Monday, July 22, 2013

Marriage From God's View: Part 10: Song of Songs, Chapter 5

"I have come to my garden---
      my sister, my bride.
I gather my myrrh
      with my spices.
I eat my honeycomb
      with my honey.
I drink my wine with my milk."

"Eat, friends!
Drink, be intoxicated
   with love!"

There is no doubt the first stanza is the bridegroom talking about consummating his marriage with his beloved.  There is some discussion about the second stanza.  Some believe that is God encouraging the couple; others believe the bridegroom had left the bridal chamber to show the wedding guests proof that his bride was a virgin, and he is now encouraging them to eat and drink in celebration.

"I sleep, but my heart is awake
A sound!  My love is knocking!"

"Open to me, my sister,
    my darling,
my dove, my perfect one.
For my head is drenched
    with dew,
my hair with droplets of the night."

"I have taken off my clothing,
How can I put it back on?
I have washed my feet.
How can I get them dirty?
My love thrust his hand
    through the opening,
and my feelings were stirred
    for him.
I rose to open for my love.
My hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh
on the handles of the bolt.
I opened to my love,
but my love had turned
   and gone away.
I was crushed that he had left.
I sought him, but did not find him.
I called him, but he did not
   answer.
The guards who go
   about the city found me,
they took my cloak from me---
the guardians of the walls.
Young women of Jerusalem,
    I charge you;
if you find my love,
tell him that I am lovesick."

There is some speculation that this is a dream sequence.  She is awakened by her love knocking at her door.  She doesn't want to get up because she has undressed and washed her feet, as was the custom before retiring for the night.  She is concerned about getting them dirty.  Nevertheless, she rises to admit him, but he is gone.  So, she goes in search of him but finds only the guards.  She implores the women of Jerusalem to let him know, if they find him, that she is lovesick.

She is challenged by the women as to what makes "her" love superior to all others:

"What makes the one you love
   better than another,
most beautiful of women?
What makes him better than
   another,
that you would give us
   this charge?"

To which, she gives them an earful as she extols all of his physical attributes:

"My love is fit and strong,
notable among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold.
His hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves
beside streams of water,
washed in milk
and set like jewels.
His cheeks are like beds
   of spice,
towers of perfume.
His lips are lilies,
dripping with flowing myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is an ivory panel
covered with sapphires.
His legs are alabaster pillars
set on pedestals of pure gold.
His presence is like Lebanon,
as majestic as the cedars.
His mouth is sweetness.
He is absolutely desirable.
This is my love, and this is
   my friend,
young women of Jerusalem."

Everything about him is perfection:  his head, hair, eyes, cheeks, lips, arms, body, legs, mouth, indeed, his very presence....is perfection to her.  And, she not only calls him her "love," but he is her "friend".  That speaks volumes to their relationship; it is not merely physical .....this is what God intends the marriage relationship to be: two people who have a bond that transcends the physical.  This is why marriage can not be based on sex alone.  Is it important?  Of course it is, but there has to be more.

Next:  Song of Songs, Chapter 6
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