Tuesday 31 March 2020

Bible Book:
Song of Solomon

Upon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves. (v. 1a)

Song of Solomon 3:1-5 Tuesday 31 March 2020

Psalm: Psalm 102:1-11, 16-23


Sometimes, when we wake after a dream that has been particularly joyful, or frightening, or sad, the emotions linger long after the events of the dream have vanished from our mind (making it hard to shake them off). Commentators have wrestled with the question of whether the events in Song of Solomon 3:1-5 (and those of 5:2-8) are presented as ‘just a dream’ or as reality. Did the speaker, the Shulamite woman longing for her lover, really wander about Jerusalem, asking the guards where her lover could be found and, on finding him, immediately take him to her mother’s house (surely an intimidating prospect for any would-be suitor)? Some have suggested that such behaviour would have been unthinkable (Sirach 42:11 argues that an unmarried daughter should not only be kept off the streets but, if possible, away from the windows!)

The speaker is in bed in verse 1, leading many to believe that this passage recounts a dream – but a dream that conveys a potent emotional reality. She seeks “him whom my soul loves” – a phrase repeated four times in this short section. It is hard to find an exact translation for the Hebrew word given as ‘soul’ – it has connotations of breath, of desire; of the entirety of a person, physically and spiritually. This passage resonates with the calling to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (cf Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27). When we love God with every fibre of our being, Jeremiah 29:13 suggests that our ‘seeking’ will be rewarded, as is the case for the Shulamite woman in this passage.


To Ponder:

  • Have you ever ‘longed’ for an experience of God? What happened?
  • What role do dreams play in faith and spirituality (if any)?
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