1. Song of Solomon 4:12 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why does the man compare the woman to a locked garden and a sealed fountain?

Song of Solomon 4:12 (ESV)

12 A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed.

The young man compares his bride to a garden with a water source. This is an image of the woman’s sexuality.1 Gardens in the ancient world were lush, beautiful, and private places of leisure and intimacy, to which kings and rich people could escape. These gardens were not open to the public, but locked so that they could be preserved for the private use of the owner alone. In the same way, the fountain was only used for watering the garden and its limited resources were not distributed to all. It was sealed to save its precious water until the right time, when it could bring fruitful abundance.2 The woman carefully preserves her delights. Not just anyone can enter, indeed, the implication is that no one has done so yet.3