Song Of Solomon 3


‘All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. ‘Have you seen the one my heart loves?’ Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.’ Song Of Solomon 3:1-5

Evening time arrives and the Shulammite woman hasn’t left her mountain home and so, she lies in bed thinking about the one her ‘heart loves’. It’s possible the Shulammite woman is beginning to dream of searching for her beloved, Solomon, but she can’t find him.

She now begins to stress out as she can’t find Solomon anywhere, she’s searched the city streets and squares but she can’t find him anywhere.

She is then found wandering through the city streets at night by the ‘watchmen’ of the town and she asks them if they have seen Solomon.

It’s worth noting if a shepherd boy were intended by the Shulammite woman in this passage, the watchmen wouldn’t have as great of knowledge of his whereabouts.

In Old Testament times, watchmen protected vineyards and fields during harvest season, Jeremiah 31:6. They were posted on city walls, 2 Kings 9:17-20, and at city gates, 2 Samuel 18:24-27.

The watchman also guarded the walls day and night against enemy attack or siege, 1 Samuel 14:16 / Isaiah 21:6-8 / Jeremiah 51:12, and he was responsible for warning the citizens of an impending attack by sounding a trumpet, Jeremiah 6:17.

The Shulammite woman is told by the watchmen about Solomon’s whereabouts. When she finds the one her ‘heart loves’, she holds him tightly so that she won’t lose him again. she won’t let go of Solomon ‘till I had brought him to my mother’s house.’

There’s no way she’s going to lose track of him again. Notice again that she uses the term, ‘the one my heart loves’, to describe Solomon. She used this term back in Song of Songs 1:7, and it is connected to the ‘king’ and the term ‘beloved’ back in Song of Songs 1:12-13.

This is clear evidence that she is referring to the king, that is Solomon, rather than a second man, a shepherd boy. What we have here is a picture of intense love between the Shulammite woman and Solomon.

God wants us to love Him and devote ourselves to Him first, Matthew 22:37, but He does bless us with godly wives and husbands, so we can devote ourselves to them too, Ecclesiastes 9:9 / Ephesians 5:21-31.

Once again we read the words, ‘Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.’ The sexual passions of love shouldn’t be aroused and fulfilled unless it’s in the context of marriage, Song of Songs 2:7 / Song of Songs 8:4.

It’s interesting to note that back in Song of Songs 2:7, where we find the Shulammite woman being held in the comforting arms of her beloved and once again here in Song of Songs 3:5, she’s holding on to him. The statement appears to mark an embracing moment in the song, Song of Songs 8:3-4.

‘Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant? Look! It is Solomon’s carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle, each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night.’ Song Of Solomon 3:6-8

Here we read about the spectacular entrance of the Shulammite woman into the royal city to wed Solomon. The resident, apparently the Shulammite woman whom Solomon has summoned, fills the air with pleasant fragrances, such as perfume, myrrh and incense.

It appears that the Shulammite woman has accepted Solomon’s offer to come to the royal city and to be wed, Song of Songs 2:10. The question she asked about ‘who is coming’, is now answered, ‘Look! It is Solomon’s carriage.’ The carriage would have been a portable bed or coach.

Notice that the carriage is accompanied by ‘sixty warriors’, this would amount to one-tenth of the royal guard, 1 Samuel 27:2 / 1 Samuel 30:9.

The sixty warriors, and those experts in war, had a ready sword attached to their thigh. The picture here is one of protection against any enemies in the wilderness and it’s a picture of honour for the Shulammite woman who is now riding in this special carriage.

‘King Solomon made for himself the carriage; he made it of wood from Lebanon. Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior inlaid with love. Daughters of Jerusalem, come out, and look, you daughters of Zion. Look on King Solomon wearing a crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced.’ Song Of Solomon 3:9-11

It appears that Solomon had a special carriage to travel in and his travelling carriage is now used by his love, the Shulammite woman. As the Shulammite woman approaches the royal city with great splendour, all eyes are on her. She moves toward the royal ‘palanquin’ of Solomon’s, that is the marriage bed.

This bed would have been carried on poles on the shoulders of two or four men. It’s obviously been given special attention in areas of workmanship. The bed has pillars of silver and a base of gold. This is the love that exists between Solomon and the Shulammite woman in preparation for their marriage.

Keil and Delitzsch in their commentary make an interesting point here.

‘Nowhere do we see her up to this point resisting; much rather she is happy in her love. The shepherd-hypothesis cannot comprehend this marriage procession without introducing incongruous and imaginary things.’

C. Cook in his commentary also has some interesting points here.

‘If in other Scriptures are found words of indignation and wrath and terrible threatening, the characteristics of this Book are sweetness, cheerfulness, and joy, characteristics somewhat at variance with ‘the hypothesis’ so-called ‘of the shepherd lover’. This hypothesis, held by many distinguished critics, assumes that there are two lovers in the Song, one a faithful simple-minded shepherd, the other a magnificent voluptuous king, by each of whom the affections of a Shulammite maiden are alternately solicited; while she, faithful in her allegiance to her shepherd-lover, rejects with scorn the monarch’s blandishments, and finally compel him to abandon his pursuit.’

Solomon’s mother is Bathsheba, 1 Kings 1:11, and the use of the term ‘daughters of Zion’ is used to distinguish them from the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ found back in Song of Songs 1:5 / Song of Songs 3:5.

The daughters of Zion are more likely to be the general population of Jewish women. Notice that the women are called upon to view two things.

1. The women of Zion were to look upon the king as his mother put ‘the crown of his wedding’.

The ‘crown’ and ‘his wedding’ have an apparent relationship to marriage and the wedding procedure. The word ‘wedding’ in Hebrew is ‘chathunnah’ and it means to give, a daughter, away in marriage, to contract affinity by marriage.

This tells us that Bathsheba’s purpose for crowning Solomon wasn’t to pronounce him king but rather for giving him away in marriage. This is like the custom of some places today, instead, it’s usually the father of the bride who gives her, his daughter, away.

2. The wedding day and marriage was a day ‘the day his heart rejoiced’.

The love and wedding between Solomon and the Shulammite woman were very public and there was a clear distinction to be made on this occasion with his other wives, Song of Songs 6:8-13.

Go To Song Of Solomon 4