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Many Waters - SoS header

Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
The king is captivated by your tresses.

Song of Songs 7:5

How do you take captive One who is omnipotent?

It’s like one of those riddles, Can God make a rock so heavy that He can’t lift it?

Turns out the answer to my riddle is: long flowing hair. There is a fascinating correlation here linking our Song to Samson.

Samson, who we meet in Judges 13-17, lived the life of a Nazarite. Like John the Baptist, he was supernaturally born, a gift from the Giver of Life to a barren woman. Also like John, his parents were told to raise him as a Nazarite from birth.

These two are unique in this way. Most who took a Nazarite vow were constrained for a voluntary period of time. God gave these two men to Israel, and asked of them a life time of commitment.

The Nazarite Vow - some background:

A man or woman in Israel could set aside a period of time in which he or she would dedicate himself (herself) to the Lord. You can read more about it in Numbers 6.

Three things are prohibited to those who take such a vow. First they are never allowed wine or strong drink, and must abstain from anything grape related. No PB&(grape)J for the Nazarite. They must also keep themselves from anything that would make unclean, in the ceremonial sense - they were not to come in contact with blood, or anything dead during the time of their separation.

There’s one more restriction:

All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long. - Numbers 6:5

Captivated

The king is captivated by your tresses. - Song of Songs 7:5

This word “captivated” captured my attention. In Hebrew it is ‘aser’ pronounced with ‘ah’ as in almond and ’sare’ as in Sarah. It means to bind, to imprison, to harness.

This long hair and unshaven aspect is the only outward sign of the Nazarite. Today you see many Orthodox or Hasidic Jews with long curling locks on the side burns, and full beards. This is a display of their devotion to the Almighty. Their interpretation of the word head in Numbers 6:5 is more like face. So they don’t shave their beards, and the let their side burns grow unhindered, as an outward sign of their devotion.

When a man or woman took the Nazarite vow, they were binding themselves to the Lord. Of course when you tie yourself to anything you are bound together. If I were to tie myself to a tree, the tree is also tied to me.

Back to the Song

So it is with the Lord. The maiden’s hair has not imprisoned her Lover, it has bound them together. Like Samson, as long as he did not cut his hair, the Lord empowered him to do mighty acts. So the long locks of the maiden’s devotion bind them together.

He looks at the flowing locks of her hair, the single-hearted devotion to Him as her Husband and King, and it binds Him to her.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. - James Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. - James 4:7-8 ESV

As we give ourselves to the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, He commits Himself to us.

The best part is that once He is bound to us, it’s not the strength of our devotion to Him that holds us. It’s the formidable strength of His love that keeps us bound to Him.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:35-39 ESV

In the end - like Samson, as long as we are bound to Him we are victorious. The strength of His love is so much stronger than that of Samson’s resolve, we need not fear any foe.

Lord, I devote myself to you, and I thank you that you have bound Yourself to me by the indestructible cords of your Love.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

Your neck is like a tower of ivory.

Song of Songs 7:4

Thrice before in the song we have heard about the Bride’s neck, or necklace. Each time from her Lover’s point of view. Today we see the view of her companions. They see her neck as an ivory tower.

Ivory is an interesting choice here.

Today, due to the fragile nature of the elephant population and global condemnation of the ivory trade, ivory has to a great extent fallen out of favor. Throughout history it has been a highly sought after commodity, and a symbol of wealth and honor.

In telling of the kings of the world who came to honor Solomon we read:

For the king had ships which went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks. - 2 Chronicles 9:21

Solomon made himself a throne of ivory overlaid with pure gold. (2 Chronicles 9:17)

Ahab (ok - stop that boo-ing in the peanut gallery) built a house of Ivory. (1 Kings 22:39)

The point is, an ivory tower is not a tower of strength, but a tower of honor and beauty.

The neck, as we have seen before in our study is that part of us which turns our affections toward the Lord. Our maiden does not have a stiff neck from the Lord’s vantage point as the prophets said of Israel who refused to give the Almighty their focus and attention.

