Updated: Feb 6
The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 17. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday September 2, 2018. It is important because is sings of God’s proposal to a potential bride. As it was written by King Solomon, human gender is insignificant when God is the bridegroom calling to His lover.
This is a song of love; but although it brings forth the sensuality of the love between a man and a woman, where the union of marriage and the sensation of carnal touch is heavily implied by Solomon (known as a lover of women), it is a holy love song. The songs of Solomon go beyond the physical plane and elevate to a highly spiritual level.
In the Bible Hub Interlinear presentation of the second chapter of Solomon’s love songs they list break points, stating this poem as a duet, between “Solomon” and “The Bride,” with verses 8-13 listed as “The Bride’s Adoration.” However, one must refocus one’s eyesight and see it instead as words of love spoken between God and Solomon, which means this song is applicable to all who fall in love with God and accept His proposal of union.
I will make some observations of the poetry of this song, taken from the translation above and also the literal from the Interlinear version.
“The voice of my beloved !” is the inner voice of God, whose whispers of insight as flashes of the light of inspiration are signs of His love, in courtship with a human soul.
The word “hin·nêh,” which is translated as “Behold !” is used three time (in verses 8, 9, and 11), where it is not the eyes that physically see, but the presence of God’s love that is “now” and “surely” felt. “Behold !” is then a one-word statement of an important and overwhelming feeling … an uplifting emotion.
“he comes leaping on the mountains , skipping on the hills .” says that God suddenly comes into one’s being, through the heart, making one reach figurative height of joy, as if one rises to the top of the world and then roller coasters to ripples of thrill and excitement.
“my beloved is like a gazelle [roe] or a young stag [hart] .” says the presence of God within brings the sense of “beauty” (the implication of “liṣ·ḇî,” or “gazelle”). The “young stag” or “deer/hart” is the youthfulness of male energy. The presence of the love of God can be seen penetrating one’s being, with one’s soul receiving that Spirit.
“Behold !” is again a one-word statement of an important feeling that follows the hearts piercing by the presence of God’s love. This can be read as the ecstasy that comes from being filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
Saint Teresa of Avila experienced the ecstasy of beholding an angel of God piercing the walls of her heart with a golden spear. It is not a rapture possible only for women.
“he stands behind our wall , he looks forth at the windows , showing himself through the lattice .” This series of lyrics sing of God’s presence within one’s being, where “our wall” uses the plural possessive pronoun with “wall” (“kā·ṯə·lê·nū” for “kothel”). The “wall” is then one heart shared by two, in one body shared by two. The “windows” (plural number in the first person) are then the eyes of that body, which refers one to Matthew 6:22, where Jesus spoke during his sermon on the mount, “the eye is the lamp of the body.” This lamp, which shines light within one’s being, also then acts as a beacon to others, shining “through the lattice,” giving rise to the phrase, “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” This means one’s marriage to God allows one to be the vehicle through which God is present among others.
“spoke , and my beloved said to me rise up , to me love , my fair one , and to come away .” The pause inflections (commas) place more emphasis on the voice of God heard within one’s mind. The one-word statement, “spoke” (“anah”), means, “sing, shout, testify, and announce,” where one is filled with the awe and joy of truth. God speaks through His brides. This voice says “rise up,” where “qū·mî” means to “awaken” to a new life, where one also “stands” as God “stands behind our wall.” This rise is due to one’s acceptance of God’s love, brought about by opening one’s heart to God, from love shown Him. One stands in the light of God’s “fair one” or “beauty” (from “yapheh”) as the “gazelle” reflected in one’s being and presence. One then “walks” in the ways of the LORD.
“because , behold , [the death of] winter is past , the rain is gone over .” When one walks in the ways of the LORD, the cause is known to be one’s submission to God’s Will. One is able to “behold” changes in oneself that were unknown before. One has awoken from the slumber of mortal death and been reborn into eternal salvation. The tears of regret and sorrows of past mistakes have been washed away by a baptism (holy downpour) by the Holy Spirit. The fears of death have been removed from one’s soul.
“the flowers appear in the land – the time of singing [as birds] has come , and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land .” The union with God has brought about the newness of spring, where a flower is the onset of new fruit. One’s heart is like a nest of hatchlings, filled with songs to be fed by the Father. The turtledove (from “tor”) is symbolic of the birds released by Noah, who returned with the message that the flood was over and new birth was at hand. The first four gifts sung of in The Twelve Days of Christmas are birds (partridge, doves, hens, and canaries), such that birds sing from the heights, like angels have wings. Therefore, “the voice of the dove is heard in our land” is the presence of new Saints, whose births come from their love of God.
