Over the past week, we have been looking at the origin of sexual love. We started by looking at passages in Genesis, chapter 1, verses 27 and 28. Last week, we looked at passages on procreation and the first recorded birth of two children to Adam and Eve – Cain and Abel. Today, we are going to look at some recorded words on expressions of love.
Our verse of the day comes from Song of Solomon 1:12-17.
“While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh that lies between my breasts. My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyard of Engedi.
Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.
Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful. Our couch is green; the beams of our house are cedar; our rafters are pine.”
Let’s dig in.
When I reread this to study it, I have to admit that I cracked up over the couch color. She expresses her love by using words that one would typically find in popular romance novels. I read those years ago, and the word choice reminds me of those love stories that drew you in for hours. Housework never got done for pouring over the pages of drippy love stories.
Scholars believe the king in this story is Solomon, and he appears to be relaxing on his couch.
Nard is not what we know as cooking grease. Nard is a perfume. It is an aromatic oil extracted from the roots of perennial herb that grows in India.
Myrrh is an aromatic gum exuding from the bark of a balsam tree that grows in Arabia, Ethiopia, and India. The Magi brought Myrrh to the young baby Jesus as a gift fit for a king.
Henna is a shrub with tightly clustered, aromatic blossoms.
The passages borrow imagery from plant and animal life.
One biblical commentary says, “A key to romance in the Song and in life is giving and receiving of kind words of appreciation.”
Another commentary says, “the major purpose of the Song is to exalt the love and marriage between a husband and a wife. Like Hosea and Proverbs, this book teaches the importance of faithful, pure love in marriage, which is also reflected in the New Testament.”
And lastly, this commentary says, “Jesus Christ has a great love for his church and every true believer; they are amiable in his eyes.”
When I look at the notes from the various commentaries, I think one thing is clear – love.
We are not to treat these passages as something out of a sex manual. Rather we should look at them as a small example from a much bigger picture on love and marriage. Couples can draw some guidance from the Song of Solomon for their marriage.
The book is best understood as a poetic presentation of a biblical view of ideal love and marriage. God created man and woman in the beginning. If you recall from our previous texts, he also blessed them and told them to multiply.
I remember how I felt when I first fell in love, and while my writing was not as flowery and descriptive as the woman in this text, the feelings I experienced when I thought of him or when around him made me feel giddy inside.
Think about the times you have experienced a deep love. You couldn’t stop thinking of that person. You did things you wouldn’t ordinarily do to be with them. You hung on every word. You knew it was love.
Song of Solomon is a great reminder of the love we can have for Jesus Christ. It’s also a great reminder of the love Christ has for us. I am reminded of his love for me each time I remember what he did on the cross at Calvary.
Loved one, if you are married, I pray your marriage is strong, and the love you first had for each other is still alive and well today. I also pray your soul longs for the Lord.
If you are single, I pray you will find the one whom your heart sings, and if singleness is your life, I pray your soul longs for the Lord every day.
Expressions of love aren’t just for Solomon and his lover. We can express our love for the Lord and each other with our words.
Tomorrow we will look at the next set of passages on mutual responsibility.
I encourage you to read the whole book of Song of Solomon to get a complete picture of the lesson.