I was nearing the end of ch. 8 of the Song of Songs on the 2nd April when I was somewhat distracted by some Conference faraway that I thought I might attend. It’s been a month and I need to return to it for some finishing touches. The Shulamite woman seems unsure of herself right until the end. First, her brothers think of her as their little sister unready for love. She has to assert that she is more than ready to please her lover and that in her the king has found peace. This is a remarkable statement of a woman’s love. Does her love for her man give him peace? Here, peace is shalom, wellness in wholeness. Can a woman say that she has given her husband peace and happiness? Not just peace for the lack of strife though that is itself remarkable in a relationship but shalom, a peace and wholeness to the man’s soul.
Even as in Genesis 3 the woman is supposed to be his helpmeet. In Hebrew the word means one who helps or strengthens. The man is helped or encouraged by his woman’s love. It is not merely sexual but sexual love is writ large in the Song of Songs = “My breasts are like towers and in his eyes found peace”. The woman gives her man sexual satisfaction and that is a part of a healthy relationship between lovers. But the Shulamite woman is unsure until the end. The cry that her lover seals her in his heart and in his arm is a cry of the affirmation of love. She continues to long to be assured that Solomon loves her above everyone else. How else can that be since Solomon has a thousand vineyards (1,000 women) to choose from and the Shulamite only has her own vineyard to give to her beloved? Perhaps as Solomon expresses elsewhere in Ecclesiastes, among one thousand women have I not found one (who is faithful) but in the Shulamite woman who is not part of his harem, Solomon has found his one and only vineyard, not his but hers to give to her beloved. She has given Solomon peace. Solomon’s name means the peaceful one but long has he sought peace but found none except in his beloved. It makes us to think that we may not find true peace and happiness in ourselves but it is for the significant other to give and we find peace in the person or people we love. Spiritually, it is love poem between God and His people, individually and corporately. The individual finds peace only in God who alone is the giver of peace (“Peace I give to you”). Only in God we find true fulfilment in our lives as we live for Him even as the two lovers live for one another. As an individual we can never be sure of God’s love and hence, the cry that rises from our hearts to have His love poured into our hearts daily. We need reassurance of God’s love just as the woman wants reassurance from her lover. God of the universe may have his many subjects and multitudes but to Him, there is only one vineyard that He desires - the individual’s heart that loves Him and longs for Him.