Wednesday 05 April 2017

Bible Book:
Song of Solomon

“Making their rounds of the city the sentinels found me; they beat me, they wounded me, they took away my mantle, those sentinels of the walls.” (v. 7)

Song of Solomon 5:2-8 Wednesday 5 April 2017

Psalm: Psalm 134


These verses are full of drama and terror. The lovers have anencounter, there is misunderstanding, the beloved leaves and thewoman goes out to search for him and as she searches she isbrutally attacked and raped by the city guards (verse 7).

The Bible contains several stories of women who are treatedbadly by men, and the first readers of the Song of Solomon wouldhave heard echoes of these stories clearly and noticed a stronglink, for example, between the woman in the poem and the woman ofJudges 19 (Judges 19:22-30): both are spirited andindependent women, both are left to look after themselves, both areraped and abused, both are left dying at the door and both aresearching for their lovers. The one difference is the silence ofthe woman in Judges compared with the eloquence of the woman in theSong of Solomon.

Sadly these stories of silenced and abused women of the Bible,speak eloquently into today's world where too many women aresubjected to terror and violence, and where rape is often used as aweapon of war. The battered and abused women of the Bible challengeus to wonder why their stories are told. Texts that speak sopowerfully into the experience of so many women today must not beignored.

Perhaps it is too much to lay the weight of violence againstwomen on this one verse? In its own context, it carries a clearmessage: that with deep and passionate love comes suffering anddisappointment. These are emotions which lie at the heart of Jesus'love and which are laid bare on the cross.

To Ponder

  • What are we to do with the biblical stories of terror againstHagar (Genesis 16), Jephthah's daughter (Judges 11:30-39), theLevite's concubine (Judges 19:22-30), Gomer (Hosea1:2-8) and the woman of the Song of Solomon? Why do you thinkthey are there?
  • Where is the God of love in the violence?
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