However, from the outside view, from the view of her admirers, her neck is immovable. Her face can not be turned from following the Lord. Her eyes are fixed on His.

It’s beautiful.

It’s elegant.

It’s magnificent.

Your single hearted devotion to the Lord, and unbending attention to His face, His call, the glance of His eye is a tower of ivory. Your neck - set toward Him - not in hopes of gaining honor or an attempt at self beautification, none the less brings you honor among the faithful and is beautiful to behold.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Blessings

Ben

If you want to read about the neck from the Lords point of view, check these earlier posts:

What’s In A Neck

What Do You See In Her

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Many Waters - SoS header

So ladies – you just spent the last hour and a half getting ready to head out on a date with your honey, and when he feasts his eyes on you the first words out of his mouth are:

Your hair reminds me of a herd of goats.

But that’s where the Shepherd King goes with our maiden, and not for the first time. As I mentioned last week, these same declarations of her beauty (yes – goat hair is beautiful – you’ll see) are a repeat from Chapter 4, then in anticipation, now in realization.

Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead.

Song of Songs 6:5 NASB

Hair

What is the Lord saying of His bride?

Long flowing hair speaks of dedication or devotion. We gather this from both Old and New Testament. In the Old we read of the Nazarites who would not cut their hair during their times of dedication to the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul, talking about coverings, says that the woman’s long hair indicates that she has a covering in her husband. So it is with our Shulamite. Her long flowing hair points to the covering she has in her Groom.

But Ben, what about the goats.

Well, I wonder if you knew that the Bible says they are:

There are three things which are stately in their march,
Even four which are stately when they walk:
The lion which is mighty among beasts
And does not retreat before any,
The strutting rooster, the male goat also,
And a king when his army is with him.

Proverbs 30:29-31 NASB

Now, I personally might have gone with the lion, but in any case this devotion we see in her hair is not just beautiful, but it is orderly and disciplined – stately!

Why Gilead? Gilead was a place of plenty, and great place to raise your herds. (See Numbers 32) Beauty was not seen, as it often is depicted today, in the gaunt and emaciated. Rather beauty was well fed at the table or her Lord and under His banner of love.

Teeth

Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.

Song of Songs 6:6 NASB

My dear, what big teeth you have… The better to ... feed on your word.

Much is said about her mouth in the Song, mouth, lips, tongue and teeth. Some of it relates to her words, her praise, her testimony. But when He speaks of her teeth, it is her ability to eat what is put before her.

If we are honest, we would say, not everything the Lord speaks strikes us as honey to our souls at first bite.

Remember how one minute Peter was on top of the world with Jesus patting him on the back and saying He was getting ready to build His church on the very idea Peter just opened up. The next thing Peter knew he was rebuking the Lord, and Jesus was calling him satan (or at least it must have felt that way to him.)

Perhaps he was a maiden with out twin teeth – top one was right in place, but it had no twin to meet it on the bottom.

She has demonstrated great maturity by coming through the valley time with praise on her lips, and desire for only Him. She said “yes Lord” to the good stuff and the hard stuff.

Temples

Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.

Song of Songs 6:7 NASB

Finally, He remarks about her temples or cheeks. She is flushed in His presence. She is passionate for Him. Her desire for Him reddens her countenance.

Jesus loves passion in His bride. In fact he would rather have you completely cold to Him than for you declare yourself for Him and then live half-heartedly toward Him.

Welcome to Spewsville, population … (oh my)

'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. - Revelation 3:15-16 NASB

And notice one final thing today.

Behind your veil.

Her beauty, her devotion, her hunger, her passion, flow from the secret place, behind the veil.

Oh Saints. (oh Ben) will you give yourself to Him in the secret place today? Tomorrow? All your (my) tomorrows?

BenThanks for stopping by today.

You’re a blessing.

Ben

 

 

 

 

 

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