The Fifth Meeting
Comments for Study 5
Song of Solomon 6:4-8:4
Memory Verse: 8:14
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I. Exchange Between Beloved and Friends (6:4-12)
* See a wood engraving titled "The Poesie" by Hawkins, Henry (1571?-1646) from the book "Partheneia sacra". A lily is gripped by a disembodied hand while the sun shines onto it. A Latin inscription reads EGO DELECTO MEO QUI PASCITUR INTER LILIA ("I am [my beloved's] he feedeth among the lilies" from Song of Solomon). The image represents the virgin offering her loyalty to God." It is now in public domain. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>1. What does the bridegroom declare in verse 4?
* Song of Songs 6:4 "(Lover) You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners."
* "you are beautiful" -The king has already stated she is beautiful in verses 1:10, 15, and 4:1. He cannot and will not stop telling her this.
* "my darling" -Term of deep affection. He often calls her his darling. (1:9, 15, 4:1)
* "Tirzah" -Tirzah in Hebrew means "she is friendly". Tirzah was originally a Canaanite city noted for its beauty but captured in the conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua 12:24). It became one of the early capitals of Israel when Jeroboam I established his residence there (1 Kings 14:17) and continued as the capital until Omri built Samaria (1 Kings 16:23-24). Archaeological discoveries, coupled with biblical references, suggest that Tirzah is to be identified with modern tell el-Fara, a tell of extraordinary size about seven miles northeast of Shechem. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "majestic as troops with banners" -Modern people do not understand how the marching of men in uniform can be moving. He is saying her noble beauty evoked in the lover emotions like those aroused by troops marching under the countries banner.
* "banners" -Countries had banners (flags) even back then.
* The beloved stated in 2:4 that his banner over her was love.
* "Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner."(Exodus 17:15)
* "The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family." (Numbers 2:2)
* Isaiah 13:2.
>How does he describe her in verses 5-7?
* Song of Songs 6:5-7 "Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is alone. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate."
* "Turn your eyes from me" -He looks at and into her eyes intensely and deeply. When he looks at her he feels her soul. He cannot break their interlocked glare.
* "they overwhelm me" -The beloved's eyes awaken in the lover such intensity of love and passion that he is held captive.
* Song of Songs 4:1-3 "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.
* The king has repeatedly stated her beauty in poetic verse.
>Why is it important for a husband to remind his spouse that she is attractive?
* "your eyes... your hair... your teeth... your temples" -The king talked about the beauty of each face feature before.
* Praise of a spouse is very important and mutually powerful.
* A spouse should always seek to find positive things in their soul-mate and tell them them all.
* Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Human nature is to concentrate on the negative. We should find and tell our spouse at least five good things for every one helpful critisism.
* All people are insecure about their appearnce. Most woman often have a hard time believing they are beautiful. We take a lot of time grooming ourselves. A woman needs to know her success in this. A man needs to constantly reinforce the truth that they find them very attractive.
* See a wood engraving titled "The Poesie" by Hawkins, Henry (1571?-1646) from the book "Partheneia sacra". A child stands before a table filled with pearls. A banner reads NON EST HUIC SIMILIS REG ("this is not comparable to the king") while a single pearl receives the sun under the banner UNA EST DILECTA MEA ("One is my beloved" from Song of Solomon 6). This image illustrates that the pearl that is the virgin is more valuable than earthly riches. It is now in public domain. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>2. How did he compare his bride to others? (8-9)
* Song of Songs 6:8-9 "Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her."
* Leter Solomon would have many wives and concubines. (1 Kings 11:3)
* "queens... concubines... virgins" -The beautiful woman of the kingdom.
* "dove" -When Jesus was baptized the Spirit appeared as a dove over him. (Matthew 3:16-17)
* "my perfect one" -No flaw. She is holy and spotless.
* "unique" -One of a kind.
* "praise her" -Others agree. Praise from potential, imagined, or real competition.
* The king responds to his beautiful darling (4). He repeats his praise of her (from chapter 4). The monarch does not stop. He does not give up on her. He knows her. He understands her. She is as mysterious and magical as a caterpillar transcending into a butterfly; as splendid as the intense revealing of tender wings.
"Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me" (5). The intense spirit emanating from her light of life is as majestic as troops with banners (5). Her eyes are efflorescence of piercing life.
The master's madonna in the prism of excellence; hair, teeth, temples, eyes. The pinnacle of femininity is contained in her body and soul. She is unique (9).
Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; yet the Beloved is his perfect one (9). The maidens saw her and called her blessed. She is divinely and supremely favored. The queens and concubines praised her. They weep in joy and gratitude.
>Why is it important for a husband to tell his wife that he wants to be with her only and above all others?
* A woman needs to know that her lover sees her as the best. If they are walking together, or talking together he needs too keep his focus directly on her. A man whose eyes wonder lets the woman he is with know that he is looking for someone better. She knows that he is saying, "You are not pretty enough for me."
>3. Why might the bridegroom look like the sun and the bride like the moon? (10)
* Song of Songs 6:10 "(Fiends) Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?"
* "Who is this" -Their question isn't necessarily just one of the couple. The question is about both.
* "appears like" -A comparision to dynamic natural beauty of sunrise.
* "fair as the moon" -The moon reflects the light of the sun.
* "bright as the sun" -Sunlight is pure.
* "stars in procession" -As the earth turns on its axis the stars give the appearance that they are uniformly marching aross the sky.
* The reference to the morning sky contains the moon, the sun, and all the stars at once. This does happen several times throughout the year.
* The friends of the king and maiden enjoy the warmth of a dancing fire thru the early morning hours into a transcendent cockcrow morning. The heavens transpose into a dynamic polychromatic sonnet. The pleasing couple has been experiencing God blending two into one all night.
"Who is this that appears like the dawn?" they inquire. The fair moon and bright sun share the vault of the heavens. The friends are the majestic stars in procession. Dawn's canopy is the majesty's sensual plunge.
The king and the queen appear like the dawn. She is the fair moon. He is the bright sun. The friends are the majestic stars in procession, meeting the couple appearing from night's bed of lilies.
>How is Jesus and his bride like these? (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 3:4, 7:14, 22:14-15)
* Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
* Revelation 3:4 "Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy."
* Revelation 7:14 "I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
* Revelation 22:14-15 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
* The friends reference is prophecy about Jesus' second coming, the view from earth as Jesus comes with the company of angels and his bride.
>4. What did the bridegroom do? (11-12)
* Song of Songs 6:11-12 "(Lover) I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom. Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people."
* "I went down" -He is probably all alone. The maiden might not have been with him as is revealed by the friends begging him to come back to them in verse 13. However, if she was with him, the atmosphere of the groove and valley bring his soul (thought and emotion) to a solitary place of contentment
* "the grove of nut trees" -Also translated as a walnut tree groove. Walnut trees are hard wood. They grow very tall and straight, as high as 50 feet (15m). Persian black walnut trees are common in the middle east. They make excellent shade trees.
* "the new growth in the valley" -Walnut grooves thrive on flat terrain.
* "the vines had budded" -Grape vines, common in Israel have tiny flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. They are both cultivated and grow wild.
* "the pomegranates were in bloom" -The king used pomegranates in his desctiption of the maiden in 4:3, 13, and 6:7. Pomegranate flowers are dark pink-red with a yellow cluster-bulb in the center. Pometranates when ripe are a bright red chambered, many-seeded, globose fruit, having a tough, usually red rind and pink interior, and surmounted by a crown of calyx lobes, the edible portion consisting of pleasantly acid flesh developed from the outer seed coat.
* "the royal chariots of my people" -Also can be translated "among the chariots of Amminadab" or "among the chariots of the people of the prince". Amminadab is a personal name meaning, "my people give freely." Several Biblical characters were named Amminadab, David's ancestor and the priest whose family carried the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem at David's command. The image Solomon presents by using Amminadab is he was drawn to a spiritual place where the chariot of God is in procession before him as it goes to the temple of God, a scene he witnessed as a little boy.
* Waltzing thru a mature walnut grove is a delightful experience to digest. The trunks are thick, straight, and soaring; penetrating the expanded sky filled with pillow clouds. The treetops expand into verdant foliage. Nuts falling leaves a penetrating sting. Continued promenades through a flat terrain bring emotions of shaded peace.
The king leaves the maiden in the morning (10) to traverse the walnut grow to look at the blossoms in the valley (11). The tender young shoots present peddles for the king to inspect. The sweet fragrance of lilies, roses, lavender, and lilac tantilizes the senses. The king steps into thoughts of love, passion, and efficacy his maiden shared.
Curiosity pulls the king close to the vines he desires to be in bloom and flourishing (11). They strongly wrap around the rail pulling them close together. The vine's flower opens presenting a soft pink bouquet. The king inhales sweet perfume.
