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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Passion is Good

That's what I take from the Song of Solomon. Notice the conspicuous absence of references to marital relationships. That doesn't mean they aren't there, although I think they aren't, but it definitely means the passage doesn't focus on it.

Solomon's Song of Songs.

Beloved
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the maidens love you!

Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Friends
We rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.

Beloved
How right they are to adore you!
Dark am I, yet lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.

Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother's sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I have neglected.

Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?

Friends
If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.

Lover
I liken you, my darling, to a mare
harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh.
Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.

We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.

Beloved
While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.
My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.

My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.

Lover
How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.

Beloved
How handsome you are, my lover!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.

Lover
The beams of our house are cedars;
our rafters are firs.
Song of Solomon 1 In my younger days I had a Baptist friend suggest that this was about Jesus and the Church. The Church was the bride of Christ, and thus the whole passage is a metaphor about the relationship between the two.

There are several ways to make yourself chuckle about this reading. I note this bit from the woman (the Church?), "Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon." So, the Church is a little brown sugar for Jesus, I guess.

Happy St. Valentine's Day.

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