Song of Songs 6 & 7
Song of Songs 6:1 (ESV) Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?
After answering the daughters of Jerusalem as to why her beloved is so special, they ask where he has gone. That is a bit strange since she asked them first which began this back and forth. Perhaps they are asking the general direction as they volunteer to help her find him. They are calling her "most beautiful among women". It seems the king describing her as such has transformed her so that others see her this way too.
What does Jesus call us? Holy, righteous, redeemed, new creations, sons and daughters of God, His bride, His beloved, His body, His dwelling place, His field, His vineyard, His soldiers - and are we hearing it and letting it change us?
Song of Songs 6:2-3 (ESV) 2 My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.
She replies that he must be in his garden among the beds of spices. Then she uses the expression "grazing among the lilies" again. Either it is the stag metaphor – for their physical intimacy, or it is referring to pasturing his flocks. It is repeated again in verse 3. It may be a poetic way to say that he is going about his business as king, shepherding the flock of Israel. You could say this is a flowery song. :-) Then we have that expression that is written on the Jewish wedding hupa (tent like covering) and on rings. "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." (Opposite order of 2:16) This makes me lean toward the first interpretation. He has found her and their desire is consummated. Are you His beloved? Is He yours?
I think of the women disciples rising in the morning and looking to see where Jesus has gone. He is either in prayer or ministering to the needy in such a beautiful way that you could call it grazing among the lilies. Of course, they did not have a physical relationship as Solomon and his beloved had, but their love for Him and His for them made them feel as if they were the most beautiful among women. In this fallen world there is still so much beauty. When the One who has not fallen came with all the perfection of heaven, all that He did had an Edenic beauty.
Song of Songs 6:4 (ESV) You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners.
We have come to two passages that address the beauty of the physical body. Historically, before the last couple centuries, Song of Songs had more commentaries written about it than either John or Romans. Nearly all commentators took the perspective that one should ignore the physical and see the book as entirely spiritual. This was partly because of an attitude that existed in the early church and promoted by Augustine that the body is evil and physical desires are sinful. While I am focusing on the spiritual, we should not ignore the physical. The pleasures of sex within the confines of marriage are a gift from God. Nowhere in Scripture is sex within marriage referred to in a negative light. Paul exhorts couples to have intimacy regularly so they will not be tempted (1 Corinthians 7:5). Passion within in marriage is a blessing. Sensuality in the proper place is a gift from God and meant to give us a parallel of the joys we will experience in heaven. God designed our bodies to have sensations. I can't imagine what heavenly sensations are like, but they will be even better than the best sensations we experience here.
The king again describes His bride, reinforcing her understanding of how he sees her. He relates it to cities that were beautiful to see, or an army in formation with banners flying above. The word army is not in the Hebrew. Another translation is “awesome to behold.” – (The Bible Speaks Today commentary) Tirzah was the northern kingdoms first capital. The root word means “to be pleasant.”
Song of Songs 6:5a (ESV) Turn away your eyes from me, for they overwhelm me—
Previously he said she had captivated him with one glance of her eyes. Here he asks her to turn her eyes away for they are overwhelming him. Can you imagine Jesus saying that to you, not with sexual overtones, but because He loves you so? I can imagine saying it to Him. We must realize He loves us more than we could ever love Him.
Song of Songs 6:5b-7 (ESV) —Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead. 6 Your teeth are like a flock of ewes that have come up from the washing; all of them bear twins; not one among them has lost its young. 7 Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.
5b through 7 repeats 4:1b-3b Again he mentions her black wavy hair like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead. He goes on to describe her beautiful white teeth perfectly paired (unusual at that time), her red cheeks that can even be seen through her veil.
Song of Songs 6:8-9 (ESV) 8 There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number. 9 My dove, my perfect one, is the only one, the only one of her mother, pure to her who bore her. The young women saw her and called her blessed;the queens and concubines also, and they praised her.
