Song of Solomon 2: Spring Invitation
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Song of Solomon 2: Spring Invitation

Original Publication Date
December 2, 2017
Updated
Feb 11, 2023 8:32 PM
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This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on December 2, 2017 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.

Introduction

The second section of Song of Solomon features a conversation between the young lovers that centers on enjoying a spring day together. Once again we see significance for our literal love lives, as well as, significance for our spiritual lives.

The Excitement of Spring

Since it's currently winter, I easily related to the speaker's excitement about the return of Spring. While some people love Winter, many struggle with depression through the cold, rainy (or snowy), and bleak months. I am lucky to be living in South Florida, where it is green year-round, but when I lived in South Carolina, the trees would go bare and the grass would turn a little brown. It looked like the Earth had died. So during those days, I would wish for Spring because it brings back warmth and beauty.

The Biblical Significance of Spring

In the Western world, we consider the first of the year to be January 1. This is odd, because off the top of my head, January doesn't really have any celestial or religious significance. After doing some digging, I found out that January is named for the Roman god Janus (well, I kind of knew that, but I didn't know anything about Janus). Janus was said to be a two-faced god with one face looking back into the past, and one face looking forward to the future. The tradition of celebrating New Years on January 1 started with the adoption of the Julian calendar which is where the name of January was introduced.[1][2] Astronomically, the beginning of January represents perihelion, the point at which the Earth is closest to the Sunβ€”not the Romans would have known that when they chose the date.[3] Since January is in the dead of the winter, we technically experience winter twice each year, which is pretty depressing to me.

11 For, lo, the winter is past,

the rain is over and gone;

12 The flowers appear on the earth;

the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,

and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

In contrast, the Israelite's religious calendar starts in the Spring. Their fist month of the year was Nissan, which is symbolic of their escape from Egypt. The year is counted from this month because this is the month they gained freedom and truly became a nation. Nissan begins either in what we call March or April,[4] which is also when Spring begins. This time of the year symbolizes the beginning of Israel's relationship with God.

Spring as it's Related to Life

Spring has always been a symbol of new life, or rebirth. Many people are probably familiar with the phrases "April showers bring May flowers" and "spring chicken." Similarly, in pagan religions, spring time was associated with fertility goddesses. Why? Because the Earth comes to life in spring. Trees regrow their leaves, flowers bloom, and most animals (like chickens) give birth to their young during this time. Despite our tradition of making New Year's resolutions in January, Spring is the true symbol of renewal.

Spring Love

The speaker in Song of Solomon 2:11-13 is clearly excited for spring to come and asserts it to be some sort of beginning or renewal in the relationship. The transition from winter is explicitly stated and much of the above symbolism is referenced.

From the point of view of two lovers, it makes sense to plan a "date" in the spring. This would be the perfect time for a romantic walk or picnic. All though I'm sure that during Solomon's era marriages were arranged and there probably wasn't any dating, I imagine this would have been a prime season for courting once dating did become common.

It's also interesting from a spiritual point of view. The speaker is requesting that the lover arise and come away now that spring has come. Generally I associate "arise" with waking up, but really it is just a command to stir us to action. We see this with the request to "come away." When God delivered Israel from Egypt (in the Spring), He essentially say arise and come with me, just as the speaker says to their lover. Further, in the New Testament, we (the church, a.k.a the Bride of Christ), are commanded to come out (or come away) from Babylon.

Animal References

Sometimes we compare people to animals, but the references in Song of Solomon make it clear that there's a generational and cultural difference between how we think today versus back then. Someone is compared to a roe or young hart, not once, but twice.

Let's start by defining "roe" and "hart," because if you're like me, you know they're animals but you aren't sure what they are specifically. There are several definitions of roe, but the most likely candidate given the context of it's usage here, is that it is synonymous with doe.[5] A doe is typically thought to be female deer, but can refer to several animals in which the female is referred to as a doe and the male is referred to as a buck.[6] A hart, on the other hand, is definitely a male deer.[7]

It's not a typical comparison, but it did make me think.

