1. Song of Solomon 5:6 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why does the woman look for her man, but not find him?

Song of Solomon 5:6 (ESV)

6 I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.

The woman is determined to pursue her husband. She leaves the house and goes out into the city, which is an environment throughout the Song that represents forces that are inhospitable to intimate union.1

The woman undertakes three fruitless actions: I opened…. I sought… I called. These three actions are almost an exact reversal of the man’s attempt to approach her: he called, then he sought as he tried to open the door. The couple’s desires end up moving in the same direction, but they are not synchronized, leaving them separated and alone.

As in Song of Solomon 3:1–5 the woman searches for her beloved. But in Song of Solomon 3:1–5 her beloved was not present at any point before she finds him. In this poem (Song of Solomon 5:2–8), however, an opportunity for relationship has been missed. In this case, the necessity for the search has been created precisely by her own slowness to respond.2