Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
The king is captivated by your tresses.
Song of Songs 7:5
How do you take captive One who is omnipotent?
It’s like one of those riddles, Can God make a rock so heavy that He can’t lift it?
Turns out the answer to my riddle is: long flowing hair. There is a fascinating correlation here linking our Song to Samson.
Samson, who we meet in Judges 13-17, lived the life of a Nazarite. Like John the Baptist, he was supernaturally born, a gift from the Giver of Life to a barren woman. Also like John, his parents were told to raise him as a Nazarite from birth.
These two are unique in this way. Most who took a Nazarite vow were constrained for a voluntary period of time. God gave these two men to Israel, and asked of them a life time of commitment.
The Nazarite Vow - some background:
A man or woman in Israel could set aside a period of time in which he or she would dedicate himself (herself) to the Lord. You can read more about it in Numbers 6.
Three things are prohibited to those who take such a vow. First they are never allowed wine or strong drink, and must abstain from anything grape related. No PB&(grape)J for the Nazarite. They must also keep themselves from anything that would make unclean, in the ceremonial sense - they were not to come in contact with blood, or anything dead during the time of their separation.
There’s one more restriction:
All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long. - Numbers 6:5
The king is captivated by your tresses. - Song of Songs 7:5
This word “captivated” captured my attention. In Hebrew it is ‘aser’ pronounced with ‘ah’ as in almond and ’sare’ as in Sarah. It means to bind, to imprison, to harness.
This long hair and unshaven aspect is the only outward sign of the Nazarite. Today you see many Orthodox or Hasidic Jews with long curling locks on the side burns, and full beards. This is a display of their devotion to the Almighty. Their interpretation of the word head in Numbers 6:5 is more like face. So they don’t shave their beards, and the let their side burns grow unhindered, as an outward sign of their devotion.
When a man or woman took the Nazarite vow, they were binding themselves to the Lord. Of course when you tie yourself to anything you are bound together. If I were to tie myself to a tree, the tree is also tied to me.
Back to the Song
So it is with the Lord. The maiden’s hair has not imprisoned her Lover, it has bound them together. Like Samson, as long as he did not cut his hair, the Lord empowered him to do mighty acts. So the long locks of the maiden’s devotion bind them together.
He looks at the flowing locks of her hair, the single-hearted devotion to Him as her Husband and King, and it binds Him to her.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. - James Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. - James 4:7-8 ESV
As we give ourselves to the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, He commits Himself to us.
The best part is that once He is bound to us, it’s not the strength of our devotion to Him that holds us. It’s the formidable strength of His love that keeps us bound to Him.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:35-39 ESV
In the end - like Samson, as long as we are bound to Him we are victorious. The strength of His love is so much stronger than that of Samson’s resolve, we need not fear any foe.
Lord, I devote myself to you, and I thank you that you have bound Yourself to me by the indestructible cords of your Love.
See you again soon.