(Click here to read the whole Sex in Song of Solomon series.)
In chapter 6 we read the Lover and his Beloved praising each other, and chapter 7 continues that theme with the Lover’s admiration of his Beloved’s physical attributes. The imagery here isn’t hard to interpret.
How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O noble daughter!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the work of a master hand.
Your navel is a rounded bowl
that never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of wheat,
encircled with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
which looks toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Carmel,
and your flowing locks are like purple;
a king is held captive in the tresses.How beautiful and pleasant you are,
O loved one, with all your delights!
The Lover delights in the beauty of his Beloved: her feet, thighs, stomach, breasts, neck, eyes, nose, head, hair. So what’s he going to do about it?
Your stature is like a palm tree,
and your breasts are like its clusters.
I say I will climb the palm tree
and lay hold of its fruit.
Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
and the scent of your breath like apples,
and your mouth like the best wine.
And the Beloved’s response isn’t coy or shy — she invites her Lover into her fields and vineyards, where she promises to give him her love.
It goes down smoothly for my beloved,
gliding over lips and teeth.I am my beloved’s,
and his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved,
let us go out into the fields
and lodge in the villages;
let us go out early to the vineyards
and see whether the vines have budded,
whether the grape blossoms have opened
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
and beside our doors are all choice fruits,
new as well as old,
which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.
Mandrake root was believed to be an aphrodisiac that would also enhance fertility. The Beloved has laid up all the choice fruits of her sexuality for her Lover, both new and old. The image here is that the Beloved is eager to ravish her Lover with her body, ready and willing share with him the beauty that he has admired for so long. The Beloved offers everything to her Lover and holds nothing back.