Curiosity pulls the king close to the pomegranates he desires to be in bloom and flourishing (11). Their round sculpted form is supported by red flowers, presenting themselves to the king so he may sample their sweet juice. The king's eyes widen as his mouth pulls in their pleasing form.
Time is lost in the king's waltz through grooves and fields. He is lost in conscious comfort, peace, and joy. He was not aware that his heart set him in the chariot of his noble people. He was amongst the pleasure chariot Amminadab, "give freely"; Amminadab, ancestor of his father David (Ruth 6:23) and head of a family of Levites who carried the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem (1 Chron. 15:10-29).
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28) "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Cor. 5:10)
II. Exchange Between Beloved and Friends (6:13-8:4)
>5. What do the friends want to do? (13)
* Song of Songs 6:13 "(Friends) Come back, come back, O Shulammite; come back, come back, that we may gaze on you! (Lover) Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?"
* "Come back, come back... come back, come back" -Repetision is often used by the author to add emphasis.
* "Shulammite" -Shulammite is only found here in the Bible. The exact meaning is not clear. The base word in Hebrew could be "shalam" meaning "peaceful", or while being copied it was accidently changed. Thus it could originally have been "Shunem" , or it was "Shulam" an otherwise unknown town, or it was "Solomonite" referring to a relationship to Solomon, or its was a common noun meaning "the replaced one."
* "that we may gaze on you" -The friends truely confess that she is the most beautiful of women.
* "as on the dance" -A beautiful dynamic form of art.
* "Mahanaim" -Mahanaim means "two camps." Its a city somewhere in the hill country of Gilead on the tribal borders of Gad and eastern Manasseh (Josh. 13:26,30). It was a Levitical city (Josh. 21:38). It served as a refuge twice: for Ishbosheth after Saul's death (2 Sam. 2:8-9), and for David when Absalom usurped the throne (2 Sam. 17:24-27). During Solomon's administration, the city served as a district capital (1 Kings 4:14). German archaeologists locate it at tell Heggog, half a mile south of Penuel, while Israelis point to tell edh-Dhabab el Gharbi. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
>How does the bridegroom describe his lover in verses 1-4?
* Song of Songs 7:1-4 "(Lover) How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince's daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman's hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus."
* "O prince's daughter" -She was the daughter of the king of Egypt.
* The lover describes her beauty from her feet upward. This is the opposite of the previous descriptions.
* "navel" -The Hebrew word is best translated as navel-string" meaning the hole left when the embilical cord is cut.
* "the pools of Heshbon" -Once the royal city of King Sihon (Numbers 21:26), i was blessed with an abundant supply of spring water.
* "by the gate of Bath Rabbim" -Means "daughter of many".
>In verses 5-9a?
* Song of Songs 7:5-9a "Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, "I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit. May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine."
* The king agrees that the maiden is his girl, saying she is the Shulammite (the feminine form of "Solomon"). He asks them what they hope to see when they look at her. Then he describes his duchess from her feet to her head.
His Beloved feet are beautiful (1). Her graceful curved long legs are crafted jewels shaped by a cunning artist's hands. Her naval is the center of tight abs forming a goblet. A garland of lilies is the only adornment on her firm rolling waist (2).
The baroness' breasts are as firm as fawns; tender, delicate,, and beautiful, promising full growth (3). The countess' neck is a strong ivory tower; in eloquent strength and complexion. Her eyes are deep hidden oasis pools reflecting serenity, gentleness, and passion (4). Her nose is straight and stately.
The contessa's head is her crown with hair a royal tapestry; shaped only as queen. The king is held captive by its tresses. Her hair is flowing locks (5).
The maiden's breasts are like clusters of fruit; his delights. The king will climb her as a palm tree and take hold of her fruit (8.). Her nipples are like the clusters of the vine he will take hold of.
Her mouth the best wine (9). He will drink and never have his fill of her. Her kisses are sweet and tangy. He indulges in his Shulammite. He will have his fill of her delights (6).
* See a wood engraving titled "Raising the Cross" by Leemputte, Henricus van den (1588-1657) from the book "Het Nieuwe Testament ons salichmaeckers lesv Chrisi...". Jesus is lifted up on the cross. A man behind Jesus prepares to place a sign on the cross that reads "INRI." The image is accompanied by citations of Song of Solomon 7, Zechariah 13, and Psalm 21. The monogram of the artist, Christoffel van Sichem (1546-1624), engraver's knife and initials, MHem., are located in the upper left corner of the image. It is now in public domain. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>6. How do they declare their love for each other? (9b-13)
* Song of Songs 7:9b-13 "(Beloved) May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom-- there I will give you my love. The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover."
