WARNING: The following material is intended for mature audiences. While this is a Bible study, the Song of Songs is written with references to sexual themes, intimate textual innuendos, and suggestive figurative language that may not be suitable for some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. It is recommended that you approach this book from God with pure motives and pray that His will in preserving these song lyrics can be a blessing to you. It is advisable that if you have been enjoying this podcast with young ears present that you refrain from doing so at this time. Wait until you are in a private setting to continue. Thank you for taking this word of caution into consideration as we begin today’s episode.
For our study, please turn in your Bible to Song of Songs 1:9-11. The following lyrics can be found there,
“To me, my darling, you are like My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh. Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, Your neck with strings of beads. We will make for you ornaments of gold With beads of silver."
This crazy little thing called love can often stir up some wild feelings in the hearts of lovers. In some cases, the instincts are very similar to the animals in nature. We are driven mad by the passions that run rampant within our bodies. This can often lead to our actions being very abrupt and in the sight of others, out of control. The imagery used in the next section of our Song will certainly highlight this type of behavioral response toward the opposite sex. In verses 9-11, the lover further praises his beloved young girl. Earlier we mentioned how the word for “graze” also came from the root of the word to mean “my darling”. Interestingly, he lays aside her doubts and fears and calls her his darling. "To me, my darling, you are...", is very personal and endearing. This again is a part of the poetic analogies. He tells her in this part of the Song that she is not just a girl to fulfill his every fantasy and whim, but that she is a dear friend and companion to his heart. Our wives or brides-to-be need to know that we are not just looking for a sex slave or someone to cook dinner and clean the house. We are looking for someone that we can share life with, a certain someone that makes us feel special, each and every day. This certainly would help in easing her pain of separation that she feels when they are apart for a time, which we discussed in our previous episode. The lover sees her in her finest garb, with all field clothes set aside. Just because she is from the country, she would still have festive clothing and fine jewelry for family gatherings and religious functions. She puts on the best for her lover. She is not trying to win the love of her king, for she knows that her natural beauty captivates him already. Let's address the elephant in the room or should I say the horse? We need to clear up what the writer intended by saying that the girl looks like a horse tied up to Pharaoh’s chariot. I do not endorse or encourage any of our male students to go home and try this line on the love of your life. First of all, the horse should not be the focus of this part of our Song, but rather the way that the horse would have been decorated for the purpose of the Pharaoh. Egyptian paintings show Pharaoh with chariot horses fully covered in feathered headdresses, leather halters, and bridles, finely decorated with drapes and beads. While some have speculated that she probably had wide hips or large haunches for the ability to bear children and that the jewelry and garments would make her taller (neck with beads) and more broad (cheeks with ornaments), I believe that the lover is praising her beauty and array. He adds to this praise that he and others will make for her ornaments of gold and beads of silver. She is worthy of more adornment and fine apparel and should be showered with gifts. Again, some give verse 11 to a chorus, while I would see in this verse to be a continuation of the lover’s praise and acknowledgment of her beauty and right to further adoration. The giving of jewelry is not uncommon in a love relationship and it is usually followed by verbal expressions of love. One other thought that should be considered regarding the comparison of the beloved to a mare before Pharaoh’s chariot is that these chariots would normally be hooked up to a pair of stallions. Why then does the lover say that she is like a mare hooked up to Pharaoh's chariot? (NIV) What would naturally occur if a mare were brought into the presence of stallions? It would cause them to become love crazy. The Good News Bible actually portrays this verse saying, “You, my love, excite men as a mare excites the stallions of Pharaoh’s chariots”. There are actual historical records of this taking place. It is said that on one occasion the Qadesh released a mare among the Egyptian army to send their stallions into chaos, but an Egyptian soldier quickly killed the mare and saved the chaos from occurring. Since there is nothing in the Hebrew here, that actually means “hooked up to“ or “harnessed to“ (NIV), then is it fitting to say she is a “mare among the chariots of Pharaoh” (NASB), The horse is a very sensual animal. Could the lover indeed be showing how much of an effect the beloved girl has on him? Let us not forget that this young girl is beautiful to her lover already, but as she comes adorned in her best, she is the finest of all the maidens in his eyes, and she drives him crazy with her every move. We will see this on full display when we enter chapter 7 and she seems to be dancing before him.
We know that there are passages in the Bible that warn against beauty being the outward appearance and not the inward presentation of the heart of the woman. For example in I Timothy 2:9-10, Paul wrote, “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.” It must also be said, that a woman can allow herself to become an image of little self-worth if she lets herself go. We must make sure that while we heed the warnings not to be overly adorned with costly apparel, braiding of hair, etc. that we at least give some consideration to how we present ourselves to our mate. There are two extremes to this teaching. We need balance! When you are alone with your spouse, dress up, put on some fine jewelry, along with a welcoming fragrance, and turn it on. If the only beauty that a woman has to offer is the outward appearance, but she is truly ugly inside, there is no amount of perfume, gold, beads, fabric to make her beautiful. The inward person will overcome all expression of external adornment. Therefore, it is safe to say that if you have the right spirit and you have a gorgeous heart, that putting on a show for your lover, which may include a fine dress, some scented fragrance, and pieces of jewelry, is only an accent to an already spectacular and appealing work of art. SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: The Lord already loved us deeply when He made us in His image from creation. When we present ourselves before Him in the white garments of redemption and we become the betrothed bride, without a spot or wrinkle or any such thing, He is overjoyed to welcome our love. All of our efforts to impress outwardly will be seen as filthy rags unless our heart is right with Him. If we let the Lord adorn us with His gifts, and come before Him dressed in His righteousness, we are a mesmerizing sight. If you have ever watched a groom when his bride enters the wedding hall to walk the aisle, you know the overwhelming pleasure of what it means to see your lover decorated just for you. Please understand that our Lord, after shedding His blood for the church, is looking forward to the day when we are glowing white and all put together for the grand entrance, ushering us into His presence, where He will take us as His very own, for all eternity. We will be a glorious bride before Him. He anticipates this presentation as much as we look forward to being in His presence. While we await our reunion with the Lord, our goal is to make certain that we stand ready to meet Him on our wedding day. This requires that we keep our robes clean by avoiding the sin that will soil those garments. We must not be concerned with an outward facade, but allow our beauty to be seen through our inner person of the heart. Our spirit is longing to be joined to His Spirit. We must remain free from all defilement of the flesh and spirit and be holy before Him in love. QUESTIONS: 1. How do we make our lover feel special to us based on what we learn in this session? Name at least two ways. 2. If you could use a modern analogy that captures the same sentiment of the imagery of a mare coming into the presence of Pharaoh's stallions, what would it be? 3. How do we strike a balance between making beauty about outward appearance, as opposed to the inward beauty of the heart? 4. While he is addressing the young darling of the song with these words, how does this apply to men in relationships as well? This is important because the stallions of Pharaoh would have also been finely adorned. 5. In our spiritual life, we are called the bride of Christ, and we are arrayed in white apparel awaiting the coming of the Lord. How do you apply this session to your life before the Bridegroom, in anticipation of His reunion with those who are a part of His church?