Continuing with Dillow's book "Solomon on Sex" and the chapter
entitled "Solving Sexual Problems."
(Reflections #10, 11, 12, Song 5:9-6:13)
In the last chapter we found Shulamith and Solomon involved
in a frustrating problem in their physical relationship. In this
section we see how they begin to solve their problems, and in
Chapters 10 and 11 the ultimate solution unfolds.
Interestingly, the solution to their differences involved
assuming personal responsibility for the error rather than
focusing on the other's error.
Instead of dwelling on how thoughtless Solomon was to
continually approach her late at night, she began to work on her
inner attitudes. Instead of thinking how selfish Shulamith is in
rejecting him, Solomon concentrates on loving her unconditionally
and "giving blessing for insult."
In order for any problem to be resolved in marriage, both
partners must follow this pattern. What good is accomplished when
you continually resent your mate for his or her shortcomings?
When you and I stand before the judgment seat of Christ, He is
not going to ask how our mate treated us, but whether or not we
were faithful in assuming responsibility for our behavior. It is
God's responsibility to deal with an offending mate, not ours.
A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE
(Reflection #10, Song 5:9-6:3)
Shulamith has awakened from her dream-filled sleep the
following morning. Before awakening, Shulamith asks the chorus to
help her find her beloved. She wants him because she is highly
aroused sexually (5:8), feels guilty about another rejection of
Solomon (5:6,7), and wants to make amends. This address to the
chorus provides a transition into the next scene. It gives the
pretext for the chorus to ask two questions revealing Shulamith's
decision to work on her attitude.
The first question is found in 5:9: "What kind of beloved is
your beloved ..." The second is in 6:1: "Where has your beloved
The answer to the first question calls Shulamith back to the
nobility of her man and his physical attractiveness and
tenderness. Thus, she begins to focus her thoughts on his
positive traits and even his sexual appeal in order to increase
her own desire.
The answer to the second question, "Where has your beloved
gone.." leads her to realize that much of their problem is due to
the nature of the job he has, "pasturing the flock" (6:2) -
tending the sheep (the people of Israel). As she thinks on this,
she renews her covenant and finds assurance that he is totally
hers even though some things need to be resolved (6:3).
What kind of beloved is your beloved, O most beautiful
among women? What kind of beloved is your beloved, Thus
you adjure us?
What is the purpose of this question? It seems to be
specifically designed by the chorus to lead Shulamith to focus on
her husband's many good points. While there is pain at constant
separation, they want her to realize it is worth it all in view
of the excellent qualities of the man God has given her. The
question has the intended effect; in the following verses she
extols her beloved's virtues and expresses a relaxed acceptance
of the fact he is away on the business of state (6:2-3).
My beloved is dazzling and ruddy,
The description that follows has some rather sensuous
details that suggest she is reflecting on a previous lovemaking
episode with him and pictures him nude in her mind. Again, it
must be realized the daughters of Jerusalem are simply a literary
device used, in this case, to bring out the excellences of the
To be "dazzling" is to be handsome, and to be "ruddy" means
to have healthy, reddish cheeks.
Outstanding among ten thousand.
This is an expression of surpassing beauty.
5:11 SHULAMITH: His head is like gold, pure gold;
Beginning now with his head, she describes in matchless
imagery his shapely body. Gold connotes excellence.
His locks are like clusters of dates, And black as a
Solomon has beautiful black hair. Ravens are known for their
consistent ability to provide for their young. They are often
used in terms of God's providential care of His creation? She
sees Solomon as always watching out for her.
His eyes are like doves,
Beside streams of water,
Bathed in milk,
And reposed in their setting.
The dark iris surrounded by the gleaming white of the eye is
pictured as a dove bathing in milk
His cheeks are like a bed of balsam,
Banks of sweet-scented herbs;
The bed of balsam refers to the custom of perfuming the
His lips are lilies,
Dripping with liquid myrrh.
The lilies here are probably red lilies. The liquid myrrh
probably refers to the sweetness of his breath. Often sweet,
scented herbs were chewed to scent the breath or were mixed with
water to make a mouthwash.
His hands are rods of gold
His fingers are full and round.