First, by using a roe and a hart, we see an example of an equally yoked couple. Roe is likely referencing a female deer, which would naturally be the mate of a hart. In today's society, women are typically compared to things that are cute and fluffy like bunnies and kittens, while men are compared to more dominate animals. Solomon's comparison is more in line with God's description of man and woman in the Bible. If you research the origins of the word helpmeetβ€”the word used to describe Eve at Creationβ€”you learn that Eve was to be "directly corresponding to" Adam. In the New Testament, we are warned not to be unequally yoked or mismatched with our spouse. I think we an all agree that a male and female deer directly correspond to each other and are more equally yoked than, say, a bunny and a bear.

Second, the imagery is actually quite nice. I've seen plenty of deer over my lifetime and while I've never tried to woo someone by comparing them to a deer, I can definitely see why it's a complement. Deer are beautiful creatures. They are graceful and elegant, but they are also fast and strong. The male deer have antlers which give them a look of power and might, but in general, deer are very peaceful.

Mountains of Bether

The woman in the song places her loverβ€”as a deerβ€”on the mountains of Bether. Naturally, I asked the question: what's significant about Bether and it's mountains? Bether, actually means separated or divide.[8][9] Why would she compare her love to a deer on a mountain meant to separate or divide? After reading an exposition by C.H. Spurgeon,[10] I realized this is once again both literal and spiritual.

In general, there will be division in relationships at some point. No matter how much you love each other, disagreements will arise. There will also be times when you are physically separatedβ€”perhaps one person has to go on a business trip. We should approach these situations gracefully, like a deer, and take time to reassess the situation (in the case of an argument).

The author of Believer's Bible Commentary suggests that Song of Solomon 2:15 is actually spoken by the woman's brothers. Based on this, he paints a scene where the lover is essentially standing at her window seeking to see her, only to be caught by her brothers and shooed away.[11] While I can clearly see the scene play out the way they describe, I think it is adding to the word. There is no mention of the brothers nor is there any indication that the words spoken are from someone other than the man or woman of the couple.

Spiritually, it's interesting that the lover is a peaceful and gentle deer standing on a mountain meant to set boundaries and divide or separate countries. Similarly, when Jesus, who we think of as gentle, returns, He will be dividing. From the beginnings of Israel unto this day, God's people still argue about doctrine. These doctrines create divides in the church. When we speak the truth about God, whether to fellow believers who may not have accepted certain truths yet, or to non-believers, it often has the effect of causing a stir and dividing. Similarly, when we refuse to accept God's truth, we are separated from Him.

His and Hers

Possessiveness is not new to our generation. In Solomon 2:15, the woman in the song makes it clear that the man she loves is hers and she belongs to him. I don't think it's hard to parse out this statement, but I wanted to call attention to the spiritual parallels. Our relationship with God is the same way. He is our God and we are His people. We do well to remember this.

While I think Believer's Bible Commentary adds to the story in many instances, the author makes a point about the woman in Song of Solomon conveying her love as voluntary, spontaneous, and free. The Israelites, and many of us today, think of loving God as required, religious, and structured, which is problematic. This is where we fail to understand the point, how we take things out of context, and why we find it hard to cultivate our relationship with God. Jesus constantly reminds us that love is the most important thing. Many people seem to hold the belief that because we do what God commanded or because we go to church each week, we love God. However, the truth is that we should do things to please God voluntarily because we love Him. It seems like such a minute changing of words but it really is a profound difference.

There was a man who was in love with a woman. They were married. When things in the relationship became strained, he decided to buy her flowers often to show his love. They still ended up in divorce court. When the judge dug into the issue, the woman complained that she had explained over and over that she didn't like flowers, she wanted time and thoughtfulness. The man thought that if he followed a generic, preset script, without really trying to understand his wife, it was the same as loving her. This is the major difference that happens when we act out of love versus acting to imply love. In the first case we move because our lover (God) has told us what He wants and we want to please Him. In the latter, we do things hoping to please God without consulting Him, come up short, and are confused as to why the situation doesn't turn out the way we hoped.

