(Click here to read the whole Sex in Song of Solomon series.)
After a long delay we’re back to the Song of Solomon series, this time reading chapter 2. As background: The book is commonly understood as a celebration of marital/sexual love and it contains a lot of rather graphic imagery. It’s an especially important book because it’s very sex-positive and provides a powerful illustration of the joy God takes in the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife.
The book is written in the form of a dialogue between the Lover and his Beloved, with occasionally interjections from the wife’s Friends. The language is dominated by agricultural metaphors that can make the book difficult to understand for modern readers who aren’t familiar with the context (which certainly includes me). I’m going to do my best to untangle the imagery, but some of it is guesswork.
As I wrote in the previous post. the end of chapter 1 flows into the beginning of chapter 2 with the Beloved comparing her Lover to a mighty cedar, and the Lover comparing his Beloved to a rose — both ageless metaphors for male and female sexuality. Chapter 2 then gets even more explicit. Says the Beloved of her Lover:
As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men.
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.
Sustain me with raisins;
refresh me with apples,
for I am sick with love.
The Lover is once again a tree, and the Beloved delights to sit in his shade and eat his fruit. In fact, the Lover has brought his Beloved to the banqueting house. What do you think they’re feasting on? Hint: each others’ bodies. Double hint: oral sex. My most-visited post is titled “Yes, You Should Swallow”, and here’s some Biblical affirmation. The Beloved goes on:
His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.
The embrace described is sexual intimacy. The Beloved is so aroused that she knows she has lost all self-control, and she admonishes other young women to avoid this passion until it finds its proper place in marriage.
Then we hear the Lover cries out to his Beloved and entice her: the time is right for us to make love.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.”
The Beloved surrenders herself to her Lover and they have sex until dawn.
My beloved is mine, and I am his;
he grazes among the lilies.
Until the day breathes
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle
or a young stag on cleft mountains.
Chapter 2 is even more sexual than chapter 1! If you thought God and our ancestors were prudes, I hope this exploration of Song of Solomon changes your mind. God intends for sex between husbands and wives to be mind-blowing!