Song of Songs Chapter 4 -- John Karmelich




1.                  There is a very old joke about a husband who was asked, “Do you love your wife?”

a)                  He responded, “Of course I do”.  The next question was, “Do you tell her?”

b)                  He then responded, “I told her 30 years ago.  If I change my mind, I’ll let her know”.

i)                    Let me open by saying that philosophy is not biblical.

c)                  God calls on us to constantly express our love to our spouse, as well as to God often and regularly.  It keeps that love in the forefront of our minds.

2.                  Chapter 4 is the wedding night.  It is very sexual in its description.

a)                  The primary purpose is to show Solomon’s love for his bride.

b)                  It is a model, particularly for men, as to how women should be treated.

c)                  Underlying in the text, it is also a model of how much God loves us.

3.                  Every verse in this chapter, except the last one, is spoken by Solomon.

a)                  The chapter is a description of Solomon’s love for his bride.

b)                  The focus is on sexual romance.

c)                  He spends the chapter describing her beauty and his love for her.

d)                 Guys, this is a great chapter to take notes.  J

e)                  Girls, this is good chapter to elbow your husband to read the notes.

f)                   There are lessons on patience, beauty, and learning how to please your wife.

g)                  Just like all the lessons on Song of Songs, the primary purpose of this book is to show how God wants us to express our love through marriage.

i)                    It also has applications on how much God loves us and ways we can express that love back to God.

4.                  If I was asked what is the single most important lesson the bible teaches on marriage it would be this:  (Since nobody actually asked, me I’ll tell you anyway.  J)

a)                  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  (Ephesians 5:25, NIV)

i)                    How much should a husband love his wife?  As much as Jesus loves us!

b)                  A lesson for all single women out there is to find a man who loves God more than he loves you.  Through that love for God, your man can then have that ability to love you.

i)                    The Greek word for love is the one that means to totally give of oneself for the one he or she loves.

c)                  Which leads us back to Song of Songs, Chapter 4.

i)                    If you have a perfect love for someone, expressing that love should come naturally and easily.  You may not use the exact cliché’s that Solomon used, but it should naturally flow out of your heart to verbally and physically express that love toward your partner as well as toward God.

ii)                  That is what we are seeing here in Chapter 4.

iii)                It is Solomon’s love flowing out of his heart and expressed verbally and physically.

iv)                The underlying theme of Song of Songs is to also compare this to God’s love for us and our desire to express that love back to God.

a)                  Christian commentators compare the bride to us, as the New Testament describes believers as the “bride of Jesus” (See Revelation Chapter 19:7)

b)                  Solomon, in this book, is a word-picture of God expressing his love for us.

c)                  This is not to take away the book of Song of Songs as a marriage manual.

(1)               It is that, first and foremost.

(2)               It is the underlying theme to also see Song of Songs as a glorious model, in poetic verses of the expression of God’s love.

d)                 On that happy note, let’s take on Verse 1:

5.                  Verse 1:  How beautiful you are, my darling!  Oh, how beautiful!  Your eyes behind your veil are doves.  Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.

a)                  Remember that this is Solomon speaking to his bride.

b)                  Some translations use the word “fair” instead of beautiful.

i)                    The word “fair” has changed its meaning through the centuries.

ii)                  The NIV word “beautiful” here is a better description.

c)                  For all of you number fanatics out there, know that Hebrew Poetry loves to work with numbers in its style.  In this passage of Solomon complimenting the bride, that covers verses 1-7, Solomon pays her seven compliments.  If you want to count, add up every time the word “your” is used, as in “your eyes” or “your hair”.

i)                    The number “seven” in Hebrew is associated with completeness.

a)                  This is because God created the world in seven days.

b)                  It is associated with perfection.

c)                  For Solomon to pay her “seven specific compliments” is a Hebrew poetry of saying how completely beautiful she is.  (Isn’t that neat! J)

d)                 Solomon opens verse one by saying two times how beautiful she is.

i)                    If you remember from earlier chapters, the bride sees herself is a simple farm girl and unworthy to be compared to the women of the royal court.

a)                  Solomon rebukes that attitude by complimenting her beauty.

ii)                  Guys get out your note pad here.  J

a)                  Solomon opens this speech by saying twice how beautiful she is.

