Troublesome Topic: I Offer Him My Nourishment

Song of Solomon 1:13


The love of my life is to me like a pouch

Go to footnote number

of myrrh

Go to footnote number

that spends the night between my breasts.


He likewise is constantly healing and lifting me up every time I offer him my nourishment.

It is clear that breasts were seen by the people of Solomon’s day as a symbol for nurturing and nourishment, and they were not afraid to talk that way. Here we see that wonderful balance of him meeting her needs while she strives to meet his. That is the way marriage was intended to be, not a selfish search for stimuli, but a selfless giving of one’s self. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 7:4, “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband…The husband’s body does not belong to him alone but to his wife.” Seeking sexual satisfaction outside of God’s design, through porn or sex outside of marriage, does not satisfy, rather it leaves one hungry for more, but hungry in a negative way. Within God’s design, sexual intimacy is fulfilling, rewarding, and refreshing.

The nourishment that a man needs is more than just the meeting of his sexual needs. This is true despite the one-track-mind which many of us men possess.

To us it is amazing that such a reminder and admonition toward balance would come from the use of the term “breasts.” For us it is awkward to speak of human body parts in a “church setting,” so the use of this word makes us uncomfortable. In fact, our discomfort over the book of Song of Solomon is due largely to the frequent use of the word “breasts.” However, the use of this word in the Song, rather than being a sexually charged image, highlights all of a husband’s needs. It is a term of balance, placing sexual issues in proper perspective.

We live in a highly sexualized culture in which everything sexual is glorified. Yet at the same time, sex has been cheapened, brought down to the lowest level, made the stuff of crude jokes. So we need to see God’s perspective on sex to help us find the right balance. Our culture makes sex an end in itself, and separates it from the hard work of maintaining a close relationship in which each one strives to meet the other’s needs (all types of needs); the Song does not make sex an end in itself, but one part among many. In our culture sex is a selfish act, in God’s design sex is a selfless act. We would do well to learn from this poem what is truly important.

The next lesson is: Like a Meadow Flower



A “pouch” is constantly with the wearer, regardless of what is in it. It thus becomes a symbol of constancy.


Myrrh was seen as refreshing because it promotes healing in several ways. However, its taste is very woody and somewhat bitter. The Hebrew word for myrrh even means bitter. Nonetheless, the people of that day enjoyed its healing qualities without concern for its bitter taste. (see glossary for more possibilities, but reviving is the one that fits the Song the best).