Our study of the Song of Solomon takes us today to the first verses of the last chapter; and I will admit, this one had me scratching my head for a moment:
“Oh, I wish you were my brother, who nursed at my mother’s breasts.Then I could kiss you no matter who was watching,and no one would criticize me.I would bring you to my childhood home,and there you would teach me. I would give you spiced wine to drink,my sweet pomegranate wine.” (Song of Solomon 8:1-2 NLT)
My first thought? Why would someone want their lover to be their brother? I mean, if he was her brother, he couldn’t be her lover, right?
As I pondered this, it occurred to me that the verses actually answer my question. She wants him to be her brother so that, in her own words, “I could kiss you no matter who was watching, and no one would criticize me.”
The first thing this tells me is that in the culture that this was written, public displays of affection between lovers were probably frowned upon. The woman, however, isn’t happy with this. She wants onlookers to see how much she is in love with him. She wants to be able to show him affection whenever she wishes, and not just in the hidden places.
This isn’t her only reason, however, for wishing her lover was her brother: “I would bring you to my childhood home, and there you would teach me.”
Here we see the image of someone who is so in love with her lover that she isn’t only seeking intimate contact with him. Rather, she longs to be with him — all of the time! She desires for him to live in her childhood home. She desires for him to teach her.
Because we know that Solomon was the wisest man on Earth, we can ascertain that the woman longed for his wisdom and guidance and direction. Of course, in order to be able to say this, the woman must have had an element of humility, a sense that her lover was wiser than she.
And she lists one further reason for desiring that her lover be her brother: “I would give you spiced wine to drink, my sweet pomegranate wine.”
I’m sure that it could be said that this “spiced wine” could have a lot of symbolic significance. You are also probably wondering why it would be prohibited in that culture to give your lover something like your own wine. Without getting into these things, however, let’s just look at the fact that she wishes to serve her lover, to give him something of herself, something that she has perhaps even made herself.
Keeping in mind that the woman represents each of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and the man represents none other than our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, let’s delve further into these verses. What if we were so in love with Jesus that we desired to break all cultural rules to declare our love to the world? For some, talking about Jesus isn’t a crime; but for many of you reading this right now, even mentioning the name “Jesus” could land you in jail or worse. Are we, like the woman in the Song of Solomon, so in love with Jesus that we wish to shout it out, no matter what the cost?
What if we also were to desire to be with our “Lover” all the time? What if we were so in love with Jesus that our greatest desire was to draw from His wisdom, to receive His guidance and direction? What if we were to humble ourselves before Him enough to realize we need His wisdom and guidance and strength? To understand that we can’t go it alone?
And just as the woman wants to “give back” to her lover, what if we, also, were so in love with Jesus that we want to give back to Him?
In the poem, the woman wishes her lover were her brother so that she could do all these things for him. The Lover of our souls, however, is known as our brother: “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn* among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:29 NLT); and “So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 2:11 NLT). Thus, we have an advantage over the woman of the Song of Solomon! The Lover of our souls is also our elder brother! And since Jesus is our big brother, we can show Him our affection no matter where we are. We can sit at His feet and draw from His wisdom, guidance and direction. We can give back to Him!
When was the last time you treated Jesus in His brotherly capacity? When was the last time you showed public tenderness towards Him? When was the last time you just sat at His feet, without any agenda of your own, and listened to Him? When was the last time you did something for Him instead of only drawing from Him?
I challenge you to try this today! You won’t be sorry.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire “Unveiling the Song of Solomon” mini-series, click here)