BOOK OF HAGGAI:  Background Information

AUTHOR:

Nothing is known of Haggai’s life or background. He appears on the biblical scene without introduction and disappears just as quickly. Haggai (Hebrews, “feast of Yahweh”) may have been born on a special feast day and thus given this name to commemorate that event. According to ancient Jewish tradition, Haggai saw Solomon’s temple before the Exile (Haggai 2:3) and so was quite old as he returned to the Land. Ancient Christian tradition holds that Haggai was born in exile and was young when he returned to Jerusalem. Others believe that Haggai never went into exile but instead stayed in the Land. In any case, Haggai was well acquainted with the situation of his day and spoke with such effectiveness that the people were moved to action. Haggai was a contemporary of Zechariah (Ezra 5:1, 6:14), although neither prophet mentioned the other.

DATE:

All utterances in this prophecy are given specific dates in the year 520 B.C.; so Haggai’s recorded ministry lasted only four months. The compilation of the prophet’s oracles may have been done in that year or at a later time.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Setting: In 539 B.C., Cyrus, king of Persia, decreed that all exiled Jews could return from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild that devastated city and the temple of the Lord. This decree by Cyrus is corroborated as authentic by extrabiblical sources such as the Cyrus Cylinder, now housed in the British Museum. Enough people returned for the rebuilding project to proceed. However, due to opposition by the Samaritans, work on the temple ceased after the foundation was laid (536 B.C.). The city and temple remained in ruins. By 520 B.C., a new king, Darius I, brought stability to the Persian Empire and to Judah as well. This new political situation allowed the work of rebuilding Jerusalem to resume. In 520 B.C., Haggai encouraged the people to resume the building.

Purpose:

Haggai admonished the people to obey the Lord by rebuilding the temple. Haggai also announced renewed promises for the future.

Audience:

Haggai’s message was directed specifically to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah; to Joshua, the high priest; and to the Jewish community that had returned from the Exile.

Literary Characteristics:

Haggai, the second shortest book of the Old Testament, is concise and simple in style. Rhetorical questions are used repeatedly (Haggai 1:4; 2:3, 12, 13, 19). Affirmation that Haggai’s words are the words of the Lord is repeated about thirty times.

THEME:

The Jews returning from the Exile needed reassurance that they were still God’s people and still in covenant with Him. Haggai provided hope for the future in his message reaffirming God’s covenant, His choice of Jerusalem as the place where His name would dwell forever, and His eternal promise concerning David’s throne.

Haggai 1

A Call to Build the House of the Lord
1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak,[a] the high priest:

2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.

13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.

The Promised Glory of the New House
In the second year of King Darius,

Haggai 2

1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak,[a] the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Blessings for a Defiled People
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”

The priests answered, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”

“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”

14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on[b]—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.

“‘From this day on I will bless you.’”

Zerubbabel the Lord’s Signet Ring
20 The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.

23 “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Song of Songs 8 

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.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Friends

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
    leaning on her beloved?

She

Under the apple tree I roused you;
    there your mother conceived you,
    there she who was in labor gave you birth.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it would be utterly scorned.

Friends

We have a little sister,
    and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister
    on the day she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
    we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
    we will enclose her with panels of cedar.

She

10 I am a wall,
    and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes
    like one bringing contentment.
11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
    he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit
    a thousand shekels of silver.
12 But my own vineyard is mine to give;
    the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
    and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.

He

13 You who dwell in the gardens
    with friends in attendance,
    let me hear your voice!

She

14 Come away, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
    on the spice-laden mountains.

Song of Songs 7 

1 How beautiful your sandaled feet,
    O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
    the work of an artist’s hands.
Your navel is a rounded goblet
    that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
    encircled by lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
    like twin fawns of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon
    by the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
    looking toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.
    Your hair is like royal tapestry;
    the king is held captive by its tresses.
How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
    my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
    and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
    I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
    the fragrance of your breath like apples,
    and your mouth like the best wine.

She

May the wine go straight to my beloved,
    flowing gently over lips and teeth.
10 I belong to my beloved,
    and his desire is for me.
11 Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
    let us spend the night in the villages.
12 Let us go early to the vineyards
    to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
    and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
    there I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
    and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
    that I have stored up for you, my beloved.

Song of Songs 6 

Friends

Where has your beloved gone,
    most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
    that we may look for him with you?

She

My beloved has gone down to his garden,
    to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
    and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
    he browses among the lilies.

He

You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
    as lovely as Jerusalem,
    as majestic as troops with banners.
Turn your eyes from me;
    they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
    descending from Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
    coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
    not one of them is missing.
Your temples behind your veil
    are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Sixty queens there may be,
    and eighty concubines,
    and virgins beyond number;
but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
    the only daughter of her mother,
    the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
    the queens and concubines praised her.

Friends

10 Who is this that appears like the dawn,
    fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
    majestic as the stars in procession?

He

11 I went down to the grove of nut trees
    to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
    or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 Before I realized it,
    my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.

Friends

13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
    come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!

He

Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
    as on the dance of Mahanaim?

