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14th June

Song of Solomon 5-8, Psalm 10

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
14th June

Song of Solomon 5-8, Psalm 10

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Song of Songs, we’ve read the first half of this reflection on a collection of poems between two young lovers. We highlighted how the man in this couple is unlikely Solomon. Solomon was likely referenced to bring this into the wisdom literature commonly associated with Solomon, and the woman’s use of ‘king’ is likely a pet name for her lover.

We read as the woman’s desire was deeply for her lover. The two were clearly attracted to one another, so much so that the woman encourages her friends not to awaken love until it desires. It is powerful and dangerous. She thought on times when she’d watched him relaxing and it brought up intoxicating emotions in her. Throughout this book, we got a sense of ebb and flow. The two would search for one another, find each other and unite in passion that would build, and then the topic would change, almost to give the young couple a chance to cool down.

She dreamt of the day she could take him home and into her bed. He longed for the day he could enter her gated off garden and enjoy her fruit. In the midst of this was a scene from king Solomon’s wedding day. That’s the day this young couple are looking for. When they can publicly announce their union and be together properly.

Song of Songs 5-8

Once again, the woman finds herself alone at night. Half asleep, she hears her lover knock and calling to let him in. This whole scene almost feels like a dream sequence. But she hesitates because she is undressed. Her lover puts his hand to the door, which we can't tell in the English but in the Hebrew, in this context, is highly erotic imagery.

She is overcome by passion and moves to let her lover in. But he's gone. Maybe he recognised the risk and the temptation they were putting themselves in and so thought better of it. We don't know. But the woman is devastated, and so goes searching for him. But in her half dressed state and desperation, she only shames herself when people see her, mocking and abusing her.

Snapping out of that scene, the woman now turns to her friends to ask them for help to find her lover. They ask what makes him so great that this woman would enlist all her friends to find him. This gives the woman the perfect excuse to talk about how incredible he is. Just like with the man's speech from yesterday, this is filled with appreciation for the physical attraction she feels towards her lover.

Her friends ask where he is, and the woman says that he has gone to his garden to pick its flowers. Picking up on the imagery from yesterday, the woman is in the garden, and so she is saying he has gone in search of her to enjoy her. His passionate love once again gives her a sense of comfort and security as she says, "I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;" (Song of Songs 6:3).

Now it is again the man's turn to talk about how incredible his bride is. He speaks of her beauty, this time just focusing on her face. He mentions how she is so much better than any of the other woman around. She is the only one for him. This scene is a comforting contrast to the previous one. In her own dream world, the woman felt shame for chasing after her love so passionately. Now her lover encourages and comforts her for her passion, not rejecting her.

Things then once again get a bit steamy. The man mentions how he went to the garden to see if anything is blooming. Picking up the garden imagery, we could say this means he came to his bride to see if her love for him was genuine. Seeing her love and passion for him awoke his own passion and desire. Some friends come and call the woman back so they can see her, but the man chases them away, asking for privacy.

He then proceeds to give another speech talking about how beautiful his bride is, but this time he doesn't just focus on the face. He comments on her thighs, her navel, her belly, and her breasts. He likens her breast to clusters of fruit in the trees and declares that he will climb the tree so that he can lay hold of these clusters. He describes her mouth like a fine wine that he wants to drink deeply from. She responds, saying, may he enjoy the wine as it flows over his lips.

She then begs him to run away with her so that she might give him her love. Her desperation for her lover becomes too much for her. She wishes that he was her brother, so that she could spend time with him and it wouldn't be frowned upon and so that these emotions would not be too much for her. Once again, she encourages her friends to "not stir up or awaken love until it pleases" (Song of Songs 8:4).

We come now to the conclusion of the book. The woman recognises the security and comfort love brings. She asks her lover to set her as a seal upon his arm and heart, so that she will always be his. Love is more powerful than death. But love is also dangerous and can consume you. The jealousy that it can cause can be as consuming as the grave. It's like a fire that is ready to overwhelm you at a moment's notice. It's a fire that cannot be put out. A wealthy man might try to give all that he has for love and he would be considered foolish. In short, love is powerful and good, but can also be dangerous and consuming. It should not be rushed into lightly.

We then end with the woman's brothers recognising that their little sister is almost old enough to get married and are wondering what to do if someone expresses an interest in her. Solomon is known to pay a good bride price for a woman. Maybe she can become one of his many brides? The woman then pushes back, pointing out that her ‘vineyard’ is hers to give away. Solomon already has plenty. Finally, she calls out one last time for her lover to make haste and come to her. Will he come and will their love finally be completed?

We don't know. The book ends there. This book stands as a warning for young love. It recognises that it is often passionate and exciting and recognises that that is good. But it is there to encourage young lovers to have the patience and restraint to wait for the appropriate time to act on that passion. For that moment, when two make those vows and fully commit themselves to one another for life. Their love can be fully expressed with no restraint.

Psalm 10

This psalm is attributed to king David and falls into the category of lament psalms. Interestingly, this psalm continues on the acrostic of Psalm 9.

ל) Psalm 10:1-3a - Trouble is near, but God seems far

נ) Psalm 10:3b-5a - The nature of the wicked

ס) Psalm 10:5b-6 - The wicked seem to go unpunished

פ) Psalm 10:7-8a - The wicked curse, oppress, and ambush others

ע) Psalm 10:8b-9 - The wicked search for was to oppress the poor

צ) Psalm 10:10-11 - The helpless are crushed, seemingly forgotten by God

ק) Psalm 10:12-13 - A cry to God to rise up

ר) Psalm 10:14 - God isn’t far. He does see

ש) Psalm 10:15-16 - Bring judgement on the wicked as the king of the nations

ת) Psalm 10:17-18 - God does hear and strengthen the innocent. He is a just father and protector

Though clearly linked to Psalm 9, this psalm has a very different tone. Rather than starting off focusing on the goodness of God and then introducing their problems into that, here the psalmist is consumed by their struggles.

To them it feels like God is far away. That he’s hiding. He is surrounded by suffering and pain, and has to deal with the accusations of the wicked who say “there is no God” and the hurting who say “God has forgotten [them]”.

There are sometimes where life feels like this. That there is no justice. That the wicked get away with whatever they want and the poor suffer. There is a part of each of us that longs for justice, and in these moments, it can seem like there is none.

So the psalmist turns to God and throws these questions at him. They ask Go to be active and not forget those in need. They ask God why the wicked see to get away with whatever they want, confident that God won’t do anything.

The psalmist grounds themselves in the truth that God does hear and does care and then appeals to God to his nature. He is the king of the nations, and a just king who accepts no wickedness. He will defeat the wicked and protect those in need.

While the psalm started off being very bleak, it ends on a high note. There’s a sense of victory and confidence that God is just and faithful to his people.

When we take Psalms 9 and Psalm 10 together, we more clearly see the contrast that we noticed yesterday. Some days, you might start with God and then move on to address your problems. Then on others, all you can do is bring God your problems and work through them before you can stand in the truth of his faithfulness.

What’s important is that when we lament, we turn to God, honestly bring him our complaints, ask him to intervene, and trust in his faithfulness. The exact order and structure you do that in doesn’t matter.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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