This commentary is based on my notes after reading The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Song of Songs, by Tremper Longman III, 2001
Poem 11 (Compliments)
Middle Eastern culture contains ancient songs where the bride and groom describe each other physically prior to intimacy. These poems typically start with the person’s head and work their way down. What this tells us is that foreplay begins verbally, and lots of compliments, reassurance that your partner is loved and desired, are good for the relationship.
v 1 Aye, you are beautiful, my darling!
Behold, you are beautiful, (note the repetition)
and your eyes doves behind your veil.
Brides were veiled in ancient times, remember this is how Leah was substituted for Rachel.
Your hair is like a flock of goats, streaming from Mount Gilead.
Compliments have changed over time…
v 2 Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep coming up from washing (white).
Each is paired; not one of them is missing.
Dental hygiene has changed a bit too…
v 3 Like a scarlet thread are your lips, and your mouth is desirable,
Like a slice of pomegranate is your temple behind your veil. (Her skin is pink.)
v 4 Like the tower of David is your neck, built in courses, a thousand shields are hung on it; all are bucklers of heroes.
She has a long neck (no double chin) with many thick gold necklaces.
v 5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of gazelle, grazing among the lilies.
Remember, female undergarments are a modern invention…
v 6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, (all night)
I myself will go to the mountain of myrrh (likely her private parts) and to the hills of frakinscense. (likely her breasts)
v 7 You are totally beautiful, my darling,
You have no blemish/ defect in you.
Note that throughout the Song the man compliments the woman differently and more abundantly than the woman compliments the man indicating that there are differences in what each sees as important. Get to know what your spouse needs/ enjoys hearing and sincerely express your enjoyment as appropriately.
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