1. Song of Solomon 2:7 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why does she urge the young women by the gazelles and does of the field?

Song of Solomon 2:7 (ESV)

7 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.

More than just warning the young women of the power of love, she calls on them to make an oath not to awaken love until the time is right. What is unclear is why this oath is to be made by the gazelles and does of the field, which is a very unusual form of oath in Scripture.

These animals are clearly associated with lovemaking elsewhere in the Song. The young man is compared to a gazelle (Song of Solomon 2:8–9, Song of Solomon 2:17; Song of Solomon 8:14) while Song of Solomon 4:5 and Song of Solomon 7:3 compare the woman’s breasts to two fawns of a gazelle. As she calls on them to make this oath, she is drawing a picture of young men and women as beautiful, vigorous, and sexually active. She is urging the young women not to allow themselves to be sexually aroused until the right time and person arrives. The natural joy of sexual awakening is ruined by premature experimentation. For a woman to awaken love before it pleases is to deprive herself of the full experience of romance and sexuality symbolized by these graceful animals.1