Is Jesus the rose of Sharon? I hope not.

Many hymns refer to Jesus as the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley. Commentators wax poetic when linking the fragrance, the delicateness, the beauty of these flowers to our Lord. Although it is pretty to think of Jesus being the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley, is this really what the author of the Songs had in mind when he penned it? It’s doubtful.

When is a rose not a rose? When its a crocus.

First of all, this flower (translated rose in many English versions) was most likely a type of crocus, or literally a meadow saffron; a bulb flower. So, the picture and props presented by the idea of a rose fails when applied to Jesus from this context. A rose is not historically correct.

The context is feminine.

Then, there is the gender to consider. A young girl depicts herself as spring flowers growing in mass across the plains and lowlands of Israel.

“I am a spring crocus blooming on the Sharon Plain, the lily of the valley,” she says.

I believe she is fishing for a compliment! In other words, “I am a humble girl. I’m nothing special.”

Her lover complies. “Like a lily among thorns! You stand out above all the others. There is no one like you!”

Commentators anxious to apply everything in the Old Testament to Christ and the church, didn’t get the gender sorted out on this one. In the New Testament, Christ is a male bridegroom and the church is considered the female bride. So, if this piece of love poetry must be churchified, then at least call the church the rose or lily, and not Christ.

Ancient pillow talk: flowers, trees, and fruit. (Wink, wink)

Frankly, I believe we do a disservice to the church and Christian marriages by “cleaning” up the innuendo found in Songs with application to Christ and the church. The book is risque and suggestive. It is meant to be. I stand with Lewis and Chesterton in the assertion that God is sexy. I invite you to read between the lines as the speaker intended when she said them. I put the expanded Hebrew meaning in brackets beside the words to help you grasp the eloquence in her words.

After receiving the compliment she desired, the young woman exclaims, “And you are like a tree dripping with fruit among the trees [also bone, staff, hard wood] of the rugged forest [also honey oozing from honeycomb]. You are better than all the others! I recline [could be expectantly waiting or idling] in your shadow [also used for something fleeting or transient] with pleasure. Your fruit [result of labor with the idea of offspring] is sweet to taste [or in my mouth].”

Application to Christ is speculative, how about applying it to wives?

And here is the heart of the matter. We have wasted and misapplied this passionate portion of God’s inspired word on Christ. How much more appropriate and practical to apply it to our marriages and instruction for marriage? Putting the good book to good use.

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6 thoughts on “Is Jesus the rose of Sharon? I hope not.

  1. No doubt the crocus is feminine. To say that a woman is a lily is to recognize beauty in the world. If flesh is “sexy,” what is the source of desire? What is the source of beauty? The New Testament’s answer is that the source of life is the Word or Christ. God became flesh via a woman; the body is good, women are beautiful, because Christ is the source and sustainer of all flesh. In so far as what is meant by the lily of the valley and the rose of Sharon is beauty, Christ is the flower in that he is the source of the beauty of all flesh. Fleshly beauty is not an end in itself. As you say, it is God, ultimately, who is lovely (neither Chesterton nor Lewis nor the Bible ever used the word sexy, a very un-sexy word).

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  2. I have a big problem with Jesus being called “the rose of Sharon.” Jesus is the groom, not the bride. I believe the problem started with someone not being able to face the fact that the Song of Solomon is about sex in marriage. The problem continues because someone wrote it down and there are too many leaders who rely on their commentaries instead of on the Holy Spirit to interpret scripture. Let’s toss the commentaries and lexicons into the garbage where they belong and stick with sola scriptura. Also, there is no where in the Bible that Eve is called Adam’s help meet. She is “an helpe, meet for him.” according to the 1611 version. In old English, “r’s” and “h’s” were not pronounced. She is a helper, suitable for him.

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    1. you are probably aware of this, but for those who are not…I like to read all of Eph before i read Eph 5:22-33 becasue the teaching of how husband and wife should treat one another begins with: “Be ye ‘equal’ one to the other…” and then it goes on to explain how woman is to submit to her own husband ‘as she submits to the Lord’ and the man is to love the woman as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it…When loved to that degree submitting would be one to the other, no pride and ego involved, as when one submits to the Lord it is with respect to the fact we are assured HIS will for our lives comes from the deepest sense of the meaning of love…

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    2. The song of Solomon is about Solomon, not by him, and its about his oppression. The girl is in love with her shepherd boy, but Solomon stole her and forced her to be in his harem. So while Solomon does his business, she daydreams about being rescued by the shepherd boy her true love. Solomon was a rapist, and this is some woman’s protest against it.

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