Song of Solomon 4:16 “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.” The bride now calls out to awaken the winds. Most commentators say the north wind speaks of adversity and the south of pleasant circumstances, and conclude that every believer needs both the storms and sunshine of life to mature. The conclusion is doubtless correct (since God has universally ordained tribulation and joy for each believer), but most commentators must live to the north and west of Israel, because the Bible’s own commentaries on the wind are quite different! According to the Scriptures, the north wind brings fair weather (Job 37:22) and drives away the rain (Proverbs 25:23). The south wind quiets the earth (Job 37:17) and brings heat (Luke 12:55). In the land of Palestine, it is the east wind that brings rough weather (Isaiah 27:8), withers fruit (Ezekiel 19:12), causes storms at sea (Ezekiel 27:26), and afflicts people (e.g. Jonah, in Jonah 4:8), and the singular mention of the west wind is that it drove away the locusts in Exodus 10:19. So, although we do need tribulation for growth, the bride is not invoking the winds of adversity to come to her aid, but the winds of goodness. The king’s wife calls out to the good winds, which will bring sunny skies and warmth to her garden…and gentle breezes to fill the air with sweetness. Have you ever been delighted with the perfume of flowers filling up an entire area? I’ll never forget waking up once in the middle of an early summer night to nurse Joel (who is 23 now but was a baby then). Joel was particularly fussy and wakeful, so I brought him into the living room to rock him back to sleep without disturbing the other children. I left the lights out, but as I sat in the dark, with only the moonlight shining in through the window, I noticed the whole room was filled with the heavenly scent of hyacinths! There were no hyacinths in the living room, but the scent was carried from our garden on imperceptible breezes.
On another evening, my husband and I had taken the children out for an evening walk…as we do so often. We were hunting for morels and wild onions in our woods, and then we gathered almost four pounds of asparagus from our field (which used to be an asparagus farm many years ago). The woods was full of wild honeysuckle, and waves of sweet perfume delighted us as we quietly wended our way along the path. I thought of the lines from a poem by Tennyson: “The woodbine spices are wafted abroad…And the musk of the roses blown…”
This is what the bride longs for—the winds to blow gently on her garden so that the wonderful scent of her spices will flow out… attracting, delighting, and intoxicating her husband.
“Wake, heavenly Wind, arise and come
Blow on the drooping field:
Our spices, then, shall breathe perfume
And fragrant incense yield.” —Toplady