Set with beryl;
His fingernails are transparently pink.
His abdomen is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
The abdomen refers to the covered part of the body. It is
white and smooth like ivory. To be like ivory means to be flat
and firm. Also to see the "white" part of the body is to view
that part which is normally shielded from the sun by clothing. It
appears she is daydreaming about her husband's naked body. The
reference to blue sapphires is difficult. It probably refers to
the branching blue veins under the white skin.
His legs are pillars of alabaster set on pedestals of
The phrase "legs" is often used of the upper part of the
legs. It denotes the loins (Gen.29:2; Exod.28:42; Dan.2:32) or
the part of the body where the legs begin to separate? They are
alabaster, strong and white like marble. They are set on feet
described as pedestals of gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
Choice as the cedars.
Lebanon speaks of majestic appearances. It was famed for its
fertility and beauty (Dent.3:25). The cedars were the tallest and
strongest of trees; so is her beloved outstanding among men. It
speaks of his strength and masculinity.
His mouth is full of sweetness.
And he is wholly desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.
This refers to the mouth as an organ of speech, not of
kissing. She is praising his tender speech. The thing that
appealed to her wasn't just his physical manliness (5;9-15), but
his tenderness and gentleness with her (5:16). Paul says God's
"lover" has these two characteristics.
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of
the church (Eph.5:23).
A man is supposed to be a "head," a leader, to his wife. But
at the same time Paul says,
The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have
seen His glory, the glory of the One and only Son, who came from
the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
The husband, then, is to be characterized by strength and
tenderness (Song 5:9-16); he is to be a leader and a lover
(Eph.5:23-25); and he is to be full of truth and grace (John
1:14). These are the basic characteristics of the male role as
revealed in the Bible. The Lord Jesus was a man of grace; He
cried in the presence of women, He made little children feel at
home with Him, and He demonstrated profound tenderness and
compassion. But He could also walk through an angry mob, refrain
from accusing His accusers, set His will like steel, and be
obedient unto death.
Many problems in marriages today go of these characteristics
out of balance.
Where has your beloved gone,
O most beautiful among women?
Where has your beloved turned,
That we may seek him with you?
The chorus is satisfied with the answer, and now a new
question is in their mouths. Its purpose is to focus Shulamith's
attention on the fact that the reason he cannot be with her now
is that he is involved in affairs of state. She is, therefore, to
remember the understanding she had before they were married and
to choose to reject the thought of self-pity she feels at not
having Solomon at her side as much as she would like.
My beloved has gone down to his garden,
To the beds of balsam,
To pasture his flock in the gardens
And gather lilies.
As discussed elsewhere (1:7; 2:16) this imagery refers to
Solomon's preoccupation with the affairs of state.
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies
Shulamith has come to inner peace. She is a kings wife. He
must be away on business, but she confidently asserts her belief
in his love for her. It is significant that Shulamith views her
husband as a shepherd who pastures his flock. Despite all of
Solomon's shortcomings, he makes her feel totally loved,
protected, and cared for. She sees him not only as Israel's
shepherd, but as her shepherd.
There are two outstanding characteristics of a shepherd that
are applicable here. He was a PROTECTOR and LEADER. Much can be
said about the protective qualities of the shepherd. *
His main task, other than providing for his flock, was
protecting them from robbers, animals, and weather. The
shepherd's staff, a stick five or six feet long which sometimes
had a crook at the end, was used in the way Western men use a
cane or walking stick. It is also used in handling the sheep.
Thus, when David writes in Psalm 23, "Thy rod and Thy staff, they
comfort me," he is saying the Lord's protection comforts him, and
he feels safe.
* All the following material on the protective qualities of the
shepherd are taken from Fred Wright's "Manners and Customs of
Bible Lands" (Moody, 1953).
Elements of protection embrace sacrificial labors of love.
The fact that the shepherd dedicated his life to his flock, even
to the point of losing his life, demonstrates emphatically his
care and concern for them. (Granted, he had a vested interest,
but don't husbands have a vested interest in pleasing their
wives?) A good husband must also be willing to "lay down his life
DAILY" for his wife. Laying down one's life daily in most cases
is more difficult than a once and for all physical death.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself up for her" (Eph.5:25).
