Song Of Solomon 6


‘Where has your beloved gone, most beautiful of women? Which way did your beloved turn, that we may look for him with you?’ Song Of Solomon 6:1

At the very beginning of the song, the daughters of Jerusalem longed to be with Solomon, because they admired him greatly, Song of Songs 1:4-5.

In the previous chapter, they asked the Shulammite woman, what is so special about Solomon? Why is he better than all other men? Song of Songs 5:9.

Here we see that the daughters of Jerusalem aren’t totally heartless, they appear to have genuine care and concern for helping the Shulammite woman and so, they offer moral support to help the Shulammite woman find Solomon.

‘My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.’ Song Of Solomon 6:2-3

The Shulammite woman assumes that Solomon has travelled ‘down to his garden’. This is a physical garden, not a figurative one, Song of Songs 5:1.

It appears that Solomon loved his garden with its flowers and so the Shulammite woman is sure that her beloved has gone there to meditate on the day’s events, Song of Songs 6:2.

She concludes by saying, ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’. It’s clear that they have a very strong bond together. A bond which was built on their mutual love, honour, physical attraction, and respect for each other which is a testament to their marital vows.

Even though they have fallen out and separated, for reasons which we aren’t told about, Song of Songs 5:2-6, they know that their love is real.

This is another lesson that married couples can learn from. Every married couple will have their moments when they fall out and every married couple will have times when they upset each other, but what will help bring them back together and keep them bonded is when they remember that, ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’.

When they remember this, then nothing and no one will come between them, no matter what they’re going through.

She repeats the phrase she said back in Song of Songs 2:16, to say that they belong to each other. However, there is a subtle difference here, before, her hold on his love was foremost but now, his hold on her love occupies her first thoughts.

The Shulammite woman didn’t think the worst, she didn’t think that Solomon had run off with another woman. She knew in her heart exactly where Solomon would be.

Before they were married, Solomon would often spend time among the sheep in his garden when he needed time away from the hectic life of a king, Song of Songs 1:7.

Her earlier rejection of Solomon, Song of Songs 5:2-6, sent him to a quiet place where he could think. He went to the ‘bed of spices’, the Hebrew word for ‘spices’ is ‘bosem’, this is a herb used for healing wounds and he needed time to heal the wounds she gave to his spirit.

‘You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling, as lovely as Jerusalem, as majestic as troops with banners. Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is missing. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.’ Song Of Solomon 6:4-7

Here we find Solomon, praising his bride, the Shulammite woman, once again, Song of Songs 4:1-5. Her beauty is compared to two principal and beautiful cities within Israel.

The first, Tirzah, was the main royal city before Samaria and Jerusalem and is known as the ‘perfection of beauty’ among the Israelites, Psalm 50:2 / Lamentations 2:15.

Notice that Solomon isn’t only captivated by the Shulammite woman’s beauty but he is also captivated by her strength. He says she is ‘majestic as troops with banners’, which means he sees her as a confident army marching to war with their banners flying. She has the air of a great and beautiful conqueror about her.

It appears that Solomon is stunned by her beauty and noble approach to life and so he requests that she turn her eyes away from him so that he doesn’t get overcome with lovesickness.

This doesn’t mean that he restrains himself from her because she doesn’t belong to him but because he has work to do and her very being can’t interfere with his royal duties.

In other words, a husband can be love-sick for his wife, but the husband has to maintain his responsibilities in life. Solomon shows the type of love all husbands should have for their wives, Ephesians 5:25.

He compares her hair to goats that have gathered upon the side of mount Gilead and have the appearance of long flowing hair alongside the mountain.

Goats in that region were dark-haired, almost black in colour. This gives us an idea of what the colour of Shulammite woman’s hair was.

Although the words Solomon uses to describe the Shulammite woman’s physical beauty may seem foreign to us today, there’s no doubt that she would have really appreciated his thoughts, especially as she spent most of her life outdoors.

Solomon goes on to describe her beauty as seen by her teeth, and he says that her teeth are white as the sheep and perfect in their number.

