Call to worship: Isaiah 52:7-10
Text: The Song of Songs 6:4-7:10
How should spouses respond when once they've experienced some discord? We saw the bride's response in 5:6-6:3. What about the bridegroom? Again, we have two poems connected by an intermediate interlude. The first (6:4-10) shows us his reassuring heart of forgiveness. The interlude (6:11-13) gets the idea that she's more than a mere beauty. Many desire her presence, but her time belongs chiefly to him. It also serves to pose the question that the second poem answers. What's so special about her? The answer (7:1-9) returns us to the marriage bed that had been temporarily put aside (5:2-6). His description, again, offers more (but not less) than his delight in and desire to engage her body sexually. She is truly a character of great nobility and royalty in his heart. She's his radiant and fruitful 'queen.' This rendition of their marital consummation is capped off by her equally delighted acquiescence (7:10). In this final verse, she maintains the order she'd reversed in 6:3 from 2:16, but with the further twist that 'his desire is for me.' The word 'desire' used here is the only usage in the OT since it's only other two uses . . . in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7. Significant? Probably. Healthy marriages, modeling grace and intimacy, are a testimony to the recreative work of Jesus 'far as the curse is found.'
- Reassurance: she's still the one. (6:4-10)
- Interlude: her desire and desirability. (6:11-13)
- Resumption: seeing and sa(y)voring---again. (7:1-10)
- Read The Song of Songs 6:4-7:10.
- Entering 6:4ff (ff=and following), why might she need reassurance about her standing with him? Having been temporarily rejected, how might he have responded to her once they came together again? In 6:4-10, how does he respond? What does that tell us about him? How do his words serve to reassure her heart? What lines are repeated? What's new? What might repeated lines indicate?
- 6:11-13 are notoriously difficult to translate and interpret. As you read it in the best of translations, what do you notice? How does it fit where it is? What does it say about her? How does it bridge poem 1 and poem 2? What's the point of this section?
- In 7:1-9, the bridegroom sees and savors her again. What's new? What's old? How is this section different from 4:1-5:1? How is it similar? How has this book's focus on the human body shaped (perhaps) the preconceived notions about the body, intimacy, and Christianity that you brought to the book?
- How is her covenantal reaffirmation in 7:10 similar to 6:3? How is it different? The word used in this verse for 'desire' is used only twice more in the OT, Genesis 3:16 and 4:7. Why do you think the Holy Spirit set it upon Solomon's mind here? What might be the implication of it? How is this verse an answer to the Fall in Genesis? What does a healthy marriage (and marriage bed) preach to us and to the world? It's not Christmas, but take a look at the lyric of Joy to the World, and see if an answer to the preceding question appears.