Why? Because like begets like. When you say, "I willingly
sacrifice my wants for your wants," this produces a like response
in her. Perhaps that first this new task will evoke amazement,
curiosity, or a "how long will this last" attitude, but
eventually it evokes appreciation, thankfulness, and "I willingly
sacrifice my wants for your wants" too. Love begets love;
encouragement begets encouragement; concern, concern.
As a leader, the Eastern shepherds never drives his sheep as
does the Western shepherd. He LEADS THEM, usually going before
them. He may also walk by their sides an sometimes follow behind,
especially if the flock is headed for the fold in the evening
From the rear he can gather any stragglers and protect them from
wild animal attacks.
Several flocks are sometimes allowed to mix at a well or in
the same fold. When it becomes necessary to separate the flocks,
one shepherd after another calls out his own call. The sheep lift
their heads and, after a general scramble, begin following each
one after his own shepherd. They are thoroughly familiar with
their own shepherd's TONE OF VOICE. Strangers have often used the
same call, but their attempts to get the sheep to follow them
Jesus implied His sheep hear and follow only his voice when
He said, "The sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a
stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him; for they
know not the voice of a stranger" (John 10:4,5). The intimate
concern and care of the shepherd is the key reason the sheep
follow his voice. They know him and thus they TRUST his
leading (especially when he has proven trustworthy in the past).
To illustrate the intimate knowledge and concern a good
shepherd has for his sheep, we cite the following example.
One shepherd in the Lebanon district was asked if he always
counted his sheep each evening. He replied in the negative,
and then was asked how then he knew if all his sheep were
present. This was his reply: "Master, if you were to put a
cloth over my eyes, and bring me any sheep and only
let me put hands on its face, I could tell in a moment if it
was mine or not.
When H.R.P. Dickson visited the desert Arabs, he witnessed
an event that revealed the amazing knowledge some of them have of
their sheep. One evening, shortly after dark an Arab shepherd
began to call out one by one the names of his fifty-one mother
sheep, and was able to pick out each one's lamb and restore it to
its mother to suckle. To do this in the light would be a feat for
many shepherds, but this was done in complete darkness, and in
the midst of the noise of the ewes crying for their lambs, and
the lambs crying for their mothers.
But no oriental shepherd ever had a more intimate knowledge
of his sheep than Jesus our great Shepherd has of those who
belong to His flock. He once said of Himself: "I am the good
shepherd, and know my sheep" (John 10:14).
Most women want to be led. They do not want to be
browbeaten,treated as imbeciles unable to think or decide, or
coddled as children too immature to make decisions. That is not
leadership, but dictatorship, but only the haughty ego of the
Thus, Shulamith's "daydreaming" reveals two fundamental
attitudes helpful for the resolution of their sexual differences.
She first thinks of her husband physically as a means of
increasing her desire for him. She then thinks of the protective
care and security he has provided as her shepherd. So instead of
concentrating on his weaknesses, she concentrates on his
strengths. She assumes responsibility for her personal attitudes
and leaves Solomon's shortcomings in the Lord's hands.
THE RETURN OF SOLOMON
(Reflection #11, Song 6:4-10)
In the interlude between their problem (5:2-8) and its
solution (7:1-8:13), two fundamental attitudes are revealed. In
the proceeding reflection we see Shulamith concentrating on his
strengths. Now, in this reflection the poet directs us to another
crucial ingredient in resolving marital tension; we must learn to
respond to insult with blessing.
As this scene opens, Solomon returned. He praises her
beauty and gives her assurance of his exclusive love for her.
Consistently throughout the Song, Solomon is an excellent
example. Whatever tensions may have developed in their
relationship (5:4-6), they do not appear to affect Solomon's
expression of love and praise fro her.
Most husbands, when rebuffed after making a sexual overture
to their wives, tend to withdraw into a shell or react in a
"cutting" way. But Solomon demonstrates true love, always
responding properly, and lovingly demonstrates much patience and
confidence in the LORD to work things out.
You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
As lovely as Jerusalem,
Tirzah was an old Canaanite city famous for its beauty and
renowned as the royal residence of kings after Solomon died.
