Song of Solomon 1:15 – 2:7
The banquet is over. All the guests have departed. Solomon and Shulamith are husband and wife. Now comes the time they have both been waiting for with love and anticipation. As Shulamith continues her series of reminisces which compose the Song of Solomon she thinks of the wedding night and what went on then. What she thinks would shock many Christians today, not were it on TV or in a library book (its tame for that) but because its in the Bible. Daily we overlook sexual comments and remarks in society that, in the church, would appall us, and not because of their content but because of sex being mentioned. It seems we’ve made sex a taboo subject in church and given the whole area up to Satan and the world to influence us and our children in wrong ways. As a result we seem to have come to regard anything having to do with sex as dirty and to be rejected. WE have been so influenced by worldly values and slang that sex has lost its pureness and specialness. Instead it has come to be seen as evil and sinful. Even though we know this isn’t true in marriage, it still affects us deeply, making us unable to read what God has to say about it in an open way.
Picture in your minds two young people who haven’t grown up in our culture, who were taught that sex was fine and special, a gift from God to show married love. Remember they have never been taught negative thoughts about sex, and it has been kept in balance their whole lives. This is the way God created it, and the way it is to be. It’s the way we want our children to be, isn’t it? Keep this in mind as you read on. If the things expressed in this or the next article shock or surprise you, remember it isn’t the Bible that is at fault but our society and its effect on us. God created sex. He created it and gave it to man before there was any sin. He inspired the Bible, including Song of Solomon. He chose to have this book as part of His Holy Word for all time. There is nothing wrong with its words, the problem lies within us. Satan has succeeded in corruption that which God created to show the oneness we have with Him (Ephesians 5:21-33). He wanted to spoil and corrupt God’s pure gift and has done so.
WEDDING NIGHT MEMORIES As Shulamith remembers her wedding night, she remembers Solomon continuing to complement and romance her (see article 6.). He complements her as they lay in bed, talking and touching each other. He is glad for her purity and innocence (Song of Solomon 1:15). She thanks him for his thoughtfulness in the luxurious bed (v. 16) and bedroom (v. 17) he has made just for her. He even used wood from her home area to make her feel at home. It seems to have been a special room, a retreat, a ‘world apart’ for them. That’s what a bedroom should be — not a place for unfolded wash, piled up mending, storage and clutter of all kinds. It should be a specially made room for romance and relaxation.
As the conversation continues Shulamith compares herself to the beautiful but humble rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley (v. 2:1). She is feeling like a common country girl around all the opulence and painted beauty of the big city women. Solomon reassures her that she is like a lily among thorns compared to them (they are the thorns!).
Communication during physical love is very important. It is especially important for a woman to communicate to her husband her needs and desires, as Shulamith did with Solomon. If not a man may assume his wife responds like he does, and her needs won’t be met.
Meanwhile they continue to caress and touch (“embrace,” v. 6, in Hebrew refers to fondling, stimulating – we’d call it foreplay). Then she says, “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste ” (2:3). The apple tree was a symbol of sexual love. As the tempo of their lovemaking increases she praises him for what he is doing to her. Its not that he has learned a skill and technique, for he, too, is a virgin. Its his love that motivates him to want to please her. He is thinking only of her pleasure, not his own. In fact, the Hebrew for the last part of the verse refers to oral intercourse (“fruit sweet to my taste”).
Does it surprise you that the Bible refers to this, and in a context of love and approval? The Bible has more to say than we think about these things, but they are usually translated in such a way as to be so general that we often miss the specific sexual reference.
JUST WHAT IS OK IN MARRIAGE? It certainly seems this has God’s approval. That brings up the question: what, if anything, is forbidden sexually to married people? Leviticus 20:10-21 gives some limits: adultery (v. 10; Gal 5:19), incest (11-12), homosexuality/lesbianism (13; Rom 1:26-32), bestiality (14-16), exhibitionism (17), with close relatives (19-21), and during menstruation (18). This later was because anything having to do with childbirth was a reminder of the fall and entrance of sin, thus the law was established to remind the Jews of the difference sin makes. We are no longer under the law.
If these are forbidden, does that mean anything else is all right? Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” This could also be translated “the marriage bed is pure,” meaning everything in marriage is all right. The Bible does say that “everything is permissible” (I Cor. 6:12), but this isn’t a license to indulge in selfish sex. God makes it very clear (I Cor. 7:1-6) that sex in marriage is giving, not getting. One mate is not to withhold their body from their mate, for it belongs to their mate and not themselves, and the only excuse to deny a mate sex is that one is fasting and praying (but even so only for a short time).
The Bible sets down some principles for each couple to decide what is acceptable for them. First, unselfish love must be the motive (I Cor. 13:4-7). When sex is more important than love, it is lust! Anything that both people do not see as an expression of love is out! Second, both must agree (Phil 2:1-4). Just because Solomon & Shulamith agreed to something doesn’t mean you have to, and it certainly is nothing to use to force a mate into something they feel uncomfortable with. The key element is mutual submission to each other (Eph 5:21).
In a day and age like ours, it is important for each person to pray for God to remove wrong ideas and impressions created by experiences or exposures in the past and to renew their minds (Rom. 12:1-2). Pray together before beginning any expression of physical love.
Shulamith concludes this part of her reminiscence remembering how safe and secure she felt in her sexual relationship with Solomon (Song of Sol 2:4). In terms familiar to them then she remembers being completely overcome with sexual desire for Solomon and wanting him to satisfy her without delay (v. 5). She even remembers step by step all that happened (v. 6). The section concludes with an application by the chorus and Shulamith to remember to save every part of this wonderful gift of sexual love for marriage (v. 7). This is an especially important reminder for those in this day and age, and the key to keeping everything pure and innocent for marriage. Ask God to restore that to you, reject the world’s filth, enjoy God’s gift!