It’s been heady stuff, exegeting the Song of Songs (SS) verse by verse just I have done for John’s Gospel up to ch. 10 almost 18 months ago. It is never easy to explain every verse of the book but I believe in divine inspiration as Paul says every Scripture is God-breathed and beneficial for instruction..,etc (2 Tim 3:16-17). If I had not been on holidays it would be impossible to work on a biblical book though the last couple of weeks were taken up in polishing my paper for the IOSOT 2019 for which I am no nearer to a decision. But in the last couple of days I have been working on my first draft of the SS and revising it as I go along. Incredibly it is in the SS that we learn about love and the nature of love. I have been interpreting the SS using both the Hebrew and Greek LXX texts throughout and there are significant differences.
In the Hebrew the Shulamite girl says she is love-sick while in the LXX the language is stronger that it is translated “I have been wounded by love”. As this expression is found twice on the lips of the woman it is surely suggestive of the nature of love. Love is painful. When we miss the person we love we feel pain. We wonder whether that person is thinking of us or still loving us or missing us? If we are not in love with that person then there is no pain. We care less whether the person thinks of us or not. Obviously as Christians we always love one another but the SS speaks of another form of love, a love between a man and a woman longing for one another.
When the woman senses the man is missing she goes about the city seeking him (SS 3 & 5). She takes incredible risks without regard to her own safety (the watchmen wounded me) but she bears with injury because she suffers from a greater wound for “I have been wounded by love”. It is painful to be in love. We fear rejection and any slight indication that our love is not reciprocated we feel pain in the heart. Even when love is mutual it is still painful because loving one another is so intense, so heart-feeling that it stresses the heart or wounding it. As SS 8 suggests such pain comes because in essence love is jealous. Its flaming fire cannot be quenched by torrents of waters. Once lighted and burning, the fires of love burn all in its way, sometimes even burn the heart of the two in love for “I have been wounded by love”. The metaphor of jealous love as flaming fire is borne out when I witnessed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on fire. The rage of the fire was so strong that waters from multiple fire engines were like droplets from garden hose, never able to quench the flaming fire until it burns and burns and consuming all in its way.