1. Song of Solomon 5:14 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why is the man's body like polished ivory?

Song of Solomon 5:14 (ESV)

14 His arms are rods of gold, set with jewels. His body is polished ivory, bedecked with sapphires.

This may indicate that his abdominal muscles were flat and hard like ivory, or possibly that they shone like polished ivory. The ivory is bedecked with sapphires, which probably refers not to physical appearance but rather to the great value of his body.1

This is a very sensuous line. The word ivory calls to mind the tusk, and the word translated as body often points to the female or male erogenous zone (see Song of Solomon 5:4). This description of the man corresponds with the sensuous description of the woman in Song of Solomon 4:12–15 where she is compared to a garden.2