* The Beloved invited her Lover to kiss her. He had compared her mouth to the best wine (9). She responds by stating the wine will go straight to her lover. They kiss. They embrace. Their bodies press together. The wine warms their heart and spins their mind. The couple's body instinctively reacts to the gentle touch of lips. Unique awakes female and male bonding into one.
"I belong to my lover," she wisps (10). Her breathing sporadic sighs. She cuddles a joyous thought, "His desire is for me."
The maiden presents to the lover an elope to the country villages, spending all night together exploring every door (11). She will open them so they can explore new rooms together.
The duchess offers herself completely to her master. She desires them to go to the vineyards to see if the budding blossoms have opened (12). "I will give you my love."
The virgin as a mandrake sends out her fragrance (13). She lays before her lord every delicacy. Every delight the beloved has for her lover from her garden, both already given and yet to be given is his. She has stored up for her lover. Come lover, come.
>How is this like our relationship with Jesus? (Ephesians 5:25-33)
* Ephesians 5:25-33 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
* Jesus' love for us is displayed by his sufferings and death on the cross so that we may be redeemed.
>How would the bride be disgraced if they came together before they were married? (1-4)
* Song of Songs 8:1-4 "If only you were to me like a brother, who was nursed at my mother's breasts! Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me. I would lead you and bring you to my mother's house-- she who has taught me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the nectar of my pomegranates. His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."
* The princess relishes the time she spends with her king. Often she finds herself driven by an impulsive passion to kiss her Lover. When they are at the market, she desires to kiss him. When they are on the street, she desires to kiss him. When they are at a restaurant, she desires to kiss him (8).
However, unwritten rules for social conduct and prejudice press her to restraint (1). It is not as though no one kisses in public. Two family members, perhaps siblings may greet each other with a friendly kiss. She whispers to her master, "If only you were to me as a brother. Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me." (2) He chuckles.
Human impulses and passions often need to be held in check for various reasons, sometimes for good reasons and others not so good reasons. When confronted with social demands some chose to abide by them, and others reject them to the point of being disruptive.
Jesus confronted some religious and social unwritten rules for conduct and prejudice to the point of being disruptive. He overturned money changer tables in the temple. He healed on the Sabbath. He changed the procedure and meaning of Passover. He claimed he was the Messiah. He accepted and forgave the gentiles, tax collectors, and social outcasts.
Jesus peacefully overturned social injustices. Then Jesus taught the way to love God and others. His guidelines for proper loving were harmonious with justice and righteousness. Many happily accepted them. Others arrested and crucified him.
The maiden's rhetoric considered, "If only there was a sociable way for me to express my love for you with a public passionate kiss like I was your little sister greeting you in the street with a kiss." "If only..."
* The maiden eagerly offers to give herself to her Lover, the king (2). She brings him to her house, her mother's house. Her mother has taught her how to respect others. Her mother taught her to respect her husband. The Egyptian barrenness watched as her mother served her house and her husband. She learned how to please her king.
When the Beloved first saw the king Solomon and exchanged complimentary words with him she fantasized about him holding her in his arms (2:6). Now after sharing compliments, kisses, hugs, and delights she finds her fantasy has come true. "His left arm is under her head and his right arm embraces her." (3) Her master is caressing her. His arm slides gently down her curvy figure. He drinks the nectar of her pomegranates (2).
The Beloved repeats "Do not arouse and awaken love until it so desires." Love is a gift of God planted in the soul. Love is sleeping in everyone. We have the power to awaken love if we so desire.
Love is a gift we give; an act, a word, a part of us that is tender and powerful. Awakening love can be a risky and fearful action. Love needs the wisdom to conduct it, to form it into a beautiful endowment to another. Giving love does not guarantee it will be reciprocated in the way we desire. That is why love should not be awakened until it so desires.
Love is often a shower of rain and sun drops that enables a hard seed to be changed into a plant that blooms. "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command." (John 15:12-14)
III. Climax and Conclusion (8:5-14)
>7. What do the friends ask? (5a)
* Song of Songs 8:5a "(Friends) Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?"
* The Lover and the Beloved slowly stroll in a desert made lush by the spring rains (5). The king is adorned with a finely woven sleek cloth. The maiden is adorned with a sheer long brightly colored dress. She is leaning against her man with her head resting on his shoulder. His left arm is wrapped around her back as his hand rests on her hip. Their friends spot the heartthrobs and happily ask, "Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?"
