Song of Solomon ~ Chapter 1
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Erotic love contains spiritual revelations and is one type and shadow of our relationship with God. Both the Old and New Testament refer to the sacredness of marital lovemaking and speak of it as a mystery.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32 (NASB)
The sexual union of a man and his wife is a reflection of the Heavenly Union between the Son and the Bride. Every aspect of lovemaking – the passion, the pleasure, the physicality, even the playfulness - is a beautiful picture of aspects of our intimacy with our Lord.
The Song of SongsThe Song of Solomon is
a very erotic poem describing in
beautiful symbolism and great detail
all aspects of human lovemaking
with great passion. Yes,
the language is discrete.
But the meaning is not.
The Song of Solomon is a very erotic poem describing in beautiful symbolism and great detail all aspects of human lovemaking with great passion. Yes, the language is discrete. But the meaning is not. It describes intense physical intimacy with passionate kissing, full body fondling, oral sex, manual stimulation, and explicit intercourse. Some who understood this protested its inclusion in the sacred canon. But God made sure it was not omitted.
As we look at this book we will see that in the original Hebrew text, and in the poetic idiom of the day in the ancient Middle East, the sexual meanings were very clear. The book is full of deliberate and common double entendres. The Jews avoided speaking directly about the genital whenever a euphemism would suffice, or used vague and indirect terms and word pictures. A lily is not always a lily; a garden was not really a garden; eating was not necessarily eating. Each of these had an explicitly sexual meaning.
I have been reading and writing on sexual matters for some years now and I was in no way prepared for the depths and degree of eroticism I found while reading and studying the Song of Solomon. The sexuality was with great abandon. I was also delighted to read the detailed and explicit description of delightful foreplay. All five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch - were fully engaged as the bride and the groom enjoyed a slow lingering buildup to the ultimate act of intimacy. They do get to have intercourse, but it is after much time spent caressing, petting, fondling, and orally stimulating each other - a veritable feast for the senses. This, my friend, is really wonderful stuff!
The descriptions of erotic activity are picturesque and very, very graphic. It is sad but understandable that many translators of the sacred text go out of their way to obscure the sexual implications. It was just too much for their sense of the chaste to handle. To add to the discomfort, there was a time when many people were uncomfortable with the idea of a pure woman actually enjoying sex. This is not the story of a man conquering a woman, or merely a woman pleasuring a man. This is a poem that describes equal enjoyment and pleasure for both husband and wife. They admire, enjoy, play with, stimulate and please each other to the full. She enjoys playing with his balls and orally stimulating his penis just as much as he does with her breasts and clitoris. And they are both orgasmic.
We will look at this short book verse by verse, not dealing with every verse but with enough to convince even the greatest skeptic that this is indeed a graphic celebration of erotic love. The translation we will use is the New American Standard Bible (NASB). It is very literal and has a high degree of accuracy. You may want to get your own Bible and follow along.
Verse by Verse
1:2 May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your [expression of] love is better than wine.
She talks about his kisses. The word translated kiss can also mean kindle, make a fire, or inflame, which a passionate kiss can certainly do. Especially here because the word that is translated "mouth" does not just mean lips. It means the inside of the mouth, implying wet, open mouthed, hot and heavy kissing. This is clearly describing passionate “French Kissing” full of heat and desire. Like two horny teenagers falling in love and aching for further exploration. The man, fully aroused by their passionate kisses, responds with delight, “your love is better than wine.” The word translated as love can also mean nipple. As many people do with they make love he began by kissing her passionately, put his hand on her breast through her clothes, opened her top, and kissed his way down, took her nipples in his mouth, gently sucked on them, and played with them with his tongue, just as a man would savor a fine glass of wine. So this exchange between the two lovers can also be, “Inflame me, make me burn, make me hot with your kisses.” To which he replies “Your nipples taste better and more desirable than wine.”
We are off to a rip roaring good start!
1:6 Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, for the sun has burned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me caretaker of the vineyards, but I have not taken care of my own vineyard.
When she speaks of her vineyard she means her body, a place to be enjoyed and explored. When tended properly it is a vineyard that can yield great delights.
1:9 He says, “To me, my darling, you are like my mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.”
At that time horses were not beasts of burden but the cherished companion of kings, and he is telling her how much she means to him. Interestingly, chariots were not drawn by mares, but by stallions. But mares excite stallions. He is letting her know that just as a mare among strong robust stallions would get them very excited so in her presence he is very sexually stirred. He is erect and ready for action. He is her stallion.
1:12 While the king was at his table, my perfume [spikenard] gave forth its fragrance.
Royalty and rich people ate lying down on coaches, or propped up on pillows. The word translated as ‘table’ literally means ‘round’ or ‘that which surrounds’.
In those days women would use spikenard to perfume their sexual parts. Spikenard was a costly perfume or ointment derived from a plant native to India. It was used as both a sexual stimulant, and as a relaxant. She was so hot from sexual stimulation that it was causing the scent of spikenard to fill the air letting him know she was in a high state of arousal.
Origen, an early church father, said that spikenard is a hairy plant that emits its scent only when it is rubbed. This lovely woman is saying that when they lay together in a feast of erotic love, he would caress her hairy vulva which emitted a fragrance when stimulated. Since the word for “at his table” can also mean enveloped, he was either enjoying an oral feast, or his erection was enveloped by her vagina.
1:13 My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts.
Women would perfume their bodies for lovemaking by putting a sachet of myrrh between their breasts. What a marvelous place for a man to rest; lying between the beautiful breasts of his beloved.
1:14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.
Henna is a fragrant bush that grows intertwined among other plants. It is used for hair dye and temporary tattoos. Engedi means “fountain of the little goat.” The picture here is of their physical closeness. They are all arms and legs and body parts entwined together like a henna bush does to other plants. And they are imprinted on each other like a tattoo to skin. Their lovemaking is as playful as little goats delightedly celebrating life.
1:15 How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves.
A dove is a symbol of innocence, gentleness and purity. This was their wedding night. She was a virgin.
1:16-17 How handsome you are, my beloved, and so pleasant! Indeed, our couch is luxuriant! The beams of our houses are cedars, our rafters, cypresses.
We will make love wherever we please, even outdoors on the luxuriant green grass under cedar and cypress trees. They were adventuresome and when aroused they did not confine themselves to their bedroom. Every man enjoys when his spouse is open to new sexual experiences and experimentation shared between them.
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Christians Enjoying Nudity and Erotica
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.