“the fig tree puts forth her green figs , and the vine the tender grape give a [pleasant] smell .” The Saint is like a green fig, as the new fruit of the tree of eternal life. The Saint is the continuation of God’s love, who radiates goodness that is attractive to others.
“arise , come away .” The call of a Saint speaks the voice of God to other potential brides. A Saint calls those who are asleep in mortal death to awaken and rise up. The call is to stand and walk in the ways of the LORD also.
“my love , my fair one , come .” God speaks through His brides. The call is to “be His.” The proposal is passed on through His Saints. It becomes personal and individual when one takes the steps that “come” to God’s love.
As an optional Old Testament selection for the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one has married God and become His bride Saint – the message is to open one’s heart and fall in love with God. This message goes beyond the sensuality of human love, such that one needs to have one’s eyes opened to a proposal made that has been rejected from ignorance.
In ancient times, like those of King Solomon, it would have been simpler to fall in love with the God of Israel, because there was no Jesus born into the world at that time. Today, knowing all about Jesus – being Christians – it seems the call is to be lovers of Jesus Christ, not God. It seems there is a tendency to see the God of the Old Testament as too harsh and too old to marry; but Jesus is young and appealing.
In the Roman Catholic Church (minimally), nuns are supposed to be married to Jesus. Priests are not seen as brides-to-be of God, but reflections of God, called “Father.” Female priests, of Christian churches that allow such recognition of women, are called “Mother,” where that is a human gender application to the “Father.” God has been replaced by those who pray to Jesus as their god.
Jesus of Nazareth loved God. He referred to God as his Father, which was a direct familial relationship he had, making that reference be more personal than the Old Testament presentation of God as the Father of all Creation. Jesus called himself the Son of Man, where “Adam” was the Hebraic word for “Man.” Jesus was the Son of God reincarnated, bearing the soul of Adam. The Jews, on the other hand, saw themselves as the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as those men were their fathers. They heard Jesus speak of the Father and knew he meant God, but they did not see him as God’s son. They recognized Joseph as the father of Jesus.
One has to realize that Jesus loved God because his soul was the bride that was married to God. Adam and God had become One, because of a heartfelt love for one another. As Husband (God) and wife (Adam), their union had created Jesus, who was in the flesh because he was born of a woman; but Jesus was the offspring of his soul’s love with the Father. Marrying God meant Jesus could be born of Adam.
Solomon wrote a sensual love song that was prophetic of this union that would produce Jesus, while also being prophetic of this union bringing forth countless resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just as Adam’s soul married God, all of our souls are welcomed to accept the same proposal. Acceptance means a cleansing of sin and a new life of complete righteousness. That can only come from God’s forgiveness and submission to follow God’s guidance. From that cleansing by God’s Holy Spirit, one receives the blessing of being with child – being reborn as Jesus Christ.
If one loves Jesus Christ, without being Jesus Christ reborn, one is rejecting the husband’s love, dreaming of a baby that will never be reborn within. Jesus of Nazareth is the model of what comes to those who love God and accept His proposal for marriage. Marriage to God means a union that can never be broken. It is a purity of love that begets the Christ Mind within one’s flesh and blood.
One cannot be a Father without surrendering completely to God. One cannot be a Mother when all brides of God have no human gender differentiation, with all God’s wives giving birth to the masculinity of Jesus Christ – in the Father as the Father is in him. To marry Jesus as a female devotee, one becomes a priestess in a pagan temple. The builders of that temple is then to whom one’s service is committed … not to God. All of these acts that are believed to be praising the Son of God is idolatry and denies one’s love from God.
Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24) There is only one master – Yahweh – the LORD. Jesus Christ is the result of loving only the LORD. Jesus Christ is the outward sign of inner grace that comes from being one with God. To love the outer and hate the inner is to serve self, pretending to be God.
The Songs of Solomon have a strong sensual appeal that arouses the sexual appetite, because man should be fruitful and multiply. Human marriage and the making of children should be a reflection of the love God allows through the pleasures of union. Humans experience pleasure in sexual encounters, unlike animals that mate instinctively. However, the higher meaning of Solomon’s love songs is to find pleasure in a personal relationship with God Almighty. One arises above the physical sense of love to the spiritual.
The call is a proposal of holy matrimony. The call is to be fruitful and bring forth Jesus Christ, so others can be fed spiritually.
“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”