The woman, after declaring where it was that their love was first aroused, now suddenly teaches what love is all about. Here are her words:
8:6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
it would be utterly scorned.
What is it?
1. Love begins with commitment that establishes identity (8:6ab).
2. Love, like death, dissolves one’s identity — one finds the other so delightful they become “one.”
3. Love has its jealousy — jealousy referring to protecting what one has (one is jealous for what one has; one is envious of what another has) — and it is a passionate emotion. It consumes to protect love.
4. Love cannot be — and here I think she is thinking of their commitment which can’t be defeated by Solomon’s wooing charms — quenched by waters. Love is so strong, its heat so potent, that waters cannot stop it.
5. Love is more valuable than anything wealth can offer. And anyone who offered love at a price would be scorned.
[Comment: the prudish notion that love is calculable and totally controllable is chased off the stage by these lines.]