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.
1:2 “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine."
CYCLE ONE: Song #1 One unique part of the inspiration of this Song is that the female voice and her intimate longings are expressed in a way that no man could understand them without Divine revelation. Her voice will constitute more than half of the text of this song; while the male voice will cover 34%, and other miscellaneous cases will take the remaining parts. Her feelings are so strongly expressed in the words of this Song, that many have tried to assign female authorship to the book, claiming that no man would have such insight into the emotions of feminine desire. After all, women were also authors of biblical songs (see Judges 5; Exodus 15:21). The beauty of this book is not seen in the gender of the author, but in the fact that God is the one revealing the poetic beauty in the Song. Who better understands the way that He designed the love that is mutually entered into between a married couple, than God? We need to see God's wisdom in the Song and not just the penmanship of the inspired writer. Plenary inspiration allows that the author can express feelings in their own way, that are very real to life, but that God approves of each word and has actually led the writer to scribe His revelation in the process. This is why it is interesting that the last verse of the second chapter of the Bible, in Genesis, proves that God is able to read the hearts of the man and his wife. They were both naked and God says there was no shame. How did God know they were not ashamed? God is able to express our most intimate feelings because He created us with these innate desires, longings, and emotions. We mentioned in session one, that the shame associated with a man and his wife being completely undressed and vulnerable before one another, came only after sin. When the first man and woman ate together at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened (See Genesis 3). They had an awakening of sorts. A rude awakening! They knew that they were naked and hid, not just from God, but from one another. They were awakened to the reality of what it meant to be separated from God and out of fellowship with the Divine. They were also out of their created element with one another. The paradise of freedom that allowed them to be stripped of a covering and not feel shame before one another was marred by transgression. They saw each other in a different light altogether. The curses that came as a result of sin, would forever change the relationship between a man and his wife and how they function together. While they tried to cover up with leaves, God gave them animal skins to cover their nakedness and from that point forward the word, “naked”, is always associated with some level of shame. Marriage is the only place where we can now undress completely, and yet today, even the idea of being naked and standing before our own spouse, to whom we vowed before God to be enjoined for the fulfillment, is not a place of freedom, but of judgment. While we should feel liberated to be naked before the love of our life, we rather feel exposed, and our minds are flooded with questions and doubts about being stripped before their eyes. We have no reason to hide from God or our spouse in those moments. We need to liberate the garden that God has allowed us to enter in marriage and learn to make a paradise in our home. We need to allow the marriage bed to become the place where we can look upon our spouse and say, "flesh of my flesh" and then enjoy becoming one. We need to be set free from these misguided emotions that try to destroy the purity of marital love and enjoy being together, just as naked as the day we came into this world. But please know that you are not alone if you struggle in this area. We will see these insecurities expressed, as the couple in our Song share the desires that they have, while the many doubts about love are openly divulged, as well. This Song breaks open with an eager desire for a kiss. The kiss has been the symbol that a relationship has gone beyond the friendship stage to a different level of love. One of the first stages of intimacy between lovers is found in kissing. In chapter 1 verse 2 of this Song, she longs for a passionate mouth-to-mouth kiss from her lover, in soliloquy. This is not just a peck on the cheek or lips simply touching together. She wants to be touched and held like most people in love and incorporate open mouth kisses. We do not taste with our lips but with our tongues. The next time someone mentions a "French kiss", you can quickly remind them it is more properly called a "Shulammith kiss". She wants the wine of his love. Wine is something to be tasted. In Hebrew, the word for kiss actually portrays the sound of what they describe. In essence, she wants his passionate "smacking" kisses. It is like she is asking for a kiss upon another kiss. This is a kiss that can only be created by those that cannot wait to meet face to face and in the heat of the moment, they begin losing themselves in one another. She then describes what she truly desires as his love, that she feels is better than wine. The word for “love” here, is a word when viewed in its different contexts describes some form of erotic pleasure (See Proverbs 