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photo credit: Love from the sky via photopin (license)
photo credit: Love from the sky via photopin (license)

For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;

Song of Songs 8:6 NASB

This couplet is loaded. Were there ever two stronger statements about the love Jesus has for His bride. As you probably have noticed, I'm intrigued by words. And these two lines carry six strong words.


Striking, aren’t they?

Other than love and death each is translated in many ways, and we’ll take a look as some of those variations.

But first - to love.

Remember, we’re in the Hebrew here, so this is not one of the Greek words for love - though in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament) a form of agape is used here.

I am no Greek or Hebrew scholar (I’m no scholar at all (I had to look up the word scholar)) but what I can tell you is that the word love here is the word used for Jacob’s love for Rachel - it’s a form of the word used to describe Abraham's love for Isaac when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. It’s as close to agape as we’ll find in the Hebrew.

Now in 1 Corinthians 13, agape is defined for us:

is patient,
is kind
is not jealous;
does not brag
is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
rejoices with the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB (tweaked)

But this love Jesus has for His bride as described in Song of Songs 8:6—well—is this the same animal?

Let’s look at these compelling words and how others have translated this verse:

Strong: overpowering, powerful, invincible.

Jealousy: devotion, passion, ardent love, desire, envy.

Severe: unyielding, strong, unrelenting, intense, hard, cruel, fierce, enduring, sharp, relentless.

Sheol: grave, death itself, hell.

So, for today, my paraphrase would sound something like this:

The love Jesus has for us is as invincible as death.
His passion for us is as unrelenting as hell itself.

Last week we looked at Paul’s declaration of how invincible divine love is from Romans 8:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:35-39 NASB

And incase you are wondering how unrelenting hell is—Solomon put it this way:

Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied. - Proverbs 27:20 NKJV

All the power of heaven and hell are wrapped up in the Father’s love for us. Let this sink in. A revelation of this love will change you completely. It will complete ruin low self-esteem. It will destroy doubt. It will drive out fear, and flood your heart with assurance and confidence in the one thing we can surely count on for all eternity. Jesus’ love.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by

See you again soon



Here are a few of the many ways this is translated. I used one of my favorite tools for this study - BibleGateway’s “Every English Translation” tool. Look up any single verse in and there is a link at the bottom that will show you every translation they have for that verse. It’s a great way to see how the scholars have positioned the verse you are studying.

Love is as overpowering as death.
Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. (GW)

Love is as powerful as death;
passion is as strong as death itself. (GNT)

For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol. (HCSB)

Love is as strong as death.
Desire is as strong as the grave. (ICB)

For love is as strong as death,
passion as intense as Sheol. (ISV)

for love is strong as death; jealousy is hard as Sheol; (JUB)

for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: (KJV)

for love is strong as death;
passion is fierce as Sheol; (LEB)

Love is invincible facing danger and death.
Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. (MSG)

Love is as overpowering as death.
Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. (NOG)

For Love is strong as Death,
longing is fierce as Sheol. (NABRE)

For love is as strong as death,
its jealousy as enduring as the grave. (NLT)

For love is as strong as death,
and jealousy is as relentless as the grave. (Voice)

for love is strong as death, envy is hard as hell; (WYC)

For strong as death is love, Sharp as Sheol is jealousy, (YLT)

You can check them all out here.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group;
Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society;
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.;
International Children’s Bible (ICB) The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.;
International Standard Version (ISV) Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.;
Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB) 2000, 2001, 2010 by LIFE SENTENCE Publishing;
King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain;
Lexham English Bible (LEB) 2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software;
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson;
Names of God Bible (NOG) The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group. ;
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE) Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. ;
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.;
The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved. ;
Wycliffe Bible (WYC) 2001 by Terence P. Noble;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT) by Public Domain


Many Waters - SoS header

I am my beloved's,
And his desire is for me.

Song of Songs 7:10 NASB

For me, this is the diamond that sparkles in the setting of this wonderful Song of Songs.

We have, through the course of our ponderings on this Song of Songs, seen four similar statements:

My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi. ~1:14
My Beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. ~ 2:16
I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies. ~ 6:3
I am my Beloved’s, And his desire is for me. ~ 7:10

I just love the progression of the walk of faith.

As a new believer, I may tend to see Jesus as what He is to me - what He has done for me. This never goes away, but it does tend to deepen as we grow. The fact is that no matter how long you have been in the faith, what Jesus is to us is a wonderful place to start in worship.

Growing in grace we see that Jesus gives Himself to us, and we say with the maiden, my Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You. And with the maiden we give our selves over to His ownership.

But somewhere along the way  a switch flips in the heart of the Jesus lover. No longer do we see ourselves as holding on to Jesus, but we see Him holding on to us. Like the maiden in the end of Song of Songs 4, the garden of our soul changes ownership. His ownership of me is no longer secondary to my decision to follow Him. Now my identity is fully found in Him. He is the answer to who I am.

