Chapter 3

Daydreams of Love During Dinner


12       “While the king was at his table,

          My perfume gave forth its fragrance.


            We move forward in time to the scene of a dinner being served. The king is obviously having difficulty focusing on the task at hand. Snatches of his fiancee’s spikenard perfume keeps assailing his nose. Meanwhile, our heroine begins to daydream.


13       “My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh

          Which lies all night between my breasts.

14       “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms

          In the vineyards of Engedi.”

myrrh.jpgMyrrh Bush
myrrh2.jpgDetails of the Myrrh Plant
myrrh3.jpgMyrrh Resin

            Perfumes in those days were prepared and used in a variety of ways. One method was to place herbs in a pouch, which was then hung on a cord around the neck so that the pouch was nestled between the woman’s breasts. The warmth of the environment caused the aromas to waft through the room.

            In the young woman’s daydream, she looks forward to the time when she can lie as close to her beloved as her perfume sachet does each evening.

            The phrase “my beloved” is the young woman’s favorite way of referring to her fiancee. When we find this phrase, we know that the woman is speaking and not Solomon.

            You can almost see her dreamily gazing at Solomon thinking how handsome he is. She compares him to the fragrant blossoms on a henna bush growing in the oasis of Engedi.

henna.jpgHenna Blossom
engediwaterfall.jpgWaterfall at Engedi

The Engedi was a fertile area on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The area surrounding the Engedi is desert country, which makes the oasis stand out as even more desirable. In the same way, she sees Solomon stand out among those around him as a blossoming bush in an oasis stands out against the desert surrounding it. The reference to fertile land is used to convey her sensual desire for Solomon.


Questions:


1) How does proper grooming affect courtship?

2) Are desires only limited to men? How do women’s desires differ from men’s?

3) Why do people in love see a strong contrast in their loved one when compared to all others?