For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Song of Songs 8:6 NASB
This couplet is loaded. Were there ever two stronger statements about the love Jesus has for His bride. As you probably have noticed, I’m intrigued by words. And these two lines carry six strong words.
Love Strong Death Jealousy Severe Sheol
Striking, aren’t they?
Other than love and death each is translated in many ways, and we’ll take a look as some of those variations.
But first – to love.
Remember, we’re in the Hebrew here, so this is not one of the Greek words for love – though in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament) a form of agape is used here.
I am no Greek or Hebrew scholar (I’m no scholar at all (I had to look up the word scholar)) but what I can tell you is that the word love here is the word used for Jacob’s love for Rachel – it’s a form of the word used to describe Abraham’s love for Isaac when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. It’s as close to agape as we’ll find in the Hebrew.
Now in 1 Corinthians 13, agape is defined for us:
Love is patient, is kind is not jealous; does not brag is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB (tweaked)
But this love Jesus has for His bride as described in Song of Songs 8:6—well—is this the same animal?
Let’s look at these compelling words and how others have translated this verse:
Strong: overpowering, powerful, invincible.
Jealousy: devotion, passion, ardent love, desire, envy.
Severe: unyielding, strong, unrelenting, intense, hard, cruel, fierce, enduring, sharp, relentless.
Sheol: grave, death itself, hell.
So, for today, my paraphrase would sound something like this:
The love Jesus has for us is as invincible as death. His passion for us is as unrelenting as hell itself.
Last week we looked at Paul’s declaration of how invincible divine love is from Romans 8:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-39 NASB
And incase you are wondering how unrelenting hell is—Solomon put it this way:
Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied. – Proverbs 27:20 NKJV
All the power of heaven and hell are wrapped up in the Father’s love for us. Let this sink in. A revelation of this love will change you completely. It will complete ruin low self-esteem. It will destroy doubt. It will drive out fear, and flood your heart with assurance and confidence in the one thing we can surely count on for all eternity. Jesus’ love.
See you again soon
Here are a few of the many ways this is translated. I used one of my favorite tools for this study – BibleGateway’s “Every English Translation” tool. Look up any single verse in BibleGateway.com and there is a link at the bottom that will show you every translation they have for that verse. It’s a great way to see how the scholars have positioned the verse you are studying.
Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. (GW)
Love is as powerful as death; passion is as strong as death itself. (GNT)
For love is as strong as death; ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol. (HCSB)
Love is as strong as death. Desire is as strong as the grave. (ICB)
For love is as strong as death, passion as intense as Sheol. (ISV)
for love is strong as death; jealousy is hard as Sheol; (JUB)
for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: (KJV)
for love is strong as death; passion is fierce as Sheol; (LEB)
Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. (MSG)
Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. (NOG)
For Love is strong as Death, longing is fierce as Sheol. (NABRE)
For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. (NLT)
For love is as strong as death, and jealousy is as relentless as the grave. (Voice)
for love is strong as death, envy is hard as hell; (WYC)
For strong as death is love, Sharp as Sheol is jealousy, (YLT)
You can check them all out here.
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