God’s Word Is Alive
A Maiden’s Unswerving Love
THERE is something truly beautiful about an unswerving love between a man and a woman. When that love endures despite tremendous pressures from other sources to break up such deep affection, even the emotions of observers are stirred.
Take the case of an Oriental girl from Shunem, or Shulem. She falls in love with a handsome shepherd. In an effort to protect the Shulammite from temptation, her brothers stop her from accepting her lover’s invitation to take a walk with him on a delightful spring day. They appoint her to guard the vineyards against the depredations of little foxes.—Song of Sol. 1:6; 2:8-15.
During this time King Solomon comes in regal splendor to camp near the home of the Shulammite. This leads to his noticing her while she attends to her duties. On account of her beauty, she finds herself being brought into the camp of the king and is faced with his wooing.—Song of Sol. 6:11, 12; 1:2-4.
Is the Shulammite impressed? Does she waver in her love? No. Unashamedly she voices her longing for her beloved shepherd. But Solomon is unwilling to let her depart, continuing to pour out verbal expressions of love and promising to have exquisite ornaments made for her. The Shulammite, however, speaks of her undying love for her shepherd. Later, the shepherd gets in touch with her, and both enjoy exchanging words of endearment.—Song of Sol. 1:7-17; 2:1, 2.
On returning to Jerusalem, King Solomon takes the Shulammite along. Here in the city, the shepherd finds a way to see her. (Song of Sol. 3:6-11; 4:1-5) Solomon, after the failure of all his efforts to win the Shulammite’s love, finally permits her to return home. (Song of Sol. 8:5a) What a triumph for the Shulammite!
This country girl certainly stands out as a noble example of constancy in love, a love that could not be diverted. Such is the love that genuine members of Christ’s spiritual bride, as well as his “other sheep,” have for their “fine shepherd.”—Compare John 10:14, 16; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-32.