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For a while, I've been trying to find out if the Hebrew practice of Negiah (no physical affection with a non-relative of the opposite sex until you're married to them) was practiced in Bible times, which led me to wonder if some of the physical affection referenced in the Song of Songs happens before the bride and groom are married.

First, is the book chronological? If so, when does the wedding take place? Thanks!

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  • To avoid this question being closed, it will be necessary to ask about a specific passage. However, let me suggest that the actual act of copulation occurs in the last verse of ch and the first verse of ch 5.
    – Dottard
    Jul 28, 2021 at 2:39
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    @Dottard - On reflection, I'd say the text reference is probably specific enough and appropriate for this particular question, especially considering that Song of Songs is not an expansive text. This is near the boundaries of what we would traditionally term off-topic, but in essence it's a fairly specific exegetical question about a relatively focused text, in keeping with both the on-topic and off-topic guidance available in the Help Center.
    – Steve Taylor
    Jul 28, 2021 at 8:55
  • Regardless of where you put the marriage in SS, the song opens with very steamy passage about kissing and being "weak" with love (= passion! SS 2:6, 7)
    – Dottard
    Jul 28, 2021 at 10:13
  • @Dottard This book-wide question is broader than I usually go in this forum, true. However, I have narrowed the scope to a small book of the Bible. I could ask about specific verses (especially 1:2; 2:6), but that's different enough to be a separate question. (I'll probably start another question about 2:6; assuming it's before they're married, it'd be good to know whether the proper rendering is a statement of fact [e.g., KJV] or merely a wish [e.g., CJB]. However, the first question is the one for now, as knowing when the wedding takes place is critical to knowing what's before marriage.)
    – The Editor
    Jul 28, 2021 at 17:14

2 Answers 2

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New International Version Song of Solomon 3:

10c Daughters of Jerusalem, 11come out,
and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look a 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.

This is the beginning of the wedding celebration.

Song of Solomon 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.

This is where the physical consummation ends.

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  • So you'd put the wedding through the consummation at Chapters 3-5. Thanks for the input!
    – The Editor
    Jul 28, 2021 at 17:17
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    Yes, the wedding ends at 5:1. But I'm open to other opinions.
    – Tony Chan
    Jul 28, 2021 at 17:22
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Song of song was written like a drama, the episodes flash back and forth, so it is not chronological. This is my observation based on the translation of The Living Bible. Due to its difficulty to identify the speakers, this is just a trial and it needs further study for correction.

1st Scene 1:1 – 1:6 – In the Wedding Feast

She sat beside the King and saw his 60 queens, 80 concubines and virgins (the number is in 6:8). She was shy of her dark skin and hoped she was now in his chambers, so she would be with the King alone, lovesick into his love.

2nd Scene 1:7 – 1:17 – Love at first sight

She recalled the happiness moment they were together at Baal-Hamon. In the garden of nature, the grasses were the bed, and trees were the roof, they exchanged loving words to each other.

3rd Scene 2:1 – 2:7 – Back in the Wedding Feast

She was shy of her appearance, compared to his queens, concubines and virgins. She described herself just a flower in common fields. But the King tendered her that she was special. The other girls were thorns compared to her.

4th Scene 2:8 – 2:17 – Flash Back to Baal-Hamon Fields

The King came waking her up for an outing, enjoy the time of Spring. Then the King left.

5th Scene 3:1 – 3:5 – Bad dream

She had a bad dream after the King left. She couldn’t find her lover, when she found him, she held him tight.

6th Scene 3:6 – 5:1 - Marriage

The King came with his mighty army. He tendered request to marry her, praise her with love and sweetness.

7th Scene 5:2-6:3 Another bad dream

  • 5:2-5:8 In this dream, she found herself paralysis when the King was knocking at the door. She was struggling to get up but when she reached the door, the King was gone!

  • 5:9-6:3 She was speaking to a mysterious voice

8th Scene 6:4-6:10 Back to the wedding feast

The King praised her beauty

9th Scene 6:11-8:4 Homesick

  • 6:11-7:9 The girl got homesick. She got up and leave. The other girls cried out. The King stopped her, she was wandering why the King wanted her, when he already had plenty, and prettier girls.

  • 7:10 - 8:4 The girl wanted the King to go with her back to her village, as she felt free there, enjoyed in the nature.

Final Scene - 8:5-8:7 Back to the village

The girl expressed her strong desire to own him, that she couldn't tolerate sharing him with others.

Story Addendum 8:8-8:14

Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon where he went occasionally and met Shulammite. Her family also own a vineyard there but she was forced by her brothers to do the labor, causing her skin dark in the sun (1:6).

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