Love (Lk 6:32-6:32)

“If you love

Those who love you,

What credit is that

To you?

Even sinners

Love those

Who love them.”

 

καὶ εἰ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ γὰρ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας αὐτοὺς ἀγαπῶσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if you love those who love you (καὶ εἰ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς), what credit or gift is that to you (ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν)?  Even sinners love those who love them (καὶ γὰρ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας αὐτοὺς ἀγαπῶσιν).  Once again Matthew, chapter 5:46, and Luke, are almost the same.  Matthew had Jesus say that if you only loved those who loved you (ἐὰν γὰρ ἀγαπήσητε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς), what kind of reward would you get (τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε)?  However, Matthew compared them to the Roman tax collectors (οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ τελῶναι τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν) rather than sinners as here in Luke.  However, quite often tax collectors were compared to sinners.  If you love only those who love you, what kind of lover are you?

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The power of love (Song 8:5-8:7)

Male lover

“Under the apple tree I awakened you.

There your mother was in labor with you.

There she who bore you was in labor.

Set me as a seal upon your heart.

Set me as a seal upon your arm.

Love is as strong as death.

Passion is as fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire.

It is a raging flame.

Many waters cannot quench love.

Neither can floods drown it.

If one offered for love

All the wealth of one’s house,

It would be utterly scorned.”

The male lover woke his lover up under the apple tree. He maintains that it was there that she was born from the labor of her mother. Now he wants his lover to bear his seal on her heart and on her arm. The seal was a sense of ownership. Then he went on to talk about the power of love. Love is just as strong as death. Passion is just as fierce as the grave. The love flashes of fire become a raging flame that no water can quench. Not even a flood can drown out love. If someone offers all the wealth they had, the lover would scorn it for his true love.

Sleeping beauty (Song 5:2-5:5)

Female lover

“I slept.

But my heart was awake.

Listen!

My beloved is knocking.

‘Open to me!

My sister!

My love!

My dove!

My perfect one!

My head is wet

With dew.

My locks are wet

With the drops of the night.’

‘I had put off my garment.

How could I put it on again?

I had bathed my feet.

How could I soil them?’

My beloved thrust his hand

Into the opening.

My innermost being

Yearned for him.

I arose

To open to my beloved.

My hands dripped

With myrrh.

My fingers dripped

With liquid myrrh,

Upon the handles of the bolt.”

The female lover was sleeping, but her heart was awake. Then she heard her lover knocking at the door. He wanted her to open the door. He called her sister, lover, dove, and the perfect one. His head was wet with dew. His hair was wet with night rain drops. She had taken off her garments. Was she naked? She had washed her feet. He then put his hand into the opening. Meanwhile the female lover yearned for him. She got up to open the door to her beloved. Her hands and fingers were dripping with liquid myrrh as she reached the bolt on the door. She was anticipating a rendezvous with her lover.

She is like a watered spice garden (Song 4:12-4:15)

Male lover

“A garden locked is my sister.

My bride is

A garden locked.

My bride is

A fountain sealed.

Your channel is

An orchard of pomegranates

With all choicest fruits,

Henna with nard,

Nard with saffron,

Sweet grass with cinnamon,

With all trees of frankincense,

Myrrh,

Aloes,

With all chief spices.

She is a garden fountain.

She is a well of living water.

She is a flowing stream from Lebanon.”

His lover, sister, or bride is like a locked garden or a sealed fountain which were signs of fidelity. This metaphor of her waterway, canal, or channel helps the choicest fruits and spices to grow. She is life giving. These may not be your favorite fruits, but there are pomegranates, colored henna, and nard plants with the orange colored saffron. There is a sweet grass and cinnamon along with the classic frankincense, myrrh, and aloes. All the major chief spices were in this marvelous garden. This section ends with the concept of the female lover as a garden fountain of living water that flows from northern Lebanon.