Sex in Song of Solomon, Chapter 5

(Click here to read the whole Sex in Song of Solomon series.)

Song of Solomon, Chapter 5.

Chapter 4 was all about the Lover’s admiration, love, infatuation, and joy for his Beloved; he compares her to a secret garden, and in the final verse of the chapter she beckons him to enter:

Let my beloved come to his garden,
    and eat its choicest fruits.

Chapter 5 begins with the Lover’s entrance and exhortation by the Chorus. The Lover enters his garden and enjoys its fruits.

I came to my garden, my sister, my bride,
    I gathered my myrrh with my spice,
    I ate my honeycomb with my honey,
    I drank my wine with my milk.

Others

Eat, friends, drink,
    and be drunk with love!

The chapter then continues with the Beloved’s description of her heartache when her Lover is absent. Perhaps she is dreaming, or fantasizing about his return. She plays coy and worries about her modesty, but eventually hurries to greet her Lover before he can admit himself.

I slept, but my heart was awake.
A sound! My beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love,
    my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew,
    my locks with the drops of the night.”
I had put off my garment;
    how could I put it on?
I had bathed my feet;
    how could I soil them?
My beloved put his hand to the latch,
    and my heart was thrilled within me.
I arose to open to my beloved,
    and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with liquid myrrh,
    on the handles of the bolt.
I opened to my beloved,
    but my beloved had turned and gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke.
I sought him, but found him not;
    I called him, but he gave no answer.

The imagery is evocative: both the Lover and the Beloved are wet, and the Beloved’s fingers drip with fragrant perfume from her fantasies of longing for her Lover. Perhaps her dream ends here and the next portion is a metaphor for her longing, or perhaps the dream continues into nightmare and despair.

The watchmen found me
    as they went about in the city;
they beat me, they bruised me,
    they took away my veil,
    those watchmen of the walls.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
    if you find my beloved,
that you tell him
    I am sick with love.

However it is interpreted, the Beloved is sick with grief at the absence of her husband and Lover. The Chorus asks her, what’s so special about him?

Others

What is your beloved more than another beloved,
    O most beautiful among women?
What is your beloved more than another beloved,
    that you thus adjure us?

The Beloved goes on to describe her absent Lover in intimate detail.

My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
    distinguished among ten thousand.
His head is the finest gold;
    his locks are wavy,
    black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves
    beside streams of water,
bathed in milk,
    sitting beside a full pool.
His cheeks are like beds of spices,
    mounds of sweet-smelling herbs.
His lips are lilies,
    dripping liquid myrrh.

His head, his hair, his eyes, his cheeks, and again myrrh dripping from his lips.

His arms are rods of gold,
    set with jewels.
His body is polished ivory,
    bedecked with sapphires.
His legs are alabaster columns,
    set on bases of gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
    choice as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet,
    and he is altogether desirable.

Apparently the Lover lifts. And finally, ultimately, why is the Lover so precious to his Beloved?

This is my beloved and this is my friend,
    O daughters of Jerusalem.

Not only are they lovers, husband and wife, but friends. How sweet is that?

3 comments

    1. Thanks, and thanks for leaving a comment! Have you read the rest of the Song of Solomon series? Would be curious for more feedback.

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