Song of Solomon 7:1 “The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.” The word rendered “joints” is the Hebrew hammuk, which refers to something that is circular in shape, so that a more literal translation might be “curve of your thighs” as The Jerusalem Bible translates it. The NIV writes “graceful legs,” but this generalizes the meaning too much, because the Hebrew word for “thighs” is yarak and refers specifically to the upper thigh, not the entire leg. The word for “jewels” is only used two other times in the Old Testament: in Proverbs 25:12, where it is translated “ornament” and refers to a golden ear ring (which would typically be round), and in Hosea 2:13, where it is listed with ear rings and refers to jewelry worn to attract lovers. In any case, it was the appealing softness and roundness of her feminine thighs that so attracted the king’s eye. If I may digress for a moment, this description brought me back to the early years of marriage, when my husband and I used to take walks at a little local zoo for some quiet relief from the intensities of our graduate studies.* My favorite exhibit was a rather large and boisterous family of raccoons, who were so friendly that they would immediately come to the edge of the cage and reach out their hands to touch our fingers…in hopes of finding food, I suppose. It was before I was taught not to touch animals in such situations (both for animal and human safety), and so I would always “shake fingers” with them. Their little paws were so like hands…so dainty, dexterous, and inquisitive! It didn’t take long to realize that the biggest raccoon was the daddy, the other rather large raccoon was his mate, and the smaller coons were the playful children. When I first saw the mother, I worried that she must have mange, because the hair on her thighs and hips was almost worn right off, but before long I understood why! Whenever her husband got close, he would grab her by her thighs and enjoy his conjugal rights for a few seconds. Now, forgive me if this lesson from nature is too coarse, but it was a good introductory lesson for a young bride on the fascination a man has for his wife’s rounded thighs and hips! Studies have shown that men are attracted to curved (rather than straight) lines in women’s figures, and it has been conjectured that this is unconsciously true as a biological model because women who have well-rounded breasts, hips, and thighs (which typically results from ample supplies of female hormones and food) are thought to be in good health and therefore likely to be fruitful baby-bearers. “The joints of thy thighs are like jewels.” “The soft, smooth curves of your thighs fascinate me like the soft sheen of two golden globes.” Do you celebrate Christmas? Decorate a Christmas tree? We’ve always selected and decorated a Christmas tree as a family project…in fact on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, in order to give us a full month of joy over celebrating the advent of Christ. Tradition says that Martin Luther began the practice to remind us that Christ was hung on a tree. The twinkling candles, like the starry skies at night, were to remind us to be like shining lights to brighten the dark world. Later the red and white striped candy canes hung from the branches were to remind us that the red blood of Christ could wash us white as snow. The ornaments, I think, are a picture of the beautiful handiwork of Christ to make each believer a uniquely created trophy of his grace. After the whole house has been “dressed up”— we’ve “decked every hall with boughs of holly” so to speak—the mistletoe has been hung over the front doorway, and the stockings arranged…we all sit together and savor that unspeakable sense of “joy to the world…the Lord is come!” The fresh scent of the evergreen tree seems to bring the wonder of God’s creation right inside. “Let earth receive her king!” At the end of the evening, we turn off the overhead lights and sit absorbed in wonder as the beautiful ornaments glow and sparkle in the soft sheen of the twinkling lights on the tree. I sometimes sit transfixed by the beauty of the glowing globes… This, I believe, is somewhat the sense of wonder Solomon feels. his eyes are irresistibly drawn to her perfectly rounded thighs, perhaps glowing in the soft sheen of moonlight, looking as beautiful as golden globes…like jeweled Christmas ornaments. Take that thought and realize that this most mysterious of all songs—the Song of Songs— was written to help us understand the love of Christ for us, his bride. “For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people” (Psalm 149:4). Oh Lord, may you take pleasure in me! But…spiritually…what is the significance of the roundedness of the thighs? The thighs are the gateway to intimacy…to communion…to intercourse…to fruitfulness. May we be as open to his touch as that mother raccoon…even if it means our bodies become a little ragged from use and people at first think we have some strange “disease” (not mange, but fanaticism)! May we understand that he takes pleasure in us even more than we take pleasure in the jeweled ornaments on a twinkling Christmas tree. May we eat freely of the Bread of Life—God’s Living Word— and maintain an ample supply of the energizing “hormone” of the Holy Spirit so that we are spiritually healthy enough to be fruitful “baby-bearers.” May we open our hearts and lives to him and become spiritually reproductive…like the seed buried in the fertile soil that brought forth “an hundred fold” (Luke 8:8)!
(*The raccoon photo was taken out my bedroom window not long ago, as we now have a family of raccoons living in the snag down by our lake. I still love to watch them, but I’d never try to pet one!)