Rise Up, My Love (238): Cake and Frosting

Song of Solomon 7:8 “I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof…” The word for “boughs” is sansinna and is only used this once in the Bible, although it has been linked to the Akkadian sinnsinu, which refers to the “topmost branches of a palm.”*  So, the term “boughs” may refer to the bride’s hair or arms, but perhaps the best interpretation comes from Patterson who said the term “refers to the shoots or branches of the palm tree on which hang the clusters of its fruit…which will please him like clusters of the vine” (Patterson, 108). The Hebrew for “take hold” is ahaz and is variably translated “seize” or “grasp” such as in Judges 1:6 and 12:6 where it refers to the hot pursuit of battle!  Is it time for a friendly, “I told you so!”? Solomon was rather like that shipwrecked sailor, wasn’t he?…run aground by a hurricane of love…overwhelmed by emotion…and ready to climb that tree in hot pursuit of that fruit! (A note to men: Need I remind you that the breast has already been described as a fawn? That “hot pursuit” requires the utmost care in preparing your wife [as Solomon did his wife] for your impassioned advances!)  In this verse, Solomon goes from admiring his wife to expressing his intention to make love to her. The beauty of the passage is the purity and unabashed goodness…the rightness…of a man observing his wife’s beauties and declaring his desire to “ascend” to dizzying heights in order to delight in her as if she were a magnificent palm crowned with delicious clusters of the most delectable fruit!  Oh, dear brides who cannot understand why your husband is so driven sexually all the time, see yourself as he sees you! Understand that a young man craves his wife’s body like a shipwrecked sailor craves the bursting sweetness of coconut milk! Older women who wonder why your husbands haven’t ever “gotten over it,” meditate on the fact that when your husband sees you, he’s not focusing on the extra weight that makes you so self-conscious and reticent…he’s a thirsty man looking for a long, refreshing drink from the fountain of his youth—you “Ah,” but you say, “How could he still be interested in me? I’m so….(you can fill in your own blank). For me—and probably for the majority of older women— “overweight” would fit nicely in that blank. That twenty-four inch waistline came and went all too fast. I used to worry chronically about being overweight to the point of being uncomfortable undressed. I wondered how my husband could really even find me attractive. Now I know that the most important thing for us as wives is to forget how we look and focus on loving our husbands instead!  That’s not to say that looks aren’t important. It’s good for our health and our marriages to keep fit as much as possible, so I am not condoning a lack of dietary discipline. But, what a man needs most of all is a good woman who loves him deeply. That is the cake. The rest is just frosting. (I know, frosting is my favorite part too…so let’s keep working on looking our best…but let’s not forget the cake!)

*G. Lloyd Carr, The Song of Solomon: An Introduction and Commentary (Downer’s Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1984), 162.

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