(Song of Solomon 5:4)
4My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
Ah yes. What’s a good book without some romance? Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were having a romantic moment with the object of my affection and the aforementioned object of my affection informed me she just had a bowel movement, I’d probably not feel particularly complimented. (Ladies: Might I suggest trying this “line” on your next date and reporting back to me on the response you get?) Upon further investigation, however, we learn that King Solomon’s women were not necessarily any...uh...kinkier than most, but rather, probably had a poor grasp of anatomy. We aren’t necessarily any better informed today. We sometimes use the term “guts” to refer to any internal organ, or “gut” specifically to refer to the intestines. The woman in the story with the bowel movement could have been experiencing anything from a flutter in her heart to acid reflux. The flutter in the heart is probably the more appropriately romantic interpretation. The Song of Solomon is full of imagery that could be easily misinterpreted in the wrong cultural context. Here is an example:
Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus. (7:4)
I know from personal experience that nothing will make a woman’s bowels move like informing her that her nose looks like the tower of Lebanon. I read this passage to my wife on a regular basis. She rewarded me with four children, despite this. Before the age of rhinoplasty and liposuction, a long, straight nose was the hallmark of female pulchritude, at least in the Middle East. In modern day vernacular, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” In fact, we find that women drew special attention to the nose, as in this story of Isaac’s prospective wife:
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels. (Genesis 24:22)
A beka is about a fifth of an ounce, which is a fair- sized chunk of metal to be hanging on one’s snout. So obviously women didn’t try to hide the fact that they actually had noses. In fact, the more nose, the more gold you could hang on it. Logical enough. Now, let’s revisit the first clause of the original verse in question:
4My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door...
No; on second thought, let’s not. There’s no conceivable interpretation of this that would allow this blog to retain its “G Rating.”
Causes Eric Nichols Supports
Free Burma Rangers, Partners Ministries (Thailand), Literacy council of Alaska, Access Alaska.