Time for another “X-rated” Bible study.
Today’s passage comes from Song of Solomon 1:3:
Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth
Many modern translations suggest the “good ointments” referred to in this opening passage are Solomon’s perfumes. If that were the case, the application would be something like, “OK. So I guess I should wear cologne?”
But a closer look at the text reveals a far more erotic meaning.
The Hebrew word translated into “ointments” is shemen (or semen) A quick look at a Hebrew Lexicon reveals that the word primarily means “fat” or “oil” (as in olive oil). It is often metaphorically used to mean fruitfulness.
And the Old Testament usage of the word is never used to mean “perfume.” It is nearly always used to refer to the oil that is poured out on a sacrificial offering or oil that is used for anointing.
Hmm… So with that definition in mind, can you think of an “oil” that would pour forth from a man? One that would symbolize fruitfulness?
And can you think of something you would pour that oil onto? Something that was presented as an offering? Like… I don’t know… a wife offering her body in submission to her husband?
No doubt, the Hebrews would be familiar these connotations of anointing and sacrificial fragrance. But here Solomon is using these words in a sexual context. The suggestion is that her lover is anointing her with his good “oils.”
But here’s where things get interesting:
There’s a play on words that is masked in the English. The Hebrew (transliterated) reads:
lereah semaneka towbim semen turaq semeka al ken alamowt ahebuka
One doesn’t need to be a native Hebrew speaker to see the obvious wordplay between semaneka (oil), semen (oil), and semeka (name).
In Hebrew, someone’s name always meant more than just a label. It meant someone’s identity and reputation.
So the point of this passage is to associate the man’s semen with his semeka.
Then comes the twist. I believe this is the entire point of the passage:
The words semen and semeka are switched in function. Normally, it is a man’s semen that would pour forth or be emptied out. But the text says it is his semeka (his name, his identity, his reputation) that is emptied out upon her.
In other words, a man’s identity is the same as his semen.
The woman longs for her lover to pour forth his “name” upon her. Which is a poetic interpretation of him pouring forth his semen upon her.
There are few things more emotionally satisfying for a man than to empty himself and pour out his semen into (or upon) a woman.
A man can intuitively grasp this. But most women don’t get it. Tragically, neither does the modern Church.
But if you think about it, what makes a man? Biologically, it’s having a penis and testicles. But what is the function of those members? To produce and pour forth semen… the good oil, the fat of life, the seed of fruitfulness.
I believe what we have here is God giving wisdom to his people. God views semen as a very good thing. And He wants men and women alike to feel the same.
NOTE: I am indebted to an article I stumbled upon entitled “The Annointed Wife” by Paul Fox for bringing some of these associations to my attention. While I can’t say I agree with all his secondary conclusions, I believe he correctly identified the primary image the passage is conveying.
Today’s sexual Christian man faces a double challenge:
First, he must reclaim his balls from the matriarchy.
Second, he must teach his wife how to respond sexually to a man.
Neither of these tasks are easy. Both will probably be the most difficult challenges of your life.
Though it won’t make your task easier per se, it might be encouraging to know that it’s not your fault. Marriage was never intended to be this difficult.
God’s design is that older women should teach the younger women how to please their husbands:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5)
Our mothers and grandmothers have dishonored the word of God by neglecting to teach their daughters to love their husbands. Instead, they taught their daughters to be independent from man. And they taught their sons to be the neutered “nice guy” who supplicates women.
And our fathers and grandfathers have dishonored the word of God by allowing their wives to plant the seeds of feminist rebellion and emasculation right under their own roofs.
Nevertheless, a godly man cannot continue to dishonor God. We should strive to be the righteous son that God praises in Ezekiel 18:
Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father’s sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise.
Yes, marriage is difficult. And most of it is not our fault. We followed the script and did what we were told. Sexual frustration and marital strife is the fruit of the so-called “wisdom” we’ve received.
But we should not become embittered. This is the test of our faith. As James says:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Day by day, you persevere.
Little by little, you become a better man.
And one day, you may find that you have at last subdued your wife and restored happiness to the bedroom.
This is your trial, the test of your faith.
If you can persevere in a modern marriage, your faith will be made perfect and you will earn the crown of life.
Since I know you’re curious…
How often do other married men want to have sex with their wife?
Someone posted this question over at the Talk About Marriage forum. It got a lot of response.
The general consensus seems to be 2-3 times a week. Some wanted it every day.
Rarely did I see any man express satisfaction with once a week or less.
