I have to admit, before I turn the page and start Song of Songs 8, I was dawdling though chapter 7. Have you ever gotten near the end of a long book and not wanted it to end. For me it’s the Les Misérables syndrome. It reminds me the way the little boy let’s his grandfather read the kissing part at the end of the Princess Bride. That how I feel today. I so love this song, and as we open the last chapter, I’m just a little sad.
Ah well – be that as it may – here we are – Song of Songs 8:
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.
Song of Songs 8:1 NASB
To my western twenty-first century mind, this doesn’t make much sense.
I’ve grown up in an era where a public display of affection was common place and deemed appropriate by most.
Not so in ancient Hebrew culture. A man and woman, even if they were betrothed would not be found holding hands in public, let alone kissing. Betrothal was similar to what our culture would call engagement, but actually more binding.
Today, in most circles, engagements are breakable. In fact, isn’t that the plot of better than half of the romantic movies out there today. Woman is engaged to the wrong man, and during their engagement she meets Mr. Wright, but doesn’t see it till she is standing in front of the clergy on her wedding day. All the while she’s been openly affectionate with both Mr. Wright and Mr Rong.
In Hebrew tradition you would never kiss before your wedding day. You would not even hold hands. Likely you wold never even be alone together.
So when she speaks of wanting to be her Beloved’s sister, it is so she would not have to restrain her affection toward Him in public.
She is saying, in effect, “I want everyone to know I belong to You.”
It is a prayer for boldness. Similar to Peter’s prayer in Acts 4
And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. – Acts 4:29-30 NASB
Another aspect of this Brother/Husband relationship is the depth to which the maiden desires to know her Groom and be known of Him. Our relationship with the Lord touches us at many levels, and reaches to many depths.
Think for a moment about how well husband and wife know each other on their wedding day. How much of yourself did you (or would you) reveal to your spouse before you were married. Now jump back to a life where you had never even been alone together. Face it, even after a long engagement, newlyweds are strangers.
But my brother, my sister, this is a person I know. I know their strengths; I know their weaknesses; I know their habits; I know what brings them joy, and I know what gets under their skin.
I love how the Lord walks us through many stages of knowing.
I am a servant of the Lord. The Lord Jesus calls me friend. The Father calls me son and I call Him Abba. Jesus is the first born of many brethren, making me His younger brother. As son and brother, I am joint heir with Him of all that the Father has. Finally, He calls me His bride, full partner in life and ministry.
When first I married, I knew my brothers far better than I knew my wife. After 35 years of life and love with Corinne, there is no one on earth who knows me as she does.
That’s how it is to be with our brother/husband Jesus. He wants to know us, and to be known by us as deeply as those who grow up together—as completely as those who grow old together.
Lord, I want to know You as You know me.
See you again soon.
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