OK. This has sat here long enough, let's make a start. The first thing that comes to mind is an associated idea.
This is Jeremiah 2 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.
I often return to this passage of scripture. I think it may be the nearest God ever comes to saying 'Thank you'. We often recall Israel's failure in the wilderness, just as we remember Peter sinking beneath the waves. But before Peter sank he walked, and before Israel failed they began well. Although Jeremiah speaks of Jerusalem here I think we must regard it in a more representative way. Similar to the way the news announcers say "Washington's reply to Baghdad is...." We know that Washington and Baghdad have neither said a word. Jerusalem then represents the nation at this point.
God speaks to the nation and remembers their 'first love'. I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals. This is clearly Exodus as the next verse makes clear. in the wilderness In the beginning Israel risked everything, moving from the fixed predictability of Egypt's provision to a land that was not sown
God's sweet memories of first love are touching. I think it is significant that Boaz had used this kind of language in reference to Ruth And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.[Ruth 3:10]
This is the picture of the virgin bride. She has eyes only for her husband to be. God remembers Israel had been like this, briefly... all that the Lord hath spoken we will do [Ex 19:8, 24:3,7] Three separate times they made this promise, and God never forgot it. I remember thee
If you do a Bible search on 'virgin' and 'daughter' you will find list of references using this idea. I think it is a picture of the young woman who is now at the point of readiness to be joined to her husband. This is a significant moment in Bible idiom. e.g. the young bridegroom was exempted military service for the first year so that this anticipation would not be spoiled. This is the moment of anticipation which finds its fulfillment only in the sanctified union of marriage. God remembers Israel at this point in their relationship. It is a moment full of joy and anticipation For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. [Isaiah 62:5] Sons is one picture of our relationship with God, virgin brides is another. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [2 Corinthians 11:2]
This is the moment of greatest anticipation and joy. Think then of the grief if this moment should be lost or polluted by a wrong union or the bride forced by an invader, and I think you have something of the emotion of the picture. Isaiah speaks of the virgin daughter of Babylon in 47:1 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. He is predicting terrible things as Babylon's hopes and plans are dashed. It will be as a Bride whose moment of joy and consummation is obliterated by the invaders.
To sum up, I think it all has to do with joyful anticipation, sometimes cruelly snatched away at the last moment. WKIP
ps. he that hath ears.. there are some brave and tender hearts who have opened wide in these forum who may find the above painful. I have a word for you... He that sitteth upon the throne saith 'I make all things new'.