Sunday, July 21, 2013

Marriage From God's View: Part 9: Song of Songs, Chapter 4

At this point the couple are married and the man is complementing her physical beauty before they consummate their union on their wedding night.  These are some of the most beautiful passages in the book as he seeks to put her at ease that "she" is the most beautiful woman in the world to him.  What woman wouldn't want this kind of reassurance?

"How beautiful you are,
    my darling.
How very beautiful!
Behind your veil,
your eyes are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
streaming down Mount Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock
   of newly shorn sheep
coming up from washing,
each one having a twin,
and not one missing.
Your lips are
   like a scarlet cord,
and your mouth is lovely.
Behind your veil,
your brow is like a slice
   of pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower
   of David,
constructed in layers.
A thousand bucklers are hung
   on it----
all of them shields of warriors.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle, that feed
   among the lilies."

In Old Testament times, women did not traditionally wear veils except for special occasions, such as a wedding.  They may have worn headdresses but not veils.  Here he is assessing her before she removes the veil.  Her eyes are doves to him; doves symbolized purity.  Her hair was long and flowed down her back much like the goats going down from Mount Gilead.  Her teeth are perfect and complete, like a flock of sheep that has been newly shorn.  I take this to be unusual in that day because the hygiene of the day just didn't normally provide for perfect teeth.  He moves to her scarlet lips and then to her brow "like a slice of pomegranate"----rosy.  Her face is probably flushed with excitement because they are finally married.  From there he moves to her neck and compares it to "the tower of David"......strong, unyielding----She was a woman of strong character.  Finally, he makes his way to her breasts and compare them to two fawns, baby deer that are soft and gentle.  They have been untouched by human hands, until now---their wedding night.

"Before the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will make my way
   to the mountain of myrrh
and the hill of frankincense.
You are absolutely beautiful,
   my darling,
with no imperfection in you."

In the above lines he is clearly talking about consummating their marriage and the "mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense" are references to her body.

"Come with me from Lebanon,
   my bride---
with me from Lebanon!
Descend from the peak
   of Amana,
from the summit of Senir
   and Hermon,
from the dens of the lions,
from the mountains
   of the leopards.
You have captured my heart
   with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace,
How delightful your love is,
   my sister, my bride.
Your love is much better
   than wine,
and the fragrance
   of your perfume
   than any balsam.
Your lips drip sweetness like
   the honeycomb, my bride.
Honey and milk are
  under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
  is like the fragrance
  of Lebanon."

In the lines above he is telling her to leave all thoughts of home and all worries behind and count on him now that they are married.  She captured his heart with one look.  Her love is delightful to him; her love is better than wine, and he is intoxicated with her perfume.  Her lips drip honey, and honey and milk are under her tongue....he has tasted her mouth so he knows.  It appears the French did not invent French kissing.

"My sister, my bride, you are,
   a locked garden---
a locked garden
   and a sealed spring.
Your branches are a paradise
  of pomegranates
with choicest fruits,
henna with nard---
nard and saffron, calamus
   and cinnamon,
with all the trees
   of frankincense,
myrrh and aloes,
with all the best spices,
You are a garden spring,
a well of flowing water
streaming from Lebanon."

Here he is praising her virginity before they come together.  She is a "locked garden" and a "sealed spring."  She has saved herself for her husband only, and he prizes that fact.  The last three lines show how she responds to her love, her beloved, her God meant.

The last lines are the only time the maiden speaks in Chapter 4:

"Awaken, north wind---
come, south wind.
Blow on my garden,
and spread the fragrance
   of its spices.
Let my love come to his garden
and eat its choicest fruits."

She is ready to offer her virginity to her husband.  If we look closely, she relinquishes control of "my garden" "his garden".  She now belongs to him, body and soul, and she offers herself totally.

Next:  Chapter 5