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God’s Word for You

Song of Solomon 1:7 Like a veiled woman

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, September 16, 2023

The Wife
7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
  where you graze your flock,
  where you rest your sheep at midday.
  Why should I be like a veiled woman
  beside the flocks of your companions?

The soul possesses everything that the mind and heart possess: all of the faith of the believer (Deuteronomy 10:12; Psalm 24:4), all of the emotions (Psalm 11:5; Mark 14:34), and the word soul often stands in place of the whole person: “Even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2). The soul is the stronghold of faith, for “sinful desires war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). We love the Lord with all our soul (Luke 10:27). What the body remembers in the mind is remembered with the soul as well, and the soul is every bit as guilty of sin as the body is (Ezekiel 18:20; Micah 6:7). So when the bride tells her man that her soul loves him, she is saying that every part of her loves him.

The idea of the woman going to look for her husband out in the fields calls to mind the need for couples to spend time alone together. He is still at work looking after the flock, but the idea of a vacation may not have been as commonplace then as it is now. It doesn’t matter that he is somewhat occupied. The fact is, out among the grazing sheep, they will be alone together. Physical intimacy, emotional intimacy, the chance to talk without distractions or interruptions, to be able to be together and enjoy quiet time, unhurried, is a great blessing to a marriage.

She asks “Where you rest your sheep at midday,” and this reminds us of the practice in arid countries of taking a siesta. She would rather nap with him than nap alone. But there is a problem. Their meeting might not be the usual thing that was done. He might be criticized for it, and her reputation might suffer, although there is no reason at all to suspect that they are not married or not yet married. Their language and behavior is always in line with that of newlyweds; a couple that is in love.

There was something disreputable about a woman, any woman, showing up among the men when they are out in the fields, especially while grazing sheep and at harvest time. It was probably a convenient way for prostitutes to find men away from their wives (Genesis 38:15). There are unseemly examples (as with Judah and Tamar) and seemly examples in the Scriptures. Recall the moment in Ruth’s courtship when she went to spend the night with Boaz at the threshing floor but he became especially concerned about her reputation (Ruth 3:14). The detail of being a “veiled woman” also might suggest a prostitute (as with Tamar in Genesis 38:15), but it seems to have been common for unmarried women at least to veil themselves (Genesis 24:65; Isaiah 47:1) and married women also did this (Song 4:1; Isaiah 3:19).

To apply this spiritually: Whatever we have done, whatever wrong path we have taken and whatever sins we have committed, we want to repent. We want to be forgiven by our Lord God. Let us gather with him to worship him. If the church is driven out of its usual location, then we will go out into the forests or fields and find a place where we can sit at our Savior’s feet and be fed by his preaching and promises the way the 5,000 followed him and were fed. He healed their sicknesses (Matthew 14:14); he preached to them about the kingdom of God (Luke 9:11), and he even fed them by a miracle (Mark 6:41-42).

Repentance is also shown in our desire to come before the Lord, not as a veiled woman, so that those who are already worshiping will not be offended by the approach of a sinner, but as a bride, with dignity, honor, and an invitation. Let us approach our God without having to disguise what we are doing—like a woman going out to the fields in the middle of the day rather than under the cover of darkness. Let the angels take no offense (1 Corinthians 11:10). They watch over us and protect us from many unseen threats and dangers (Psalm 34:7), but they are also aware that we sin. They themselves are often sent by God to destroy places infested with sin (2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 12:21). What disgust they must feel when a human comes before God without repentance, with nothing in his hand apart from sin. For no one is to appear before the Lord empty-handed (Exodus 23:15), and no one may approach the Lord with sin upon their heads or hands (Exodus 24:2). Therefore the church confesses sins when we gather, and we ask forgiveness in our private prayers before we ask anything else of the Lord. It is better to go three days without water than to go three minutes with a sin on your conscience.

When we confess our sins, the important thing is to believe the forgiveness, which we also call absolution, that comes afterward. Our Confession of Faith teaches: “It is not the voice or word of the man who speaks it, but it is the word of God, who forgives sin, for it is spoken in God’s stead and by God’s command… We also teach that God requires us to believe this absolution as much as if we heard God’s voice from heaven, that we should joyfully comfort ourselves with absolution, and that we should know that through such faith we obtain the forgiveness of sins” (Augsburg Confession).

And the blessed Martin Luther taught us all as children: “We pray… that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins or because of them deny our prayers; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we ask, neither have we deserved them, but we ask that he would give them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment.” But he promises grace and every blessing to us, so we love him and trust in him for everything we need, beginning with forgiveness and including the ability to overcome our personal anger so that we will forgive as he has forgiven (Matthew 18:21-22).


In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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