1. Song of Solomon 8:6 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why must The man set her as a seal upon his heart and arm?

Song of Solomon 8:6 (ESV)

6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.

The seal was a common way of showing ownership of something in the ancient Near East. The seal would often have a name on it and by pressing it firmly on wet clay, the seal would leave an impression that showed who owned the object.

It is not that the young woman sees herself as an object that is owned by her husband. Rather, she rejoices in the thought that she might belong to the man, most likely because she understands that his desire is to be equally owned by her.1

The young woman is looking for her love for him to be reciprocated. She wants her man to place her like a seal over both his heart and his arm. The seal was a precious possession commonly carried around by the owner on a chord around the neck or as a ring on the hand. The woman desires her husband to clasp her close to him in the same way, in response to her loving movement towards him in Song of Solomon 8:5.2

The woman wants to be imprinted on the man’s heart and arm. The heart was the seat of the person’s thoughts and feelings, their inner self (see Proverbs 3:3), while the arm represents a person’s actions or power.3

In Song of Solomon 8:6–7 the woman expresses the strength of the emotion of her love for the man. The Song has often expressed the strength of physical love, but here we see just how intense the emotion of love is.4 Here too, for the first time in the Song the nature of love is spoken of in general terms and not just as the specific experience of the two lovers.5