Most Christian marriage advice I’ve heard seems to hold once a week as the minimal standard of a healthy marriage. I think most guys feel “selfish” asking for anything more.
This is probably why a lot of Christian men worry about having a “sex addiction.”
On a side note, this got me thinking:
We know that the Apostle Paul says not to deprive one another except when agreed upon in order to have time to pray.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had so much sex that I didn’t have time to pray.
Makes a man wonder…
Either I’m not having enough sex or I’m not praying enough. Maybe both.
With our established institutions disintegrating, it’s inevitable that there will be conflict.
We will need wisdom. Many voices will arise to offer advice about what should be done.
As a Christian, we have a duty to recognize true wisdom from false wisdom. Thankfully, the Apostle James gives us a checklist on how to recognize wisdom “from above” as opposed to the demonic earthly wisdom:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (Jas 3:17)
The fundamental question to ask is “does this person have a pure love for truth and wisdom?” Or is he motivated by jealousy and status? In manosphere terms, this means you automatically rule out gamma males as qualified teachers of wisdom.
Once you think someone has pure motives, over time you’ll see the following fruits that will confirm that it is godly wisdom:
Does the rhetoric advocate peace for all people? Does it seek a resolution that all can agree on? Or does it attempt to incite violence and tear others down?
NOTE: Be especially careful here. The enemy will often advocate a false peace or accuse the peacemakers of being the ones causing division. See the Pharisees and Jesus as a prime example.
Does the advice seem fair and mild? Is it sensible? Doesn’t ask too much of the listener? Or does it make exacting demands and place heavy burdens on people? (e.g. asking to have an open discussion about a topic vs. demanding immediate and radical change)
3. Open to reason
Does the teacher change and adapt what they teach in response to fair criticism and new information? Or do they “stick to their guns” no matter what?
4. Full of mercy and good fruits
Does the teacher try to help those weaker than him? Is he quick to forgive those who repent and turn to the truth? Or does he judge and dismiss the weak and hold grudges against those who wronged him?
Does the teacher honestly consider multiple viewpoints? Or does he force all the facts to fit into his preconceived theological or ideological framework?
Does the teacher come across as a real flesh-and-blood person? Does he live consistently with what he teaches (as far as you know)? Does he use natural language? Or does he use lofty language that communicates little substance other than signaling how pious he is?
NOTE: I know from my experience in the internet marketing industry, that a skilled persuasionist can fake sincerity… but only for a short while. Sooner or later his true colors will come out or else he will tire of faking and move on to his next mark. Faithfulness over time is impossible to fake.
This checklist is good not only for recognizing teachers of true wisdom, but also for preparing ourselves to receive wisdom.
The Apostle Paul gives further clarification on the doctrine of lust:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
-1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NKJV)
Once again, we see that lust is the precursor to plundering what rightfully belongs to your brother (his wife.)
“His own vessel” is most likely a reference to a man’s wife. This is consistent with the Proverbs imagery of the man being a “fountain” and “streams of water” and the woman being a “well” (i.e. a deep hollow container used to hold water.)
Paul’s concern here is that a man does not use another man’s wife for his own sexual pleasure. In a lawless Gentile society, a strong man (i.e. alpha) can use the wife of a weaker man (i.e. beta.) Or a crafty man can seduce (or be seduced by) a woman with an absent husband. But this is a cruel thing to do to a brother.
Instead, Paul wants each man to know how to possess his own “vessel.”
This teaching is nothing new. It’s exactly what King Solomon taught in Proverbs 5:
Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress
And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
It is probable that Paul used this very Scripture to instruct the Thessalonians. His letter is merely reminding them to continue in what they were taught.
In sum, Paul’s teaching on sexuality has three points:
- Don’t use prostitutes (or other forms of “casual sex”)
- Don’t use other men’s wives
- Learn to take possession of your own wife
Furthermore, there is evidence that Paul was likely married at an earlier point in his life… and thus no stranger to both the challenges and the bliss of married sexuality.
Every woman craves intensity in the bedroom.
King Solomon understood this. He gives the following instruction to his students:
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
The English word “satisfy” doesn’t quite do the expression justice. Especially when the word’s been twisted to mean “just be content with what she gives you.”
The Hebrew word is ravah, which has a much stronger connotation than “satisfy.”
Seeing the word in a different context should make it clear:
For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk [ravah] with their blood…
Obviously, you shouldn’t be violent towards your wife. But the intensity of your approach to her body should be similar to that of a vengeful warrior with a thirst for blood. Do not stop until your “enemy” is completely devoured.