The maiden was in a mental and emotional desert. Now she is experiencing new life.
The maiden answers with a pleasant confession in a soft voice to her lover. She addresses her lord reflecting on their sensual samba. "I aroused you under the apple tree (5)." She is elated that her king strongly responded to her. The place under the apple tree is known for copulation. They are starting a family there as his mother conceived him there. He has come to life.
Romantic love is a gift that naturally leads to sexual love. A man and a woman make a commitment before God that includes keeping the romance alive. A lasting pleasing relationship does not require money, riches, nor exotic vacation spots. Romantic love is loving self-sacrifice and submission.
>How is love described in verses 5b-7?
* Song of Songs 8:5b-7 "(Beloved) Under the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived you, there she who was in labor gave you birth. Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."
* Love is...
Three truths about love are divulged.
1) Love is as strong as death.
2) Love's intense devotion (jealousy) is as unyielding (overpowering) as the grave.
3) Love burns like a blazing fire.
Love is the most invincible force in human existence.
The maiden asked her king Lover to place her like a seal over his heart (6). The reason for this is because she knew that love is the most invulnerable and indomitable emotion humans can have.
The love between a woman and a man when they are bonded by the Spirit of God cannot be broken. Though other emotions and selfishness interfere with the way we can express love, the emotion itself is the most intense force spiritually bonded spouses can ever experience in this life.
"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16) "Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (John 4:21)
Love is a noun and a verb. Love is real and is expressed. Love cannot be contained in the heart. Love is always expressed in positive, righteousness, and good.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Love is perfect. (1 Corinthians 13:10). Love is holy for God, the source of love is holy, holy, holy. Love does not corrode, spoil, or fade.
The problem for fallen mankind and expressing love is that we are not holy until God makes us holy through Jesus. The first installment of change comes from faith in what he did on the cross and love for him. The final installment will be when he comes again.
The Beloved asks, "Place me like a seal over your heart." The final and always to be repeated act.
* See a wood engraving titled "Historiated Title-Page Border" by Preston, John (1587-1628) from the book "The golden scepter held forth to the humble: with the Churches dignitie by her marriage: and the Churches dutie in her carriage: in three treatises: the first delivered in sundry sermons in Cambridge for the weekely [sic] fasts, 1625: the two later in Lincolnes Inne / by the late learned and reverend Divine, Iohn Preston..." Historiated title page border featuring the king and his lover from Song of Solomon, the kings of Israel bowing before God, and David looking toward heaven while composing a psalm. It is now in public domain. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>And in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13?
* 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
* Love is not idle. Love is a constant instigator for good.
>8. What advice do the friends give for young ladies? (8-9)
* Song of Songs 8:8-9 "(Fiends) We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for?
9 If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar."
* "younger sister, and her breasts are not grown" -The need to produce an heir was important in almost all human societies in the past. In order to do so a young woman needed to be of child bearing years. All infants in all past societies were nursed by their mother, or a surrogate mother. The point her is not the size of her breast, but the ability to supply milk to her new born babies. However, breasts that are capable of producing milk would increase in size. Large breast were thus considered able to produce milk.
>What might this mean? (1 Timothy 2:9-15, 3:11; and 1 Peter 3:1-6)
* 1 Timothy 2:9-15 "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."
* 1 Timothy 3:11 "In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything."
* 1 Peter 3:1-6 "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear."
* Titus 2:3-5 "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."
* "a wall... a door" -This is not referring to her chest. Rather, they are referring to her character. A wall would be a shy and reserved young lady. A door would be an open personality.
* "towers of silver... panels of cedar" -Both are protection. The siblings would protect her. Brothers were responsible for protecting their siblings, especially their sisters.
* The friends of the newly married king and queen saw the love and romance experienced by the royal couple. They were happy for them. Then they thought about their young sister (8.) She was too young to marry. Unlike the maiden, her breasts were not yet grown. If she had children she could not nurse them.
The friends wanted their sister to be married to a handsome, capable, and mature man who loved and feared God such as the king. In their society marriage was often contracted at an early age (8.). They wanted to know what they should do to ensure she is ready.
The years of puberty always have the risk of maturing into improper and unwise decisions. Curiosity quickly leads to passion and often poor life decisions. The older brothers were determined to defend and keep the virtue of their younger sisters (9). They were also determined to do all they could to prepare her for the right young man.