(1)               It is repeated for emphasis.

b)                  It rebukes my opening joke about the importance of telling the one you love regularly and often of your love for her.

c)                  We need to tell and show our spouses regularly of our love for them.

d)                 The same way we read the Bible regularly to remind ourselves of God’s love for us, and we pray regularly to express that love back to God.

e)                  This scene takes place at the wedding night. The bride is wearing a veil.  Notice the veil has not been removed yet.

i)                    The veil is shear enough where Solomon can see her eyes behind the veil.

ii)                  In the New Testament, a veil is also a word-picture of something that blurs the vision between us and God.  Paul says that Jews today have their hearts “veiled” so that corporately they cannot see the prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament.  (There are individual exceptions.  This is why I underline corporately).

a)                  “But their (Jew’s) minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”  (2nd Corinthians 3:14, NKJV)

b)                  Notice what Paul says in the next 2 verses (15-16) of 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 3:

(1)               “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

iii)                Which leads us back to Song of Songs:

a)                  Here is Solomon seeing the beauty of his bride through the veil.

b)                  Solomon is describing the beauty of her face even with the veil on.

(1)               While her face is a bit “fuzzy” to Solomon, he knows what she looks like based on previous knowledge and expresses that to her verbally.

(2)               This is a word-picture of our relationship with God.

(a)               We don’t fully comprehend God, but He sees our beauty.

(b)               God loves us with such a perfect love, he sees right through the veil, and describes our beauty.

(c)                “In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.”  (1st Corinthians 13:12-13, The Living Bible).

f)                   Let’s get back to the husband and wife comparison.

i)                    Guys, notice the patience of Solomon in this verse.

ii)                  He doesn’t rip off the veil and the dress and go for the good stuff. J

iii)                Solomon is patient.  He starts by describing her beauty just as she is.

a)                  He may not physically see her eyes that clearly through the veil, but by his memory and through his love for her, he can describe those eyes.

g)                  The actual description of the eyes is like “dove’s eyes”.  What does he mean by that?

i)                    Solomon first used that expression back in Chapter 1, Verse 15.

ii)                  There is no definitive explanation, but there are some logical possibilities based on what we do know about Solomon and about that culture.

iii)                Remember that Solomon spent a lot of time studying animals. (Ref.: 1st Kings 4:33)

a)                  Doves are known for mating for life.

(1)               When a dove loses its partner, it does not take another.

b)                  Doves in the Old Testament are associated with peace and with purity.

c)                  When a person wanted to make an animal sacrifice for their sins, and they couldn’t afford a more-expensive animal, doves were permitted as a sacrifice.  (Example:  Leviticus 5:7)

(1)               With both Solomon and the bride being Jewish, they both understand that doves are a “God-acceptable” bird for sacrifice.

(2)               They are associated with peace and purity as God accepted these birds as a sacrifice for our sins in the Old Testament.

d)                 Doves are also associated with peace.  When the Spirit of God “rested” upon Jesus at his baptism, it was described as being “like a dove”.

(1)               It is mentioned in all 4 gospels (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22 and John 1:32).

iv)                I believe when Solomon is complimenting her eyes, he is describing the “peace” and “purity” he sees in those eyes.  It brings peace to Solomon’s heart to see the beauty of her eyes.

a)                  God looks at us the same way.  He doesn’t focus on our faults, but sees our beauty.  The peaceful and pure relationship we have with God the Father was provided for us by the Cross.

v)                  Gee, what do you say we move on to the 2nd sentence of Verse 1?  J

h)                 Solomon said, “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.”

i)                    Well, in our vocabulary, this doesn’t sound like much of a compliment.

a)                  “Honey, your hair looks like a flock of goats.”  That doesn’t work today. J

ii)                  The key to understanding the historical reference to this compliment is to notice there is no comma between goats and the reference to Mount Gilead.

iii)                Remember that the girl had an agricultural background.

a)                  Solomon was paying her compliments in language she can relate to.

