Song of Solomon2:7

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I have caused you to swear an oath,

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O Daughters of Jerusalem,

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by the gazelles

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and by the does of the field



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to not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.


I have made you swear an oath to me, O daughters

of a wholesome marriage,

by all that is naturally beautiful, graceful, agile, and confident,

to save the full array of love’s expression for its proper setting.


1: "Oath"

This verb is a causative, perfect “tense” (although Hebrew does not have tenses in what we consider a normal sense), first person singular, of the verb to “swear or take an oath,” thus “I caused you to swear.” The fact that it is first person singular, “I caused,” leads me to think this writing project was mostly the idea of the Shulammite, on behalf of their two daughters. It may also have had the desired effect of helping Solomon focus on the blessing he did have, two daughters, instead of putting lots of mental energy into what he did not have, a son by the Shulammite to sit on the throne after him. The fact that it is a perfect “tense” verb, meaning she has already made them swear to her that they will save the full array of love’s expression until its proper time, makes me think this Song was written when the girls were close to marriageable age; such an age was considered any time after 12.


Jerusalem means “peaceful foundation.” However, the Hebrew concept of peace was much more than a lack of violence, it meant “wholesomeness, and well-being.” For that reason this phrase will sometimes be reworded as “products of a peaceful marriage” and sometimes as “products of a wholesome marriage.”


A gazelle was the smallest of the antelopes of the Holy Land. Its name means “beauty.” It lived in the wildest portions of the countryside and was known for its beauty and speed. We could call it “liquid beauty,” or “beauty in motion.”

4: does of the field

This calls to mind what people all over the world know as the characteristics of deer—they are graceful, agile and sure-footed. It is the sure-footed part that demonstrates the quality we call confidence.


At this point the Shulammite turns to her daughters says, “Do you see the kind of relationship I have? If you want a healthy marriage for yourself, do what I have made you swear you will do.” That prior oath was taken while considering “the gazelles and does of the field.” Why? Young women care about being beautiful, graceful, agile, and confident. So this concerned mom has charged her not-yet-married daughters to wait till the proper setting, and does so by pointing to those things they place high value on. If they truly value being graceful, agile, beautiful and confident they will wait. If they choose not to wait, they will throw those things to the wind, as so many in our culture do today.

Gazelles and does, symbols of natural beauty, refer to much more than those things we usually associate with the attraction to the opposite sex; they refer to the deeper types of beauty, the greater aspects of beauty.

God is calling parents to train their children with spiritual backbone to reject the world’s messages about sex and hold out for the blessings that will come if they wait till the proper setting. A powerful tool can do great good or great harm; sex is a powerful tool capable of bringing great happiness or great pain and self-loathing. God knew what He was doing when He made us, and He knew what He was doing when He commanded us to wait. If we ignore the operator’s manual (the Bible), we do so to our own demise.