Springtime (Song 2:10-2:14)

Male lover

“My beloved speaks.

He says to me.

‘Arise!

My love!

My fair one!

Come away!

Now the winter is past.

The rain is over.

The rain is gone.

The flowers appear on the earth.

The time of singing has come.

The voice of the turtledove

Is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs.

The vines are in blossom.

They give forth fragrance.

Arise!

My love!

My fair one!

Come away!

O my dove!

In the clefts of the rock,

In the covert of the cliff,

Let me see your face.

Let me hear your voice.

Your voice is sweet.

Your face is lovely.’”

This female lover recounts the words of her male lover. In a phrase that is repeated twice within a couple of verses, we have that wonderful love request.   Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away with me! Will she go? Was this request enough to make her leave her home? He tells her why she should do this now. It is springtime. The winter has gone. The rains are gone. The flowers are appearing. The turtledove birds are singing. The fig trees have figs. The vines are blossoming with a sweet smell. It was time to go with him as he repeated the phrases from above. This turtledove lives in the rocks and the cliffs. He wanted to see her lovely face and to hear her sweet voice, a clear presentation of springtime romantic love.

Apple tree (Song 2:3-2:5)

Female lover

“As an apple tree

Among the trees of the wood,

So is my beloved

Among young men.

With great delight

I sat in his shadow.

His fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me

To the banqueting house.

His intention toward me

Was love.

Sustain me with raisins.

Refresh me with apples.

I am faint with love.”

The female lover compares her lover to an apple tree in a forest. Thus she can sit in his shadow as this shady apple tree stands out among the other young men. His fruit was sweet and tasty. He brought her to the banquet hall with his love intentions. He sustained her with raisins. He refreshed her with apples. There could be sexual connotations here, but certainly the setting is romantic love. She is love sick, fainting with love. Clearly, she has fallen in love with this handsome young man who is like an apple tree.

The marriage contract (Tob 7:11-7:13)

“However, Tobias said.

‘I will neither eat nor drink anything

Until you settle the things that pertain to me.’

Raguel said.

‘I will do so.

She is given to you

In accordance with the decree in the Book of Moses.

It has been decreed from heaven that she be given to you.

Take your kinswoman.

From now on you are her brother.

She is your sister.

She is given to you from today and forever.

May the Lord of heaven, my child,

Guide and prosper you both this night.

May he grant you mercy and peace.’

Then Raguel summoned his daughter Sarah. When she came to him he took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias, saying.

‘Take her to be your wife in accordance with the law

And the decree written in the Book of Moses.

Take her!

Bring her safely to your father!

May the God of heaven make your journey

Prosperous with his peace.’

Then he called her mother. He told her to bring writing material. He wrote out a copy of the marriage contract. This said that he gave her to him as wife according to the decree of the Law of Moses.”

Tobias said that he was not going to eat or drink anything until this matter was settled. The marriage contract is between Tobias and Raguel, and not between Sarah and Tobias. Raguel makes all the arrangements. Raguel agreed to give his daughter to Tobias according to the Book of Moses. It is unclear what Book of Moses this is referring to. The only possible reference might be the marriage of Isaac in Genesis, chapter 24. After all the arrangements were made, finally the daughter Sarah appeared. Then there was the famous giving of the hand of the daughter from the father to the groom, the man. In this case, Sarah had no consent. She simply did what her father wanted her to do. In fact, the mother was not even present. She was called in to get some writing materials. Then Raguel wrote out the marriage contract according to the Law of Moses. This clearly was a legal written contract with nothing to do with romantic love. Tobias was to bring his new bride home to his father.