7:18; Ezekiel 16:8). NOTE: Anytime wine is used in this book, it is not for drunkenness due to the alcoholic content, like we might think of it by modern standards. While they will speak as if intoxicated by the love of one another, they are inebriated by lovemaking and not strong drink. Wine is rather desired because of its sweetness and pleasurable taste. It has its own spirits because it heightens the senses and takes our taste buds for a wild ride. While the sweet taste of wine can be exhilarating by its flavor alone, wine is a regularly portrayed analogy when associated with the love between the two in this Song (1:4; 2:4; 4:10; 5:1; 7:9; 8:2 See also Proverbs 9:2, 5). This analogy is romantic, if not completely erotic. She doesn't need wine because she wants to be overwhelmed by the taste of his kisses. The lips of humankind are more sensitive to touch because the labial tissue is thinner on the lips than any other part of the body. Some have felt that kissing is more intimate than having sexual intercourse because we are face to face and can stare into each other's eyes, which are said to be the window to the soul. Especially with the kind of kisses that the young woman in our Song is aching for with her lover as she wants whole mouth kisses. These are not a kiss shared in passing. In the words of Joseph Lilienthal in, A Full Edition, “May I print a kiss on your lips?, I said. And she nodded her full permission; so we went to press and I rather guess, we printed a full edition.” Kissing coupled with intercourse is like being accessed at two different points of the body which only makes the kisses sweeter. During a kiss, the bloodstream between two people in love is separated by a thin membrane. The man describes his lover's lips in this Song as "scarlet thread" (SOS 4:3) that "drip honey; Honey and milk are under your tongue" (SOS 4:11). She describes his lips as "Lillies dripping with liquid myrrh (SOS 5:13). We use our lips not only to kiss but to mouth sweet words to our significant other in the process of lovemaking. A loving kiss is most intimate since it is the closest we can get to have full access to the body, apart from sexual intercourse. Kissing has amazing benefits for lovers. When anxieties are running high, you can lower the Cortisol stress hormone level by having an extended intimate kiss. Adrenaline will rush in causing a revved-up feeling. Secondly, a love hormone is released when kissing, known as Oxytocin. This hormone is released from the pituitary gland when we engage in sensual activity, like a passionate kiss. This actually increases sexual desire, as in foreplay between lovers. Just when you thought a kiss couldn't have more of an influence on lovemaking, you need to know that a kiss is like a drug. The reason we feel happy when we kiss our partner is that it creates endorphins, and a dopamine release, causing an increase in our Phenylethylamine levels, which is similar to amphetamines and serves as a type of aphrodisiac. Those are a lot of big words that simply mean you will feel overwhelmingly joyful as if to be high on love when kissing. This feeling is what makes us desire to pursue the other ingredients in the recipe for making love. We are inebriated with love in those moments. It is truly intoxicating! To be fair, this can also happen when we eat our favorite foods, so do not be too quick to judge a kiss in particular. This is why those who enter into love-making will often introduce food to the marriage bed and take their lovemaking to an even greater level of intimacy. For the girl in our song, she compares the love of her man as better than sweet wine. It should be encouraged to have a plate of chocolate or strawberries at your bedside table to share together either before, during or after you have been intimate with the one whom your soul loves. In reality, there is no food on the scene in our Song, but they are having their fill of love and enjoying the flavors that each kiss introduces. There is only one way to know that land flowing with milk and honey awaits us under the tongue of our lover. We have to go exploring! Kisses are kindling to the fire of lovemaking. A woman will often express the need for kissing or some other intimate gesture before feeling the desire to have sexual intercourse. Blood rushes to the lips and they swell, increasing sexual desire as a total body experience. This will usually happen with the breasts and other sensitive parts of the body as well. This is because there is an eagerness to excite and arouse all of the senses before she opens up to her man. It may not be kissing, but touching, massaging, or even just holding one another and looking into the eyes of the one with whom we are choosing to be intimate. We need to feel our bodies pressed together. Spending some time wrestling around, or being playful in the sheets while allowing our flesh to contact our partners, can also lead to heightened intimacy. While many guys can learn to enjoy foreplay, generally, it the woman that has a need for these preliminary steps, prior to sexual intercourse. A man tends to be ready to move to intercourse well in advance of any foreplay, including kissing. To avoid a stereotype, each person is unique and it would be good to gain an understanding of what is enjoyed by your spouse. For some, kissing