I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.
The word translated “desire” in verse 10 is used only two other times in the Old Testament. Genesis 3:16 is God’s statement to Eve: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you,” and it refers to a painful state of co-dependency in which one person is drawn to another who pushes away. The word is used in a similar way in Genesis 4:8 where, again, it references the hurt of sinfulness.
I don’t believe that the author of Song of Songs intended that readers like us would connect those dots back to Genesis. But this book draws our attention to more profound things than just the story of two people who love each other. Generations of readers have discovered the love of God in this story as well. We read of a husband honoring his wife, and we hear the voice of Christ honoring His Bride. The bride and groom resting peacefully in one another’s arms remind us of the peace and rest and acceptance that Jesus offers to us as His children and as His Bride. And the word “desire” that is used elsewhere in the context of tragedy and sin and pain in marriage is here reversed; here it is the man who desires his wife (“His desire is for me.”). Now the word has a context of hope. Song of Songs is a story of redemption, of God bringing beauty where there was brokenness. And even though its human author probably never intended such theological reﬂection, the story sings greater songs with deeper profundity than even “proper exegesis” of the text might suggest.