(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
Song of Solomon 6:4-8:4
There is very little that I can add to the wonderful examination of the book Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) that was written by Wayne Bunting in his post from yesterday. The fact that this book demonstrates to us that God cares about every aspect of our lives, including our love life, is both bold and inspiring. God’s love is all encompassing.
What I like about this book is how it makes such tremendous use of literary simile in such a way that it conveys rather boldly its subject matter. In chapter 6, verse 4, “4 You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners.” In verse 5, “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.” In verse 6, “6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is alone.” In verse 7, “7 Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.”
In chapter 7 the author raises the stakes a bit towards the “hot and sweaty.” In chapter 7, verses 1 through 5, “1 How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman’s hands. 2 Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. 3 Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. 4 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. 5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses.” You can see all of the simile in these few short verses.
The author continues using simile in almost EVERY verse.
If a writer today were to use simile this much they would be called “uninspired” or “untrained in proper technique” but in this book it works. It works because it makes the words, even though they were once simple scratchings on a scroll, REAL. As you read these verses the author paints a beautiful picture of love and physical beauty. We never see a real picture of the subject of these verses but we see what our mind creates from the simile used. We see beauty. We see love. Knowing that everything in the Bible is the inspired Word of God we know that this book was not written to inspire the lust that so many see when they read these words. I think it is safe to suggest that the fleshly and sinful side of our humanity leads some to those rather colorful interpretations of this book. But don’t think I am saying that love and sex are not present but it is the sinful mind that distorts that imagery into something it shouldn’t be.
Like Wayne said, “Song of Solomon flies in the face of the popular notion that God is a prude that wants his followers to be painfully abstinent. This is a very sexual book. It promotes sex in a greater way than a lot of popular culture does. But it does it in its proper context, marriage.”
I see the Bible as a tremendous guidebook for living a life that brings glory to God. Every one of the 66 books enclosed is accepted as God inspired Word and seen as vitally informative to the life of a Christian believer. Song of Solomon is one of those books and therefore should not be overlooked, or conveniently dodged, as is done by some denominations and pastors. God is giving us a rather vivid picture of what a healthy, Christian relationship should look like.
Culture would have us believe that living together before marriage is okay. Culture would have us believe that relationships between two men or two women are okay. Culture would have us believe that sex before marriage is also okay. But this book paints a different picture of dedication and love in the committed institution of marriage.
As you pray today spend time considering whether you believe enough in God’s Word to be counter-cultural? Are you willing to stand up for what you believe; even if it is not popular?