"If she is a wall" meaning if she keeps her emotions in check and inside because she is shy, then they will adorn her with silver jewelry (9). "If she is a door" meaning she is outgoing and emotionally expressive and open, then they will protect her from any young man who takes personal advantage of her character.
>9. What does the bride give to her lover? (10-12)
* Song of Songs 8:10-12 "(Beloved) I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment. Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon; he let out his vineyard to tenants. Each was to bring for its fruit a thousand shekels of silver. But my own vineyard is mine to give; the thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon, and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit."
* "I am a wall" -We learn at the beginning of the Song that she had low self esteem.
* "my breasts are like towers" -She had become of age for marraige and thus having and raising children.
* "bringing contentment" -She would bring contentment to Solomon, her bridegroom become husband.
* "Ball Hamon" -The location of this prosperous vineyard once owned by king Solomon is not known. What is clear is that the bridegroom in the Song has been king Solomon and the bride is the queen, the princess of Egypt.
* "tenants" -The rich in ancient times rented out their lands to tenants. The tenant's responsibility was to give a set amount of produce and/or profit from the field. Any produce and/or profit above and beyond went to the tenants. Thus, someone who was a good farmer, could make a decent living.
* "my own vineyard is mine own to give" -The maiden was giving the first portion of herself to her husband. She was willingly giving. She was not being forced nor coerced.
* "two hundred are for those who tend its fruit" -She would keep 20 percent of herself for herself.
* The maiden replied to their friend's question about their adolescent sister. She presents herself as an example. She was a wall; quiet, reserved, and shy (10). She had low body pride. When she came of age the king noticed her beauty. Her breasts grew like tall towers (10). He viewed her as one who would bring great peace and contentment; one who would bring great delight (10).
King Solomon was a businessman. He owned a vineyard and hired men to take care of it (11). The king expected each tenant to produce a profit of 1,000 shekels of silver. As the owner, he had the right to expect such a yield.
The maiden is the king's wife. She is his possession as he is her possession. She has a vineyard. Her vineyard is her body (12). She is the tenant of her body. As a tenant, she keeps her body up in prime appearance for her owner. As the tenants of Baal Hamon give the thousand shekels, so the maiden gives the thousand from her vineyard to her master (12). Solomon gets the owner's portion.
Each person is given the gift of a body by God. It is my responsibility to keep and give my body. Though some can bruise, abuse, harm, and enslave me against my will. The body is still mine to take care of and give. A bonding commitment to a person of the opposite sex before God includes the fact that I will keep my body the best that I am able a present to them the owner's portion.
>What gifts can we give to Jesus? (John 14:15, 15:16-17)
* John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
* John 15:16-17 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."
* We give love by obeying Jesus. The greatest commandments are love God and others.
* We are to bear fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is laid out in Galatians 5:22.
* "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control."
* See a wood engravings by J.S Cromplon that depicts a the king and the young woman walking in a garden captured in each other's gase. The image is now in public domain.
>10. Why the couple is married what happened? (13)
* Song of Songs 8:13 "(Lover) You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice!"
* "dwell in the gardens" -The lover may be addressing either those who witnessed their courtship and marraige or those who are looking for a relationship that will end in marraige.
* "with friends in attendance" -Chaperones.
* "let me hear your voice" -This points to those who would have witness the lover and beloved during courtship more than the possibility that this command is a general reference to those seeking a life-long relationship.
* "!" -The lover states this with much emotion.
>What is the climax of this song? (14)
* Song of Songs 8:14 "(Beloved) Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains."
* "Come away" -A romantic get away.
* "a gazelle or like a young stag" -The beloved has called him to be these before. She is inviting him to enjoy a sexual encounter with her.
* "spice-laden mountains" -A favorite food for gazelle and stag.
* The king and queen exchange final serenades as the curtains close and happily ever after awaits. The maiden had beckoned her lover to travel the garden that is she (7:11-12) from village to village. The quixotic couple traveled the countryside in a passion extravaganza. All felt their love and rejoiced as the pleasant couple paraded by. The king calls to them, "Let me hear your voice as you call to one another the testimony of our love; my queen and I."
The queen forever invites her master and lover to come away with her, to forever be a gazelle, a young stag on her the spice-laden mountains.
A husband and wife are devoted to each other as partners, companions, lovers, and friends. They are inamorato and innamorata; duke and duchess; lover and beloved.
>What does Jesus promise us? (John 14:1-4)
* John 14:1-4 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
* Jesus promises a place for us in his kingdom.