Song of Songs 5

He

1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Friends

Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love.
She

2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.
Friends

9 How is your beloved better than others,
most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
that you so charge us?
She

10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
by the water streams,
washed in milk,
mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
daughters of Jerusalem.

 

Song of Songs 4 

He

How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
    descending from the hills of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
    coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
    not one of them is alone.
Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
    your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
    are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
    built with courses of stone;
on it hang a thousand shields,
    all of them shields of warriors.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
    like twin fawns of a gazelle
    that browse among the lilies.
Until the day breaks
    and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
    and to the hill of incense.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
    come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
    from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens
    and the mountain haunts of leopards.
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
    you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
    with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
    How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
    more than any spice!
11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
    milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
    is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
    you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
    with choice fruits,
    with henna and nard,
14     nard and saffron,
    calamus and cinnamon,
    with every kind of incense tree,
    with myrrh and aloes
    and all the finest spices.
15 You are a garden fountain,
    a well of flowing water
    streaming down from Lebanon.

She

16 Awake, north wind,
    and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
    that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
    and taste its choice fruits.

February 20 Devotional Song of Solomon 4

 

Prayer Requests:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Song of Songs 3 

All night long on my bed
    I looked for the one my heart loves;
    I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
    through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
    So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
    “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
    till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
    to the room of the one who conceived me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
    like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense
    made from all the spices of the merchant?
Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
    escorted by sixty warriors,
    the noblest of Israel,
all of them wearing the sword,
    all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
    prepared for the terrors of the night.
King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
    he made it of wood from Lebanon.
10 Its posts he made of silver,
    its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
    its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, 11 come out,
    and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King Solomon wearing a crown,
    the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
    the day his heart rejoiced.

 

February 19 Devotional Song of Solomon 3

1.  What shift in tone do you notice in chapter 3?

2.  Verses 1-3 describe some of the insecurities that love can bring. What is it about love that can make us feel this way?

3.  “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (v. 5) is repeated from 2:7. What wisdom do you see in this saying?

4.  When are you likely to feel insecure about those you love?

 

 

Prayer Requests

1.  Ask God to help you better show your love to those you care about.

2.

3.

4.

Song of Songs 2 

She

1 I am a rose of Sharon,
    a lily of the valleys.

He

Like a lily among thorns
    is my darling among the young women.

She

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
    is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
    and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love.
Strengthen me with raisins,
    refresh me with apples,
    for I am faint with love.
His left arm is under my head,
    and his right arm embraces me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Listen! My beloved!
    Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
    Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattice.
10 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

He

14 My dove in the clefts of the rock,
    in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
    let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.
15 Catch for us the foxes,
    the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
    our vineyards that are in bloom.

She

16 My beloved is mine and I am his;
    he browses among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks
    and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
    on the rugged hills.

February 18 Devotional Song of Solomon 2

Earlier she had shown her self-conciousness and insecurity ( 1:5) – however, now she has received His praise and Love she has a better image of herself – but not too proud.

She now sees herself as a rose of Sharon- this was a common meadow flower.  Also, she sees herself as the lily of the valley – a common flower. She sees herself as ordinary and plain which speaks to her humility.  He agrees that she is a lily, but not any lily – she is unique – a lily among  thorns.

Your assignment for this chapter is to read the entire chapter through one time. Then, complete a second read where you analyze what the two lovers are saying to each other.  Record your thoughts below.

She: (vs.1)

 

He: (vs.2)

 

She: (vs. 3-13)

 

He: (vs. 14-15)

 

She: (vs. 16-17)

 

Prayer Requests

1.

2.

3.

4.

Background Information on 

the book of SONG OF SOLOMON

 

TITLE:

The Hebrew title (Shir Hashirim, lit. “song of songs”) is an expression of the superlative, meaning “the best song.” The Latin name is Canticles (lit. “songs”). The Hebrew Bible places the Song in the megilloth (Heb., lit. “scrolls”), a collection of books read on feast days of the Jews, Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations are also included in this group.

AUTHOR:

King Solomon (Heb., Lit. “peace”), the son of David and Bathsheba, claims authorship of the book (Song 1:1). The wisest man of his day, he authored 1,005 songs (see 1 Kings 4:32). The Song is consonant with his great wisdom and skill. Solomon’s name appears repeatedly in the book (Song 1:1, 5; 3:7, 9,11; 8:11, 12), and the events occur in a royal setting. Also the book’s geographic references seem to assume a united kingdom.

DATE:

The Song was written during Solomon’s forty-year reign (971-931 B.C.), probably during the early years of his reign.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Setting: Solomon presided over the royal court in Jerusalem. However, many geographical locations throughout the kingdom are mentioned. Solomon’s authorship has been questioned, though not until the nineteenth century, and arguments suggested against Solomonic authorship have been inconclusive. Most evangelical scholars remain in support of Solomonic authorship.

Purpose: The Song is an epithalamium or nuptial song, an expression of love between a bride and her bridegroom. Biblical scholars have debated whether the Song should be read figuratively or literally. Many Jewish and Christian scholars have interpreted this poetic expression of human physical love as a historical relationship that could also be interpreted a as a divine parable.

