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Someone raised the following argument, claiming that the Bible, in the Song of Solomon, encourages pornography and premarital sex. He had me read some verses from the book, which I've listed below, and told me these verses are the main reason why the Song of Solomon is hardly ever preached in churches today, because of its explicit contents and descriptions.

"Dear brothers, I'm a walled-in virgin still, but my breasts are full— And when my lover sees me, he knows he'll soon be satisfied" (Song of Solomon 8:10).

"If only you were to me like a brother, who was nursed at my mother's breasts! Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me. I would lead you and bring you to my mother's house she who has taught me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the nectar of my pomegranates. His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me" (Song of Songs 8:1-3).

He claims these two verses show that the woman being spoken of was not married.

Another example:

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-- for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! Take me away with you let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers. We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine. How right they are to adore you!" (Song of Songs 1:2-4).

How should a Christian defend himself against this type of argument? Is there another interpretation of the Song of Solomon which refutes the claim that the Bible is in favor of premarital sex and pornography? If so, what is it? or better still what do these verses really mean?

closed as off-topic by Double U, El'endia Starman Feb 16 '15 at 2:16

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    I voted to close, not because this question isn't interesting or needs to be addressed by the christian community but because in this format, your question is asking for an opinion. It is not a question that can be answered and backed up with references. – The Freemason Feb 15 '15 at 19:03
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    @TheFreemason: According to the OP's last paragraph, he wants to know "how . . . [to] defend himself against this or are they [sic] other explanations to this book?" He's not asking for an opinion; rather, he's looking for a biblical answer. He deserves one. Don – rhetorician Feb 15 '15 at 20:39
  • I voted to close. This looks like a truth question. – Double U Feb 15 '15 at 22:50
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    I think it's an acceptable exegesis question. – curiousdannii Feb 16 '15 at 0:09
  • How should a Christian defend himself against this type of argument? -- I think this is the wrong question to be asking. The proper question is "What do these verses really mean?" – Flimzy Feb 16 '15 at 15:06
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No, what the heck!

Deuteronomy 22:28-29

28 ¶If a man find a damsel that is a avirgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

Does that sound to you like "encouraging"?

As to pornography, just look at how David got into a big mess that caused him much trouble with God:

2 Samuel 11:2

2 ¶And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he asaw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to blook upon.

Aaaaaaand, he commits adultery after that, and murder to cover up the adultery. Doesn't sound like encouraging looking at naked women that aren't one's wife (aka pornography). And of course what Jesus taught:

Matthew 5:27-28

27 ¶Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit aadultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever alooketh on a bwoman to clust after her hath committed dadultery with her already in his heart.

Of course you can say "oh he's not talking pre-marital here", but I tell you: you are on the wrong path here.

1 Corinthians 6:18

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Also, Song of Solomon 5:1 (KJV)

1 I am come into my garden, my asister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

The KJV has for 8:10

10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.

With the image being not necessarily virginity, as the verses before read:

8 ¶We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?

9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.

So, the image used here is buildings, and as we should probably assume the sister in question is a virgin, wall vs. door isn't necessarily about virginity.

As to verses 1 and 2, it is mostly about sucking breasts, I will now give a free translation to explain my understanding:

Verse 1: Oh that you would be like my little brother who sucks my mothers breasts = Suck my breasts. If I should find you without, I would kiss thee and no one would despise me = I want to kiss you, and no one would despise me, because you are my spouse

Verse 2: We go in a house and you suck my breasts.

The issue is really the second part of verse 1, but ask yourself: Does this really imply that they would be despised now for kissing in the open, and that him being like a little brother would change that, or that they would not be despised in the first place. Also, would married people kissing in the open be despised or not? Do you have enough knowledge of customs in these days to judge that? Does your friend have? As for me, I don't see the implication that something despicable is happening here.

  • just the kind of answer and defence i was looking for. Thanks everyone for your responses – danidee Feb 16 '15 at 15:01
  • Is the a, b, c spelling errors intentional? – One Face Feb 17 '15 at 1:37
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    @CRags No these were originally footnotes. – kutschkem Feb 17 '15 at 10:08
  • I don't really see the "suck my breasts" here, in fact I think you err greatly. Wine, oil, milk, and honey are always symbols of fertility and plenty in a land, that is her garden, which is representative of what? Her body? She says, "I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers." It can not be her body, unless she enjoys it herself and also invites her friends to enjoy it. What could it be... – Andrew Jul 3 '15 at 22:26
  • @Andrew Then write an answer with your interpretation, it would add to the discussion. – kutschkem Jul 4 '15 at 5:08
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When read without preconceptions, the Song of Solomon is certainly about the delights of premarital sex. Whether we say that it therefore encourages premarital sex depends on our interpretation of it.

Christians over the centuries has tended to insist that the Song is about marital sex, or at least extramarital sex with King Solomon (who seems to be exempt from moral criticism). This is the alternative interpretation, but it does not stand up to a careful reading of the text. Apparently, it was only in the Middle Ages that the great Jewish scholar, Rashi, lifted the veil and said that it was acceptable to read the Song of Solomon literally.

A brief summary of the text

The singer is portrayed as a farm girl and her lover as a shepherd. “Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has burned me. My brothers have been angry with me; they charged me with the care of the vineyards: my own vineyard I have not cared for (Songs 1:6).” They make love in the fields, and she calls him her king, pretending that the trees are a palace – “the beams of our house are cedars, our rafters, cypresses.”

In 2:1-7, she lies waiting for her lover, dreaming of his left hand is under her head and his right arm embracing her. Then she sees him coming, running across the hills like a gazelle (2:8-9). They are together until the shadows lengthen, and he is like a young stag on the mountains of Bether. The location of Bether within Israel is unknown, yet it seems the intended audience should have understood this reference. The etymology of the word relates to ‘cleft’ so, in context, it is plausible that it is a reference to the female mons veneris.

Through the eyes of her lover, we learn in chapter 4 how beautiful the female singer is and how earnestly he loves her. The last two lines are again from the girl, who (4:16) invites him into her ‘garden’ to enjoy her fruits. He lover responds in 5:1 – “I have come to my garden,” calling her sister and spouse.

The girl wishes that he were her brother, so that she could kiss him in public without being teased, and they would be together in the home of her mother (8:1-2). In 8:8, she speaks of her young, prepubescent sister and wonders what will happen when it is her turn to fall in love. Now she has no breasts, but the singer’s breasts are like towers. In 8:11-12, she seems to compare her virtue to Solomon’s vineyard. Solomon sold his produce, but her vineyard is for her ‘Solomon’ to enjoy. Just come quickly, my lover and be like a young stag on my mountain of spices (8:14).

  • The Scriptures do not disagree with each other. You have to take it as a whole and compare scripture with scripture to get the correct meaning. Taking a verse alone you can even prove the worst things are correct. – One Face Feb 17 '15 at 1:34
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    @CRags Thank you. Yes, that is something I very much agree with. – Dick Harfield Feb 17 '15 at 2:36

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