Sheep wool is normally white, but the wool becomes gray from the dirt in the outdoors. Shearing the sheep exposes the clean, fresh wool underneath and a freshly bathed sheep is even whiter yet. So in a poetic way, Solomon is saying her teeth are pearly white.

Her temples can be seen and are compared to pomegranates for beauty. Her complexion is compared to a slice of ripe pomegranate, the flesh inside of a pomegranate is rosy colour.

‘Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favourite of the one who bore her. The young women saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.’ Song Of Solomon 6:8-9

Earlier the Shulammite woman said that Solomon is ‘outstanding among ten thousand’, Song of Songs 5:10, and that ‘he is altogether lovely’, Song of Songs 5:16.

Solomon now looks to the Shulammite woman as one who stands out among the masses of women. Solomon speaks of his sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number, those who were a part of his harem, but yet the Shulammite woman is ‘my dove, my perfect one and unique.’

In 1 Kings 11:1-3, we learn that there were seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines among the women in Solomon’s court. It appears that Solomon’s relationship with the Shulammite occurs somewhere at the beginning of his kingship. All the women in the king’s court recognised the Shulammite woman as Solomon’s preferred bride.

The interpretation of this book as being an allegory with Solomon representing God or Christ and the Shulammite his bride or church falls apart here. Solomon was a sinful man who violated God’s marital law principles, the Lord is not one with sin, Deuteronomy 17:17.

‘Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession? I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom. Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.’ Song Of Solomon 6:10-12

Although Solomon and the Shulammite woman have been on an interesting relationship journey together in this book, the daughters of Jerusalem have also been on an interesting relationship journey with the Shulammite woman.

Remember they were originally in competition with the Shulammite woman for Solomon’s love, Song of Songs 1:2-7 and they went on to ridicule her, Song of Songs 1:8.

Their perception of the Shulammite woman is changed once Solomon publicly illustrates his desire for her, Song of Songs 2:4-7 / Song of Songs 3:6-11.

They confess that she is the most beautiful among women, Song of Songs 5:9. They offer to help her, Song of Songs 6:1.

Here, we find them praising her beauty. Notice that the daughters of Jerusalem praise the Shulammite in four areas.

1. She ‘appears like the dawn.’

She overcomes the darkness of night with her presence in the garden.

2. She is ‘fair as the moon.’

When we look to the moon in the heavens, we see the beauty of creation.

3. She is as ‘bright as the sun.’

The purity of the soul is compared with the purity of the sun burning and glowing with perfect heat.

4. She is ‘majestic as the stars in procession.’

She walks with the nobility and confidence of a feared and victorious army.

The Shulammite goes to the garden to see how the plants are doing and it appears that the vines and pomegranates were of interest to her.

She obviously enjoyed watching the new growth come upon the vines and fruit trees. To watch the progress of plant life is to witness and enjoy nature.

It’s at this point that the ‘shepherd lover’ hypothesis approach to interpreting this book looks to the Shulammite woman as being abducted, in a state of unconsciousness, by Solomon’s chariot and taken to the royal city that she may be seduced by Solomon.

However, if we remember, Solomon and the Shulammite woman have been separated due to the Shulammite woman shunning Solomon, Song of Songs 5:2-3.

Rather than being abducted by Solomon the Song portrays the Shulammite woman’s voluntarily going in the chariot to see her beloved.

‘Come back, come back, O Shulammite; come back, come back, that we may gaze on you! Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?’ Song Of Solomon 6:13

The Shulammite’s name is given for the first time in the book, not a name as we understand it, but a name that indicates her descent and thereby one to which we may refer to. Apparently, the daughters of Jerusalem are pleading with her to come back so that they may behold her beauty.

The Shulammite woman is being taken from the garden to the royal palace in Solomon’s chariot, Song of Songs 6:12. She appears to hear the cries of the daughters of Jerusalem and asks them, ‘Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?’

The daughters of Jerusalem see the beauty of the Shulammite woman as the beautiful angelic dance of Mahanaim.

Keil and Delitzsch in their commentary suggest that ‘this dance derives its name from the town named Mahanaim which derived its name from Jacob’s vision of two encampments of angels that came to protect him, Genesis 32:1-2. There is beauty in such an angelic dance’.

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