References and Footnotes

  1. "January".Β Time and Date; visited December 1, 2017
  2. "45 B.C. New Year’s Day".Β This Day in History, viaΒ History. 2010
  3. "Perihelion, Aphelion and the Solstices".Β Time and Date; visited December 1,2017
  4. "The Jewish Months".Β Chabad.org; visited 2017
  5. "Roe".Β Merriam Webster; visited December 1, 2017
  6. "Doe".Β Merriam Webster; visited December 1, 2017
  7. "Hart".Β Merriam Webster; visited December 1, 2017
  8. Bether".Β Bible Hub; visited December 1, 2017
  9. Andrew Robert Fausset. "Bether". viaΒ Bible History; visited December 1, 2017
  10. C.H. Spurgeon.Β Over the Mountains". viaΒ Bible Bulletin Board; visited December 1, 2017
  11. William MacDonald.Β Believer's Bible Commentary, pg. 923-924. 1995

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GenesisChapter StudyJosephBenjaminLeviJudahRuebenSimeonZebulunIssacharGadDanManassehEphraimAsherNaphtaliRepentance and ForgivenessFamineEgyptWomenSexual ImoralityGenealogyIncestTamarDreams and Visions
πŸ“–
Genesis 27-36: Jacob & Esau, Two Nations
GenesisChapter StudyWomenJacobLeahEdomRachelTithesFalse Deities and ProphetsDinahSexual AssaultCircumcisionLeviSimeonGenocideTheft
πŸ“–
Genesis 24-26: Isaac, the Second Patriarch
GenesisChapter StudyIsaacRebekahJacobEdomIshmaelCovenantGenealogyPhilistine
πŸ“–
Genesis 11-23: Abraham and the Destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah
GenesisChapter StudyAbrahamSarahJudgementLotHagarIshmaelCircumcisionSexual ImoralityIsaacMoab
πŸ“–
Genesis 11: The Tower of Babel
GenesisChapter StudyBabylonNimrodCommunication
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Genesis 6-9: Noah and the Flood
GenesisChapter StudyNoahWaterJudgementCovenantClean and UncleanAnimalsNephilim and Giants
πŸ“–
Genesis 4 & 5: The Progeny of Adam
GenealogyAdamEveCainAbelNoahEnochGenesisChapter Study
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Genesis 4: Cain and Abel
CainAbelSacrificeMurderJealousyAngerGenesisChapter Study
πŸ“–
Genesis 3: The Fall of Man
AdamEveSatanGarden of EdenMessianic ProphecySacrificeGenesisChapter Study
πŸ“
Literary Devices in the Bible
Featured TopicLiterary Devices
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Allegory
Literary DevicesAllegoryGarden of EdenGenesisFeasts & Holy DaysTempleEsther
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Introduction
Food and DietClean and Unclean
πŸ“
R.E.A.P. Method
Study the WordPsalms
πŸ“
Keep the Sabbath Holy
SabbathCommandments
πŸ“
Homosexuality in the Bible
LeviticusSexual ImoralitySexual AssaultRelationshipsLawCommandmentsLove
✍🏽
Poetic Justice
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Anthology
Literary DevicesAnthology
❓
Would You Rather?: Ask or Disobey
Would You RatherEstherDaniel
πŸ“
F.E.A.S.T. Method
PsalmsStudy the WordFaith
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 11-12: David and Bathsheba
2 SamuelChapter StudyRelationshipsAdulteryJudgementDavidMurder
πŸ“–
Jeremiah 1: Jeremiah’s Call
JeremiahChapter StudyDreams and VisionsProphecyJosiah
πŸ“–
Daniel 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
DanielChapter StudyBabylonNebuchadnezzarProphecyPersiaRomePapal RomeDreams and Visions
πŸ“–
Ezra 9-10: Confessions of Sin
EzraChapter StudyRelationships
πŸ“–
Ezra 5-6: Darius’ Decree
EzraChapter StudyPassoverTemplePersia
πŸ“–
Ezra 7-8: Introducing Ezra
EzraChapter StudyLeviTemplePersia
πŸ“–
Ezra 1: Cyrus’ Decree
EzraChapter StudyBabylonCaptivityTemple
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David
Character StudyRuth1 Samuel2 Samuel1 Kings2 Kings1 Chronicles2 ChroniclesPsalms
πŸ“–
Revelation 2-3: The 7 Churches
RevelationChapter Study
πŸ“–
Nehemiah 7-11: Restoration of Jerusalem
NehemiahChapter StudyTithesGenealogyRepentance and ForgivenessSalvationFeasts & Holy Days
πŸ“–
Esther 8-10: Purim
EstherChapter StudyPurimFeasts & Holy Days
πŸ“–
Nehemiah 12-13: Dedication of the Wall
NehemiahChapter Study
πŸ“–
Ezra 2: Those Who Returned
Chapter StudyEzraGenealogy
πŸ“–
Nehemiah 4-6: Opposition
NehemiahChapter StudyMoneySatan
πŸ“–
Nehemiah 3: Rebuilding the Wall
NehemiahChapter StudyJerusalemWomenMessianic Prophecy
πŸ“–
Nehemiah 2: Back to Jerusalem
NehemiahChapter StudyApologeticsJerusalemLeadershipPersia
πŸ“–
Nehemiah 1: Who is Nehemiah?
Chapter StudyNehemiahJudahPersiaCaptivityJerusalemLeadership
πŸ“–
Esther 6&7: Victory
EstherChapter StudyWomenPersia
πŸ“–
Esther 3-5: The Threat to the Jews
EstherChapter StudyWomenFastingRacismGenocide
πŸ“–
Esther 2: The Rise of Queen Esther