(1)               Yes, that is another blatant clue for guys to pay attention!  J

b)                  Every day goats would work their way up the mountain in the morning hours and back down in the evening.  It is true to this day.

(1)               In the distance, as the sunsets on the mountain, one can look and see the beauty of the nature on the mountain.

(2)               When one is staring at a vista, one’s eyes are always attracted to any type of movement.

(3)               Here were the goats, black in color descending from the mountain.

(4)               The word picture is the comparison to the glistening of the hair as it shines in the light, shaking in its movement.

c)                  This whole sentence is a colorful description of saying how beautiful is the glistening of her hair in the light.

(1)               As we say today, she was having a “good hair day”.  J

(2)               The point is, he notices and compliments her hair.

iv)                Again, guys notice the pattern of the compliments.

a)                  We start with the eyes, even behind the veil.

b)                  Next we move to the hair.

c)                  Notice the patience and the simplicity of the compliments.

d)                 While your wife may not like a comparison of her hair to goats coming off a mountain J, I’m sure you can find a comparison in a love-language your wife can comprehend to share your love for her.  Ask God for inspiration.

6.                  Verse 2:  Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing.  Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.

a)                  If you think I had a tough time explaining how her hair looks like goats, imagine the difficulty of explaining how her teeth are like sheep.  J

b)                  If you have ever seen sheep, they are a grayish-white in color.  They pick up the dirt from their walking around and it darkens the sheep.

i)                    If you have ever seen a sheep right after a haircut (called a shearing) it is bright white.  Again, Solomon is using word-pictures that she would understand.

ii)                  Since the Bible often compares us to “sheep”, it is a good description of how we pick up “dirt” from the world.  God sees us in the “pure-white” color that the sheep have after the shearing.  It is a model of our purity.

c)                  You also have to remember that good dentistry (and orthodontics) didn’t exist then.

i)                    For a women to have a set of straight, beautiful teeth with none of them missing is a rare sight.

ii)                  The Hebrew is implying that are her teeth are straight and none are missing.

iii)                It occurred to me that this is a good verse for dental offices, to help people develop beauty to glorify God.  J

d)                 If Solomon is noticing her teeth, she must be smiling in her love for her.

i)                    A smile is a natural reaction to positive feeling.

ii)                  Here is Solomon complimenting her, and she is smiling back at him.

iii)                It is another example of taking the love God has for us and letting God see the love we have for him expressed back at Him.

7.                  Verse 3:  Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely.  Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.

a)                  Again, guys, notice the patience of Solomon.  He isn’t immediately complimenting the sexual organs, but focusing on her eyes, her hair, her smile and now her mouth and temple.

i)                    Take good notes.  Women love this stuff.  J

b)                  Notice the veil is still covering her face.

i)                    Solomon was describing her teeth, now her lips, and then her temples all with the veil covering it.

ii)                  He is either describing the details from memory or from what he can see through the veil.  Either way, he is so in love with her he just wants to spend time expressing his love for her verbally.

iii)                Back to the God-and-us comparison.  This is a big part of what the Bible is all about.  It is about God telling us how much He loves us.  It is rarely direct, but it is written indirectly on almost every page.  The whole message about dying for our sins is God telling us how much He loves us.

a)                  “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  (1st John 3:1a, NIV)

c)                  Again, Solomon is giving her compliments that are based on that culture.

i)                    He compares her lips to a scarlet ribbon.

a)                  She would understand a scarlet ribbon, which is used for tying crops.

b)                  Remember that both Solomon and the bride are Jewish.

c)                  A famous early Bible story, from the book of Joshua, is that before the Israelites conquered the City of Jericho, a spy (a harlot) was loyal to Israel.  They showed that loyalty by placing a scarlet thread outside her window (Joshua 2:18, 2:21).

