The choice of Bible translations today can, at times, be bewildering. For the most part though I personally enjoy being able to compare translations and find the variety very helpful, at least in the area of research and study. However in recent days I have noticed a worrying trend in a number of modern translations in that they attempt to rationalise the mystical. Perhaps that is understandable in an age where reason and knowledge are so valued. However to attempt to demystify the mysterious aspects of the Bible is, I would suggest, a very dangerous thing to do – simply because the mystical is integral to life in the Spirit. The truth is we can never know it all in our earthbound and limited experience of The Eternal One.
“We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledge! Its depths can never be measured! We cannot understand His judgments or explain the mysterious ways that He works!”
Romans 11:33 [The Voice]
The verse which initially sparked my concern in some translations comes from that most mysterious and beautifully poetic book “The Song of Songs” – and in particular where we read –
“King Solomon made the movable throne for himself.
He made it out of wood from Lebanon.
He formed its posts out of silver.
He made its base out of gold.
Its seat was covered with purple cloth.
It was decorated inside with love.”
The picture here may be literal – but in the context it’s meaning is, without doubt, mystical and spiritual. It may also have several depths or levels of meaning. But the concept which caught my attention in particular was where Solomon’s throne in described as being – “decorated inside with love”. Some translations rationalise this statement – but the whole tone and theme of the book would tend to suggest a mystical application. One commentator points out that the Hebrew text reads that the throne is “inlaid with love” – and that love is the essential characteristic of Solomon’s throne in this poetic description.
Perhaps the Jewish writer to the Hebrews had this picture in mind when he wrote –
“So let us boldly approach God’s throne of grace. Then we will receive mercy. We will find grace to help us when we need it.”
The word “Grace” comes from the Hebrew word “Chesed” which can also be translated –“loving-kindness,” “kindness” or “love”. So the King’s Royal Throne is inlaid with unfailing love – grace, mercy, compassion and empathy.
The throne in question was also mobile and transportable – which is why some translations speak of it as a “carriage”. I find the picture painted here by the poet enthralling. I see the King moving from place to place among his people and everywhere he goes love is present – simply by the fact of his being there! How like our King! Think of the one who is “greater than Solomon” – was and is this not true also of him?
And what we find in our King – should be true of us his people – his ministers – his ambassadors – his royal household. Oh for the day when we carry the King’s love in such a way! Oh for the day, in the words of the song by Brian & Jenn Johnson –
“When they look in my eyes, they would see You
Even in just a smile; they would feel the Father’s love.”