EstherChapter StudyBenjaminWomenPersia
πŸ“
Do Not Bear False Witness
CommandmentsFalse Deities and ProphetsLaw
πŸ“–
Judges 1: Judah’s Conquest
Chapter StudyJudgesCanaanJudah
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Judges 2: Provoking God
JudgesChapter StudyFalse Deities and ProphetsCommandmentsCanaan
πŸ“–
Judges 3: Othniel and Ehud
JudgesChapter StudyCanaanFalse Deities and ProphetsRelationshipsCaptivityBenjaminMoabAmalakites
πŸ“–
Judges 4-5: Deborah, Jael, and Barak
JudgesChapter StudyDeborahWomenLeadership
πŸ“–
Judges 6-8: Gideon
JudgesChapter StudyManassehMidianAmalakitesHoly SpiritEphraim
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The Unnamed Concubine
Character StudyJudgesWomenSexual Assault
πŸ“–
Judges 9-10: Abimelech
JudgesChapter Study
πŸ“–
Judges 10-12: Jephthath
JudgesChapter StudyAmmonEphraimOaths and Vows
πŸ“–
Judges 13-16: Samson
JudgesChapter StudyRelationshipsSamsonWomenPhilistineOaths and VowsDan
πŸ“–
Judges 17-18: Micah and the Tribe of Dan
JudgesChapter StudyDanMoneyLeviFalse Deities and ProphetsTheft
πŸ“–
Acts 1-5: The Early Days of the Church
Chapter StudyActsCainAbelDiscipleshipLyingProphecyMoneyThe ChurchPeterTheft
πŸ“–
Acts 9: From Saul to Paul
ActsChapter StudyPaulRepentance and ForgivenessHoly SpiritTheft
πŸ“–
Judges 19-21: A Call to War
JudgesChapter StudySexual AssaultWomenLeviBenjamin
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 21-24: Contradictions on David's Final Days?
2 SamuelChapter StudyDavidSaulDoctrinePhilistine
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 19-20: Israel and Judah
2 SamuelChapter StudyDavidDivision of Israel
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2 Samuel 5-10: David’s Military Success
2 SamuelChapter StudyDavidRelationshipsMessianic Prophecy
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 1-4: After Saul’s Death
2 SamuelChapter StudySaulDavidDivision of Israel
πŸ“–
Acts 16: Timothy Was Biracial…Sort Of
ActsChapter StudyTimothyGenealogyCircumcisionPaulWomenBaptism
πŸ“–
Acts 15: Disagreements in the Church
ActsChapter StudyPaulPeterLeadershipCommandmentsSalvationCircumcisionRepentance and Forgiveness
πŸ“–
Acts 13-14: The First Missionary Journey of Paul
ActsChapter StudyLeadershipThe ChurchPaulGenealogyDiscipleship
πŸ“–
Acts 12: Peter, Rhoda, and Herod
ActsChapter StudyWomenPeterPersecutionRomeHolidayPassover
πŸ“–
Acts 6-8 & 10-11: The Transition
ActsChapter StudyCommunicationPaulLeadershipBaptismThe ChurchPeterEthiopiaFalse Deities and ProphetsSymbolism
πŸ“–
Daniel 1: Taken to Babylon
DanielBabylonCaptivityNebuchadnezzarFastingChapter Study
πŸ“–
Obadiah 1: Woe to Edom
Chapter StudyObadiahEdomProphecy
πŸ“–
Esther 1: The Demise of a Queen
WomenEstherPersiaChapter Study
πŸ“–
Ruth 4: The Legacy
RuthChapter StudyWomenBoazMessiahRahabTamarGenealogy
πŸ“–
Ruth 3: The Redeeming Relative
RelationshipsBoazRuthChapter Study
πŸ“–
Ruth 2: The Fields of Boaz
PovertyRelationshipsBoazRuthChapter StudyAllegoryMessiah
πŸ“–
Ruth 1: In the Land of Moab
Chapter StudyRuthWomenMoabBoazRelationshipsFamine
πŸ‘€
Mediate Like Abigail
Abigail1 SamuelDavidCharacter StudyWomenYouTube
πŸ‘€
Tamar, daughter of David
Character StudyTamarWomenSexual Assault2 Samuel
πŸ‘€
Absalom
2 SamuelCharacter Study
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 13-19: Absalom’s Coup
Chapter Study2 SamuelDavidRelationshipsTamarWomenSexual ImoralitySexual AssaultRepentance and Forgiveness
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Colossians 2
Food and DietClean and UncleanColossians
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Romans 14
Food and DietClean and UncleanRomans
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Acts 10
Food and DietActsPeterDiscipleship
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: 1 Timothy 4:1-7
1 TimothyTimothyFood and DietClean and Unclean
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Mark 7:15
Food and DietClean and UncleanMatthewMark
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Isaiah 66
Food and DietClean and UncleanIsaiahProphecy
πŸ“
Why β€˜The Bride of Christ’ is the Perfect Description
RelationshipsRevelationMessiahProphecy
❓
Would You Rather?: Feed vs. Heal
Would You RatherSpiritual GIftsJohnMatthew
❓
Would You Rather?: Marriage vs. Singleness
Would You RatherRelationshipsLoveRepentance and ForgivenessHoseaPaul
❓
Would You Rather?: Rahab vs. Mary
Would You RatherRahabMary & JosephWomen
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Theme