d)                 This means, in a Jewish mind, that a scarlet chord is a symbol of loyalty.

e)                  Solomon is comparing her lips to a scarlet thread.  It is a beautiful way (in Hebrew thought) of saying “your beautiful lips belong (loyal) to me”.

f)                   On the other hand, it could just be a just a compliment of the beauty of her lips.  J

ii)                  The other compliment has to do with pomegranates.  This fruit is known for its sweetness and is a symbol of sweetness.

a)                  Pictures of pomegranates were used in decorations of both the robes of the high priest (Exodus 28:33) and in the design trim of the Temple (1st Kings 7:18).  Jews associate pomegranates with the “sweetness” of God.

b)                  This compliment to her is describing the beauty of her cheeks (in the shape of pomegranates) as well as hinting at her sweetness.

c)                  The lesson for us guys, is to find complimentary terms that our wives can understand and relate to.  What are her hobbies and interests?  What aspects of nature can we use in a compliment she can understand?

d)                 Remember that women want to feel connected to their men.  For a man to express his love to her in ways she can relate to, you are increasing her love for you and her respect for you as a husband.

(1)               Guys, take the lead!  J

e)                  Throughout the Bible, God uses simple and straightforward word-pictures to help us understand what God expects from us and to help deepen our relationship to him.

(1)               Further, he uses these word-pictures to express His love for us.

(2)               Use that as an application of how to express your love back to God and to your spouse in ways we can comprehend.  If you are single, and want to use this method in prayer, tell God of your love for him in ways and pictures that you yourself like to describe beauty.

(3)               The point is not to mimic Solomon’s vocabulary in an expression of love, but to use language that you, and your spouse can comprehend as a picture of that love.

8.                  Verse 4:  Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors.

a)                  OK, here’s another compliment that may not work in today’s vocabulary.

b)                  Most girls do not like their neck compared to military towers.  J

c)                  You can’t find any direct reference to the construction of this tower in the Bible.

i)                    Since Solomon is describing it here, and Solomon is the son of David, one can assume Solomon had first hand knowledge of this tower.

d)                 To understand, this compliment, we have to go back to a previous reference:

i)                    “We will make you (bride) earrings of gold, studded with silver. (Songs 1:11)

ii)                  I believe for her wedding night, the bride was “decked out” in jewelry.

a)                  When Solomon is complimenting the “warrior shields” on her neck, I believe it is a word-picture of long jewelry dangling from her ears and from her neck.

b)                  The “shields” described in this verse are not the big shields we think of when we picture a “knight in shining armor”, but those little shields that are used in gladiator hand to hand combat.

c)                  Therefore, when Solomon describes her neck as being similar to a tower covered in “lots of little shields”, it refers the beauty of the silver and gold jewelry dangling from her neck.

iii)                A modern comparison might be something like “Oh my darling, your face and hair are so beautiful.  Your neck that supports that striking jewelry is a tower of strength as it bears your beauty.”

a)                  That’s all you have to see her.  You don’t have to compare your wife’s neck to a medieval tower. J

9.                  Verse 5:  Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.

a)                  Again, notice the pattern as Solomon works his way downward.

b)                  He is telling of his love for her and describing her beauty.

c)                  Notice the beautiful love language that Solomon uses to describe her features.

i)                    The gazelle word picture is one of grace and beauty, as it gently grazes and walks its way among the flowers

ii)                  Solomon is using pictures of gentleness and beauty to describe his love for her.

d)                 Before I move on, I should stand-back and talk about a few of the bigger concepts:

i)                    Remember that this is about a wedding night.

a)                  It is not to be used during the courtship or dating portion.

b)                  A verse used over and over again in Song of Songs is the bride urging the daughters of Jerusalem “not to stir up love before its time”.

c)                  Well, here in these verses, this is the time.

d)                 There is a time and place for all things, and this is that time.

ii)                  The other concept is for a marriage to constantly stir up the passions God can design for marriage.

a)                  Marriages can grow cold simply because we don’t spend time complimenting and stirring up the love relationship that God intended for marriage.

