The Lover to His Beloved:
5:1 I have entered my garden, O my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my balsam spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk!
The Poet to the Couple: 1
Eat, friends, and drink! 2
Drink freely, O lovers!
5:16 His mouth is very sweet; 3
he is totally desirable. 4
This is my beloved!
This is my companion, O maidens of Jerusalem!
1 sn There is no little debate about the identity of the speaker(s) and the audience addressed in 5:1b. There are five options: (1) He is addressing his bride. (2) The bride is addressing him. (3) The wedding guests are addressing him and his bride. (4) He and his bride are addressing the wedding guests. (5) The poet is addressing him and his bride. When dealing with this issue, the following factors should be considered: (1) the form of both the exhortations and the addressees are plural. This makes it unlikely that he is addressing his bride or that his bride is addressing him. (2) The exhortation has an implicitly sexual connotation because the motif of “eating” and “drinking” refers to sexual consummation in 5:1a. This makes it unlikely that he or his bride are addressing the wedding guests – an orgy is quite out of the question! (3) The poet could be in view because as the writer who created the Song, only he could have been with them – in a poetic sense – in the bridal chamber as a “guest” on their wedding night. (4) The wedding guests could be in view through the figurative use of apostrophe (addressing an audience that is not in the physical presence of the speaker). While the couple was alone in their wedding chambers, the wedding guests wished them all the joys and marital bliss of the honeymoon. This is supported by several factors: (a) Wedding feasts in the ancient Near East frequently lasted several days and after the couple had consummated their marriage, they would appear again to celebrate a feast with their wedding guests. (b) The structure of the Song is composed of paired-dialogues which either begin or conclude with the words of the friends or daughters of Jerusalem (1:2-4, 5-11; 3:6-11; 5:9-16; 6:1-3, 4-13; 7:1-10) or which conclude with an exhortation addressed to them (2:1-7; 3:1-5; 8:1-4). In this case, the poetic unit of 4:1-5:1 would conclude with an exhortation by the friends in 5:1b.
2 sn The physical love between the couple is compared to eating and drinking at a wedding feast. This is an appropriate figure of comparison because it would have been issued during the feast which followed the wedding and the consummation. The term “drink” refers to intoxication, that is, it compares becoming drunk on wine with enjoying the physical love of one’s spouse (e.g., Prov 5:19-20).
3 tn Heb “sweetnesses.” Alternately, “very delicious.” The term מַמְתַקִּים (mamtaqqim, “sweetness”; HALOT 596 s.v. מַמְתַקִּים; BDB 609 s.v. מַמְתַקִּים) is the plural form of the noun מֹתֶק (moteq, “sweetness”). This may be an example of the plural of intensity, that is, “very sweet” (e.g., IBHS 122 §7.4.3a). The rhetorical use of the plural is indicated by the fact that מַמְתַקִּים (“sweetness”) is functioning as a predicate nominative relative to the singular subjective nominative חִכּוֹ (khikko, “his mouth”).
4 tn The term מַחֲמַדִּים (makhmaddim, “desirable”) is the plural form of the noun מַחְמַד (makhmad, “desire, desirable thing, precious object”; HALOT 570 s.v. מַחְמָד 1; BDB 326 s.v. מַחְמַד). Like the plural מַמְתַקִּים (“sweetness”) in the preceding parallel line, this use of the plural is probably an example of the plural of intensity: “very desirable.”