Song of Songs 5:2-8 tells a story of invitation, delay, disappointment and search — the woman is asleep, her lover knocks on the door, she delays in responding, he disappears and she searches for him. Love sometimes issues an urgent plea to respond … and yet in delaying or not delaying there can be danger and misunderstanding.
Is this the age-old story that “if you love me, you’ll do what I say?” That is, the story of an impatient young man? Or is this the delicacy of a woman who doesn’t quite know how to respond properly and, because of her unsurety, makes a mistake and regrets her mistake? In light of what follows in the text, I tend to think the second view is more accurate, but no one one knows for sure.
Sometimes we regret our delays; sometimes our delays were wise because we weren’t sure. There are no certainties in relationships — there are trusts, risks, adventures, delights, and disappointments. We make decisions and live with their impacts.
I think what I like most about the woman’s delay and disappointment is her search for her lover. Maybe the search shows she regrets her delay; if so, she searches for him and pursues him and then finds him. She thinks, perhaps, that she’s made a mistake — and she seeks to undo it.