The Silences of Job
Evolution of Satan
First Lesson --Intro
Fifth--To the End
Putting it Together
Putting it Together II
SONG of SOLOMON
The Lovers--ch. 5
Lovers VI--ch. 8
Sex and Rape in Song of Solomon IV
Bill Long 12/25/08
Learning the Hard Way III
Thus, the picture we get at the end of 5:4 is that they are locked in an intimate encounter. There is an alternate explanation of this verse, which doesn't "de-sex" it as much as the JB. It would argue that 5:4 is simply a thrusting of his hand at the door and that not until 5:5 does she open the door to him. I argued in the previous essay that he was already "in" her room in 5:4, and he was thrusting away, with his hand, in verse 4. But let's move on to v. 5:
"5 I arose to open to my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with liquid myrrh,
upon the handles of the bolt."
The two ways of "reading" this verse, then, are that she rose from the bed to open the door for him (then v. 4 is his vain thrusting into the door opening) or that she rose from the bed and further "opened" herself to him. I actually like the latter interpretation. Note, in passing, the frequency of appearance of thoughts of being "open" in these verses. The Beloved wants her to "open" in v. 2; he thrusts his hand into the "opening" in v. 4; she "opens" in v. 5; She "opens" again in v. 6. You have to believe, whether he actually comes into her room in v. 4 or v. 5, that the text is screaming about her "openness" to him. When women use their most intimate language, the language of being "open" is on their lips. Everything is "open" in this passage--the latch, the door, the Lover. And, of course, the Beloved wants to take full advantage of it. After all, he created the conditions for this "openness."
Thus, in v. 5 I see her rising from the bed (she had been reluctant to get her "feet" dirty, right?) and becoming "open" to him. How does that happen? Well, I think that women know how to do this. She may have whispered some things--'let's get out of this position and stand up'; perhaps there are ways for her to be 'open' to him while she is standing. Let your imagination run and then tell me how this might happen. After all, I am just a man.
The language in v. 5 continues with images of things dripping. We have already run into the "dripping" Beloved of v. 2, but here we have more drippings. What else could be dripping like a faucet at this point? The language is ambiguous, and I think that is no accident. We are entering into the most private, intimate and explosive acts of human commerce. Who can "require" the writer to conform his/her words to our prurient demands from 2500 years later? Yet, the insistence of the dripping allures. First, we see that her hands were dripping with myrrh. One relatively non-sexual reading of this is that she had just perfumed herself before going to bed and that maybe she had "overperfumed herself." Silly girl. Wasting all that valuable myrrh. But, if we wanted to trace that thought we just end up in a dead end. Woman puts on too much perfume. Guy has dew dripping from him. Get a towel, dry things up and keep it clean!
But just as the insistent sound of dripping in my house makes me get out of my chair to discover the source of the drip, so I must go a little further here to discover it. Her hands drip with myrrh either because she has inserted them into her own opening in order to "help" out her lover and she becomes as drenched on her fingers as she is on the inside OR she drops with myrrh because she has done with her hands what women naturally do with their hands when a man "thrusts" his hand into the "opening"--they reach for his manhood and start stroking. Well, this latter interpretation includes with it the notion that she is so aroused that she strokes a little quicker than she might otherwise want to. What happens? Surprise surprise. He ejaculates, filling her hand with something that may be likened to the drippings of myrrh. So, in v. 5 I see the most intense encounter of the lovers short of actual physical intercourse. They are standing, locked in the most intense exploration of the other body. They are both full of desire and fluid; dripping is all around them.
The last words of the verse seem to confirm this interpretation, for it says that her fingers were upon the "handles of the bolt." Now, this could refer to her opening of the door to him, but this doesn't make much sense to me..for a whole lot of "action" seems to have happened in the meantime, if he is just standing there patiently knocking at the door. Her hand is "on the bolt." Literally, the Hebrew reads that her fingers were on the "hands of the bolt." Hm.. This could be a literal bolt, but can you imagine that she, in her poetic speech, might liken something else to a bolt? Well, what does a bolt look like? Here are some pictures, if you have forgotten. How does a bolt differ from a screw? This isn't a joke. A bolt differs from a screw in that the latter is threaded all the way down and tapers to a point, while a bolt is only partially threaded and keeps the same "thickness" all the way down. Actually, it doesn't take much imagination to "see" a penis in the bolts that I have provided in the picture.
Thus, things are hot and heavy in the middle of the encounter. He has entered her room and thrust his finger/hand in her. She react just like you would imagine her to act; she moans, groans and feels touched in the innermost parts of her being. The couple then rises, and continues the play, with her in a situation to enhance her openness. Meanwhile she either "helps him out" with her hand on his or, more likely, she goes for his manhood. He prematurely ejaculates. Well, what can you expect. He is trigger-ready, and so is she. Dripping is all over them. Her hands are on the "bolt."
But here is where the encounter turns tragic. He has just "come"--and he will, in the next verse, act like several men who are in this condition; he just "leaves." She will be still unfulfilled, and she will then look for fulfillment in a way that gets her into trouble. That is the subject of the next essay.
Copyright © 2004-2009 William R. Long