Jesus Creed

This dialogue of admiration continues. He glows about how beautiful she is and how she leaves the rest in her wake… and she glows right back:
2:3 As an apple tree among the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved among young men.
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4 He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his intention toward me was love.
5 Sustain me with raisins,
refresh me with apples;
for I am faint with love.
6 O that his left hand were under my head,
and that his right hand embraced me!
7 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the wild does:
do not stir up or awaken love
until it is ready!
If, the woman seems to be saying, he can compare me so favorably to a “lily among thorns,” I will compare him to “an apple tree among the trees of the wood.”
This reflection gives rise to a series of metaphorical lines of her intense desire of his love — and this too is fantasy and imagination (as v. 6 makes clear).
1. She enjoys his shade, his shadow — for he is an apple tree.
2. His fruit is sweet to taste. There is debate whether this is apple tree (not native) or an apricot tree (native and more poetically sensual).
Perhaps the metaphors continue; perhaps she thinks now of actual time together in her memory. I think it imagination or anticipation — but perhaps it is describing a present reality.
3. She thinks of his bringing her to the “house of wine” for one reason and one reason alone: love. The “flag” or “banner” for this house of wine reads “love.”
4. She loses her strength in the utter joy of love: she needs sustenance — raisins or apples (apricots) will do. She speaks here either to herself or more likely to the daughters of Jerusalem.
5. Her wish: that he were really there with his left hand under head and his right hand around her body.
Verse 7 fascinates many interpreters. Is it a moral exhortation or a “please do not disturb” sign? Does she adjure the young daughters to wait for the right time for love or is she asking them to leave her with her lover until they are done making love? Most think she is speaking of the first — urging the women to wait until they are ready. See 8:6-7.

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