Polished Ivory tusk decorated with sapphires

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Totally out of conformity with its ancient origins, it was the woman in the Song of Songs who initiates sex and delights in her groom’s body. Observe how she adores his masculinity:

His abdomen is like a polished ivory tusk decorated with sapphires.

— 5:14 b

The original Hebrew just quoted is so much more explicit than our tame English versions. Compare the ESV:

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

and the NIV:

His arms are rods of gold
    set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
    decorated with lapis lazuli.”

I’m including the The Passion Translation because I liked it in comparison to the two above: “See how his hands hold unlimited power!
But he never uses it in anger,
for he is always holy, displaying his glory.
His innermost place is a work of art—
so beautiful and bright.
How magnificent and noble is this one—
covered in majesty!” (Cf. 1 Tim. 2:8. Also note how this translation implies that her attraction to his genitals is very holy).

The Wycliffe Bible is rather curious: “His hands be able to turn about, golden, and full of jacinths; his womb is of ivory (his belly is like ivory), adorned with sapphires.”

Upon doing a little research on Bible Gateway, I discovered that only the Expanded Bible and The Voice come close to the Hebrew:

“His ·hands [or arms] are like gold ·hinges [or bars],
    ·filled with jewels [L set with Tarshish stones; C a location in Spain; perhaps a black jet stone or golden topaz].
His ·body [or member] is like ·shiny ivory [or an ivory tusk]
    ·covered with sapphires [ornamented with lapis].”(EXB) (Brackets in original)

“His hands are like strong rods of gold, each set with jewels.
        His body displays his manhood like an ivory tusk inlaid with sapphires.” (VOICE) (Italics in original) 

Scripture 4 All’s Hebrew Interlinear again proves faithful:

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Thanks to Tim and Kathy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God for these precious insights. Notice the striking similarity the EXB and VOICE bear to Pastor Keller’s revelation of the original Hebrew “his abdomen is like a polished ivory tusk decorated with sapphires.”

As an Ancient Israelite, it’s reasonable that the Shulammite woman would liken his skin tone to ivory.

Now, I make no claims to being ivory-colored, but as a sub-Saharan African, I know some about elephant tusks.

Although it’s a little hard to type with a tusk in my pants, I must stress to the ladies that the Kellers implicitly urge you to also adore your man’s body, by emphasizing the often overlooked fact that it’s the woman who initiates and enjoys her husband’s “tusk,” to drive home the point that the Bible unabashedly celebrates female sexuality, contrary to both ancient and contemporary efforts to shame and diminish it. Thank you, Tim Keller. As soon as I discovered that nearly jaw-dropping insight from your book this spring, you strengthened my resolve to marry a woman like the bride from Songs or Ms. C. One with a strong and healthy sex drive.

I realize men tend to be turned on by the visual and physical, and women by the emotional and relational. But there’s nothing wrong with some cross-arousal. There are zero passages in the Bible that suggest men can’t be emotionally stimulated to wanting  sex, or women shouldn’t be incentivized to sex by the physical. On the contrary, it can easily be proven that Scripture wants both sexes to have some measure of both forms of sexual stimulation. I’d want my adoring wife to be aroused simply by seeing and touching me, just as I’m sure she’d want me turning red-hot for her as a consequence of my emotions connecting well with hers.

Dearest, most loving, Triune God,

Please provide a beautiful wife soon, so as I foster a home abounding in emotional warmth, empathy and communication, she could likewise enjoy my polished ebony-ivory tusk.

See also:

He put his hand through the keyhole for more from a godly woman who really enjoys sex with her adoring husband

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