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Song of Songs [5/15]; I will seek him

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posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 05:02 PM
I’m still exploring the intended meaning of the Song of Songs.
The next passage I’m considering is part of the third chapter, ch.3 vv1-5.
(The translation being used is the RSV)

I need to explain my naming of the “speakers” in these passages.
The two main characters of the Song are frequently called “the Lover” and “the Beloved”, giving the first name to the male.
Those labels make the male the active pursuer, following the conventions of romance.
They mask the reality of this poem, that the woman is patently doing most of the pursuing.
That should be one of the clues that this is not a conventional romance.
So I’m calling these characters “the Woman” and “the Loved One” in that order.

I’ve already proposed that the relationship between them is the relationship between God and his people.

I’ve observed how the relation fluctuates between a sense of “togetherness” and a sense of “separation”.
At the beginning of this chapter, the sense of “separation” is intensified.
The Woman has lost contact with the Loved One, and goes through the streets of the city to find him again.

This implies, by the way, that she sleeps in the city, so the pastures and the vineyards which she frequents would be in the near vicinity.

v1 The search for the Loved One develops in three stages.
The first stage is when she’s on her bed;
“I sought him, but found him not.”

v2 In the second stage, she goes out into the streets and searches through them.
“I sought him, but found him not”.

v3 In the third stage, she is found by the watchmen of the city.
She asks them if they have seen him.
Shortly afterwards; “I found him”.

The obvious conclusion is that the encounter with the watchmen was enough to make the difference.
It would seem that seeking their help was the right thing to do.
We’re not told of any answer they gave (perhaps they pointed?).
Yet that meeting was somehow enough to bring about a successful conclusion to the search.
So whatever the “watchmen” represent, they are clearly, at this phase, in sympathy with the relation between the Woman and the Loved One.
That may be part of the point of the story.

Over and over again, at each stage of the process, the Loved One is described as the one “whom my soul loves”.
Her “NEPHESH”, that is.
The very life that is in her is in love with the Loved One and wants to seek him out.
Very natural indeed, if the Loved One is also the source of the life that is in her.

v4 Thereafter she does not rest until she has brought the Loved One into her mother’s house and chamber.
There might be good practical reasons for the choice of her mother’s chamber.
A large family without much wealth would hardly, in those days, afford the luxury of a chamber for each child.
Her mother’s chamber might be the only place where she could get any privacy.

But that factor may be less important than the symbolism of the choice.
It brings the Woman’s mother into the picture, both endorsing and protecting the relationship between the Woman and the Loved One.
The mother is mentioned half a dozen times, altogether, in this poem ,which makes her quite an important background figure.
The label “her that conceived me” is not just the normal repetition of Hebrew poetry.
It points to the fact that the mother is the most immediate source of the same NEPHESH that has been yearning to find the Loved One.

(If the Woman’s mother represents the land itself, that would throw some light on “the sons of my mother” in the first chapter)

v5 This verse repeats the appeal of ch.2 v7 (and is part of the evidence that the Woman was the speaker on the first occasion).
Both appeals mark a time when the Woman and the Loved One are together.

The first appeal was spoken in a time of rest, when the Woman did not want the rest to be disturbed.
This was followed by a period of movement.
The Loved One, in the form of the gazelle, was calling upon her to leave her house and join him in the open air.
She was, in a sense, responding to that appeal, when she left her house at the beginning of this passage and went roaming the streets in search of him.
In bringing him home, she has restored (and brought into the city) the restful companionship found at the beginning of the previous chapter.
This means that the story has come round full circle, in one complete cycle of movement-and-rest.

This passage presents the search for the Loved One as fortunate and successful, meeting with the approval and the co-operation of the people around her.

posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 07:19 PM
Gah! Thought your title refered to this.

posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 04:08 PM
reply to post by VoidHawk

No, something in the "Religion, Faith and Theology" forum was always going to be about religion and/or faith and/or theology.

posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 04:06 PM
The previous threads in this series were;
Draw me after you
Tell me where you rest at noon
Feed me with raisins
Arise my love, my fair one
edit on 25-6-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 26 2013 @ 04:55 PM
My interest in the Song of Songs was originally inspired by the reading of the sermons of Bernard of Clairvaux.
Especially by his comments on the words “I am black, but beautiful”, as applied to the spiritual state of the church or the individual soul. The idea of being sinful and imperfect, but still beloved by God.
Knowing the history of the church, I was very conscious of its imperfections, so it all rang very true.
However, my own interpretation obviously strikes out a very different line from Bernard, in all sorts of different ways.
Nor is there space for me to take the devotional approach.
But I would argue that gaining a good sense of the writer’s conscious intentions would provide the most sure foundation of any approach, including the devotional.

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 04:04 PM
For information;
The next thread in this series will cover the remainder of the third chapter.

posted on Sep, 10 2013 @ 06:17 PM
This whole series is now indexed at the following location;

The Unseen Husband

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