19 June, 2024

September 10 | The Husband Speaks

by | 4 September, 2023 | 0 comments

Unit: Song of Songs 
Theme: Speaking of Love 
Lesson Text: Song of Songs 1:15; 4:1-15 
Supplemental Texts: Proverbs 5:18-19; Ephesians 5:25 
Aim: Husbands, treasure your wife’s beauty and celebrate the joy and goodness of such a love. 

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Download a PDF of this week’s lesson material (the study by Mark Scott, the Application by David Faust, and Discovery Questions by Michael C. Mack): LOOKOUT_Sept10_2023.

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By Mark Scott

The woman in the Song of Songs took her sense of romance from the closeness and affection of her husband and being desired by him. The man took his romance from the sight, smell, and touch of his wife. While this theme will occur again in chapter 7, this lesson text is one of the most sexually descriptive. 

Descriptive speech is used when normal language falls short. The text is filled with similes and metaphors. Similes are figures of speech saying something “is like” something else, while metaphors say something “is” something else. There are at least eight similes and nine metaphors in this text.  

He Speaks of the Description of Her Beauty
Song of Songs 1:15; 4:1-5

The second time the husband spoke in the Song of Songs, he outright declared his wife’s beauty. He told her she was beautiful (i.e., fair—a quality to be desired in the Ancient Near East). He told her this four times in the text. Probably no woman tires of hearing that word.  

He also used the tender expression darling (lover).   

It is as if he literally scanned her body from top to bottom. Eight of her body parts are commented upon either by using a simile or a metaphor. He spoke of her eyes, hair, teeth, lips, mouth, temple, neck, and breasts. Since sight and touch seem to be the man’s means of arousal, these are highlighted. Her eyes are like doves (which indicated tranquility in his world). Later he will say that one look from her eyes all but robs him of willpower and causes him to not think clearly (4:9). Her hair is likened to the beautiful black goats that graze in the hills of Gilead east of the Jordan River. Her teeth are likened to newly shorn sheep (i.e., clean). Her teeth have symmetry (each has its twin).  

Her lips are likened to scarlet ribbon (thread). To this he added a straightforward phrase, “your mouth is lovely.” Her temples are likened to the halves of a pomegranate (red and sweet). Her neck is likened to the tower of David, which was not a description of length but of majesty. The tower of David was decorated with his spoils of war. They announced victory. Finally, her breasts are likened to twin fawns that browse among the lilies during the day. These descriptions all underlined a pastoral setting (fruit and husbandry).  

He Speaks of the Delight of Her Beauty
Song of Songs 4:6-15

A man probably can describe things only so long. At some point he must act to consummate his love. He wanted to celebrate their intimacy. He goes to her and bids her come to him. In fact, he envisions loving her until the day breaks and the shadows flee. The mountain of myrrh and the hill of incense might still refer to her breasts. But the images might be broader than that by referring to her whole body. Myrrh and frankincense were expensive and not native to the land of Israel. They had to be imported, which underlined their value. 

Lebanon plays a significant role in the last section of the lesson text. Lebanon is at the northern tip of Israel. It had the greatest trees (they later were used for building the temple) and the best scents. Verses 8-15 function like a chiasmus. Lebanon is mentioned in verses 8, 11, and 15. Going south from Lebanon (which involves moving up in elevation) is a beautiful trip—similar to the husband delighting in his bride (mentioned five times in the text). He thought of descending from the crest of Amana (the eastern part of the mountain range near Damascus). Senir is a twin peak near Mount Hermon. Even though dangers such as lions and leopards may be lurking, he will protect his sister (a Middle Eastern term of affection for wife).  

His delight in his wife is likened to the many scents from the north. Fragrance, perfume, spice, honeycombs, pomegranates, choice fruits, henna (white-blossomed flowers), nard, saffron, calamus (sweet cane), cinnamon, myrrh, and aloes are all mentioned. The scents would be part of the husband’s delight in their intimacy. One other thing should be noticed. This delight of lovemaking should never be shared except between the two of them. The man said she was a locked garden, a spring enclosed, and a sealed fountain. These images all mean that the most fulfilling delight was for one man and one woman in holy matrimony.  

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