Of all the women this man has ever seen, she is to him the perfect one. (This is another reason I think this is Solomon - these queens and concubines must be his - but she is to him the special one among them all) These women recognize what he sees in her and call her blessed and praise her (Psalm 45:9, 14).
I'm unsure of the parallel to Jesus and the bride, but we might say that of all the women the world honors, Jesus sees His bride alone as the perfect one, pure to her who bore her (the church). In the final resurrection the ones the world praised will call the church "blessed"! It's that upside-down kingdom again.
Men, though this woman is acknowledged by other women as beautiful, our definition of beauty should not be made by culture but by the woman we marry. She should be our standard to which none other compare. This is one reason pornography is so damaging. It sets another standard with airbrushed perfection that none measure up to. Our own wife should be the standard we set so that none can compete.
Song of Songs 6:10 (ESV) “Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun,awesome as an army with banners?”
One more description of her radiance and the awe she inspires in him. The church is compared to the moon, reflecting the light of the sun, which is typologically the Light of the world. The description ends with an inclusio from verse 4.
Song of Songs 6:11 (ESV) I went down to the nut orchard to look at the blossoms of the valley, to see whether the vines had budded, whether the pomegranates were in bloom.
Most agree that these two verses are a couple of the hardest to interpret in all of Scripture. There is nothing in the Hebrew to indicated whether this is the man or the woman speaking. Perhaps she is saying once again that her desire for her man has filled her with passion, so she sees if the aphrodisiacs of mandrakes and pomegranates are ripe. She wants her man, her prince charming.
Song of Songs 6:12 (ESV) Before I was aware, my desire set me among the chariots of my kinsman, a prince.
Here are the various translations as the original is simply, "My soul set me chariots my people a prince. -AV Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib. JB Before I knew ... My desire hurled me on the chariots of my people, as their prince. NJPSV Before I knew it, my desire set me mid the chariots of Amminadib. NEB I did not know myself; she made me feel more than a prince reigning over the myriads of his people. GNB I am trembling; you have made me as eager for love as a chariot driver is for battle. RSV Before I was aware, my fancy set me In a chariot beside my prince. -The Bible Speaks Today - The Message of Song of Songs: The Lyrics of Love. MSG "I became enraptured, for you placed me on the chariots of the people of the prince." I think this last one best expresses what is really going on.
"I feel like I have been swept off my feet by my king." -Christ-Centered Exposition - Exalting Jesus in Song of Songs.
Song of Songs 6:13 (ESV) Return, return, O Shulammite, return, return, that we may look upon you.
Why should you look upon the Shulammite, as upon a dance before two armies?
The chorus asks her to return to Jerusalem so they can look on her beauty. The dance of Mahanaim refers to Jacob seeing the angel camps when he was returning to meet Esau just before he wrestled with the angel. The angels’ camp must have been a glorious sight to which the chorus compares the captivating beauty of the Shulammite (Genesis 32:1). This is the only place in the song that we have her name, the feminine of Solomon. It can be translated "perfect one" (Garrett, Proverbs, 419). She isn't coming back for she is caught away in Solomon's love. She only asked for their help to find him, but he found her. She was the one who locked the door, but now all is restored/forgiven and they are back physically in one another's garden. That is such a picture of God's plea to Israel, "Return to me and I will return to you!" When she went looking for him, it was he who found her. We stray, but when our hearts turn back, it is He who restores the relationship.
Does the world want to look at people who become Christlike as a kind of unique beauty they don't quite comprehend? I think that was the fascination with Mother Theresa. Why was she always smiling when she spent her life with the dying poor in the slums of Calcutta? They admire her giving of herself and don't understand her joy. It's like looking at a beautiful work of art and not being able to put in words what it is that captivates us.
May the world see the beauty of the Lord in us as we mature in Christ!
Song of Songs 7:1 (ESV) How beautiful are your feet in sandals,O noble daughter!Your rounded thighs are like jewels,the work of a master hand.
