Habits are easily established and sometimes hard to break. Sex doesn’t have to take place in the same way or even be initiated by the same person.
10 “I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.
11 “Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.
12 “Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
And its blossoms have opened,
And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
13 “The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;
And over our doors are all choice fruits,
Both new and old,
Which I have saved up for you, my beloved.
8 1 “Oh that you were like a brother to me
Who nursed at my mother’s breasts.
If I found you outdoors, I would kiss you;
No one would despise me, either.
2 “I would lead you and bring you
Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me;
I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.
3 “Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”
This the third expression of unity between Shulammith and Solomon. While it essentially states the same thing as found in Song of Solomon 2:16 and 6:3, it is subtly different. Our heroine is fully secure in her relationship with her husband and she has fully lost herself in him.
She approaches Solomon with a suggestion to get away from the city and visit the country. Ostensibly, the visit is to check on the progress of their vineyards, but what she has in mind is much more personal. Recall that vineyards sometimes refer to the person in this poem. She is suggesting they check up on their love for each other and see if it is still in full bloom. Basically, she is suggesting they get away for a time of lovemaking underneath the grapevines.
Shulammith tells her husband that she has a full supply of choice mandrakes saved up. Mandrakes, also known as “love apples,” were considered to be aphrodisiacs (see Genesis 30:14-16). She plans to show him both old familiar and creative new ways to have sex, which she has been saving for a special time.
In their society, it was considered impolite for husbands and wives to publicly show affection for each other, though it was considered proper for affection to be shown between family members. Therefore, she wishes they were siblings so that she could kiss him in public without causing a scene.
Once again she expresses a desire to bring him to her mother’s house (see Song of Solomon 3:4). Here the implication is that in this secure place she would have sex with her husband. She would give Solomon a cup of spiced pomegranate juice to drink. The idea is equivalent to a student in our society giving an apple to a teacher they admire and respect. What she is saying is that her mother taught her some things in regards to lovemaking, but she is interested in learning some ideas from her husband. They could lie close to each other with his left arm under her head while his right arm pulls her close . . .
4 “I want you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Do not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”
Once again, Shulammith breaks out of her role to warn the women in the audience not to force this type of love until the proper time. She and her husband have been married for quite a while now. They are comfortable with each other and are deeply in love. Their love has fully awakened and they are ready for it. Unmarried women are not prepared for this level of involvement with a man, so don’t push it.
1) How has Shulammith found security?
2) How is her comfort expressed and demonstrated?
3) Are only men interested in sex? Must husbands be the ones to initiate sex?
4) Why are new ways important in a sexual relationship? What would this to do to a man’s interest in his wife?