Shulamith is from a higher mountainous region of the North, and
Tirzah is located in the mountains of the North also.
As awesome as an army with banners.
Why is Shulamith as awesome as an army in full battle array?
Because she has exerted upon Solomon a fearful power with her
beautiful eyes that pierce his heart and vanquish all resistance.
Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have confused me;
One penetrating glance from her eyes causes Solomon's heart
to melt. Solomon then launches into a repeat of her beauties
expressed on the wedding night (4:1-7).
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead (see 4:1).
Your teeth are a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young (see 4:2).
Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil (see 4:3).
Note the fact that the praise Solomon gives her here is
almost exactly identical to that which he bestowed upon her on
their wedding night (4:1-3). In effect, Solomon seems to say,
"Nothing has changed. Regardless of how you respond toward me,
this does not affect the love I have for you. I still view you as
I always have, even though in some points your performance has
been up to the standards that I would desire."
To adopt this kind of attitude shows Solomon truly loves her
as Christ loves the church (Eph.5:25). Christ loves us
consistently regardless of how we perform. That does not mean the
Shulamite should not improve her performance if it needs
improving, just as we need to improve our performance in our
relationship to christ. But she should not be under a law to
perform in order to gain acceptance. Consider 1 Peter 3:7 in this
You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding
The verb translated "live with" is consistently translated in
Septuagint translation of the Old Testament as "have sexual
intercourse with" (Deut.22:13; 24:1; 21:13; 22:22; 25:5; Isaiah
62:5; Gen.20:3). The phrase "an understanding way" implies
acquiring knowledge and insight through a process of personal
investigation. Thus an interpretive and expanded paraphrase of
the verse might read:
You husbands likewise, have sexual intercourse with your wife in
a way that is based upon insight gathered from personal
investigation of her needs.
Then in this connection consider 1 Pet. 3:9:
Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a
blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that
you might inherit a blessing.
Part of having a sexual relationship with your mate in an
understanding way is not to respond with insult when hurt, but to
respond with blessing - with love and appreciation for his or her
strong qualities. Solomon's ego was undoubtedly severely slapped
when she refused love, but he reciprocated by praising her and
seeking her best instead of responding to insult.
Many husbands are concerned with how to get their wives to
be more sexual and aggressive. A sure way to hinder them is to
respond with insult when they do not perform the way they are
supposed to. This simply drives a wedge into the relationship,
ultimately leading to complete loss of interest on the wife's
part and causing greater sexual problems.
Note the promise in 3:10 to the husband and wife if they
For let him who means to LOVE LIFE and see good days refrain his
tongue from evil ...
If you want things to improve in your relationship, be sure
your response to any offense your mate gives in sexual matters is
honoring to the Lord.
Solomon continues his praise,
There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,
And maidens without number;
But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:
We have already discussed the matter of Solomon's polygamy
(Chapter 1). He may not have been a practicing polygamist at this
time. We know he inherited a harem from his father, David. The
passing on of the harem from king to successor has long been
observed. Roland de Vaux observes, "It appears that the kings
harem, at least in the early days of the monarchy used to pass
to his successor."
Thus Solomon may not have been sexually involved with these
many concubines until later in his reign, when we know he began
to degenerate into lustful polygamy. But whether or not he was
does not detract from the validity of the principles he teaches.
Furthermore, God has put His approval on the principles by making
the Song of Solomon a part of Scripture.
But what is the point of the comparison? He says she's
superior to all the queens and concubines in the empire. The
concubine in the ancient Near East had two basic functions. A
barren wife might have sons through her. But secondly, they were
for a man's "delight." Solomon comments on this in Eccles.2:8
where he says,
I heaped up for myself also silver and gold, and the peculiar
property of kings and of countries; I got men singers and women
singers; and the delights of the children of men: mistress and
The Hebrew word translated "delights" here refers to sexual
caresses and enjoyments of the pleasures of sexual love? It's the
same word used of Shulamith in Song 7:6, "How beautiful and
delightful you are" - skilled in giving sexually delightful
caresses. Thus, a concubine was a kind of mistress.
