Troublesome Topic: The Words We Speak to Each Other

Song of Solomon 7:9


and may your mouth

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like the best wine,

that goes to my Love,

flowing softly

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over the


of those who languish.

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and may your ability to enjoy life bring us true happiness, which I express to the one I love, and which provides soothing comfort to those who willingly reveal that they are languishing in despair.

Song of Solomon 4:11


Your lips drip

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just like the honeycomb,

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my bride;

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milk and honey

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are under your tongue.

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The scent of your garments

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is like the scent of LEBANON.


When you speak to me it revives me, our discourse is sweet, my very dear one;

prosperity and abundance come when you speak.

What emanates from the visible part of your life

is PURE, elegant, beautiful and refreshing.

Song of Solomon 4:3


Your lips

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are like a ribbon

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of scarlet;

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your mouth is lovely.

Your temples

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behind your veil

are like a piece of pomegranate.

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Your words decorate our relationship with self-sacrifice;

what you say is pleasing to me [you don’t cut me down].

Your vulnerability, though

hidden from the sight of others,

is beautiful and sweet.

Song of Solomon 5:13


His cheeks

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are like garden terraces of balsam,

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like a huge mound of aromatic spices.

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His lips are like floral serendipities dripping with flowing myrrh.

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The way he protects me is most refreshing,

reviving my spirit.

His words to me are like beautiful and regal surprises;

they are abundantly healing and soothing.

The next lesson in Solomon’s Life and Writings is: I Offer Him My Nourishment

The next lesson in the topic Marriage Issues is: What Makes a Spouse Sexy?


1: “your mouth”

This word’s basic meaning is “palate.” Its emphasis is that of taste. We would argue that the palate does not do the tasting but the tongue does. However, for the ancient Jews, the tongue was already in use as a word picture referring to speech; to use tongue here would have changed the direction of the imagery.

2: “flowing softly”

The Hebrew word used here has the root idea of “to move slowly, or gently; to glide.” It is used of speech, and it is used of wine.

Re: the imagery: Here we see two parallel themes being employed. One is that of wine, with its idea of happiness or contentment, and the other is that of speech. Wine is mentioned previously, following this we have a reference to the lips, which refer to speech, and here in the middle we have this verb that can refer to either of the two—flowing wine or soft speech. This word, therefore, may serve as a hinge that connects the two ideas; or it may show us that both themes are overlapping in this instance. The soothing, soft speech of the happy one seems to have a positive impact on those who languish in despair.

3: “languish”

The root idea behind this word is “to be languid, stationary, stale, or inactive.” It can also mean “to sleep” or “grow old.” Those who translate it as “teeth” do so only because of context, but it is a big stretch.

Implications for life: The reason someone may “languish” and do nothing is usually not laziness but rather depression, deep emotional wounds or a sense of total failure. The Lesson in this verse is that it can be helpful for someone who has given up and checked out on life to see the example of a positive marriage and the happiness of a man and wife who have all their various needs fully met.

4: "drip"

It is no accident that this verb is used in conjunction with the lips. It comes from a root meaning “to ooze,” and it was used to communicate “dripping, speaking or prophesying.” It was a repeated action that was slow, consistent and persistent. It is employed elsewhere of the seduction of a prostitute who over and over again tries to seduce a man and finally succeeds. It sometimes carries the meaning of prophecy because God speaks to us over and over again in small messages; He does not give us the full load all at once because we could not handle it. While the imagery utilized here is a picture of honey, the imagery is applied to the tongue (meaning speech), and the verb used applies to both the tongue and the honeycomb.

The name Taphath comes from this word. That was the name of the older daughter born to Solomon by the Shulammite (according to my suppositions).

5: "honey"

The word “sweetness” does not occur in the Hebrew, instead the reader is required to assume something should be added, and that something is going to be that which the honeycomb drops or drips. Hebrew often leaves things unstated and the reader must figure it out from context. Here it is quite easy; your lips drip that same stuff that the honeycomb drips. There is only one possible answer—honey.

Re: the imagery: Sweetness is satisfying and revives the spirit. Think of the time when Jonathan ate just a bite of honey and “his eyes brightened” (I Sam 14:29).


Honey was a representation to them of sweet discourse. Honeycomb was the same symbol as honey.


The word Bride emphasizes the closeness of the relationship.


Milk and honey, when mentioned together, were a reference to abundance and prosperity, milk representing the basics and honey the sweet pleasures of life.


The tongue was the instrument of speech.


Garments, on the most basic level, are a covering. Therefore they are what people see of us. People got to know someone by their covering, their garment. They could also be a reference to that layer of protection against the elements which one carried with him always.


The term lips, like the mouth, has to do with words and speech. Notice that in calling both Isaiah and Jeremiah to be God’s spokesmen, God, or an angel, touched their lips.


A ribbon was used to decorate something. Sometimes a ribbon was braided into a woman’s hair to decorate it.


Scarlet was associated with blood and sacrifices. Self-sacrifice is a key element in every healthy marriage.

14: “temples”

The basic meaning of the word is “thin.” It can mean “temples” because they knew back then that the temples were the thinnest part of the skull. It could also mean “cheeks” because there too the protection is very thin, just a piece of skin. However, it is probably temples because there was another word for cheeks.


Pomegranates are a beautiful and colorful fruit, often mentioned in conjunction with the vine, the fig, and the palm, all of which symbolize prosperity and blessing. It was used prominently in the gold work for the temple Solomon built. Slices of pomegranate cause one to think of the color of the fruit inside, which is a strong pink color bordering on red. The inside is made up of hundreds of small seeds each surrounded by some of this reddish pulp. Even the inside of this fruit is very pleasing to the eyes. Being a fruit it combines sweetness with color; it appeals to the taste and to the sight.


Cheeks are associated with protection because they cover the teeth, which are an animal’s primary protective weapons.

17: “garden terraces of balsam”

Although “bed” is a viable option for translating this word, it brings to the mind of the English reader either the bed we sleep on, or a flower bed. Neither one is the correct mental image. A Garden terrace does bring to mind the correct mental image and is therefore the better translation, not for any fault of the Hebrew, but because of our modern uses of the word “bed.” The image used here is not just one small sample of balsam, or even one tree of balsam but of an entire terrace set aside for the purpose of growing balsam.

Although the word for balsam is sometimes translated “spices,” it has a specific meaning, that being “balsam.” Balsam is not one specific plant but refers to the resin extracted from a plant of choice. However, in the Bible, balsam is often associated with the “balm of Gilead,” although it may have been the resin from any number of trees. It appears that Balsam and the Balm of Gilead were used for skin conditions, for wounds and for pain relief.  The resin called balsam was very valuable, prized by Queen Esther, the queen of Sheba, and King Hezekiah. The Balm of Gilead had a fame all its own.

The image used here is not just one small sample of balsam, or even one tree for extracting balsam, but of an entire terrace set aside for the purpose of producing balsam.

The name Basemath, which I believe refers to the youngest daughter or Solomon and the Shulammite, occurs again in this word, but it is disguised because it lacks the feminine ending.

18: “mound”

The word used here can be, and often is translated “tower.” It can mean “tower, elevated stage, or raised bed.”


The Hebrew word I (and others) have translated “flowing” usually means “to pass over, pass through or pass beyond.” It conveys movement.

The importance of “flowing” for this imagery is that it must have a sufficient and constant supply in order for something to flow.

The name Taphath comes from this verb; it is the name of the girl that I suppose to be the oldest daughter of Solomon and the Shulammite. This is the only instance in the Song in which both girl’s names are found in close proximity.