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Sunday, February 23, 2014

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In this fourth and last of Solomon’s wasfs (“descriptions” of praise) for the Shulamite (verses 1–9), he begins by admiring her form and then moves up to her head, whereas his first wasf (4:1-7) starts with his bride’s head and moves down to her form in praising her loveliness. Such contrast is one example of the elegant, symmetrical structuring of the passages in the Song.

This chapter contains several expressions with double applications. Here and elsewhere in the last half of the Song the inspired writer Solomon delicately and tastefully speaks of the love intimacy with his wife (e.g. 7:7–8, 12–13; cf. 5:2–5; 8:2, 14). The Song powerfully presents the wholesome beauty and joy of married love as in the Edenic Paradise. Verse 10 indicates the “desire” of the man for the woman as observed by the woman. Even in a fallen world, we can have marriages that are a return to Eden. 

As I elaborate in the book Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament, the couple’s paradise love is revealed in the Song to be:  (1) stunningly beautiful (1:15-16;  etc.); (2) wonderfully experienced; (3) an exuberant celebration (5:1, etc.); (4) a thrilling adventure (1:4; 2:8, etc.); (5) an exquisite delight (2:3-4, etc.); (6) fulfilling (see the verses above, plus numerous other passages with possible double applications); (7) unashamed and uninhibited (see thedescriptions of 4:1-5; 5:9—7:10); (8) restrained and in good taste (2:7; 3:5; 8:4; the love act non-offensively described); (9) light-hearted play (1:7-8; 7:9); (10) a romantic love affair (7:11-12, etc.); (11) powerfully passionate (2:5; 4:9; 5:4; 7:4); and (12) an awe-inspiring mystery (6:4, 10; 8:6). These are the qualities of marriage God longs for all married couples to enjoy, without fear or embarrassment, in harmony with His loving intention! 

“Lord God, thank You for the amazing, multi-faceted gift of love and marriage that You have created for us as humans to enjoy.  Help us to treasure and protect this gift!  Amen.”  

 

Richard M. Davidson

Professor of Old Testament Interpretation

Andrews University Theological Seminary