Tuesday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Song of Solomon 1-4 (NKJV)
1:1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
2 THE SHULAMITE Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine. 3 Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you. 4 Draw me away!
THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM We will run after you.
THE SHULAMITE The king has brought me into his chambers.
THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine.
THE SHULAMITE Rightly do they love you.
5 I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.
7 (TO HER BELOVED) Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions?
8 THE BELOVED If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your little goats beside the shepherds’ tents. 9 I have compared you, my love, to my filly among Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with chains of gold.
11 THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM We will make you ornaments of gold with studs of silver.
12 THE SHULAMITE While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance. 13 A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, that lies all night between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms in the vineyards of En Gedi.
15 THE BELOVED Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes.
16 THE SHULAMITE Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also our bed is green. 17 The beams of our houses are cedar, and our rafters of fir.
2:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
2 THE BELOVED Like a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
3 THE SHULAMITE Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4 THE SHULAMITE TO THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. 5 Sustain me with cakes of raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am lovesick. 6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me. 7 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
8 THE SHULAMITE The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. 9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, gazing through the lattice. 10 My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 11 For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away! 14 “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”
15 HER BROTHERS Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.
16 THE SHULAMITE My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies.
17 (TO HER BELOVED) Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains of Bether.
3:1 THE SHULAMITE By night on my bed I sought the one I love; I sought him, but I did not find him. 2 “I will rise now,” I said, “And go about the city; In the streets and in the squares I will seek the one I love.” I sought him, but I did not find him. 3 The watchmen who go about the city found me; I said, “Have you seen the one I love?” 4 Scarcely had I passed by them, when I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go, until I had brought him to the house of my mother, and into the chamber of her who conceived me. 5 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
6 THE SHULAMITE Who is this coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the merchant’s fragrant powders? 7 Behold, it is Solomon’s couch, with sixty valiant men around it, of the valiant of Israel. 8 They all hold swords, being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh because of fear in the night. 9 Of the wood of Lebanon Solomon the King made himself a palanquin: 10 He made its pillars of silver, its support of gold, its seat of purple, its interior paved with love by the daughters of Jerusalem. 11 Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart.
4:1 THE BELOVED Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, going down from Mount Gilead. 2 Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep which have come up from the washing, every one of which bears twins, and none is barren among them. 3 Your lips are like a strand of scarlet, and your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like a piece of pomegranate. 4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built for an armory, on which hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. 5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies. 6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. 7 You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.
8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards. 9 You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. 10 How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices! 11 Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under your tongue; And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. 12 A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. 13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, fragrant henna with spikenard, 14 spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices—15 a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
16 THE SHULAMITE Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits.
In the book of Hosea the Lord commands the prophet Hosea to take “a wife of harlotry.” Through this wife of harlotry the Lord points out to His people that they have left Him and are committing adultery with their false gods. When we read the book of Hosea we become uncomfortable and wonder why the Lord would command Hosea to do such a thing. Our old sinful nature wants to feel sorry for Hosea rather than learn the lesson the Lord was teaching His people. By the loving action of Hosea toward his unfaithful wife the Lord was revealing His love for His wayward people. Over and over again God called His people away from their sin of false worship and back to Him. But in spite of God’s patience, they continued to reject the Lord.
In the Song of Solomon God uses the very graphic example of a loving husband and wife to reveal His love for His Church. This book also often makes us uncomfortable and we miss the imagery of this husband who does everything to show his love for his wife. He says, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you” (4:7). St. Paul says in Ephesians 5:25-27: “Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
And every day, the faithful of His Church cry out: O Lord, by Your mercy, keep Your Church from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.