The twentieth century call girl would to some extent
parallel the concubine, except these modern-day "mistresses" have
abandoned the child-bearing aspect! They simply provide skilled
sexual pleasure. The business world is full of these immoral
young women. While the skills they supposedly have are common
knowledge, only a husband not satisfied at home or deprived
sexually by his wife would tend to be interested. If a man
doesn't have a "magnet" at home, he might look elsewhere! This is
what Paul warns against.
Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that
you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come a together again
lest satan temp you because of your lack of self-control (1
He implies if a husband and wife do not satisfy each other
sexually, both or one might be tempted by Satan to get that
satisfaction somewhere else! The best prevention for adultery is
complete satisfaction at home.
[While I have no problem with the understanding that concubines
could give and perform great sex, to liken them to modern "sex
for sale" ladies or in the closet mistresses, is a pure lack on
study on the truth of the matter. Concubines were WIVES, but
classified as "secondary" wives, whatever that portended in that
old society of B.C. days. The fact is they were still wives. This
I have shown in my study on this Website under the subject of
Polygamy. Dillow did not do his home-work and so his comments
here are at variance with the facts - Keith Hunt].
There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,
And maidens without number;
But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:
He is saying Shulamith is superior in every way to any
concubine of the empire. Even though Solomon may not have been
sexually involved with any of these women at that time, he knows
about their "skills" just as we hear today. Shulamith is superior
as a lovemaking partner. She is more "skilled" than any of them!
I'll never forget the message my wife heard by one of the most
godly Christian women I ever met. Her testimony has been written
in a number of books. She is the wife of one of the most
prominent evangelical leaders of our time and is a widely
sought-after speaker to women's groups all over the country. She
was speaking to a group of wives on the subject of sex in
In essence she said the following: "You know, girls, a
prostitute is skilled in all the techniques of giving sexual
pleasure to a man she does not even know or love. If they can do
that for a man they do not even know or love, just for money,
surely we should be even more skilled in giving sexual pleasure
to our husbands whom we do love."
Shulamith was superior to all would-be mistresses in her
husband's eyes-are you? Solomon said this was true of Shulamith,
and this book presents sex in marriage as the "flame of the Lord"
The same idea is implied in Prov. 5:1-23.
An Immoral Harlot
("Keep your way far from her," 5:8)
A Loving Wife
("Drink water from your own cistern" 5:15 "Rejoice in the wife of
your youth" 5:18 "Be exhilarated always with her love" 5:19 "Let
her breasts satisfy you at all times" 5:19)
Wives, are your husbands rejoicing in, being exhilarated by,
and being satisfied with your skill in making love? The contrast
of the temptation of a harlot with the love of a wife certainly
suggests a wife ought to have more to offer her man physically
than a professional mistress!
I would like to conclude this discussion by posing a
question for you wives to ask yourselves. Please do not think I
am advocating immorality when 1 ask you to ask it. But, if your
husband began to search out a mistress, would he select you?
Would you qualify - sexually, I mean? If not, then you might
consider a few changes.
Solomon has praised his wife above all the women in his
court. In the following verses he deals with some of the reasons
he praises her.
But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:
She 's her mother's only daughter;
She is the pure child of the one who bore her.
The phrase suggests she was her mother's favorite.
The maidens saw her and called her blessed
The queens and concubines also, they praised her,
Who is this that grows like the dawn,
"She outshines all others like the early dawn, which looks
down from heaven over the mountains down to the earth," Zockler
As beautiful as a full moon,
As pure as the sun,
She had blazing radiance. Arabic poets frequently compared
feminine beauty to the sun and the moon.
As awesome as an army with banner. (See 6:4)
SHULAMITH IN THE GARDEN
(Reflection #12, Song 6:11-13a)
In this section Shulamith takes her leave of Solomon and
goes to a garden on the palace grounds for meditation. Previously
she had two problems: (1) guilt at refusing Solomon's advances
and (2) a desire to see the countryside once again. Solomon's
lavish praise assuring his acceptance of her just as she is has
dealt with the first problem. Only one remains--a desire to
return to the country she left.
The logical connection of this scene to the preceding verses
seems to be it is the answer to the question raised in 6:10 ("Who
is this that grows like the dawn?"). Shulamith's answer, as the
scene will reveal, is that she is a country girl in the palace of
a king, one whose soul is craving to visit the Lebanon mountains
The scene involves a dialogue with the imaginary chorus.
