The Shulamite remembers events that led up to her present situation.
Verses 2:8 - 3:5

Scene 1
The shepherd visits her at home and is rejected by her brothers.
Verses 2:8-17

Act II opens with the Shulamite and the daughters of Jerusalem gathered in the living quarters -- once again, probably in the recreation area.

The Shulamite is telling the ladies about a time when her shepherd lover came "calling" upon her and invites her for a "walk" in the fields.

(sw)Song 2:8

1. "Listen! My beloved!: Literally, "the sound (voice) OF my beloved."

Most teachers want to render this as an exclamation, "hear" or "listen."

But it seems unlikely since the next exclamation (behold), has him far off in the distance certainly out of ear shot. It is perhaps a minor point, but I prefer to view this as an introductory remark to the story she is about to relate.

2. Behold: This is the standard, hinā, and is a plea that special attention be given to what follows.

3. he is coming, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills!

This seems to be an analogy which is further explained by the simili in verse 9, "gazelle" and "stag." The shepherd is both zealous in his efforts to visit her as well as quick in navigating the terrain to reach her home.


(sw)Song 2:9

1. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag: The simile is used to communicate the zealousness and agility of the shepherd as he comes to visit the Shulamite at her home.

2. He is cautious. Perhaps he is already aware that her brothers already disapprove. Or perhaps this is simply explaining the progress of his "search" for her as she observes his arrival. She is probably sitting outside the house as he enters the property.

3. Behold, he is standing behind our wall: he makes a general survey of the area, looking for the Shulamite but does not see her.

4. He is looking through the windows: He peeks through the windows of the house to see if she is inside, but does not see her.

5. He is peering through the lattice: He looks around outside and finds her sitting "in the yard" perhaps doing chores.

(sw)Song 2:10a

My beloved responded and said to me: The "response" does not mean that she said anything to him. It is a response to having found her.


(sh)Song 2:10b

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one And come along: He speaks affectionately and invites her to leave what she is doing and go for a walk.


(sh)Song 2:11-13

For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over {and} gone.

The flowers have {already} appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning {the vines,} And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth {their} fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!

He verbally paints a picture of the season and the day and invites her to come along and enjoy it with him for awhile.


(sh)Song 2:14

1. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice:

He desires her presence. He likes to be with her (see your form) and he likes to talk with her (hear yoiur voice).

A. The word translated "form," in the NASB (countenance, in the KJV), is mareh and means sight or appearance. It occurs in the plural (appearances) and probably refers to every aspect of her physical appearance as her body and face express the various (plural) characteristics of her personality.

B. Her appearances are lovely. Lovely is the word we saw at Song 1:5, and it simply means attractive (nAweh).

C. Her voice is pleasant. The word is Arābh, which means "pleasant."
The only other place this adjective occurs is at Prov. 20:17, but the verb, Arabh, occurs 8 times.


2. At this point in relating the incident, the Shulamite abruptly refers to a "job" that her brothers give to her. Whether they interrupt the conversation she is having with the shepherd or whether they are dealing with her after she has gone for the walk, cannot be determined by our context. But in either case, the story "on the stage" will be communicating well to the audience. We could perhaps see her returning from the walk and being confronted by the brothers or we could see the brothers come on the scene before she leaves for the walk and take her away from the Shepherd. In either case, she is then removed from the home and assigned to the task of guarding the vineyards from the foxes; the task she had already mentioned at verse 1:6.


(bros)Song 2:15, "Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom."

This then relates the instructions from her brothers. This interpretation is based on comparing and associating verse 15 with what the Shulamite said at verse 1:6, "My mother's sons were angry with me; They made me caretaker of the vineyards."

At verses 16-17, the Shulamite ends her story and resumes soliloquizing about her shepherd lover.


(sw)Song 2:16

1. My beloved is mine, and I am his: This is the first of two times that she speaks these words. She is relating her feelings to the daughters of Jerusalem who are still listening to her. The statement reaffirms her devotion and love for the shepherd, even though she has been removed from his presence.

2. He pastures {his flock} among the lilies: She knows where he is but is unable to get to him. However, she longs for his presence and speaks out loud the desire of her heart that the shepherd come to her aid (v. 17).


Song 2:17

"Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether."

This imagery speaks of the swiftness, elegance and diligence that the Shulamite desires the shepherd to express as he comes for her.



Scene 2 - The Shulamite relates an incident of searching for the shepherd.
(sw)Verses 3:1-5

In this scene the Shulamite relates her nightly thoughts of wanting to be with the shepherd and one specific time when she decided to actually go looking for him.

Song 3:1, "On my bed night after night I sought him Whom my soul loves; I sought him but did not find him:

Every night she longed to be with the shepherd. She longed to search for him, but of course, without getting up and physically looking, she would not find him. All she has been doing is thinking about him and perhaps this can include her dreams. But one night, which can refer either to an evening after dark or early morning before dawn, she actually did get up and go to find him. She knows where to find him whether it be the evening or morning, she simply lacked the specific motivation or opportunity to actually go search.


Song 3:2 'I must arise now and go about the city; In the streets and in the squares I must seek him whom my soul loves.' I sought him but did not find him.

She looks at several of the places where it would be expected to find him, but he was not there.


Song 3:3 "The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, {And I said,} 'Have you seen him whom my soul loves?':

The meeting with the watchmen suggests that this is evening or early morning, since if it were later at night she would have had the same kind of problem that she had at chapter 5:6-7, where the watchmen mistook her for a prostitute. But in this case, the watchmen are non hostile and simply answer her question of inquiry in the negative. The tenor of the story does not require that specific names be given or that we try and figure out how the watchmen know about whom she is speaking. It is enough that a bona fide inquiry is made, the watchmen understand and then answer. Since they did not know where to find him, she left them, but no sooner had she parted from the watchmen, then she found the shepherd and embraced him.


Song 3:4 "Scarcely had I left them When I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go, Until I had brought him to my mother's house, And into the room of her who conceived me."

When she finds him she clings tightly to him and urges him to come home to be formally presented to her family. The Shulamite is relating this incident to the daughters in order to emphasize her love and devotion to the shepherd and her lack of interest in Solomon.


Song 3:5 "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and by the does of the field, that you do not arouse or awaken the love, until it desires." (BFT)

She again pleads with the daughters to refrain from pushing her toward someone for whom she has no desire. The meaning of the language in this plea was explained at verse 2:7.

Scene two and Act two end with the clear message that the Shulamite wants nothing to do with Solomon's advances.

Continue to Act III

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