A few days ago I hinted that “heated incidents” of confusion, division, disarray, etc. may have something to do with today’s post, and requested help recalling examples from the Bible. Thank you for the comments that came in. I was at first surprised, and then intrigued, at the amount of them from the book of Acts! This is significant, and I think the reason might become more clear at the end here.
First, it is my opinion that Song 1:9 above is a continuation of ‘the message’ that Solomon sent to the Shulamite in response to her desire to be with Him. He begins the note with the metaphors of sheep and shepherding in 1:8 to instruct her how to find him. Now, by likening her to a horse and more specifically ‘his mare,’ he is giving her courage in the journey.
Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?
It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.
It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver of arrows rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar,
the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
The offense of being His mare
I’ve been noticing something. Translations water down so many verses of the Song. It is grievous how religion comes up with so many strategies to make God’s Bride “more fit” for heaven by stripping her of her controversy. In 1:9 for example, a couple of versions try to pass off “my mare” as a “company of horses,” when clearly the Hebrew word is a female horse. But of course that’s the problem! Often for a variety of suggestive details, a comparison of a woman to a mare or filly in literature was a provocative one, besides that horses in general were often associated in ancient times with a pagan, extravagant lifestyle as well.
But it may be that the controversy of this ‘mare’ lies more with who she is seen among – Pharaoh’s chariots – particularly when Egyptian ones were touted to be drawn not by a mare or mares, but by stallions hitched in pairs.
The “heat” of controversy
Solomon was a king with an unprecedented taste for everything equine, especially from Egypt. He also amassed 1,400 chariots and kept them in something called “chariot cities,” 2 Chronicles 1:14. Perhaps part of the reason Solomon likened the Shulamite to his “mare among chariots” was to hint that she rendezvous with him at a shepherd camp outside the nearest chariot city.
But there may be more! A very famous war was known at that time, inscribed on an Egyptian tomb wall of the Pharaoh Thutmosis III at Qadesh. It featured an example of a crafty military strategy of releasing a mare in heat into the midst of a cavalry of chariots. I don’t think we need to expound the visual of stallions catching her scent and the ensuing chaos. Some things are challenging to tame even with reigns and whips, but with the yokes in particular, rather than helping to control the excited horses, would actually work against them in the confusion!
Jesus Christ, the Bride’s passion
Does this story shed more light into all those “heated incidents” in the book of Acts? When young, the Bride of Christ was in the passion of “first love” and her heart hadn’t grown cold yet by religious mixture and the cares of this world. When Peter and John stood on trial, it was observed by the religious leaders that “they had been with Jesus,” Acts 4:13. The Kingdom of God is an intimate one. The kingdom of this world fears it, and the kingdom of darkness hates it. Returning to your “first love” and following the heart of God with others who have the same passion will put you into volatile territory with possible strong reactions. It is not a journey for the faint of heart!
A Message of Courage from the King (for those who have ears to hear)
In coming out of the wilderness to possess My Kingdom with Me, take Courage!
Directed by the Reigns of My indwelling Spirit You bring on Your shoulders
Truth into lies, Love into fear, and Freedom into bondage.
Be not discouraged at the confused and tumultuous uprisings to Your presence.
The enemy is chained and limited! The battle is Mine, and the victory is sure.
See what I see! See what I see from My vantage point!
For What I see, is My reality – and it is Yours.
“O my Darling Companion, I see you as My Mare…”