As he spoke, it was evident that the beloved was skilled at showing affection to his maiden. The Apostle Paul would later write, Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her 1 Corinthians It is wrong for a husband to withhold affection from his wife; and since Paul meant this to apply to every Christian marriage, it shows that every wife has affection due her. Jesus is affectionate to His own Bride after the same pattern. Behold you are fair : The beloved began not with aggressive or selfish actions, but with tender and confidence building words to his maiden.
She had previously doubted her beauty Song of Solomon ; yet he truthfully assured her doubly so that she was the most beautiful woman in the world to him. Even the loveliest girl might feel insecure on this occasion.
Yet as always he was sensitive to her and careful to make her secure in his love. Thou sayest my love is better than wine, so is thine to me; thou tellest me all my garments smell of myrrh, so do thine; thou sayest my word is sweeter than honey to thy lips, so is thine to mine.
All that thou canst say of me, I say it teach to thee; I see myself in thy eyes, I can see my own beauty in thee; and whatever belongs to me, belongs to thee. Therefore, O my love, I will sing back the song: thou hast sung it to thy beloved, and I will sing it to my beloved. He did this with poetic language more familiar to her ears than to ours, but clearly wanted her to know how beautiful her eyes were to him.
This is the first of seven physical features that the beloved described and praised in his maiden eyes , hair , teeth , lips , temples and cheeks, neck , and breasts. So even in the number of compliments he gives, the king tells his bride how perfect she is for him. It also evident that the beloved used his powers of observation and description ; he was focused upon her and not upon himself. Taken with her beauty at the wedding ceremony, he continued the focus into the beauty. He wisely touched her with his words before he touched her with his hands, assuring her that she was captivating and interesting enough to both carefully observe and describe.
The maiden could safely yield to a man who cared for her this much, and this unselfishly. Behind your veil : The veil was not regular dress for a Jewish woman in Old Testament times. Engagements Genesis and the actual wedding celebration Genesis were two of these occasions.
Your hair is like a flock of goats : The idea is not that her hair is like the hair of a goat; rather, it is that her hair beautifully flows down her head like a black-haired flock of goats, going down from Mount Gilead. Her hair was long and flowing and seemed to bounce with life.
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The movement of a large flock on distant hill makes it appear as if the whole hillside is alive. Your lips are like a strand of scarlet : The idea is that her lips are thinner rather than fuller thought to be more attractive in that day , that they are well outlined, and a beautiful deep red color. It is this delicate form he praises. He saw her temples and cheeks as full of color, flushed with both excitement and beauty. A piece of pomegranate has the idea of the outside of the fruit, not the inside.
Your neck is like the tower of David : The idea is not that her neck was as long as a tower or proportioned like one. Rather, it speaks of the noble and strong character displayed by her neck , both literally and symbolically. In the ancient world, the neck was one part of the body thought to reflect character. A bent-over neck was a picture of humiliation. A stiff neck was a sign of stubbornness. The country depended upon the faithfulness and integrity of that fortress. And it must have been very reassuring to loop upon that awesome stronghold, displaying as it did all the shields of war.
The people had a healthy respect for it. Therefore, when the king likens the neck of his bride to the fortress, he is paying her a great compliment. The way she carries herself reflects an integrity and character that breeds a healthy respect from all who see her. Thus, when the king compares her breasts to two fawns, he is really saying that he longs to caress her soft and tender breasts.
Song of Solomon 4 – The Beauty of Consummated Love
Hereby some understand the two testaments… These breasts are also suitable and equal, as twins. Until the day breaks And the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh And to the hill of frankincense. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away : The beloved welcomed the coming of the night, after the celebration of the wedding mentioned in the previous snapshot. Their wedding night was the appropriate setting for the consummation of their deep love.
It is perhaps better to see this as a poetic reference to their seclusion, surrounded by the luxury and sensual pleasure of rich scents.
You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, With me from Lebanon. She was more than fair ; she was all fair , and there was no spot in her. Before he asked her to pledge the sharing of her virginity, he pledged the sharing of his life. He wants her with him. This is the first time he calls the maiden his spouse , his bride — and then he uses the word repeatedly.
According to Kinlaw, it could very well be that the Hebrew word for spouse bride comes from the root to complete. You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart With one look of your eyes, With one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes Than all spices! Your lips, O my spouse, Drip as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under your tongue; And the fragrance of your garments Is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
1. Courtship is important.
With one look of your eyes , he was a changed man and deeply in love with her. He initiated the relationship and pursued her; but she responded with beautiful and precious love all her own. Now he returns it upon her, as is usual among lovers. You value his love, and you are right in so doing; but I am afraid that still you undervalue it. He even values your love, if I may so speak, he sets a far higher estimate upon it than you do; he thinks very much of little, he estimates it not by its strength, but by its sincerity.
And the scent of your perfumes than all spices! Your lips, O my spouse… honey and milk are under your tongue : The beloved described the sweetness of the kisses of the maiden.
Enduring Word Bible Commentary Song of Solomon Chapter 4
But this expression may tell us more than that French kissing was around long before the French. The fragrance of your garments : The whole scene is intimate and filled with beautiful sights, smells, tastes, and words. We are poetically and tastefully brought to the point of the consummation of their intimacy. This latter usage gave rise to the use of the word for a bed-covering… In the context here, some sort of sleep-wear negligee?
A garden enclosed Is my sister, my spouse, A spring shut up, A fountain sealed. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates With pleasant fruits, Fragrant henna with spikenard, Spikenard and saffron, Calamus and cinnamon, With all trees of frankincense, Myrrh and aloes, With all the chief spices— A fountain of gardens, A well of living waters, And streams from Lebanon.
A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed : With these three images the beloved praised the virginity of his maiden and did so immediately before receiving the gift of her virginity. Her sexuality had not been given to another; it was like an enclosed garden , a protected spring , a fountain sealed. A spring shut up, a fountain sealed : The idea is not that this metaphorical spring or fountain is dried up and useless; rather that it is protected so that its water can only go to its rightful owner.
Individuals and societies suffer greatly when virginity is no longer valued.
Song of Solomon
It is important for parents, young men, young women, and the church as a whole to value virginity and never treat it as something to be embarrassed of. Seeing the high value of virginity also helps us to understand the Biblical commands against pre-marital sex. Learn more. Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information.
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