is not on the top of that list. Keep in mind, as we go back to the Song of Songs, that the desire that she expresses has yet to be fulfilled. She is stating her intentions and desires, but she is alone. She is imagining or proclaiming a longing for these kisses to become a reality. While young people often think of a kiss as a safe premarital activity, let me caution you that a kiss can often be an invitation to sexual urges, and before we know it, we are overcome and open up very quickly to further intimacy. Young hearts that are courting should set up boundaries to make certain that while they can express their feelings for the one that they love, they need to hold the fulfillment of that desire to the only bed upon which lovemaking is considered pure in the eyes of God (Hebrews 13:4). God will judge fornicators and adulterers! While a kiss can be innocent, it can also be a gateway drug that will open us up to try other stimulants before the timing could be right. Let me make an urgent plea to those that are married. Listen to the longings of your spouse and spend some time kissing. Kisses can set ablaze a love that is waiting to overflow. Look into each other's eyes. Use your hands to embrace and experience the passion in a heartfelt kiss. SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: To see a spiritual application here, let us look at the relationship that we share with the Lord by comparison. As the betrothed to Christ, the church's deepest longing is to be face to face with our bridegroom, Jesus Christ. As God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, which could be considered the first kiss of love from the Divine, we also long for the day when we enter eternal love and celebrate the marriage supper of our Savior, who is our first love, in the Spirit. We will be ushered into eternity where there is a room prepared for us to enter into an eternal relationship with our Lord and with our heavenly Father. There we will abide forever in His love. In the meantime, we can taste and see that the Lord is good when we partake of his promising words that, as the psalmist said, are sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb (Psalm 19:10b). Jesus said that if we come to Him we will never hunger, but also added that if we believe in Him we will never thirst (John 6:35). Paul, the Apostle, commanded that we not be drunk with wine (spirits) but rather be filled with the Spirit. We drink deeply through faith in our Savior and abide in His love. One day, the anticipated love of Christ with His bride, the church, will be consummated not just on a single occasion, but for all eternity. There is no better lover than the One who is love (I John 4:8). Our longings will be fulfilled entirely, although now at a distance, we can express our eternal yearnings to be with the Lord. While it is not a physical kiss that we long for with the Lord, we desire to be one spirit with the Lord in a place where we behold Him as He is, and we are found to be as He is, in the spirit. Our only clothing will be immortality and yet we will not be found naked. In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15), the Father is seen embracing and kissing the penitent child when he returns home from his sinful wanderings in selfish desire. The point here is that God delights in welcoming a lost soul into His family when they realize they have sinned against Him and return home. If God rejoices over one sinner that repents on this earth, imagine the welcome that we will receive when we have overcome this world and enter eternal life. It will be kissing all around for His children. On a deeper level, the kisses of our Savior will be even more intimate as they excel above the compassionate kiss of a Father, to the passionate kisses from the lover of our souls. We are not trying to take the imagery too far, but we need to express, that following the ushering in of the bride of Christ, we will be solely dedicated to one lover and all of our spiritual longings will be fulfilled in Him. Our spirit united with the Lord! What a day that will be! QUESTIONS: 1. One author stated that we treat a kiss as secular while we consider a prayer, spoken by the same lips, as spiritual. Is it possible that a powerful prayer and a passionate kiss both have spiritual value and we have been misdirected to believe that a kiss is merely a fleshly desire? Why or why not?
2. Why do you think the Song starts with such strong desires like a deep kiss? What makes kisses so desirable?
3. In a song titled, "For All We Know" Billie Holiday says, "A kiss that is never tasted, forever and ever is wasted". The girl in our song compares his kisses to the exhilarating flavor of wine, and says that his kisses top the best wine. What do you think it means to taste a kiss?
4. Is a kiss a safe expression of love between unwed lovers? In the Song, she yearns for these kisses, but there is no indication in the text that she has yet fully tasted one of his kisses. How does she know they are better than wine? Is she merely imagining what a kiss from her lover would be like or is she experienced?
5. Is it safe, as in soliloquy, to speak or imagine our desires for our lover without being able to fulfill those desires? How does this compare for our longing to be with Jesus while we are apart from Him?