I went down to the orchard of nut frees
To see the blossoms of the valley,
The passage suggests the springtime once again, Perhaps her
thoughts went back to Solomon's springtime visit during their
To see whether the vine had budded
Or the pomegranates had bloomed.
Before I was aware, my soul set me
Over the chariots of my noble people.
This is the most difficult verse in the book to interpret
Although interpretations differ tremendously, it seems that we
must take verse 13 into account, ("Come back, come back, O
Shulammite"), implies Shulamith is entertaining the thought of
leaving the palace.
The thought seems to be this: Shulamith is in the garden
quietly meditating on the beauty around her and thinking of home.
Gradually her thoughts begin to drift back to life in the palace.
She thinks of the lonesome hours she spends waiting for Solomon's
attention and often feels alone and forsaken, a country girl in a
As she is absorbed in her thoughts, the sound of a chariot
bounding along a distant road breaks the hush of the morning.
Suddenly the desire comes upon her to get in one of the chariots
and flee the palace. The text makes it quite clear that she does
not do so, but her "soul set her over (in) the chariots" - her
heart longed to be in one. She is not thinking of forsaking
Solomon; rather it is a sudden impulse to flee to the country she
loved. The chariots of her noble people refer to the chariots
which belong to the retinue of the court.
Come back, mine back, O Shulamite
The chorus calls her longing heart back to reality by saying
"Come back," psychologically speaking, four times. This is the
first time the word SHULAMMITE is used in the book. without doubt
the word is the feminine form of "Solomon." It suggests she is
the "other-part of" solomon. she is one flesh with him. that
realization brings her thoughts back to her lover and her desire
to make love with him.
Come back that we may gaze at you
Of shepherds and sex
A shepherd is a protector and a leader. As a husband, are
you? If you are not and you find your wife is not particularly
responsive sexually, it could be related to these factors. The
number one concern of men, according to one survey, in their
sexual relationship with their wives, is that their wives are not
aggressive enough. This survey indicates that 19 percent of
Christian husbands (that's one out of every five men who read
this book) complain of their wife's lack of interest in sex.
Have you considered the relationship between your leadership and
her loving? Let me explain.
God has obviously set up a line of authority in all spheres
of human existence (family, church, government). He has done so
for good reason. No one can carry all the responsibility. Thus,
the person over you in your job does not require you to shoulder
his responsibilities as well as yours. Yet, too many wives are
bearing responsibilities God never intended them to carry. For
example, in your family, who carries the emotional burden for how
your children turn out? Who carries the emotional burden for
their discipline? According to the Bible, she is not to carry
that burden; you and I are! (Eph.6:1-4)
The thing that makes the chain of command work is its
capacity to absorb shock. Something is always going wrong in
life. Does that something always crash in on your wife, or is it
intercepted and absorbed by you?
This works in the business world. A firm on the West Coast
recently received a number of awards for outstanding business
achievement. Yet, in their everyday workings, they violated many
basic principles of sound business management. An examination
into the inner working revealed that the reason for this firm's
success was three men. These men were shock absorbers. Every time
financial collapse, business reversal, personal problem, or legal
hassle threatened the firm, these men absorbed the shock. As the
shock waves began to wind their way down the chain of command,
they ran smash into these three men and stopped!
As a result, the employees underneath them came to work free
from worry and pressure. They didn't have to absorb the pressures
of their supervisors and they therefore produced to their
Your wife is like one of those employees. When the shock
waves of life's reversal come crashing in on your family, if
there is a man there to absorb them and to provide a protective
shield, she is emotionally released to be a woman. I'm not saying
you shouldn't ever share your problems with her. You should share
them all with her. She is a joint heir of the grace of life. One
of the reasons you married her was because she was a source of
strength. The issue is, how do you share your problems?
Do you do it in a depressing, defeated, and complaining way that
simply burdens her with not only her sphere of problems but now
yours too? Or do you do it like this, "Honey, we've really got
some things we need to trust the Lord for, I've been laid off,
and there are no job prospects and no money. Right now I have no
idea what we are going to do, but I know that God has a purpose
in it, and I'm really looking forward to what He is going to do.