(1)               It is not only verbal compliments as these passages imply, but it is also doing things for each other, trying to “out-give” each other.  God’s love for us can be expressed physically, but in the bigger picture, it is about the total giving of oneself for each other.

(2)               God the father totally gave of himself by giving his only son for us.  That type of love is what God intended for his church in service to one another, and that type of love is to be a model in our marriage.

10.              Verse 6:  Until the daybreaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.

a)                  Let’s be blunt.  This is a sexual reference of Solomon’s desire to make love to his bride.

i)                    Solomon is saying he wants to make love to her until the break of day.

b)                  Solomon was describing the bride’s beauty from her hair down to her breasts, and is now describing this “mountain of myrrh” and “hill of incense”.

i)                    It is a colorful way of saying, “I want to enjoy the aroma’s that come from making love to you”.

ii)                  Both “myrrh” and “incense” are sweet smelling aroma’s’.

c)                  For those of you that enjoy the word-pictures of our relationship with God, you can take this analogy much further:

i)                    Myrrh is also associated with death as it is an embalming fluid.

ii)                  It was one of the three gifts given by the wise men to Mary and Joseph at the birth of Jesus (Reference:  Matthew 2:11).

iii)                Incense is associated with the priests giving their offering to God.

a)                  The first references to incense in the Bible are God giving instructions to Moses on the construction of the Temple.  (See: Exodus Chapter 30)

b)                  Incense leaves a visible smoke rising up.

c)                  It is a word picture of our prayers rising up to God.

iv)                Therefore, some commentators take this picture of myrrh (death) and incense (prayers) as a description of Jesus payment for our sins, and our prayers to him.

a)                  If you think this analogy is too much of a stretch of the text, that’s ok. You can just enjoy the direct references of Solomon’s love and pass on this.  J

b)                  I simply mention this analogy as a suggestion for thought.

d)                 The compliment is in this verse can be compared to something the bride said earlier.

i)                    Here is a quote from Song of Songs Chapter 2, Verse 17:  “(The bride said) until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag upon the Mountains of Bether.”

a)                  Notice the similarity between Songs 2:17 and here in Songs 4:6.

b)                  I took this “2:17” quote from the New King James Version, because I believe the NIV translation (as used in the main header points) misses a key point.

(1)               The “Mountains of Bether” can be translated “Mountain of Separation” as Bether means separation.  The NIV misses that.

c)                  The groom says here in Verse 6:  “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.

(1)               Back in Chapter 2, we have the bride longing for the groom, worried about their time of separation.

d)                 The point of all of this is that Solomon, speaking here in Verse 6, is returning a compliment she paid to him back in Chapter 2.

e)                  Here in Chapter 4, he is saying in effect “I am returning to you my love”.  The groom’s (Solomon’s) reference to “myrrh” and “frankincense” is her aromas from their lovemaking.  It is describing his desire to be with her.

11.              Verse 7:  All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

a)                  This is the climax of the description of her beauty.

b)                  Solomon sees her as perfect, with no flaw.

i)                    Remember the Hebrew poetry reference of “seven” descriptions describes her perfection.  Here he is making that subtle point more blunt.

c)                  His love for her is so great, he doesn’t see any flaws in her.

d)                 Like I said last week, God sees our beauty through “cross-filtered” lenses.

i)                    Because of Jesus’ payment for our sins, He doesn’t see our flaws, as that was taken care of.  In God’s perfect love for us, he only sees us in our perfected future state.

ii)                  Like Solomon only seeing the beauty of his bride with no flaws whatsoever, so God sees us with no flaws, as all of our faults and sins have been taken care of.

