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In Praise of Enduring Love (1 Kings 11:1-8, Song of Songs 8:5-14)

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Presentation on theme: "In Praise of Enduring Love (1 Kings 11:1-8, Song of Songs 8:5-14)"— Presentation transcript:

1 In Praise of Enduring Love (1 Kings 11:1-8, Song of Songs 8:5-14)

2 Stephanie Paulsell on our cultural confusion about the body

3 Sheet music

4 Voices of the Song  A woman, a man (or two men), and a group of women, the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’  The Song moves constantly between the literal and the poetic  The woman opens and closes the Song, and her voice is dominant throughout  Like the book of Esther, also set in an oriental harem, God is not even mentioned in the Song

5 Varieties of Interpretatio n Spiritualise or allegorise Literalise or eroticise

6 Contextualise the Song If the ‘chorus’ of Jerusalem women are the courtesans of Solomon’s harem, and there are two male voices in the Song not just one, the purple passages become the advances of the lascivious king, not the voice of the Shulammite’s lover The Reformed scholar Calvin Seerveld sees the Song as a love poem set in the context of sexual harassment and abuse of power

7 Young Solomon The young King prayed for wisdom, built and dedicated a magnificent temple, was sought out for his wisdom and spoke hundreds of proverbs. Under his rule Israel reached its greatest territorial expansion

8 From polyamory to polytheism Many of Solomon’s marriages were dynastic arrangements Initially he maintained some propriety, but showed a chauvinistic attitude to women ‘He had seven hundred wives of royal birth & three hundred concubines, & his wives led him astray’ (1 Kings 11:1-8) From wooing many women he began worshipping many gods

9 A gripping oratorio of attempted seduction Most of its eroticism is in the setting of Solomon’s harem There is less of the erotic in the relationship of the young couple

10 A beautiful coming-of-age story of a young couple caught up in larger events  A daring country girl successfully defends her virginity against a randy oriental monarch accustomed to satisfying his every sexual whim  She is every bit as bold as Queen Esther standing up to the Persian despot Xerxes when her race was threatened with genocide  The Ultimate Song is a love-song in praise of enduring love  Shu’s lover pokes fun at Solomon’s harem: ‘The thousands are yours, Solomon! My vineyard is for me alone!’ (8:12)

11 A Resource for Lovers SoS 8:7: ‘Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.’

12 Save our Sexuality SoS 2:7 ‘Do not arouse or awaken love till love comes naturally.’ Don’t stir up love before its time

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