s also referring to the morning (“until the day breathes”). The cleft mountains are her herself — perhaps her breasts — perhaps her person as the place where he can make his home now. She’s inviting him to enjoy his lover (her). Here is a prelude to a union.
17 Until the day breathes
and the shadows flee, [morning?]
turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle
or a young stag on the cleft mountains.