Yahweh’s absence

The Song of Songs is about Yahweh and Israel, but the history it allegorizes is not a history of grueling slavery, battle, conquest, exile.  All that history is portrayed as light romantic comedy.  Which it is: Light romantic comedy is the story of the world.

The crises that the bride suffers in the Song are crises of absence.  The lover has gone from her bed, he knocks and then leaves her.  Just so, Israel’s national crises are fundamentally crises of Yahweh’s absence.  Shiloh becomes Ichabod, the glory leaves the temple for Babylon. 

Yahweh’s absence might seem to be unremittingly bad, but the Song indicates otherwise.

But in chapter 5, in one of the narratives about the bridegroom’s absence and the bride’s desperate search, the bride enlists the help of the daughters of Jerusalem in seeking her lover.  They’re initially skeptical (5:9), but then join in (6:1). 

Just when Yahweh is absent, the daughters of Jerusalem turn from a passive backdrop to active allies to the bride.   In John 9 the blind man grows into an apologist when Jesus walks away; so too, Jerusalem wins her daughters to Yahweh when Yahweh leaves her.


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