Solomon’s Song of Songs 7:10 – 8:14

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Song of Songs 7:10 – 8:14

1. Where did you first meet your “one and only”?

2. Complete this sentence: “Love is . . . ” Compare your definitions for what they have in common.

3. What do you think is the major difference between men’s and women’s perspectives on sex?

4. (If married) how are your sexual expectations different from your spouse’s?

5. The beloved regrets her culture prohibited public expression of her love for her husband as opposed to her brother (8:1). What do you wish was different about your culture’s sexual expectations, and their effects on you?

6. Which of the following best captures your idea of sex in marriage?

  • the supreme moment of human celebration
  • the one experience a couple shares only with each other
  • a movement toward intimacy
  • an exciting desire to give and receive from the one we love

7. What surprises you the most – and the least – about today’s passage?

  • Solomon’s romantic nature
  • his wife’s romantic nature
  • Solomon’s focus on her body
  • her sexual initiative
  • the Bible’s recording this couple’s playful and creative sex life

8. Which of the lovers’ suggestions do you find most powerful?

  • I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its (your) fruit.
  • Let’s go to the countryside and spend the night in a village inn.
  • I will give you my love beside the blossoming trees.
  • I have stored up for you every delicacy, both new and old.
  • Your left arm is under my head and your right arm embraces me.

9. Which aspect of this passage is most important to you?

  • the attractive physical descriptions
  • the sense of belonging
  • the feeling of being desirable
  • the sensual experiences

10. What “love potion” seems to be a favorite of this couple? Is their marriage any less sacred for their playfulness at sex? Why do you think so?

11. What does it tell you that the woman has an equal role in the dance of love and sex (chapter 7:11 – 13)?

12. Why the repeated charge to the daughters of Jerusalem (8:4; also 2:7; 3:5)? Is this meant to warn any who may have prurient interest aroused by this candid love story?

13. What do the beloved’s words in chapter 8:6, 7 mean?

  • Don’t let me go.
  • I won’t let you go.
  • Love is the strongest of emotions.
  • Passionate love is out of control.
  • Sex can be bought, but love can only be given

14. Many of the love metaphors in today’s text deserve a second look (chapter 8:6 and 7). How is married love like an owner’s seal? Like death? Or like fire? (For example, would a death-like love be a fatal attraction, or unbearable, or irreversible? Like-wise, would a fire-like love be dangerous, or unquenchable, or capable of burning hot and then dying out?)

15. What is the point about the price of love (8:7)?

  • the one with the most toys win
  • sex can be cheaply bought
  • love must be freely given
  • other: __________________

16. In 9:8 – 14, we have a series of flashbacks to bring closure to this story. How does her family both encourage and discipline her to save herself for marriage?

17. What lover’s freedom does she assert in the end? What is memorable about their last words to each other?

18. Using the sense of taste as a sexual symbol (which this book does), how would you describe you and your mate’s sex life – and how would you like it to change?

  • full-course dinner
  • snack on the run
  • gourmet extravaganzas
  • meat and potatoes
  • feast or famine
  • well-balanced diet
  • mystery meals

19. The beloved had stored up both new and old delights for her lover (7:13). Get alone with your spouse and share with each other: (1) good memories you have about past romance and lovemaking; and (2) your hopes and dreams for new “delights” yet to be enjoyed.

20. Take time to think about the degree of exclusiveness in your relationship with the one you love. Do you actively and openly prefer your beloved to all others? Do you work to make yourself preferable? How so?

21. When were you last jealous for the good of your beloved? Ask the Author of love for the gift of single-minded love today.

22. What makes sexual freedom within marriage possible? Explain your answer.

  • time spent together
  • reassurances from each other
  • environmental factors
  • internal factors

23. How important is the sizzle factor in friendship that leads to marriage? Even if all other systems indicate “go for it”, should two friends marry who do not have irresistible physical chemistry?

24. What’s wrong with premarital sex (and/or cohabitation) to see if the sexual (and/or familial) compatibility is there? Would such an experiment even be valid without a commitment factor secured only in marriage blessed by God?

