by Patsy Rae Dawson ~
The Ecclesiastes writer said in 8:17:
"And I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover."
The truth of this scripture hit home when I started updating my 1995 revision of the Song of Solomon as a standalone book. I expected it to be a quick project. Instead, I spent two years restudying and rewriting over 90% of my original material.
I came away from the study with a greater love and appreciation than ever before for God preserving this marvelous teaching. Here are eight of the surprising things I learned attesting to God's infinite wisdom and man's limited understanding:
1. The Shulammite maiden displays a great sense of humor. Becoming a Certified Advanced Personality Trainer and reading new books by Hebrew scholars opened this window of insight. Even though we are handicapped as English speakers who can't discern the Hebrew for ourselves, we can still glimpse the young heroine's play on words and her mockery of the Jerusalem virgins, Solomon, and his queens.
She uses modern humor techniques that I learned about from Darren LaCroix and Judy Carter in their Humor Champ Camp to compare her beloved Shepherd to the king. And we can delight in her lively personality while she tries to teach the royal playboy about true love.
2. The Song of Solomon is filled with essential oils and aphrodisiacs. A couple of years earlier I became involved with essential oils. Since the Song of Solomon is full of smells, I planned to add some details for interest. I was shocked when researching the love potions totally changed the meaning of some of the passages. I discovered that Solomon used the aphrodisiacs spikenard and myrrh on his current love interest--only they backfired.
The greatest aphrodisiac of all is true love.
3. I didn't have a clue before how sexually defective Solomon was. A friend recommended I read Intimacy Anorexia by Dr. Douglas Weiss. I studied the intimacy-anorexia issue for months reading five of Weiss’s books and looking up word definitions in the Song of Solomon. Almost immediately, I realized Solomon was an intimacy anorexic as well as a sexual addict as he displays all ten of the ten classic characteristics Weiss emphasizes.
In contrast, both the Shulammite maiden and the Shepherd exhibit many of the sexually-healthy attitudes Weiss highlights in his books. A whole new dimension of the Song of Solomon opened up and put me down on my knees in admiration of God and this wonderful book he’s preserved to bless our lives and the lives of our children.
4. The theme of the Song of Solomon is repeated four times--not three as I previously taught. The newer Hebrew scholars convinced me that the speech in Song of Solomon 8:5b-7 was made by the Shulammite, not the Shepherd as I previously taught. As such, the young maiden expands on the theme of the story that she repeated three times previously to Solomon's virgins in waiting. The theme continues through the brothers giving a riddle during her marriage ceremony to the Shepherd.
This powerful ending contains what authors call an epilogue, playwrights call ACT THREE, and inspirational writers call the take away. It’s the most important part of the story. And I nearly missed its significance. I went around for weeks saying, "Wow! I can't believe what is in the Song of Solomon and we don't know enough about the book and life to fully appreciate God's message!"
5. I had totally missed God's 3-step formula for a wonderful love life.Being a teetotaler, I didn't understand God's metaphor of wine in Song of Solomon 5:1--an important pivoting verse in the story. But getting to spend time with my brother on his longhorn ranch is West Texas' wine country provoked me to research and learn more.
The Jews abhorred drunkenness just like Christians do. But they understood the nutritional benefits of home-processed wine and what sane sipping wine involved. God chose in his wisdom to use the metaphor of wine to teach important truths about passionate lovemaking that his Israelite audience understood.
Read my later article "God's 3-Step Formula for a Wonderful Love Life" to explore this metaphor in Song of Solomon 5:1.
6. The Song of Solomon emphasizes vaginal over clitoral orgasms. Because of the extremes of the Virginity and Hookup Cultures, women have lost the common sexual knowledge of the Hebrew women of the Shulammite's era. I surveyed previous students and brought in personal experience that male authors don't have the understanding to recognize or develop. I share five reasons why I respect God's desire for wives to be sexually loving with their husbands.
To help Bible class teachers who might be too timid to discuss sexual matters in detail, I put the juicy stuff at the back of the book in appendices for the students to read on their own.
7. The Song of Solomon is a political parody of Solomon's failure as a husband and as a king. After my father died in 2006, I spent a week in my parents' empty home immersed in studying Solomon's life. The experience moved me beyond our Sunday-school version of the boy king who asked for wisdom in how to rule his people. After Solomon died, God publicly condemned him as a sinner without natural affection.
You’ll probably come away from this study with a different view of King Solomon than you had before. I certainly have. I hope you’ll also grow in your love and appreciation for God and how much he loves us. This new study made my heart sing his praises. The bonus chapter 13 explores this topic in detail.
8. The 3000-year-old Song of Solomon solves the #1 Internet and church marriage problem--sexless marriages. Dr. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is an economist and former quantitative analyst at Google. As a Harvard graduate student he began writing about how Google searches can give “us fresh insights into socially sensitive topics.” In response to numerous requests, he ran the numbers on sex.
In his article “Searching for Sex,” his statistics show that between a quarter and a third of a million people google each month for one of these key phrases in this order of frequency:
- Sexless marriage
- Sexless relationship
- Sex starved marriage
- No sex marriage
- Won’t have sex with me
His figures reveal that a nearly equal number of husbands and wives suffer in marriages to a sexual dud. These sexless-marriage stats are much higher than searches for “unhappy marriage,” “loveless marriage,” “abusive relationship,” “unhappy relationship,” and “bad relationship” (1/24/2015).
Looking back over 40 years of being the confidante of both husbands and wives trying to survive an unloving marriage, I’ve observed this: If the sexual relationship is defective, then the marriage is defective on all levels.
Without a doubt, such a home environment is also defective for nurturing children. The family lives in an emotional vacuum in which the couple and their children are all starved for love. And many of these children grow up to be skeptics and atheists (Excerpt from The Song of Solomon Love Triangle, pages 22-23).
For more details on this point read Chapter 1, "God Loves Passionate Sex" by scrolling down to the Table of Contents of The Song of Solomon Love Triangle: God's Soulmating & Lovemaking Guide for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex. You'll be able to read the first four chapters while you're there.
Patsy Rae Dawson is a Christian marriage, sex, and personality coach. Start solving your sexless marriage problems today and take her free Sexless Marriages & Without Natural Affection Reflective Survey. It contains 6 checklists of intensely personal simple questions to help you analyze the true state of your relationship so you can make healthy, loving decisions. Pick up free reports when you complete the survey.