and the shadows flee away,
turn, my beloved,
and be thou like a gazelle or a young hart upon the mountains of spices. Song 2:17
That last word spices is actually vatar. Vatar/bater is usually a verb, and means separation, to cut in two, or split. Here it is a noun and is referring to the inviolable ceremonial vatar covenant, which is made by passing between split carcasses [Gen 15 c.f. Jer. 34:18-19]. These animal are not considered as sacrifices, but rather blood witnesses, which means that if the covenant is not honored then those participating are to be as the animals.
FYI: In an example from non Biblical sources of such a covenant between two men named Aur-nirari and Mati-ilu, the animal victim is expressly said not to have been a sacrifice. Mittheilungen der vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft (1896) iii.228 ff.
The Promise of a Child – Genesis 15
The strange tale of God’s covenant to Abraham.
In the culture of the time when very important agreements were made between powerful chiefs, animals were cut in half vatar and the two leaders would walk through the animals together. Such covenants were irrevocable by either participant.
The split animals of a vatar contract represented the contracting parties. The blood of which was a kind of notary stamp or witness. They could only be united in a covenant relation because of the representation of a victim by means of its death. So it was in this legal shadow that the Law was given.
These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Col. 2:17
God instructed Abram to prepare for this special blood oath by vatar “a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Gen 15:9. As the preparations for this auspicious encounter with Deity were readied. Abraham then spent the day keeping the vultures away from the carcasses.
As the sun was setting (when the day breathed its last, and shadows fled away) Abraham was put into a deep sleep and God walked through the animals alone. This covenant was unconditional on Abraham, only God was required to provide a son. This son of promise was not Isaac. He was only the blood line through which the true son would be provided, the Messiah
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many; but, referring to one, “And to your offspring,” which is Christ. Gal. 3:16
It is by design that our Gazelle/Messiah is the mediator of the this Covenant, because He is the instrument by which the Covenant of God is carried to its full intention [Heb. 8:6, 9:15-22, 12:24]. It was His blood that was poured out. It is His blood that gives us the victory. He is always leaping upon the mountains of the vatar.
For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Heb. 9:17
The shadow of death and dying that was the Law is now perfect in the death of Messiah the man, completing this blood oath with Abraham. The whole point of the book of Hebrews is that the ceremonial sacrificial parts of the Law are no longer necessary, final atonement has been made.
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near. Heb. 10:1
Our Beloved has made a covenant with us with His own blood. The responsibility is completely His. He walked that path alone, so we would never have to walk it ourselves.