25. This story only speaks of the woman saving herself for marriage (8:8, 9). Isn’t sexual purity equally incumbent on men? Why or why not?

26. How would you compare the Song of Songs in its approach to love, sex and marriage with today’s culture? What healthy antidotes to casual sex, emotional insecurity and self-destructive thinking does this Song offer?

27. What aspect of this love poem were for you erotic? Which were romantic? Why then do you think this Song is in the Bible?

28. Using the allegorical approach, how is Christ’s love for you like the king’s love for his bride? Where have you experienced His painful, possessive, persevering and priceless love?

29. Who would you recommend this book to? Why?

30. What is the strongest ending note of the Song of Songs for you?

  • what matters is the intensity of my feelings for my spouse (8:6, 7)
  • what matters is my commitment to my spouse (8:6, 7)
  • what matters is how my spouse sees me (8:10)
  • what matters is that my love is freely given (8:12)
  • what matters is the we’re together and in love (8:13, 14)

31. If God’s view of sex in marriage is conveyed in the Song of Songs, then why do so many couples experience nothing like it?

  • because sex has been distorted in our culture
  • because they have hang-ups from the church
  • because they have hang-ups from their past
  • because they don’t work at it
  • other: ________________

32. How is God’s love for you like this couple’s love for each other?

33. How do you see your spirituality relating to your sexuality?

  • it doesn’t
  • sexuality and spirituality are opposites that tug at me from both ends
  • sexuality and spirituality are opposites that keep me balanced
  • sexuality and spirituality both connect me with others
  • spirituality helps me express my sexuality in ways that affirm God’s lordship of life

34. What is your greatest need regarding your sexuality?

  • expressing my sexual needs
  • feeling good about myself
  • receiving forgiveness for the past
  • controlling my impulses
  • the security of physical closeness
  • other: _____________________

35. (If married) rank from 1 to 6 the respective strengths of your marriage (with 1 being the highest). Then get together alone with your spouse to discuss your answers.

  • romance
  • sexual passion
  • communication about sex
  • companionship
  • spiritual intimacy
  • commitment

.

Important Note:

With the next post (on Monday August 4), we will resume our regular posting schedule (one post every weekday). Our topic will continue to be the life and writings of Solomon. Our focus will be the book of Ecclesiastes.

.

Solomon’s Song of Songs 6:4 – 7:9

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Song of Songs 6:4 – 7:9

1. (Women) If your husband described you like Solomon did in chapter 6:4 – 9, how would you respond?

  • I would blush
  • I would feel honored
  • I would faint
  • I would expect it
  • I would know exactly what he wants

2. What do you make of Solomon’s words in light of the fact he had many wives (hundreds eventually)?

  • she was his favorite
  • he had enough love to go around
  • he flattered all his wives this way
  • he feelings don’t last
  • this was the only real romance he ever experienced

3. Was sex a wholesome word or a dirty word for you growing up? Who embarrasses more easily about questions of sex: you? your parents? or your kids? Why is that?

4. How did your parents resolve conflicts?

  • an eye for an eye
  • repetitive round robins
  • Mount Vesuvius temper tantrums
  • hit-and-run attacks
  • peace at any price
  • no fights allowed
  • fighting fair

5. How did you feel when your parents fought?

6. When might the wife have heard something akin to this adoration (compare 6:4 – 9 with 4:1 – 7)? What does her husband omit this time?

7. In reference to Question #6, why the aversion to being aroused by her eyes? Does she suspect he wants to make up? Make love? Or what?

8. What is implied by her passing by in one of his famous chariots (6:10 – 12)? How does she use this chariot to seek a “new growth” in their budding romance?

9. Since “Shulammite” (6:13) was once the feminine form of “Solomon” (as in Don and Donna), what does this say about her fitness as his mate?

10. After expressing how in love they truly are, what follows next (7:1 – 9)? What new detail do you see in his description of her beauty this time around? Why would that be?

11. God is a jealous lover. So were these two. Do you ever get jealous or arouse your mate’s jealousy? How so?

12. When celebrating “after hours” the body that God has given you (and its capacity to bring pleasure to another), what thoughts and prayers come to mind?