The king begins another list of descriptions of the outward beauty of the Shulammite. This time, instead of from the head down, he starts from the feet up. Beautiful feet are mentioned in Romans quoting Isaiah as those who bring the good news of the gospel (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7 - the only other references to beautiful feet). Can we really say that is what the Holy Spirit means in reference to the bride of Christ? Remember the many times the Word speaks of the Lord as our husband and marriage as a picture of our relationship with Him. Rabbi have always seen the use of the same word in different sections of Scripture as significant in the meaning of that word, especially the first use.
He calls her a noble daughter. We are nobility because we have been adopted into the family of God. Moving upward he speaks of her thighs like jewels, the work of a master craftsman, in other words, precious and stunning to him. The Master Craftsman that makes us spiritually beautiful to Jesus is the Holy Spirit. His conviction of sin and instruction in righteousness carefully shapes the rough rock into a jewel that reflects light through the many facets that are cut to reveal the inner beauty.
Song of Songs 7:2 (ESV) Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies.
He refers to intoxicating wine again to describe her naval. Her belly like a heap of wheat can refer to an hourglass like figure. If you've seen the way grain was cut and bundled for centuries, you know that shape. Now that it is cut and culled with combines and we don't see it anymore. Encircled with lilies, perhaps like a frame to showcase the beauty of the scene.
Song of Songs 7:3-5 (ESV) 3 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. 4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, which looks toward Damascus. 5 Your head crowns you like Carmel, and your flowing locks are like purple; a king is held captive in the tresses.
He describes her young perfectly matching breasts like gazelle twins. She said she was dark, but he sees her neck like and ivory tower. Then he comes to her eyes which he said before captivated him with one look. He said they were like the pools of Heshbon, a city in Sihon. Her nose like a tower of Lebanon did not mean she had a big nose, but rather was perfect and straight and beautiful to behold.
Song of Songs 7:6 (ESV) How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights!
One last summation of her beauty before he makes his move. The way to a woman's heart is through her ears. Tell her how beautiful and special she is to you. And when we hear the Spirit or the Word tell us this, we should accept it, for it is the beauty of the attributes of our Savior in us that delight Him. The Trinity delights in their fellowship and union because their attributes are the same, each in perfect balance with the other attributes. Just think that as many of the attributes that can be conveyed to us will be as we enter that glorious love fellowship.
Song of Songs 7:7-9 (ESV) 7 Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. 8 I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit .Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples, 9 and your mouth like the best wine.
It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth.
Here they go. Close the curtain. But remember, it pictures our intimate times in the Spirit with Jesus, His love and our total surrender and acceptance of it. Intoxicating!
Song of Songs 7:10 (ESV) I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.
When we realize the wonder of the greatness of His love for us, we can say this verse with the Shulammite. We belong to Jesus, and His desire is for us, individually and corporately. Hallelujah! Let us realize it to a greater degree every day. Open our eyes and hearts to the wonder of it!
Song of Songs 7:11-13 (ESV) 11 Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages; 12 let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom.There I will give you my love. 13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.
The bride is inviting the groom to get up early and go together to the fields see the promise of future fruit (1 Corinthians 3:9). She promises to give herself to Him there in the vineyards. Mandrakes were considered an aphrodisiac. Is the door at the place they lodge in the villages or the door of their lips? Sweetness and pleasant taste laid up for Him, for her beloved.
Jesus arose early before the break of day to be alone with the Lord and so should we. If we will walk in the Spirit, keeping in step with the Spirit, we too will see the promise of future fruit – new disciples. Whose hearts are beginning to bud and blossom? And there in the vineyard of the Lord, we abandon ourselves to Him. We remain in Him and He remains in us and we bear much fruit (John 15:1-5).
How does Jesus describe you as a part of the bride in Scripture? Will you let that truth change you?
Are you His beloved? Is He yours?
Can you receive verse 6:5a?
How are we like the moon?
Have you been in awe of spiritual beauty you have seen in others?
What are beautiful feet in Scripture?
What is the beauty God sees in us?
How can we be fruitful for our King?