Contrary to popular belief, the Bible does encourage you to indulge in pleasure now instead of later:
“Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.” (Song 2:15)
In the Song of Solomon, the vineyard symbolized the body. The “foxes” refer to the aging process that ruin the vineyards.
While you are young, while your vineyards are “in blossom” is the time to enjoy sexual pleasure to it’s fullest extent.
Don’t get so caught up in the busyness of life that you let this scarce gift of God slip you buy.
For a modern expression of this sentiment, I believe the chorus from the hit song “We Are Young” captures the proper sense of youthful exuberance and urgency:
Tonight, we are young
So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter than the sun
Tonight, you are young. Let your passion for her burn bright. Set her world on fire.
Let’s talk about a woman’s “self-esteem.”
You’ll hear all the time about how women struggle with body image, face unrealistic standards of beauty, are pressured to “sexualize” their body, etc. etc.
But there is a more intriguing aspect of a woman’s self-esteem that is rarely discussed.
A woman who thinks she deserves better is repulsive. But a woman who doubts her beauty is primed and ready for an erotic adventure.
Consider Song of Solomon 1:6:
Do not stare at me because I am swarthy,
For the sun has burned me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me caretaker of the vineyards,
But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.
“Vineyard” is a metaphor for her body. This is a woman who knows she’s not as beautiful as she could be.
She has just met the man of her dreams and she doubts that she is beautiful enough to be desirable to him. She got so busy working for others that she neglected to put in the work needed to present her beauty as well as she could have.
She knows that the man she desires is desirable to other women:
Your name is like purified oil;
Therefore the maidens love you. (1:3)
“Will he find me pleasing?” she thinks. “He could choose from so many other women. I’m not nearly beautiful enough for a man like that. Oh, if only I had better prepared for this moment!”
It is this perceived mismatch of value that is the beginning of erotic tension.
It is a good thing if your wife expresses doubts about her body. It is at that moment of doubt that she is yearning to please you and earn your approval.
And just as you affirmed her beauty and sent her heart a-flutter when you asked for her hand in marriage, so you will reaffirm your approval of her when you take her into the bedroom… again…and again…and again…
The more attractive you are to women in general, the more your wife will doubt that she is pleasing enough for you. She will work hard to prove herself worthy of being your wife.
This is why you want to work on increasing your “sexual market value.” You want her to feel like she lucked out by the fact that you “settled” for her.
A woman who feels inferior and unworthy of her man’s approval is a woman who will dress sexy and yearn for frequent sex. She needs constant approval when she’s in the presence of a high quality man.
P.S. I’m putting the final touches on the SMV test for married men. I plan to have it up soon.
Blackdragon provides a good explanation why sex is so important to men:
Unless you’re engaged in regular martial arts / MMA, are active military in a war zone, or some kind of extreme thrillseeker (regularly doing things like skydiving, base jumping, sport climbing, etc) then you really have no other way of tapping into this core masculinity other than having sex. Yes, you can watch action movies or play violent video games, and those are all great, but it’s not the same thing.
That’s how important sex is. That’s why it’s important to let it all go and turn into a monster during sex. When you’re done having sex, go back to your normal, rational self. (I do.) But during sex, don’t worry about any of that. Sex is a gift… one of the last ones we have of its kind.
King Solomon understood the importance of this masculine ritual:
may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. (Prov. 5:19)
The key word there is “intoxicated.” In Hebrew it literally means to go astray and act without knowledge. Normally, it is used in the context of commiting a sin without being aware of what you are doing… such as when you’re drunk.
When you realize that it is your wife’s body that is supposed to cause this irrational masculine behavior, combined with a woman’s natural inclination towards “rape fantasies”… you start to get the idea that God meant sex to be a little more wild than we give Him credit for.
When it comes to sex, the Jewish tradition seems to promote a much more candid attitude than us guilt-ridden Gentiles.