12.              Verse 8:  Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon.  Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions' dens and the mountain haunts of the leopards.

a)                  Here we have the first time Solomon actually calls her “his bride”.

b)                  Most commentators believe the area of Lebanon is her hometown.

i)                    During the reign of Solomon, this was part of the territory of northern Israel.

ii)                  The “crest of Amana” was a 9,200-foot high mountain peak, the tallest in that region.

iii)                There is a reference to Lebanon here in Verse 8 and again in Verse 15.

a)                  Tying them together, they form a small poetic section of Song of Songs.

c)                  Remember that Solomon is in the bedroom with his bride.

i)                    He then makes a request to her for both of them to get away.

ii)                  I don’t see this as a literal getaway, but a charge, a strong request for her to leave her ancestral home to go move in with him.

iii)                Notice Solomon describes her native home of Lebanon here in a negative way.

a)                  Solomon says it is a home for “lion’s dens and leopards”.

iv)                Let me give a modern paraphrase, “Oh my darling, come away with me.  Let’s get away from this dangerous place with wild animals.  Come away with me so I can protect you.”

a)                  This charge may be literal or figurative.

b)                  It could be that the wedding itself took place here on the mountain peak in Lebanon.  If you remember from the end of Chapter 3, Solomon’s wedding carriage came to her, and she took him “to the room where she was conceived.”  (See:  Songs 3:4)

13.              Verse 9: You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

a)                  Solomon continues his plea or his charge for her to come away with him.

b)                  It was common in that culture to refer to your bride as “your sister” as well as your wife.

i)                    Don’t read too much into that.  A brother treats a sister as one they protect and love.  Brothers and sisters have their fights, but they protect each other from outsiders.  That is the word-picture presented here.

c)                  We should comment a little on Solomon’s background.

i)                    Remember that Solomon had hundreds of wives, but only had love for her.

ii)                  At this time, the time of his marriage to this girl, Solomon was still very loyal to the God of Israel and very loyal and very much in love with this bride.

iii)                The Bible teaches that it wasn’t until Solomon was old that his other wives turned him away toward other gods.

a)                  “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.”  (1st Kings 11:4, NIV)”

(1)               Just because Solomon messed up later in his life, doesn’t negate the fact that Solomon did the right thing by marrying his true love here.

b)                  Solomon, who also wrote proverbs, also taught of the importance of standing by your one wife through all things:

(1)               Let your fountain be blessed,            And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;  (Proverbs 5:18, NKJV)

d)                 Let’s go back to the comparison of this picture to our relationship with God.

i)                    It’s hard for us to comprehend that God loved us with a perfect love.  Not only that, but He knew of this love for us before the creation of the world.

a)                  For he (God) chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.  (Ephesians 1:4-5, NIV)

ii)                  For whatever reason, God choose specific people to be with Him forever.

a)                  I do believe there is a free-will aspect on our behalf.  The point is that God is perfect.  A perfect God cannot learn.  Therefore, a perfect God knew in advance who would choose Him, and therefore, He choose us before the foundation of the world. It’s hard to comprehend, but that’s the facts.

iii)                So here is King Solomon, the greatest ruler in the history of Israel in terms of wealth, property, knowledge, etc.  (See 1st Kings 10:23 for a cross-reference).

a)                  Yet he picked this poor country girl, who didn’t see herself as being that special to be his bride.

iv)                One can see the comparison of Solomon’s great love for a person who saw herself as being imperfect as compared to the great love God the Father has bestowed on those He has called out in his love as well.

e)                  Meanwhile, back at the wedding night.  J

14.              Verse 10:  How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!  How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!

a)                  The “love” word used in the first sentence literally means to “boil over”.  I believe it is sexual in its context of this verse.

b)                  If you remember back in Chapter 1, the bride compares Solomon to “wine”.

i)                    “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.”  (Song 1:2, NIV)

ii)                  Here, Solomon is saying “How much more pleasing is your love than wine”.

a)                  He is returning the compliment, arguably at a higher level.

iii)                In Chapter 1, Verse 3, the bride compliments Solomon’s perfume:

a)                  “Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out.”

