Rise Up, My Love (96): Rosy Cheeks and a Blushing Bride

images-1Song of Solomon 4:3 “Thy temples are like a piece of pomegranate within thy locks.” The word raqqa, which has been translated “temples” refers to the “upper cheeks” or “sides of the face,” and can be used to describe both the cheeks and forehead, and perhaps both were intended. The metaphor of cheeks like a pomegranate is the ancient version of “rosy as an apple,” since ripe pomegranates were a rich crimson color. beachin-july-2011-407bal copyWhat does it mean for someone’s cheeks to be as “rosy as an apple?” Primarily, it is a commentary on the health, beauty, and vitality of youth. Vigorous activities in the cold of winter snow or the fresh air and sunshine of the summer make our children’s cheeks glow. Young people come inside after a rousing afternoon of ice skating or building snowmen, and their cheeks are as bright as candy apples behind their steaming cups of cocoa! In the summer, a day at the beach—despite our best attempts at sun-screening— leaves even little ones with rosy shadows across their faces when we kiss their fast-closed eyes that night! But, we sigh with contentment, thinking that the children had a wonderful day of fun and play. Every parent delights in the sense of health and well being they associate with their children having rosy cheeks. 2-6-and-declare-unto-you copyAnd, what of the bride with rosy cheeks? “The blushing bride” we call her, and then we know that the rosy hue is not only the vitality of youth, but the flush of joy and desire over seeing her beloved! My “little sister” (in the Lord) married at the tender age of forty, and not only her cheeks, but also her neck, were flushed with excitement! (In fact, her neck was so bright that she was wishing for makeup to tone down the color!) The cheeks and temples display our deep emotions. First the look in the eye, then the turn of the lips, and finally the blush on the face all proclaim the state of the heart. Some people can control their expressions, but try as they may they cannot stop the rush of adrenaline that flushes the face when there is extreme emotional arousal! Intensity of emotion is not well hidden. For good or ill, if you don’t want someone to know how you’re feeling, it’s easier to not feel than to try to hide your feelings if you’re a blusher! Did you ever hope that someone would not notice how you blushed in their presence? Did you ever get teased for blushing as a young person? Is it that older people so rarely feel the depths of emotion they experienced in years gone by? Do adults become too invested in protecting themselves to allow themselves to feel deeply? How about you and me? Do we allow ourselves to feel the heights of joy and depths of sorrow that God has created us to experience? Do our cheeks burn with joy in the presence of our Lord and Savior?Kathy, Carlie, Grace, KathyDo our cheeks blush with joy…or shame? Perhaps both. Perhaps the blush reflects modesty and humility as we lift our faces to our Redeemer, considering our unworthiness at the honor bestowed on us by his love. Oh, wondrous thought that we should be the bride of such a one! He who is noble, kind, and good. He who is love and wisdom incarnate. He who is tender and true… and will love us forever. How beyond imagining that he should choose us for himself! And yet, he did, and we are his! Doesn’t such a thought make us blush with amazement and reverent joy? imagesSome commentators consider that the phrase “a piece of a pomegranate” refers not to the rosy exterior, but to the neatly ordered interior of the pomegranate, which is lined with rows of succulent red seeds. Although this is not my sincere impression of the author’s primary intention, it is a lovely thought and might well be considered. Our temples are the dome of our thinking, so to speak, and we might imagine how spiritually pleasing it would be to the Lord to see our inner thoughts reordered into neatly arranged rows of fruitful seed-thoughts about him…thoughts of worship, purity, and holiness. Would our minds, when exposed to his loving scrutiny, reveal such a beautiful array of spiritual fullness and fruitfulness as is found within the pomegranate?640px-Pomegranate_fruit“Within thy locks.” Finally, the rosy temples, which are such a source of delight to the bridegroom, are framed by the lovely locks of the bride. She is hidden “within the veil.” All her beauty and fruitfulness is veiled from the world. It is for the husband alone to know the full flavor and beauty of her fruitfulness…to taste the succulent seeds of her pomegranate temples…to kiss her cheeks and know her thoughts…to smell the fragrance of her heart. All this the bridegroom sees, and he rejoices in her blush of beauty, health, and desire. All this—for him alone.640px-Pomegranate_DSW                                (Pictures of pomegranates from Wikipedia)



2 responses to “Rise Up, My Love (96): Rosy Cheeks and a Blushing Bride

  1. Many people believe that the Song of Solomon, is a conversation between ISIS and Osiris.

    “How fair is thy love, my **sister**, my spouse!”

    • Interesting thought, although Solomon was a real person, and I believe he actually wrote the book. Solomon was a Hebrew king, not an Egyptian god (which you probably know). In Song of Solomon chapter 8, the bride laments that Solomon is NOT her brother, because if he were, then she could kiss him in public without being criticized for it. In the New Testament, young men are told to treat young women “like sisters,” and I assume that means with all the protective kindness and care that a sister deserves. So, I always think of Solomon’s comment “my sister, my spouse” as meaning that he feels as close and caring as he would toward his own sister. On the other hand, it’s not impossible that the bride is a relative…even a half-sister. Kings did marry close relatives. No one knows for sure whom the “Shulamite” actually is. I personally think if it is a named person that it’s most likely Abishag (because of Solomon’s intense reaction against his brother trying to marry her), but I don’t know.

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