24 May 2006

Proverbs 31 for Men

My pastor has been teaching on the Song of Solomon for the past two months and a few weeks ago, expounded verses 9 - 16 of chapter 5, calling it "the Proverbs 31 for men." Men, you just thought you got off easy. Nope. There's a passage for you too.
The Daughters of Jerusalem
9 What is your beloved
More than another beloved,
O fairest among women?
What is your beloved
More than another beloved,
That you so charge us?
The Shulamite
10 My beloved is white and ruddy,
Chief among ten thousand.
11 His head is like the finest gold;
His locks are wavy,
And black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
By the rivers of waters,
Washed with milk,
And fitly set.
13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices,
Banks of scented herbs.
His lips are lilies,
Dripping liquid myrrh.
14 His hands are rods of gold
Set with beryl.
His body is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
Set on bases of fine gold.
His countenance is like Lebanon,
Excellent as the cedars.
16 His mouth is most sweet,
Yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem!

When I used to read this passage, I was lost. His eyes are like doves... washed in milk? What?? His legs are like marble pillars? Is she saying he is stocky? His countenance is excellent like trees? Is she saying his face is wooden? Of course, if you took this literally, this passage does seem a little bizarre, but after my pastor explained I was like... WOW. That is the best way I can say it... WOW.

I'm working from a few scribbly notes and mostly my memory, so this is all I've got for now until I can listen to the sermon again...

The daughters of Jerusalem (or the chorus, if you will -- a prevalent part in ancient drama) ask the Bride, "What is so special about this guy?"

Verse 10 In ancient Israel -- and even today -- the majority of people are olive complected with dark hair. Red-heads are not a common sight. To take this from a literal point of view, Solomon may have inherited his father's ruddiness, for David was described as "ruddy." To take this a step further, this man is rare. He stands out of the crowd -- he's one in a million (or in this case chief among ten thousand) -- he stands above the mediocrity of the day.

Verse 11 But I thought he was just established as ruddy? This verse -- if I recall correctly -- speaks about the man being a strong spiritual leader lead by God. I'm working from my scribbly notes in my notebook. Need to listen to that sermon over again.

Verse 12 He is gentle. The way he looks at his bride does not change. He is affectionate, kind, and tender towards this woman. His emotions are pure towards her -- he is constant.

Verse 15 He is a strong pillar in her life -- he is always doing his job -- honest, consistent, persistent

Verse 16 "This is my beloved and this is my friend." Not only is he her lover, but this man is her best friend. The Hebrew translates as "companion." She is proud to call him her friend.

That's all I have for the moment, folks. There was a bunch more, but I need to listen to the sermon again and take better notes. Of course, we can see who this "model man" reflects -- Christ -- our heavenly Bridegroom.


At 24 May, 2006 06:33, Blogger The IBEX Scribe said...

Umm, not to argue with your pastor, but I think ruddy can refer to skin tone and not hair. I am very white and very red at the same time - that's just my skin. Why should we think that when they say ruddy that they mean having red hair as well as red skin? I know that's a common use of the term, but when it says he has black, wavy hair, why can't we read that as "he has black, wavy hair"?

I understand that this is poetry, so physical descriptions can mean more than just what they literally mean, but if I were looking for a description of a godly man I think I would turn to the NT and look at qualifications for elders. I guess I don't like literary analysis and attempting to read between the lines. I read this passage and get a description of what sounds like an extremely physically attractive man. The rest of the book has enough sexual references that I don't think it is completely amiss to think that she might just be saying, "This is how hot he is." Maybe it's just me. Sorry...

At 24 May, 2006 15:43, Blogger Revelation 2:17 said...

It is precisely because I take the passage literally that it makes sense:

His head is AS the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
His eyes are AS the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
His cheeks are AS a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips LIKE lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
His hands are AS gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is AS bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
His legs are AS pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is AS Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

In any event, one only has to check out Revelation 1 to see how literal that thing can get.

Isaiah 33:17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty

At 24 May, 2006 15:43, Blogger Revelation 2:17 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 24 May, 2006 18:13, Blogger Redeemed said...

I tend to also take this passage literally, picture our Lord Jesus Christ!

At 25 May, 2006 04:43, Blogger Carey said...

Yeah, it could mean literal, but I am more for reading between the lines. Sure, there is physical attraction, but the book is an example man-woman relationship, so the character of the man would play more into the attraction than his actual physical appearance. I didn't do a very good job of explaining, but it does make sense (as long as I'm not the one trying to explain).

For instance, when it talks about his belly is as bright ivory -- the belly was the seat of emotions in ancient Hebrew culture.

Angie, yeah, ruddy can also refer to skin (lol, I should know). But usually people with ruddy skin have a tendency towards red-ish hair. It may be just the skin, though. Either way, that was unusual in a country of people with olive skin.

"This is how hot he is..." *falls out of chair laughing* Too funny, Angie.

Anyway, I'll listen to the sermon again and take detailed notes, then post them. Maybe I'll do a better job. LOL


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