iv)                Here, Solomon is saying, “How much more pleasing is your love...than your perfume than any spice!”

v)                  Remember that Solomon is using “love language” that the bride can comprehend.

a)                  She understands wine, being a vineyard worker.

b)                  She understands perfumes and aromas, as it was part of that culture.

c)                  Solomon returns the compliment in his love for her by saying her (sexual) love is greater than that wine or any of those aromas.

d)                 Guys, this is about putting your wife on a pedestal.  It is about making her feel cherished and special.  Women want to hear how special you are to them.  (Underline this part.  It is important!  J)

15.              Solomon continues, Verse 11:  Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue.  The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon.

a)                  Personally, I envision Solomon kissing her.  In-between kisses, he is comparing her lips to the sweetness of honey.

i)                    Guys, that is another tip in our notebook of how to treat our women!  J

b)                  Lebanon, before the modern warfare (1960’s to 1970’s) destroyed much of its beauty.

i)                    Prior to that war, it was a beautiful mountainous region known for its picturesque nature.

ii)                  The bride was from Lebanon.  Saying the fragrance of her garments is “like that of Lebanon” was a culturally wonderful compliment and one she can relate to.

a)                  Remember earlier Solomon was pointing out the negative aspects of Lebanon (lions, leopards) in order for her to leave.

b)                  The balance, here, is that Lebanon is her home.  Its beautiful nature left a lot of sweet smells.  Solomon is complimenting that fact by saying in effect “When I smell your garments, I’m thinking of you!"

16.              Verse 12:  You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.  13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, 14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices

a)                  I believe in these few sentences, Solomon and the bride are getting down to “the nitty gritty”, to use an outdated cliché.  J

b)                  The poetry here is using garden word pictures that both she and Solomon comprehend.

c)                  I believe the “garden” is a sexual innuendo, referring to the end of her virginity.

i)                    The particular fruits, scents and spices mentioned are all wonderful to the taste and smell.  To paraphrase, “Solomon is taking it all in” and describing it in the most wonderful agricultural-word-pictures he can think of.

ii)                  The point is not to compliment our brides with agricultural terms.  J

iii)                I don’t really want to overanalyze the individual terms here, as one misses the big picture of seeing the beautiful compliments of the lovemaking.

iv)                Notice how visual the word pictures are that are being painted.

a)                  Remember that Solomon spent a lot of his time studying nature and could “ramble off” all this individual types of smells and trees based on his knowledge.  (See 1st Kings 4:33).  He was expressing his love to her in terms he understands as well as her.

b)                  These are all terms the bride can understand.

c)                  There is even a reference to a “garden fountain in Lebanon”.

d)                 The point is he is trying to stimulate her verbally as well as sexually by comparing her to the most beautiful things she can relate to.

17.              Verse 15:  You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.

a)                  Solomon ends this little section by comparing here to a garden fountain with a well of water flowing through that garden.

i)                    That picture brings up one of peace and serenity.  Most of us can close our eyes and visualize the sights, sounds and smells of a mountain garden with a stream running through that garden.

ii)                  Getting back to our relationship with God, that should be the end result, one of peace and serenity.

a)                  God never promises us prosperity through all times.  Believers and nonbelievers alike have to go through the pains of life.  What God does promise is peace and joy through those trials.

b)                  A visual picture of a peaceful garden is an excellent word-picture of the peace God gives us.  That knowledge of eternal salvation, perfect love and perfect forgiveness that brings us our peace and joy.

c)                  Solomon is saying to his bride, “my love for you brings me the peace, joy and beauty of a mountain spring and garden.

(1)               That is a picture of perfect love. God paints here in this picture, is that type of love God desires in our relationship with Him.