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Tragic Hero
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Zoomorphism
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Utopia
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Tragedy
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Tragic Flaw
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Subplot
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Round Character
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Synecdoche
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Symbolism
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Rising Action
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Retorical Question
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Resolution
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Romance
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Plot Twist
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Rebuttal
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Proverb
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Refrain and Repetition
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Plot
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Prologue
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Protagonist
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Pleonasm
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Logos
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Parrhesia
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Personification
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Pathos
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Passive Voice
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Perspective
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Nemesis
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Parallelism
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Omniscient
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Ode
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Non Sequitur
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Parable
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Paradox
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Irony
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Motif
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Intertextuality
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Narrative
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Narrator
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Juxtaposition
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Metonymy
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Jargon
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Inciting Incident
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Imagery
Literary Devices
✍🏽
In Media Res
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Hyperbole
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Illusion
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Idiom
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Homily
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Hypophora
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Flat Character
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Flash Back
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Foil
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Frame Story
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Foreshadowing
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Hero
Literary Devices
✍🏽
External Conflict
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Flash Forward
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Exposition
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Etymology
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Existentialism
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Extended Metaphor
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Exaggeration
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Evidence
Literary Devices
✍🏽
Euphemism
Literary Devices
πŸ™πŸ½
PSALMS to God is a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel that discusses many topics and issues, always keeping YHWH as the anchor. Hosea 4:6 says β€œMy people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”—here, the aim is to always ask questions and study to find the answers. You can keep up with new content by signing up for the weekly newsletter.

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