Consider a few examples from the Mishneh Torah’s Sefir Nashim (the Book of Women):
A young woman was carefully examined for signs of sexual maturity:
[In addition to growing pubic hairs,] a woman has signs of physical maturity that are manifest in her upper body. They are referred to as “upper signs.” Among them are:
a) when the woman stretches her hand backward, a crease forms in the place of her breast; b) the color of the tip of the breast becomes darker; c) when a person places his hand on the end of the breast and it remains depressed slightly before rising; d) creases form at the end of the breast, and a nipple takes shape; my teachers taught that the formation of creases is sufficient; e) the breasts protrude; f) they become erect; g) the mound of Venus forms above the woman’s genitals, below her stomach; h) the flesh of this mound becomes soft and not hard. These are eight signs. (Ishut 2:7)
They did not think it “shallow” to disqualify a woman from marriage based on appearances:
What are the physical blemishes that cause a woman to be deemed unfit [as a wife]: All the physical blemishes that cause a priest to be deemed unfit [for service in the Temple] cause a woman to be deemed unfit. In Hilchot Bi’at HaMikdash, all the blemishes affecting the priests are explained. In addition, [there are other blemishes that cause] women [to be deemed unfit]. They include: foul body odor, [excessive] sweating, foul breath, deep voice, breasts of abnormal size, being more than a handbreadth larger than those of other women, a distance of more than a handbreadth between one breast and the other, a scar in the place where she was bit by a dog, and a birthmark on her forehead.
A non-laborer was expected to have sex every night:
Healthy men who are pampered and indulged, and who are not employed in labor that weakens their strength – but rather eat, drink and spend [the majority of their day] at home – should fulfill their conjugal duties every night.
[The following rules apply to] workers – e.g., tailors, weavers, construction workers and the like. If they work in the city [in which they live], they should fulfill their conjugal duties twice a week. If they work in another city, they should fulfill their conjugal duties once a week.
Donkey-drivers should fulfill their conjugal duties once a week. Camel-drivers should fulfill their conjugal duties once every thirty days. Seamen should fulfill their conjugal duties once every six months. (Ishut 14:1)
The wife had the right to prevent her husband from reducing sex:
A wife has the right to prevent her husband from making business trips except to close places, so that he will not be prevented from fulfilling his conjugal duties. He may make such journeys only with her permission.
Similarly, she has the prerogative of preventing him from changing from a profession that grants her more frequent conjugal rights to one that grants her less frequent rights – e.g., a donkey-driver who wishes to become a camel-driver, or a camel-driver who wishes to become a seaman. (Ishut 14:2)
A man’s virility was the primary reason a woman married a man:
If he becomes sick or his virility is weakened, and he is unable to engage in sexual relations, he is given a period of six months- for [a woman is never required to wait] longer for her conjugal rights than this – in the hope that he recovers. Afterwards, the prerogative is hers [whether to remain married] or whether he must divorce her and pay her [the money due her by virtue of her] ketubah. (Ishut 14:7)
Rebellious wives were publicly shamed:
if she rebelled against her husband with the intent of causing him distress, saying: “I intend to cause him distress this way, because he did this or this to me,” “…because he cursed me,” “…because he has caused me strife,” or the like, she is sent a messenger from the court, [who] tells her: “Take note. If you continue your rebellious conduct, you will forfeit your ketubah, even if it is worth one hundred maneh.”
Afterwards, announcements are made concerning her in the synagogues and the houses of study each day for four consecutive weeks,19 saying: “So and so has rebelled against her husband.” (Ishut 14:9)
Wives were expected to be ready and willing at all times… never using sex to manipulate:
She should not deny her husband [intimacy] to cause him anguish, so that he should increase his love for her. Instead, she should oblige him whenever he desires. (Ishut 14:18)
A man was expected to give a… um… “healthy” performance in the bedroom:
[The following laws apply when] a woman comes to court and claims that her husband cannot perform sexually in an ordinary way that will lead to the conception of children, or that he does not [release semen] as one shoots an arrow. The judges should try to arrange a compromise, telling the woman: “It is proper for you to conduct yourself with your husband [as follows]: Remain [married] for ten years. [If] you do not give birth, come to him with a claim at that time.” (Ishut 15:15)
They had an offensive secret to having a happy marriage:
And similarly, they commanded a woman to honor her husband exceedingly and to be in awe of him. She should carry out all her deeds according to his directives, considering him to be an officer or a king. She should follow the desires of his heart and shun everything that he disdains.
This is the custom of holy and pure Jewish women and men in their marriages. And these ways will make their marriage pleasant and praiseworthy. (Ishut 15:20)
I’m not saying we need to follow Jewish tradition. But the traditions are worth paying attention to since they are derived from Scripture. For all God’s rebukes against the Jews for going beyond what was commanded, being too occupied with sexual functions was not one of them.
Judging by the myriad of sexual problems we experience in our Greco-Roman culture, perhaps we could learn a few things from our Jewish counterparts.