The plight of Jerusalem (Jer 4:30-4:31)

“You!

O desolate one!

What do you mean

That you dress in crimson?

Why do you deck yourself

With ornaments of gold?

Why do you enlarge your eyes

With paint?

In vain,

You beautify yourself.

Your lovers despise you.

They seek your life.

I heard a cry

Like a woman in labor.

I heard a cry

Of anguish,

Like one bringing forth

Her first child.

This was the cry

Of the daughter Zion

Gasping for breath.

She was stretching out her hands.

‘Woe is me!

I am fainting

Before killers.’”

Jeremiah took on desolate Jerusalem that put on crimson dresses and golden ornaments. She painted her eyes to make them look larger. She was ready to party, but she beautified herself and gussied up in vain. In fact, her lovers wanted to kill her. Jerusalem was also like a woman in childbirth labor pains, much like a woman giving birth to her first child, which is always more difficult. She was gasping for breath. She stretched out her hands, realizing that she was fainting before her killers. Jerusalem was about to go down also.

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Another description of the female lover (Song 7:1-7:5)

Male lover

“How graceful are your feet in sandals.

O queenly maiden!

Your rounded thighs are like jewels.

They are the work of a master hand.

Your navel is a rounded bowl

That never lacks mixed wine.

Your belly is a heap of wheat,

Encircled with lilies.

Your two breasts are like two fawns,

Twins of a gazelle.

Your neck is like an ivory tower.

Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,

By the gate of Bath-rabbim.

Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,

Overlooking Damascus.

Your head crowns you like Carmel.

Your flowing locks are like purple.

A king is held captive in the tresses.”

This description of the female lover is not exactly the same as in chapters 4 and 6. Here she has graceful feet in her sandals with rounded thighs like jewels. Her navel was like a round bowl with mixed wines. Her belly was like a heap of wheat with lilies. Her two breasts were like fawns or gazelles. He seemed to know a lot about her body. Her neck was like an ivory tower. Her eyes were like the pools in Heshbon that was on the east side of the Jordan River. Heshbon had been the chief city of King Sidon of the Amorites as found in Numbers, chapter 21. These pools must have been famous as it became Israelite territory. This town also became known as Bath-rabbim. Her nose was like a high tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus. I am not sure how this is a compliment. Her head was like Mount Carmel. Her locks were purple here and not like a flock of goats as earlier described. Nevertheless, the king was held captive by them anyway.

Description of the female lover (Song 6:4-6:7)

Male lover

“You are as beautiful as Tirzah.

My love!

You are as comely as Jerusalem.

You are as awesome

As an army with banners.

Turn away your eyes from me.

They disturb me.

Your hair is

Like a flock of goats,

Moving down the slopes of Gilead.

Your teeth are

Like a flock of shorn ewes,

That has come up from the washing.

They all bear twins.

Not one among them is bereaved.

Your cheeks are                               

Like halves of a pomegranate,

Behind your veil.”

Once again we have another poem that is pretty much a repeat of the opening of chapter 4. Here the male lover also proclaims the beauty of his lover. However, he compares her to the two capital cities of Judah and Israel, Tirzah in northern Israel, Jerusalem in southern Judah. In fact, he says that she is awesome like an army with banners. Instead of commending her eyes that were like doves, he wants her to turn her eyes away because they disturb him. He repeats what was in chapter 4 about her hair, teeth, and cheeks. However, he does not repeat what he said earlier in chapter 4 about her lips, mouth, neck, and breasts. Once again he talks about her hair being like a flock of goats coming down the mountain of Gilead. These goats were happy twins, while Gilead was east of the Jordan River. Her teeth were like a flock of young sheep that had just been washed. Her cheeks, although covered with the veil, were like half pomegranates, a fruit that was popular in Babylon.

A description of the beautiful lady (Song 4:1-4:5)

Male lover

“How beautiful you are!

My love!

How very beautiful!

Your eyes are doves

Behind your veil.

Your hair is

Like a flock of goats,

Moving down the slopes of Gilead.

Your teeth are

Like a flock of shorn ewes,

That was come up from the washing.

They all bear twins.

Not one among them is bereaved.

Your lips are

Like a crimson thread.

Your mouth is lovely.

Your cheeks are                               

Like halves of a pomegranate,

Behind your veil.

Your neck is

Like the tower of David,

Built in courses.

On it hang a thousand bucklers.

All of them are shields of warriors.

Your two breasts are

Like two fawns.

There are twins of a gazelle,

That feed among the lilies.”

This male lover, either a shepherd or a king, describes his female lover by starting out saying how beautiful she is. Then he goes into a vivid description of her starting with her eyes that are hidden behind the veil that was common for unmarried women. They were like doves. Her hair was like a flock of goats coming down the mountain of Gilead. I am not sure how this was a complement. These goats were happy unblemished twins, while Gilead was east of the Jordan River. Her teeth were like a flock of young sheep that had just been washed. Her cheeks, although covered with the veil, were like half pomegranates, a fruit tree that was planted for domestic usage in Babylon. Her neck was like the tower of David since it had over 1,000 little shields on it. It is hard to image that many little trinkets around her neck. Her breasts were like twin young gazelles. I am not sure how he was able to make that comparison.