13. Does your hope for true married love spring eternal? Or has it wilted? Where does it need nourishment and security of God’s true love, renewed every morning?

14. What serendipitous event has kept alive the love between you and yours?

15. Who still sees you essentially as you were when you first declared your mutual love and commitment? Is that unconditional acceptance romantic? Paternal? Fraternal? Divine? Or what?

.

Solomon’s Song of Songs 5:2 – 6:3

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Song of Songs 5:2 – 6:3

1. (If married) How long did your honeymoon last: 7 days? 7 weeks? 7 years? How did you know that your honeymoon had ended and new realities had set in? Who do you know who seems to have enjoyed a perpetual honeymoon?

2. (Men) If your wife described you like Solomon’s wife did in chapter 5:10 – 16, how would you respond?

  • I would blush
  • I would feel honored
  • I would faint
  • I would expect it
  • I would wonder what she wants

3. The next significant event is either a dream or reality. In chapter 5:2 -8, what support can you find for each view?

4. How do you account for the wife not rushing to the door at her lover’s knock (chapter 5:2 – 3)? Playful? Sleepy? Lethargic?

5. In either event, how does her lover respond (verse 6)?

  • hurt by the rebuff
  • playing hide and seek
  • realizes sex on demand was wrong
  • respects the principle that love (even with one’s wife) should not be roused until it pleases

6. What impact do you suppose her run-away lover and run-in with “police” (verses 6 – 8) had on her?

  • roused her from a nightmare
  • brought her back to her senses
  • made her heart grow fonder

7. What is the spirit behind the friends’ first question (verse 9)?

  • to replace her apathy with gratitude
  • to coax him out of his wounded ego or pouting
  • to calm their fear of love and the agony of parting

8. How much does he evidently mean to her, after all (verses 10 -16)? What strikes you about her sensuous desire for her “lover and friend”?

9. How do you react to a woman calling Solomon “outstanding among ten thousand” (verse 10) and him calling her “my perfect one” (chapter 6:9)?

  • they haven’t been married long
  • they had ulterior motives
  • they looked at each other through eyes of love
  • they wanted their partner to feel good about himself/herself

10. If the friends’ first question prepares her attitude, to what does the second question lead (chapter 6:1 – 3)? What paves the way for reunion with her beloved?

  • a place to talk privately
  • a sense of mutual belonging
  • a time to make love after making up

11. What point does the statement, “I am my lover’s and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies” (chapter 6:3) illustrate about sex?

  • mutuality – a mutually shared and enjoyed experience
  • exclusiveness – giving ourselves solely to one another
  • uninhibited – giving ourselves to each other freely
  • intimacy – knowing my mate fully
  • security – in each other’s love

12. Why is friendship an important part of a healthy sexual relationship? 

13. What person would you describe as both your lover and your friend? Are you your mate’s best friend? Was your love first based in friendship, or did friendship really develop only after the fires of passion settled down?

14. How are you ensuring that neither friendship nor love-making will be neglected in the future? What is the next date on the calendar for just the two of you?

15. What do you think causes adultery?

  • it happens on an impulse
  • it happens to weak marriages
  • the guilty spouse is sexually unfulfilled
  • our society encourages it
  • our sin nature encourages it
  • other: ___________________

16. How are you guarding against marital unfaithfulness?

17. With your beloved (as with the two in this story), what keeps your love alive?

  • playful teasing
  • dreaming together
  • times apart
  • caring friends
  • private reunion times

18. What would a reminder list of his or her attributes do for your relationship? What three things about your mate do you most appreciate? Write them down and exchange lists.

19. (If studying as a couple) Individually, rank in order the following needs. Compare lists. Which needs are the top five on your list? Your mate’s list?

admiration           affection        honesty and trust               family commitment

physical attractiveness            open conversation            domestic support

financial security             recreational companionship           sexual fulfillment

20. In reference to Question #19, how can you better meet each other’s needs to celebrate what God has given you and to strengthen your relationship?

.