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Reading the Song of Solomon, the phase "do not awaken love" or variants thereof is used several times. What does it mean?

Song of Solomon 8:4 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Solomon 3:5 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Solomon 2:7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

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migrated from Feb 21 '14 at 11:45

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@Caleb - Just curious was the other part of this question edited because it was too leading or because it was provocative? – mrhobbeys Feb 27 '14 at 7:07
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There is so much richness from the erotic language to the visual pictures that a simple explanation hardly does justice to the textured layers hidden within the Song of Solomon. At the heart of the Song of Solomon is intimacy,

"The song of songs, which is Solomon's. 2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. 3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth , therefore do the virgins love thee."

yet one is convinced it is not merely about the Shulamite woman(6:13) and the "Beloved", who is a 'type' of Solomon, yet obviously Solomon is the narrator,

" Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant ? 7 Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.

One must search deeper in order to find the treasures hidden in the Song of Solomon: on one level it is the soul's aspiration for intimacy with God, and the paths that it takes to arrive there, yet this explanation doesn't account for the "Daughters of Jerusalem" who are treated simularly as an 'antiphon chorus', re-emphasizing the activity of the Shulamite, who is obviously on a path of intimacy with her beloved, who "is like a roe or a young hart".(Songs 2:9)

In the Jewish Tradition, the Song of Solomon is to be interpreted as God's relationship with Israel, and indeed there are many clues to suggest this as Solomon's intent. A quote from the Midrash(rabbi's interpretations of Song of Solomon):

"'I am black but comely' (Songs 1. 5). So says the house of Israel: I am, to my knowledge, black, yet my God considers me comely. I am truly black with my deeds, but I am comely if the acts of my Patriarchs are accounted to me. And in Egypt I was at times black and at times comely. The same may be said about me concerning my position at the Red Sea; there too I was both black and comely. Black, as the Psalmist says: 'Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt, they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies, but provoked at the sea, even the Red Sea' (Ps. 106.). But I was comely at the Red Sea when I said, 'He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation' (Exod. 15.)."*

Origen was probably the best known as one of the Early Church Fathers who identified the Song of Solomon,(Commentaries on the Song of Songs-Rufinus Translation, Prologue, Part I)

It seems to me that this little book is an epithalanium, that is to say, a marriage-song which Solomon wrote in the form of a drama and sang under the figure of a Bride, about to wed and burning with heavenly love towards her Bridegroom, which is the Word of God.

The "Daughter's of Jerusalem" to whom the admonition

" O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up , nor awake my love, till he please."

are not only those who are sensitive to the Shulamite-indeed, like one of them, but also those who are awaiting the consolation of Israel. Interesting, in Luke 23:28, Jesus says,

"But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children."

Here, it is the "Daughters of Jerusalem" are stirred up, and weeping for their beloved; unlike those who previously yelled "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"(vs 21)

This brings us to the "Antiphon"; they are not to be 'stirred up' until He appears. Again, it can mean that the soul is to patiently wait for God's invitation; and not search frantically like the Shulamite does in the following chapter. But here the special attention is on "Him" who arouses the desires of all the Daughters of Jerusalem, this picture is clearly seen when Jesus enters Jerusalem, "

And when he was come nigh , even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen ; 38 Saying , Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest."(Luke 19:37-38)

This is the "son of David" indicated by the white donkey which was David's donkey, the one Solomon rode into Jerusalem on,

"Solomon to ride upon king David's mule, and brought him to Gihon. 39 And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said , God save king Solomon. 40 And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them."(1 Kings 1:39-40)

So this is who the Shulamite and the Daughters of Jerusalem arouse their love for.

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I just think someone should mention that earlier, more traditional, translations add the word "my" in front of love, interpreting this as referring to the beloved rather than to the abstract concept of love. The KJV, ASV, and NASB all do this.

KJV: "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please."

NASB: "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field, That you do not arouse or awaken my love Until she pleases."

Since the pronoun (he/she) is not there in the Hebrew, it is the translator's interpretation of who is speaking. The KJV translators obviously interpreted it that the woman is speaking, charging the harem not to wake up Solomon before he desires, and the NASB that it is Solomon charging the harem not to wake up his most beloved concubine until she desires.

I don't have any grammatical argument to defend these interpretations, but it makes more sense to me than that the passage is speaking of "love" in the abstract.

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