Ancient Jewish scholars often regarded the story as a picture of Yahweh and His love for Israel. According to early church fathers such as Augustine, Origen, Jerome, and Bernard of Clairvaux, the Song revealed the love between Christ and His church.

As dissatisfaction with allegorical interpretations grew, evangelical scholars adopted the more literal reading as primary. Thus, the Song of Solomon was viewed as extoling human sexuality within the bounds of marriage, with a secondary application to Christ and His bride, the church.

LITERARY CHARACTERISTICS:

Ancient Near Eastern lyrical poetry served as both entertainment and a catalyst for philosophical discussion. The metaphorical language delights and enhances the senses, while it illuminates the understanding. The poet’s intent was to underscore the most profound emotions in the human experience. The intensity of longing and loving, the rehearsal of searching and finding, vows of constancy and lavish praise for the one loved are literary conventions that evoke universal response.

No other Old Testament book is so full of technical terms for spices, plants, and shrubs. The Song of Solomon, part of the Old Testament wisdom literature (including Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes), is not mentioned in the New Testament, and the book contains no definite reference to God. The Song contains no explicit doctrinal theology, but it does reflect monotheism in its celebration of God’s creation. In its praise of the joys of human love, the Song echoes Psalm 45 with its pastoral touch.

THEMES:

The Song stresses the themes of love and devotion between a man and a woman committed to one another, while also echoing the loving relationship between Yahweh and His people Israel and between Christ and His church. With aesthetic imagery, Solomon skillfully highlighted the splendor and majesty of God. No traces of the polytheism that appears in other poetry of this time period is found in the Song.

For women, the Song pictures a bride who is healthy, balanced, and truly loved. In contrast to many contemporary writers who depict female weakness or victimization as inevitable and absolute, God presents a portrait of wholeness and hope. A reflection of the intimate relationship between the man and woman in the Garden of Eden can be traced as mutual devotion and respect between a husband and wife develop and as they are related harmoniously with the natural world around them.

The dialogue forms five poetic units, each a renewal of feeling and growing intimacy. Refrains are interspersed with interjections by friends and supporters who celebrate with the couple.

 

Song of Songs 1 

Solomon’s Song of Songs.

She

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 young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
    Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Friends

We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.

She

How right they are to adore you!

Dark am I, yet lovely,
    daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
    like the tent curtains of Solomon.
Do not stare at me because I am dark,
    because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
    and made me take care of the vineyards;
    my own vineyard I had to neglect.
Tell me, you whom I love,
    where you graze your flock
    and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
    beside the flocks of your friends?

Friends

If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
    follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
    by the tents of the shepherds.

He

I liken you, my darling, to a mare
    among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
    your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make you earrings of gold,
    studded with silver.

She

12 While the king was at his table,
    my perfume spread its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
    resting between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
    from the vineyards of En Gedi.

He

15 How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes are doves.

She

16 How handsome you are, my beloved!
    Oh, how charming!
    And our bed is verdant.

He

17 The beams of our house are cedars;
    our rafters are firs.

February 17 Devotional Song of Solomon 1

1.  What sense do you get from this passage about how the “Beloved” and the “Lover” regard one another?

 

2.  Examine the images they use to describe one another (1:3, 7, 9, 10, 12-14, 15)?

  • vs. 3- your name is like perfume poured out
  • vs. 7- like a veiled woman  beside the flocks of your friends
  • vs. 9- I liken you, my darling, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
  • vs. 10- Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,  your neck with strings of jewels.
  • vs. 13-14:  sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
  • vs. 15-   Your eyes are doves

What do these word pictures reflect about the nature of their relationship?

 

3.  What fears and insecurities does the beloved reveal (1:3-4, 5-7)?

  • In 1:8 how do the friends pick up on the beloved’s imagery and reassure her?

 

  • How does the lover reassure her (1:9-11)?

 

4.  Why is it important to have supportive friends involved in a marriage or dating relationship?

 

 

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1 Peter 5 

To the Elders and the Flock

1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glorythat will never fade away.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

12 With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly,encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.

13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

February 16 Devotional 1 Peter 5

 1.  What 3 things do you learn about Peter in verse 1 & how does that impact his message?

He is a fellow _______________________________.

He witnessed _______________________________.

He will share in _____________________________.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2.  Verses 2 & 3 tell us some ways we should serve AND some ways we should NOT serve.

a.  Watch over them because you are _____________________ NOT because ________________________________.

b.  Not pursuing _________________________ BUT ____________________ to serve.

c.  Be an example NOT one who _________________________________ those you serve.   

Verse 4 tells us why: ________________________________________________________________________________

What kind of leader/servant are you? 

3.  Peter gives us pointed instructions for success in our walk of faith.  He says: Submit to elders (vs. 5), Show humility to each other (vs. 5), Humble yourself under God’s hand (vs. 6), Place ALL your cares/anxieties on Him (vs. 7), Have an alert mind (vs. 8), Be willing to fight back against evil…resist, stand firm (vs. 9).

Think about the instructions mentioned above as you read the closing verse in this book.  

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever.

How can you live out these instructions in your life right now?

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