10th Song: 7:10 – 8:4
The Bride’s Deep Longing and Ardent Desire for the Groom’s Return

Bride7:10 I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.
7:11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
7:12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
7:13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
8:1 O that thou wert as my brother that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
8:2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
8:3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
8:4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.

This song expresses the words of the bride only. She commences with words which describe, with prophetic foresight, the undivided unity between Christ and his ecclesia. The Word of God both commences and concludes with a marriage. The marriage of Eve to Adam was not an end in itself, but an expression of something greater; an expression of a unity of which marriage is but a reflection: “A man shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”. This is the reason why, when the harmony of mind and purpose is lost between a married couple, the marriage breaks down—an ever so frequent occurrence in today’s self-centred society. This is not happening here. She is his and his desire is towards her. Here we have mutual care and respect, the ingredients for a successful marriage.

She recognises that the love the groom has for her is wonderful indeed: “His desire is toward me”. He has eyes for no other. He longs for her and she feels that longing. But she has a desire too—to invite him on a journey of inspection. She seeks to take him to the field and to the villages and there inspect the fruit of the garden early in the morning. She wants him to share the joy she has in the fruits she has laid up for him (7:13).

These fruits represent the labours of the bride over the course of time. They are fruits for the beloved and she wants him to rejoice in those labours. She has tended the vine and the pomegranate and all manner of pleasant fruit, just for him. The vine is a symbol of Christ and the ecclesia producing fruit together (John 15:1-5) and the pomegranate is a symbol of the mind of the bride (4:3). The fruit in total is emblematic of the fruit of the Spirit, nurtured and matured over thousands of years (Gal 5:22-23).

At another level, too, in the kingdom age, the bride and groom will go forth early in the morning of that new day and inspect the fruit of their work. The nations will have been chastened by a devastation never before experienced; so too will Israel. As in ancient times, the vine of Israel will be inspected (Isa 5:1-5) and this time the fruits of righteousness and justice will be apparent. The nations are like “fields white to harvest” ( John 4:35) and she will be anxious to see the fruits of her labours. She has been involved in preaching the “everlasting gospel” (Rev 14:6-7) and she desires to examine all the fruit of that work “laid up for him”. In the third song (2:13), he invited her to inspect the garden and now they have the opportunity to share this experience together.

The mandrake is introduced here because of its pleasant aroma. It is only mentioned six times, with the only other occasions being associated with Leah and Rachel in Genesis 30. The root is dowd and is found 39 times in this book and is translated as “beloved”. It is cognate with the Hebrew word “David”. Whether the fruit had sensual properties or not, we only have the claim of Rachel to go by, but such a property would have no place here. An artificial stimulus is out of the question when we consider the obvious love held by this immortal couple. This may be the point; being immortal, the only property of this fruit that has value to this couple is its aroma.

This new work is a work of love to be totally enjoyed by both of them (7:12). Yet it is not a new work, it is an old one (7:13). It is a repetition of an old experience in a totally different setting: the kingdom.

Her love for him is pure. It is as innocent as a sister’s love for a dearly beloved brother (8:1-2)—fraternal, affectionate and deep-seated. Her love is complete in his embrace (8:3).The AV uses the word “should” twice in this verse without justification. It should be translated as is found in 2:6. The tense of the verb “embrace” is in the imperfect mood, speaking of an action that has not been completed; it is in progress—for this love will continue to eternity.

Being so overwhelmed by her experience, she concludes this song by repeating the exhortation on love (8:4). This is the third time we have been warned not to awaken our love for our Lord unless we are prepared to accept the burden that it brings. Our Lord exhorted Peter three times on the matter of love (John 21:16-17). Love is not a burden that is hard to bear. Compared to the burden of stifling Rabbinic interpretations, it is easy and light (Matt 11:30). When we respond to his love, it will awaken a commitment in us that ends up as an absolute delight; something that will introduce the sentiments of the next song.

(to be continued)