Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm.
Song of Solomon 8:6a (NLT)
I have in my desk a stick of sealing wax and seal press with the initial “V” on it. I purchased it many years ago and still pull it out from time to time when I am writing a special letter of some kind. It’s a funky little detail that makes a letter or card stand out. You light the wax stick and let the wax drip onto the back of the envelope where the letter is sealed. Once you have a little blob of melted wax built up on the envelope you use the press to squish the wax. When it dries, the initial is embossed in the wax and it creates a special second seal on the letter which the reader must break to open the letter.
Our culture has long forgotten the importance that seals played in ancient times. Kings, officials, and noblemen had their own unique seal which they used to seal letters and documents. It became a public sign of ownership for the person to whom that document belonged. When you saw the seal, you knew who you were messing with. Seals are sometimes known as “sigils” which etymologists trace back to the Hebrew word segula which referred to an item of spiritual effect. In ancient folklore, it was believed that a person poured a part of themselves into the design of their unique seal. An individual’s seal wasn’t just a symbol of a particular person, it was spiritually a part of them.
In light of this understanding of the ancient meaning of seals and sigils, I loved the above verse from the lyrics of Solomon’s song. Sung by the young woman in the duet, she asks Solomon to metaphorically place her as a seal over her heart and upon his arm. There are two layers of meaning here. The heart is the most private chamber of our thoughts, feelings, desires, dreams and intentions. By being placed as a seal over his heart, the young would lay claim to Solomon’s most intimate being. She alone would have access to Solomon’s heart. In Solomon’s day, the arm was often the only part of the man who was publicly seen by others other than his face. The arm is also a symbol of a man’s strength. By being placed as a seal on his arm, the young woman was laying public claim to Solomon and his strength.
God’s Message has scant descriptors of marriage. It does not prescribe a particular method or ceremony for marriage, but seems to allow room for cultures and history to develop a veritable plethora of customs around the marriage ceremony. What God’s Message does simply say is that a man and woman leave their respective parents, unite themselves, and become “one flesh.” When we knit ourselves together in spirit, soul mind and body we place our spouse as a seal over us.
Choose well the person whose seal you place over your heart and life.
- A Case for Delayed Gratification (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- The Art and Progression of Sexual Intimacy (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- Solomon’s Seal (growthinrecovery.com)
- A Hint of Paradise (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- Meeting the Parents (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- Browsing Among the Lilies (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- Sensually Good (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)