Read Song of Songs 4
4 How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from the hills of Gilead.
2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
not one of them is alone.
3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
4 Your neck is like the tower of David,
built with courses of stone
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.
5 Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.
6 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.
7 You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.
8 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens
and the mountain haunts of leopards.
9 You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
more than any spice!
11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
14 nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
15 You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.
16 Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.
Chapter 4 begins with the completion of a wedding ceremony, and we are given a glimpse into some intimate moments between this newly wedded couple. The bridegroom begins by describing the beauty of his bride. He praises various physical attributes of his wife: her eyes, her hair, her teeth, her lips, her temples and cheeks, her neck, and her breasts. It’s worth noting that he chooses seven of his wife’s attributes to describe. In Hebrew culture, the number 7 is associated with completeness or divine perfection. So, we can attribute the author of Song of Songs as being the originator of the phrase “you complete me!”
After describing his bride’s perfection, the bridegroom makes an invitation to his bride in verse 8. “Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; come with me from Lebanon. Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.” Before they consummate their marriage, he is boldly asking the maiden to come and share her life with him. He is not only asking her to leave behind her family, but he is also asking her to leave behind her fears and simply come with him as they begin their life together. This is God’s intended design for marriage as described in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” God created marriage to reflect this unity. Married couples are able to “become one flesh” not just through physical intimacy, but through emotional and spiritual intimacy as well.
The remainder of this passage gives details of the consummation of love between the maiden and her groom. This is not a passage of scripture to feel awkward or embarrassed about. This is the kindness of God to give us a picture of his perfect design for marriage and sex. We can celebrate the love these two have for one another and acknowledge that God has provided a sacred expression of love by allowing married partners to perfectly meet each other’s sexual needs. Tara-Leigh Cobble says, “Our Creator had good things in mind when he invented relationships, marriage, and sex…and like any inventor, He wants us to know how to use what He made so we don’t break it or harm ourselves or others.” May this passage of scripture remind us that the perfect unity between husband and wife as they become one flesh is a gift from our perfect Father.
- What does this passage teach you about God’s design for marriage?
- Sex between married couples is a gift from God. Do you believe it is true that God designed sex for this purpose (and this purpose only)?
- Whether you are single or married, spend some time thanking God for what marriage teaches us about Him.
By the Way
The term bridegroom in the Bible is often used as a metaphor for Jesus. Isaiah 62:5 says, “Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.” Just as the bridegroom pursues his bride in Song of Songs 4, Jesus pursues us. We can all rejoice that we are relentlessly pursued by one who lavishly loves us!
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