Let's pray and trust this situation to him."
Thus, instead of dumping the problem on her and asking her
to prop you up, you've asked her to join you in trusting the
problem to the Lord. What makes the difference is your attitude.
We're not saying you have to be the strong silent type that
smiles as he leads his troops into battle with both legs shot
off, but if you are continually whining and communicating
weakness to her, she can't be expected to follow your lead with
much confidence in bed or anywhere else.
If you are a protector and a leader, if you assume personal
responsibility for that home and for her welfare and happiness,
if you assume responsibility for the kids, the bills, the
family's future, its goals, you are a shepherd like Solomon.
Furthermore, you are creating an atmosphere in which she feels
secure and trusting. You are creating a climate that makes her
feel she can trust in you and rely on you.
How is being a shepherd related to sexual love?
In a massive study of 500 women covering five years, Seymour
Fisher came to some startling conclusions about one of the most
common sexual problems among women - inability to experience
orgasm. Some studies have indicated that as many as 40 percent of
American women married twenty years or more have never
experienced orgasm. In a study I conducted of some 158 women, 39
percent indicated they experienced orgasm "sometimes, rarely, or
One of the common characteristics of a large percentage of
non-orgasmic wives in Fisher's study was feelings about loss.
"Overall, there was enough evidence to suggest that a woman's
ability to reach orgasm is tied to her feelings about loss.
apparently, the more she feels that she cannot depend on being
able to hold the people and things she values, the more limited
is her orgasm capacity."
Recently I heard a good illustration. A man up on the roof
is trying to fix his TV antenna. Suddenly it begins to rain, and
as he struggles with the guy wires, he slips. He begins to tumble
down the roof, makes a last ditch effort and grabs the drain
trough. He is hanging from the edge some three stories up, and
his fingers begin to give way. Desperately he struggles to hold
on, but his strength is almost gone. Not knowing what else to do,
he looks up into the sky and asks, "Is there anyone up there who
can help me?" Sure enough, a little cloud forms and parts in two,
and a voice booms out from behind the cloud, "Believe and let
The man hangs there staring blankly into the heaven for
about thirty seconds and then shouts, "is there anyone else up
there who can help me?"
Before that man will "believe and let go," he wants to know
the voice can back up its command. He wants to know someone will
be there to catch him before he hits the ground. He wants a sense
of trust and confidence in the "somebody."
The same situation applies to a wife as she moves towards
orgasm. Men and women tend to conceptualize sexual intercourse in
slightly different ways. A man tends to think of intercourse as a
taking or a possessing. A woman man, on the other hand, tends to
see it as a yielding, a giving of herself. Thus for her to be
totally free, she must feel secure in the permanence of your love
and the security of your relationship with her.
As she is moving towards orgasm, the sexual tension develops
gradually to a point where there is a blurring of perceptual
reality. As objects become hazy she may picture the relationship
"slipping away." To yield totally is like "Believe, and let go."
Perception is fading and she now must "let go." Yield. If there
is any insecurity or lack of trust in the marriage relationship,
she may subconsciously pull back and cannot "let go" as
perceptual reality darkens. She transfers her lack of security
and permanence in the relationship outside the bedroom into the
bed itself, and it sets up a mental block that keeps her from
moving to climax.
This by no means the only reason women do not achieve
orgasm, but it appears to be a major one. I know many men who are
wonderful "shepherds" whose wives have never experienced an
orgasm; however, all too frequently the problem is rooted in a
lack of a trusting and secure relationship.
She wants to feel you are a man ... that you will protect
her, lead her, and take care of her forever. If you communicate
indifference, weakness, or deliberate insensitivity you can upset
the balance of her emotional mechanism. Thus, sexual problems are
usually relationship problems and not just the woman's problem.
"Why don;t you go see a doctor and find out what's wrong with
you?" some husbands ask. There is nothing wrong with her in most
cases; there is something wrong with your relationship, and that
is just as much your fault as hers.
One well-known sexual treatment clinic has come to a
dogmatic conclusion that there is no such thing as a woman with
the problem of "frigidity." There are only marriage relationships
with the problem of frigidity. The relationship is the problem,
not the woman!
