The husband-to-be enters the story. We hear them express their mutual love for one another. Each sees the other standing out from all around them. A true gem.
Our husband-to-be answers the question of where he pastures his flocks. She asked that she might pasture beside him. I suppose this is to have more time with him. They both have duties to attend to but a stolen moment is MUCH easier to obtain if they are close together.
His first comparison regarding her has her taking a high and noble place. She would be among Pharaoh’s own herd. She would be mother to many strong horses and honored for her place in the herd. I’m assuming that the adornment described is given to the animals who are most treasured in the herd. She will be his most treasured possession.
The friends listening in decide that they will give her even more honor by making jewelry for her from precious metals and stones. She is worth the effort and expense.
While he compares her to a strong and favored animal, she compares him to fragrances and flowers. Each speaks of the things important in their lives. He, the strength and adornment. Her, the fragrance that bring her immense pleasure.
When spring comes to my part of the world, my nose is drawn to the different smelling flowers. I LOVE lilacs and am blessed to have two of them in my yard. My mother-in-law had filled our property with a variety of flowers. Daffodils, pansies, tulips, snow drops, and more varieties of roses than I ever knew possible. When my lilacs bloom or one of my favorite roses, I get up close, close my eyes, and inhale deeply. I call this “drinking in the scent” because I let if fill my soul as well as my nose. I could stand there for hours just breathing that aroma. This is how I see our bride-to-be in the presence of her beloved. She wants to stand next to him and ‘drink in’ his aroma. To let it fill her heart with his nearness but also a longing to remain with him forever.
I’m going to share another scent story of mine that I hadn’t thought of in a LONG time. When I was a new bride (with my first husband) I would drink in the smells of my husband. Very early on in our marriage, he had to attend military training. In one of our infrequent phone calls, I made a strange request of him. I asked him to send me something that smelled like him. He didn’t understand what I wanted or why. I told him I was lonely for him and longing to smell his fragrance again. Phone calls and letters didn’t meet that need. I asked that he send me a sock or cut a piece of one for me to have so I could smell it and be reminded of him. He did as I asked and I cherished that piece of sock. I took great care to preserve his scent on it and, whenever we were separated, I could bring out that sock and it was as if he was right there beside me again.
The fragrances the bride-to-be chooses are special. They are not run of the mill fragrances. They speak of love. The “nard” is an erotic fragrance. A “sachet of myrrh” is an earthy fragrance. It comes from the resin of various trees and shrubs. He would probably smell of this very fragrance. The henna blossoms smell like roses, or so I’m told. This is a scent many associate with love.
It sounds like our couple is out on a romantic pick-nick together. The couch, beams and rafters are of the forest. Grass and trees surround them and she feel secure in his embrace, sheltered by them. Here they declare their love for one another above all others. She is a lily while all others are brambles. He is an apple tree among the trees of the forest.
His comparison is easy to follow while hers takes a little thinking. The trees of the forest, while providing shade, wood for heat or building, and seed for later plantings, they provide no readily available food for the human consumption. Her tree, not only provides shade, but fruit too. It’s a sweet fruit that drips down the lips as one bites into it. It isn’t a common fruit mentioned either.
We see fig trees spoken of fairly often or grapes and vineyards referenced in many places throughout the bible, including in parables. The “apple” is only mentioned 10 times. Four of those times are in the book we are studying now; Song of Songs. Most of the other times includes the phrase “the apple of His eye” in them.
Apples are a rare treat and probably reserved for the rich. But she has them abundantly as her beloved provides for her. He also “sustains” her with “raisins.” We see raisin cakes and fig cakes being made is other places in scripture but no where else are raisins seen served on their own. It would be a significant amount of raisins; many more than you would find in a cake. That had to take wealth too as most of the grapes are headed for the wine press. Keeping some back for raisins would indicate a significant harvest. Her beloved is well off.
Jesus is our abundant provider. He not only brought us salvation but offers us a relationship with God. He has sent the Holy Spirit to live within us and to connect us to God. And He DOES keep us as the apple of His eye. We are cherished above all else. THAT is the place where I want to be! My physical beauty man not raise me head and shoulders above the res the but HE sees me as precious and worth His time to pursue.
Father God, thank You for choosing me. I am still amazed that You did. There is NO wonder why I chose You. THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU!