Song 7:1 How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman’s hands.
Song 7:2 Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies.
Song 7:3 Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
Song 7:4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus.
Song 7:5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses.
Song 7:6 How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights!
Song 7:7 Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
Song 7:8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples,
Song 7:9 and your mouth like the best wine. May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth.
May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth – We now have the beloved responding to her lover. ‘Go straight’ (cf. Song 1:4) meaning something like, ‘flowing smoothly’ (Gledhill). The picture is of ‘smooth, silky, erotic kissing’.
Song 7:10 I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.
Belong is interpretative. The slightly less possessive ‘I am my beloved’s’ is also more accurate (Carr).
The girl gives herself to the boy ‘eagerly, willingly and with gladness.’ (Gledhill) She knows that she is the object of his desire. This word ‘desire’ occurs in the OT only in Gen 3:16 and 4:7.
The two lovers are equally willing partners. ‘If the language of of the boy seems domineering, that is only because of the strong natural urge for fulfilment once desire has been roused. The urge for consummation is violent for both the girl and the boy.’ (Gledhill)
Song 7:11 Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.
Gledhill points out that if the couple were already married there would be no need for this urge to ‘go to the countryside’. But, then again, it is perhaps ‘a flight of fancy on the girl’s part, an expression of her deepest yearnings.’
Villages – more probably, ‘henna bushes’. These grow wild in Palestine, and in spring are covered with fragrant whitish flowers.
Song 7:12 Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love.
‘The whole of nature seems to be sprouting and blossoming, and the two lovers want to be part of that. Their love has blossomed and become fragrant, they are ripe for love.’ (Gledhill)
The motif of ‘love in the springtime’ seems to suggest ‘that there is a time and a season for everything. There were times when restraint was necessary, but now it is a time to embrace (Eccle 3:1,5)’ (Gledhill).
‘Romance in the great outdoors is also a picture of untrammelled freedom and of closeness to nature. The literary fiction reminds us of our creatureliness and of our unashamed delight in participating in the natural order of things.’ (Gledhill)
Song 7:13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.
The mandrake, a powerfully fragrant plant, was regarded as a sexual stimulant. Gledhill remarks that the girl is hardly in need of an aphrodisiac. This is ‘a literary device to give a sexual frisson to the poetry.’
Our door – Again, this is not to be taken literally. She has stored up for him an abundance of delightful treasures. She has prepared a feast for him.
‘No Lady Hillingdon this, suffering in ungracious passivity! Supremely confident of her capacity to satisfy him, she articulates all the delights she has in store for him and describes the circumstances where she will give him her love. This kid of advance planning must drive her lover wild with frenzied anticipation. Such psychological ploys are part of the game of love. She is creating a mental and physical environment in which their union may be consummated with the maximum intensity and minimum of inhibition. She even hints that she is able to teach him a thing or two. All is fair play in the desire for a happy release of sexual tension.’ (Gledhill)
‘So what has this to teach us today? Perhaps it may act as a stimulus to revive a flagging physical relationship by being more adventurous, more romantic and less mechanical. Manuals of technique can give the mechanics. But the human dynamics, the relaxed, playful fun of uninhibited romping with each other are the essential ingredients. How we overcome our inhibitions is for us as couples to work out. How to articulate our desires verbally is yet another matter. We cannot all be acrobatic nymphs, and not all our fantasies may be realizable. But what really matters is that it is her or him that we are concerned for in our mutual enjoyment, and not just “it”. If the sparks fly and the earth moves, then well and good. If they don’t, the tension may be released by dissolving into laughter. For even some of the most carefully laid plans designed to lead to the giddy heights, may on occasion fall flat. Of course, we should try again and be more relaxed about the whole thing, breaking up dull routines with spontaneous outbursts of tenderness. So shall we make room for the serendipitous enjoyment of our whimsical passions.’ (Gledhill)