Edgar Rice Bourroughs had the right idea about male-female
relationships when he told the Tarzan stories. An ape-man in the
jungles of Africa was raised by some gorillas. One day a woman
named Jane (Ph.D.in something), came into Tarzen's world, and he
married her. Tarzan knew what he wanted, and Jane knew what she
wanted - Tarzan. She may have had a Ph.D., but Tarzan called the
shots. Once they got that straightened out, they had a swinging
time together! He offered security, strength, and protection!
A love affair with your husband's body
Shulamith has a love affair with her husband's body. She
daydreams erotically of his physical manliness. She has a problem
getting her sexual desire up to Solomon's, so one way she raises
it is to think sexual thoughts about her husband during the day.
Shirley Rice speaks of having a "holy lust" for your husband.
Shulamith did (Song 5:9-16).
Do you think about your husband sexually or do you just
think of "what a nice guy he is"? Do you think of how great it is
to make love with him, or do you think of him as "that wonderful
father and provider"? It is perfectly "holy" to think erotic,
sexual thoughts about your husband during the day. It's in the
Too frequently women who cannot climax tend to view their
husband's genitals as separate from their husband as a person.
They would never daydream about their husband's body as Shulamith
did; it seems repulsive to them. This is a major cause of
orgasmic dysfunction. You are to consider his genitals as part of
him as a person. You are to consider his semen as life, his life!
This is easy to grasp in connection with conception and
pregnancy, but not in regard to sex.
Three basic attitudes for solving problems
This series of three reflections reveals three basic
attitudes adopted by Shulamith and Solomon in the interim between
the beginning of the sexual problems and their solution. These
attitudes are crucial for the resolution of all marital problems
FIRST, there is the assuming of responsibility for one's own
behavor instead of blaming the mate.
The SECOND basic attitude necessary for problem-solving is to
render a blessing when hurt or offended by one's mate (1 Peter
The THIRD basic attitude revealed here is a complete and
transparent communication of one's real feelings. To suggest
marriage problems can be solved by simply assuming responsibility
for one's own behavior and responding with a blessing is quite
simplistic and can lead to suppression of negative feelings. It
is vitally important that all negative feelings be freely and
totally vented. even anger should be fully expressed.
The Scriptures admonish us to "be angry but sin not" (Eph.
4:26). I think this means our anger is never to dissolve into
personal attacks, bitterness, or name calling. An "explosion" of
pent-up tensions in a marital relationship can often have a very
healthy effect. If you have been hurt by your mate, by all means
express your hurt and reveal your feelings. How else can he work
on the problem unless he knows specifically what it is? On the
other hand, continual nagging and criticism is counter-
Make your feelings known and strive for a few "reminders" as
possible, trusting god to work changes. If there seems to be no
response, professional help should be considered before
communication lines become so frozen that it becomes impossible
to find release in the relationship.
The two lovers of the Song are well on their way to
resolving some of the problems they encountered in regard to
sexual compatibility. The first step in the direction of a
solution involved a change of attitude. Now, in the following
reflection, a change of action is apparent as Shulamith
aggressively takes the initiative in their loveplay.
1. The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, ad. Arthur
Buttrick, four Vols. (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962), 4,13.
2. Rant Delitzsch, "Song of Songs" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
3. Otto Zockler, "The Song of Solomon" Lane's Commentary, 12
Vols.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960 [orig. ed. 1872], V. 107.
4. Fred Hartley Wright, "Manners and Customs of Bible Lands"
5. Delitzsch, p.109.
6. Roland de Vaux, "Ancient Israel" (New York: McGraw-Hill,
7. Inerpreters Dictionary of the Bible, 1, 666.
8. Translation by Delitzsch, p.238.
9. Zockler, "Ecclesiastes," P.56.
10. Zockler, "Song," p.111.
11. H. R. Rowley,"The Meaning of the 'Shulamite,'" " The
American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literature, 56
(January, 1939), 84-91.
12. Christian Family Life Marital Information Survey, 1974.
14. Seymour Fisher, "Understanding the Female Orgasm," p.74.