Finally we come to a place where we see that we not only belong to Him, but He desires us.

Check out a few different translations of that phrase - as you read what follows, let it wash over you. Hear the voice of the Lord speaking each of these expressions.

His desire is toward me. (KJV)
He desires me! (LEB)
I am the one he desires. (TLB)
I’m all He wants. I’m all the world to Him! (MSG)
He longs for me. (NOG)
He desires only me. (NCV)
You long for me. (NIRV)
His desire is for me. (NIV)
He wants me. (NLV)
He claims me as his own. (NLT)
His turning shall be to me. (WYC)
All His desires are fulfilled in me (The Passion Translation)

O Christian brothers and sisters, hear this. If Jesus bought you with His precious blood, washed in His word, cleansed by His blood, then He wants you! You fulfill His desires. His turning shall be toward you.

Far too many Christians are living as though they took the forbidden fruit today. As if they fall from the favor of the Lord every day. As if every time they walk away from their prayer time, they immediately take off their robes of righteousness and don again their fig leaf loin cloths. Christians feel the condemnation, guilt, and shame washing over them the moment they step back out of their prayer closet.

Our Father has made all things new. He has set all things right. He has placed you in Christ, and seated you in heavenly places. You are no longer a child of wrath, but HIS DESIRE IS TOWARD YOU.

Like our maiden faire You belong to Him and He desires you.

Too good to be true?

Yep - that’s the way the Gospel rolls.

Perhaps we should call it the “Too Good News.”


Check out this video.

Ben NelsonHave a great day.

Walk in the light.



Note: I love to use Bible Gateway's "every English translation" feature. If you look up a specific verse (you have to search by a single verse reference for this to work) and look at the bottom of the page, you'll see a link at the bottom for your verse "in all English translations." That's what I did above to get those snippets. Credits for all these translations can be found here, with the exception of "The Passion Translation" which is a brand new translation of the bible in passionate language by Dr. Brian Simmons.

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc
photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all kinds of spices!

Song of Songs 4:10

It was all the way back in the second line of the Song that our Shulamite maiden called out to her heart throb, this Shepherd King that His love, then just an imagination to her, was better than wine.

She looked at Him from afar, dreamed of a day when He would hold her, when she would breathe Him in, when they would spend luxurious mornings together talking, laughing, loving.

Now they are married, on their honey moon, and the dream is a reality, and the words echo back to her from her past, and from His lips.

This wonderful Shepherd King has taken His place in her life as her King, her Love, her Brother, her Everything, and He breaths those words back to her.

How much better is your love than wine.

This brings me back to the realization of how far Jesus travels to make our relationship work.

Many speak of the Christian life as though it is hard work to keep up our relationship with the Lord, a struggle, a striving, just to keep your faith.

But in this wonderful Song, this picture of the relational nature of faith, we see that her (our) moves are slight, and He (Jesus) is the one leaping over mountains, bringing army’s to bear, and making call after call, pursuing us relentlessly.

One turn of her head, and glance of her eye toward Him and His heart beats faster.

I love that the Lord travels all the distance that separates us when we turn our desire toward Him.

The work of faith is to look to Jesus, turn your eyes on Him.

What a great Savior!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Walk in blessing in 2014.


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Don't Neglect the Infrastructure

Today, I have some random Red Letters for you because today is another Red Letter Day!

There are tons of folks out there who want to tell you that Jesus’ words are unreliable, that they can’t be trusted. Some of them are scholars who have spent decades researching ancient languages and documents. Others are those who use seemingly impenetrable arguments and logic to “prove” the Bible to be full of holes.

Jesus makes a statement in John 7 that helps me to understand who I should listen to.

If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. ~ John 7:17

Before you can believe anyone’s theology, you need to take a peek at their life. Jesus tells us that the only ones who can rightly judge Jesus’ doctrine are the ones who desire to do the will of the Father.

That word ‘will’ (the first one - thelō) means:

1)    to will, have in mind, intend

  1. to be resolved or determined, to purpose
  2. to desire, to wish
  3. to love

2)    to like to do a thing, be fond of doing

  1. to take delight in, have pleasure


Do you see it? Only people who are trying to do the will of God have the right to judge the word of God. [Tweet This]

So next time someone tries to talk you out of something Jesus told you – check the fruit. If this is a person whose main desire is to do the will of God, who is striving to walk in the light, and bring light to all around – he might be a good source. But on the other hand, if he is casual about life in general, and careless about the will of God for his life – that is a bit suspect.

If he or she simply rejects Jesus altogether, your job then is to simply love them, pray for them, and preach the Word (Jesus) to them. Leave the rest up to Him.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.


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