12th Song: 8:8-14
Love’s Labour in the Millennium

VoiceNarrative
Bride8:8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?
Groom8:9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
Bride8:10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
8:11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
8:12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
Groom8:13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it..
Bride8:14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.

In this final song we are introduced to the “little sister”. She takes the attention of the groom and the bride, who show great concern for her development and welfare. In reviewing the development of the bride through her Jewish and then her Gentile phases, the only other possible explanation for the “little sister” is the continued development of the ecclesia from among the mortal population during the Millennium. The groom and the bride take the oversight of her together: “for unto the angels hath (God) not put in subjection the world to come” (Heb 2:5) for as Paul said; “know ye not that we shall judge angels?” that is, judge mortals in authority in the kingdom age (1 Cor 6:3).

The “little sister” is not yet part of the married bride; she is yet to “be spoken for” (8:8). She is compared with her fully developed sister in matters of her “breasts,” her “wall” and her “door”.

The breast speaks of nurturing and her elder sister is being portrayed as fully able to nurture others. The word for “breast” is shad being the root for El Shaddai—a title for our heavenly Father—rendered “Almighty God” in the AV. He is the divine succourer. To the Thessalonians, Paul was a nourisher; he was gentle, cherishing them as a nursing mother.

This metaphor indicates the importance of nurturing or succouring the less developed in the ecclesia (cp 1 Cor 3:1-3). As Jesus said, setting a little child before him, of such are the kingdom of heaven “for their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 18:1-10).

From the bride’s own experience of striving to achieve victory over herself, she is able to observe, assess and give advice to others.This she does for the benefit of her “little sister”. She is equipped through tribulation to show sympathy for the sufferings of others and encourage a walk that will gain for them a rich reward. Yahweh allows us to suffer and to go through trials that we may gain the necessary experience to offer consolation to others.

A priest is selected by God because he can have compassion on the ignorant, and on the erring; for that he is compassed with infirmity (Heb 5:2). In the same way Christ is able to help us today because he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmity (Heb 4:15). In the millennial age we will be able as kings and priests to pass on our experience and wisdom to the world’s survivors (Rev 5:9-10).

In this final song, we have a description of love’s labour in the future. The bride speaks on behalf of her sister; she busies herself in the work that is before her; she rejoices in the continued love of the groom; and the book concludes with a passionate appeal for the beloved to “make haste” that the glorious vision and beautiful allegory might become a reality in the earth.

The bride describes herself as “a wall.” This symbol was used in 1 Samuel 25:16 when David’s men were “a wall” unto Nabal’s men to protect them from harm and loss; to keep the enemy at bay. The “middle wall of partition” was initially one that stood for separation and holiness (Eph 2:14). The ecclesia of the future will be part of a city in which God appoints salvation for walls and bulwarks (Isa 26:1; Rev 21:12-27). She will be the means by which protection, salvation and holiness will be extended to the inhabitants of the world in the future age.

Her little sister is to develop into a “palace of silver” and become “inclosed with boards of cedar”; these symbols speaking of redemption and immortality being, for the faithful, her latter end when she “is spoken for”.

Verses 11 and 12 speak of the ultimate prosperity of the kingdom age. In the 10th Song the bride was anxious for the groom to go with her to the garden and “see if the vine flourish (and) whether the tender grape appear(s)” (7:12). Not only do they find the vineyard flourishing but its growth is so abundant that Solomon’s vineyard is called Baalhamon: “Lord of abundance”. The “thousand” speaks of excess. The vineyard has flourished because the keepers are faithful. This contrasts with the vineyard of Isaiah 5:1-7 and the wicked husbandmen of Matthew 21:33-41. The vine and silver speak of the newly redeemed ecclesia (cp John 15:1-7; Exod 30:12).

In verse 12, the vineyard is the bride’s; her “very own,” says the RSV. This brings us full circle. We were first introduced to her vineyard in chapter 1:6—a vineyard which she could not keep. Not so now. Her inheritance has been restored. Although she faced many challenges in the beginning, in the end she flourishes.

The concluding scene describes the groom, bride and companions in the garden. This is paradise restored. The word gan or “garden” is used frequently of the garden of Eden and this scene in fact illustrates life together in the garden of Revelation 22:1-2. Here we see some wonderful words of commendation being given by the groom to his bride. In the 3rd Song (2:14), the groom desired to hear her voice. In this final song he still wants to hear her voice! How moving this is.

His desire is for us to be in his presence through prayer to the Father. He wants our requests to be made known. He seeks our expressions of thankfulness, our concerns for others, our activities in preaching, our personal studies and readings; all our interests in the work of the Truth. He wants us to be heard on high. Have we ever thought that he would hold our relationship with him in such endearing terms? It’s one thing to know that he desires prayer; it’s another to accept that when we do pray to the Father that our Lord yearns to hear our words and behold our countenance. Let us be found in constant communication with our Lord most high.

However, it is not only the groom who hears her voice. Her companions “hearken” to her words as well. Here is an equally challenging exhortation for us all. Is what we say edifying to the point where our ecclesia desires to hear our advice? Is our conversation such as becometh the gospel of Christ? Does it provide wisdom and counsel and encouragement? Are we able to offer a word in season? Equally as important, what is the “voice” that echoes around the walls of our home? What is the conversation we engage in when we arrive home, and what do we talk about when we “sit in (our) house, and when we lie down and when we rise up?” Is the Word of God as “frontlets between our eyes” guiding all that we see? Or do we waste all our time on idle chatter? Do we impart wisdom to our children and to our companions, ever expectant to hear the call by the groom to “come away”? These are the powerful issues which form the final words of advice from the groom to all who would aspire to be his spiritual bride.

This brings us to the final verse of the whole book. The words of the bride contain a sense of urgency: “make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices”. The groom to be is once more likened to a “roe or a young hart”. This comparison was made previously in the 3rd Song (2:9,17). The Hebrew word for “roe” is tsebiy and is not only translated “roe” 14 times, it is also translated the same number of times as “glory”, “beauty” or “to be pleasant”. The Hebrew word for “hart” is ayal, which comes from a root word meaning “strength”. The bride has come to see the full beauty and glory of her Lord and Master and how pleasant he is. She also fully recognises his might and strength as well.

Her heart is bound up in her hope; in the invitation he made to her at the beginning. Where did she first compare him to “a roe or a young hart?” Where did he express his longing to “hear (her) voice?” Where had they originally expressed the desire to “make haste” and “come away”? It was in the 3rd Song, in chapter 2. In that beautiful song he extended the invitation for her to “rise up and come away”, but it was not the right time then. Now, though, the time is right. The Lord is on his way to join his bride. The events of the world are heralding his near return. We can almost hear him running across the mountain of spices to claim his faithful bride as his own.

May that time arrive soon. Even so come, Lord Jesus.

(concluded)