Solomon’s Song of Songs

November 19, 2015

At ETS in Atlanta this afternoon I heard Dr. Tremper Longman III, professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and prolific author (including commentaries on the  Song of Solomon), lecture on the Song of Solomon. His view of the book is that it is an anthology of love poems, rather than a narrative with a plot; a collection of poems that both celebrate sexual love (within marriage) but also give warnings. It was an interesting lecture.

He read from Song of Solomon 4:3, which includes this compliment: “Your lips are like a scarlet thread, And your mouth is lovely. Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate Behind your veil.” You might want to remember this text when you wish to praise your wife for her beauty.

Pomegranate such as that referenced in Song of Solomon 4:3. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Pomegranate such as that referenced in Song of Solomon 4:3. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This pomegranate orchard is located near biblical Lachish.

Pomegranate orchard near Lachish in southern Israel. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Pomegranate orchard near Lachish in southern Israel. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

One of the geographical references in the Song of Solomon is found in 1:14, where the young woman/bride says, “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi.” Pictured here is a beautiful waterfall at Engedi, located on the west side of the Dead Sea.

Waterfall at Engedi. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Waterfall at Engedi. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

I have a previous post making a brief reference to the pomegranate here.

Click images for larger view.

You May Eat the Wild Goat

September 27, 2013

Under Mosaic legislation, Israel was given strict dietary guidelines. This was for a stated purpose: “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deut. 14:2, ESV). The dietary restrictions were but one means that YHWH used to mold His people into a holy nation and teach them that they were uniquely His.

Deut. 14:4 lists three domestic animals which could be eaten: “These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,” (This follows v. 3 which states, “You shall not eat any abomination.”)

Then v. 5 lists seven kinds of wild animals: “the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep.” “Some of these animals cannot be identified with certainty.” [1] One thing that obviously makes the text challenging is that three of the seven words are hapax legomena (words that appear only once in a document). The word usually translated “wild goat” (ya’el) is a different word than the one used here (aqqo).

ya’el is found in Psalm 104:18 “The high mountains are for the wild goats. . .”

Another interesting text: “When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, ‘Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.’ Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks” (1 Sam. 24:1-2, ESV). Note that the site of Engedi is the location of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. The word Engedi means “spring of a kid,” and is located on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The biblical “wild goat” is still frequently seen there today and is most often identified with the ibex.

Goat at Engedi. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Goat/Ibex at Engedi. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

See more on the wild goat in Ferrell Jenkin’s posts here and here.

Click on image for larger view.


[1] Christensen, D. L. (2001). Deuteronomy 1–21:9 (Vol. 6A, p. 291). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

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