It appears in chapter one before both the wedding in chapter three and the verse we looked at in chapter two.
Honestly, I can see how people could read this verse as part of the "Manual for Married Sex" approach to SOS. And I might also take this approach, if I wasn't aware that in chapter one they aren't married yet.
Song 1:13 My Beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh
Which lies all night between my breasts.
I must admit. When I began reading SOS, the first thing... Or I should say... The first two things that jumped out at me was the reference the Beloved made to her own breasts.
How can I help it. Our culture is obsessed with breasts. There are entire magazines that come out monthly completely devoted to breasts, especial large ones.
So I really cannot blame anyone else for seeing breasts as the most important word making the verse rather suggestive.
So, granted, on the surface and through the lens of our culture, this verse seems to be about breasts. And I can see how the take away understanding of this verse is sex, sex, and only sex.
But aren't there any other important words in this verse?
How about myrrh?
Myrrh is a pretty important word.
What is Myrrh doing in this verse? It must have a purpose or it wouldn't be there. Where have you seen myrrh before?
Even people completely unfamiliar with the Bible are aware that the Magi brought baby Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. Besides being real substances used in real worship in the real, earthly temple, they also have symbolic meaning that we will get into in a later post.
But for now just know that my Bible dictionary (Holman Master Study Bible) says myrrh is used as a healing stimulant. And feel free to look myrrh up for yourself.
So it appears that there may be allusions to healing in SOS 1:13.
But now, seriously. Do the Beloved's breasts need healing? What? Was she out in the sun working in the vineyard topless and got sunburned on her back and chest too?
I doubt it.
Yet there it is in SOS. She compares the Lover to a pouch of myrrh between her breasts.
This is where it is sometimes helpful to look just a little beneath the surface. What human organ is under the skin, behind the breasts of a woman?
That's right! The heart!
The presence and knowledge of the Lover that she keeps near her heart is a healing balm to her.
Does meditating on Jehovah Rapha bring healing to the heart of the believer? It does for me. And I would hope it does for others.
One last note before I wrap this up. To any Christian men who may have stumbled onto this site quite by accident. If you can gain anything from this post, remember this. A woman's heart is far more important and precious to God than both her breasts put together. You may be saying "duh, no kidding." But so often this "man's world" cares only for what is on the surface of a woman and makes her into an object. And this bleeds into church thinking. It is my fear that men, even well-meaning Christian men, can lose sight of the hearts of women and their need for healing because all they can see is what lies on the surface.
So also I caution all to not only look at the surface of SOS 1:13. There is so much more meaning to it than a "sex only" approach will allow.