WARNING: The following material is intended for mature audiences. While this is a Bible study, the Song of Songs is written with references to sexual themes, intimate textual innuendos, and suggestive figurative language that may not be suitable for some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. It is recommended that you approach this book from God with pure motives and pray that His will in preserving these song lyrics can be a blessing to you. Thank you for taking this word of caution into consideration as we begin today’s episode.
“I went down to the orchard of nut trees To see the blossoms of the valley, To see whether the vine had budded Or the pomegranates had bloomed. 'Before I was aware, my soul set me Over the chariots of my noble people.' 'Come back, come back, O Shulammite; Come back, come back, that we may gaze at you!' 'Why should you gaze at the Shulammite, As at the dance of the two companies?
In 6:11-12, a new section begins and yet the meaning and the context are very obscure. The Hebrew is very difficult to translate and this has led to a variety of interpretations. The Hebrew leaves us with questions like: What is the soul in this text? “Before I was aware, my soul set me Over the chariots of my noble people.” Why do some translations leave Amminadab in the text when it literally means, “My people, a prince”, “noble people”, or “generous people”. This shows the trouble that translators have had with this verse. What exactly is taking place in this passage? That is the real question before us. Regardless of the interpretations of this text, it all seems to be a fantasy to the girl as now she is in a paradise garden again with her lover as a royally exalted noble that is praised by all. The word soul in this verse (nephesh) can sometimes be rendered “desire or longing” She is, in other words, “swept off her feet by her lover and is on cloud nine”. She is lost in her thought and imaginations, even in love with being in love. While fantasies are not wrong, they need not be for other people in past relationships and they ought not be something that we expect to be a reality all the time. Sometimes these dreamy scenes lend themselves to much hurt in a real-life relationship when one partner tries to shape the other to meet their standards of romance and passion. In verse 13 the onlookers make a plea for the Shulammite to return when the thought of her mind allowed her lover to come to take her away to their romantic love together. She seems to be recalling how once she was with her contemporaries and then one day she was taken only to be exalted to a prominent desirable position with her lover. The friends wanted to catch one more glimpse of the girl and her beauty. Some have rendered the pleas of the friends to “come back” to mean “leap, leap” as if they were asking her to dance. They use this to tie the wasf of 7:1-5 to the supposed dance here, when she is never considered a dancer, but seems offended at the point that is being made by looking at her in this light. The dance was most likely a promiscuous dance of some cult and she was offended that in her purity, others would suspect that she would involve herself in such activity. One man said this was likely a dance done by a woman between two long lines of men while they sing, clap and stomp their feet for her as she moves her body in different motions. Either way she has no interest in dancing for anybody and the text is mainly referring to the people wanting to see her again. Again, she may be thinking all of this in her head as the word soul (vs. 12) can mean “desire or longing”. Perhaps she is seeing herself mentally how she would want to be seen physically. She sees herself as exalted above her noble people and their chariots. She is now royalty in the eyes of her lover and others desire to see her instead of shaming her looks. I believe the final words of verse 13 are from the girl as she is referring to herself. The lover would have called her by another name (dove, perfect one). Here she is called Shulammite. It is interesting to note that some have tried to find a passage that explains Shulammite and for the longest time I Kings 1:3 with Abishag has been the text to use where “Shunammite” is used. Some also try to connect Shunem with the dwelling of the girl, which really was not the intention of the Song. We need to realize that other biblical texts have no reference to this Song and the real meaning may be very different. It is interesting to remember that the word used here has reference to “shalom” which is not only a word for peace but has reference now to both the name of the lover and the beloved girl (Solomon and Shulammite are the masc. and fem. words for peace). They mutually share a relationship of peace just like God intended for every relationship to be like. Just as we have said earlier in our study, the relationship viewed in the song characterizes that of every man and women in true love. SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: When we have been translated from our place in this world into a relationship with Christ in His eternal kingdom, we are indeed exalted, becoming a noble heir with Christ. The world may not have recognized us or paid much attention to us when we were living among them, but after being sanctified and then seated with Christ in the heavenly places, we take on a different image that resembles that of our Savior, who loved us and came to redeem us. While the world beckons us to return and dance among them again, we chose rather to walk in the light and stay in step with the Spirit. Our relationship with Christ is life changing but is also carries us away in our spirit to heights to which we could never have imagined. We enjoy a peace in this relationship that passes all understanding with the Prince of Peace. QUESTIONS: 1. Falling in love is often referred to as being swept off our feet, because we find that it changes our life quickly and we are positively taken away to fulfill our romantic fantasies. Do you believe that this feeling of being swept away by a lover can be an ongoing reality in a relationship? Why or why not?
2. When we feel the world tempting us to return to a life of sin, when we are committed to a lover, do we succumb, or do we resist and take pleasure in our covenant partner?
3. When you think about your love for Christ, what are some potential cries from the world that beckon us to return to the world from which we have decided to separate ourselves for the sake of being devoted to a higher calling and devotion to the Lord?
4. At what point does desiring or longing for something in this world become vain idolatry as opposed to still pursuing godliness?
5. Do you think it is possible to live with a mutually fulfilling and peaceful relationship this side of heaven?