1. Song of Solomon 3:5 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why does the young woman warn the daughters of Jerusalem again?

Song of Solomon 3:5 (ESV)

5 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.

At the end of a poem that also spoke very vividly of her longing for her lover in Song of Solomon 2:3–6, she warned the young women of Jerusalem not to stir up love too soon (Song of Solomon 2:7). She warns them again here. Only this time her poem is not just about the powerful longings for sexual fulfilment, but also about the dangers that come with such longings and with such a relationship. The frustration of longing for the one you love has a haunting and painful quality to it, even if the search ends positively. The warning is not against ever falling in love, or against taking the risks of finding the right person.1

This section of the Song speaks very honestly of the frustrations and dangers of love between a man and a woman. The desire for intimacy, especially sexual intimacy, that a couple in love experiences is both powerful and good. However, that intimacy is reserved for marriage, so the challenges of protecting a relationship full of passion and desire before marriage, are great. There are many dangers to this kind of love in a broken sinful world that no longer sees marriage as the only place for sexual intimacy. The greatest danger of all, however, is being overwhelmed by desire for such a good and wonderful thing and so the young woman takes the brave step of sending the young man away until the right time has come. But withstanding these dangers even while still pursuing intimacy comes with much anxiety and insecurity.

In much the same way, pursuing a relationship with God in a fallen, sinful world, with a fallen sinful heart is not always easy. Even as we pursue intimacy with him there are many dangers that can threaten our experience of closeness to him, including the idols we create to replace him. But those who seek him will find him, and more importantly, he will seek and find us.