18.              Verse 16: Awake, north wind, and come, south wind!  Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad.  Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.

a)                  Verse 16 is the only verse in the chapter spoken of by the bride.

b)                  It is a response to all the compliments Solomon has paid her in this chapter.

i)                    It is a colorful way of saying, “yes” to all the requests and charges of Solomon.

ii)                  It is very sexual in its overtones and it is a call in response.

c)                  Notice that most of the chapter is spoken of by Solomon.

i)                    I believe it is a model for men to be the leader in the bedroom, as well as the home.

ii)                  It is a charge for men to initiate the process.

iii)                It is also a model of how to stimulate women.  Verbal stimulation is a big part of sexual stimulation for women.  Using word pictures women can comprehend is also a big part as I have emphasized over and over.

d)                 The last verse is a model of our response to God.

i)                    Most of the chapter describes in poetic verse, of Gods love for us.

a)                  God took the initiative to call us to have a relationship with Him.

b)                  God loves us in ways that can be described in the greatest of poetry.

c)                  God is “charging” us to respond and spend eternity with Him.

d)                 Accepting Jesus is the necessary first step.

e)                  The rest of our life is our growth in maturity to develop that relationship and let it grow.

(1)               A healthy marriage is one that grows emotionally and physically as they spend more time together.

(2)               A healthy relationship with God should also grow in time.  While we may not have the initial giddiness of a wedding night, our love for God should grow more and more as we learn to develop trust in His love through the years.

e)                  Let’s wrap this up with another comparison of the bride’s response with our response to God’s love for us.

i)                    The bride starts by saying in effect, “Let the north and south wind blow”

a)                  In direct context, she wants the aroma’s to be stirred up by the wind.

b)                  The Hebrew word for “wind” is the same word we use for “Spirit”

c)                  Throughout the Bible, and especially in the gospels, the wind is compared to the Holy Spirit.

d)                 The metaphor of our relationship with Jesus is to ask the Holy Spirit to “stir things up” as to help in our communication with God the Father.

(1)               “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”  (1st Timothy 1:6, NKJV)

(2)               “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  (Hebrews 10:24, NASB)

e)                  The point is to not let our love relationship with God nor our spouse lye dormant.  The spirit needs to be “stirred up” to arouse its passion.

ii)                  With the Spirit of God working, the next sentence is “Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad”

a)                  The bride is requesting that the “wind blow” that her lover can be aroused by the scent of her aromas.

(1)               She knows that Solomon is turned on by her scent, and she is responding by saying “come on wind, help me out here.”  J

(2)               One can see this as a model for us as a response to God.

(3)               Out of a love for God, He charges us into a life of obedience.

(4)               Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to life that life.

(5)               Thus she is asking for the Spirit (“wind”) to help her return that love.

b)                  I could also build an analogy of how the request of the “wind” is to help her be a witness to others, but I believe the primary focus of Song of Songs here is just on our relationship with God.

iii)                The final sentence is, “Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.”

a)                  This can be seen is a request for us to respond back to God’s love.

(1)               First she asks the wind (Spirit, same Hebrew word) for help.

(2)               Then she asks her lover to “taste its choice fruits.

(3)               In the direct reference, it is a poetic request to make love to Him.

(4)               In the God-and-us analogy, it is request for God to come into her life and take over.

(a)               It starts with the Holy Spirit working, and then asking God to come in and work.

(5)               By the way, this is not just a model of salvation.  It is a continual work on our part to pray for God to come work in our life.  This is part of “stirring up” our love relationship with God.

19.              OK, I’m running long and its time to wrap it up.  My goal today for all of my married readers is to “stir up” our love relationship with our spouses and build healthier marriages.  It is also to “stir up” our love relationship with God as well.

a)                  Let’s pray:  Father, thank you for loving us with a perfect love.  Thank you for taking away our sins so that we can, for eternity have a perfect love relationship with you.  May the Spirit work in our lives to keep the flame fanned in that relationship.  Further, we ask that the Spirit work in our marriages.  May you glorify yourself through our marriage that it may be well pleasing to you in every aspect.  Thank you for the peace, joy and beauty that you bring us in all things.  For that we are eternally grateful, Amen.