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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Song of Solomon 1

Verse 1

Song of Solomon 1:1 The Title The opening verse of the Song of Solomon serves as its title, which is “The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.”

Song of Solomon 1:1 The song of songs, which is Solomon's.

Song of Solomon 1:1 “The song of songs” Word Study on “song” Strong says the Hebrew word “song” “shiyr” ( שִׁיר ) (H7892) means, “a song, singing.” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 90 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “song 74, musick 7, singing 4, musical 2, sing 1, singers 1, song + 01697 1.”

Comments - The opening verse of Songs gives us a Hebrew idiom denoting the grandest superiority of this song. We call the phrase “the song of songs” a superlative expression in English grammar, which means that a phrase expresses the highest or lowest degree of the quality, manner, etc. We find other similar Hebrew idioms in the Old Testament; the phrase “holy of holies” (Exodus 29:39), meaning “the most holy place,” and the phrase “heaven of heavens” (Deuteronomy 10:14), meaning “the highest of the heavens” (1 Kings 8:27), “vanity of vanities” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) and “an ornament of ornaments” (Ezekiel 16:7), meaning “the most beautiful ornament.” We have the phrases “King of kings” and “Lord of lords” throughout the Scriptures to compare as well. Thus, we can read the phrase “the song of songs” in Song of Solomon 1:1 as “the most excellent of songs.”

We know that Solomon composed one thousand and five songs (1 Kings 4:32), but the Song of Songs was the most excellent of them all.

1 Kings 4:32, “And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.”

Song of Solomon 1:1 “which is Solomon's” - Comments - The opening verse of Songs, which credits its authorship to Solomon, seems to quietly leave out his title as King of Jerusalem and of Israel. While the opening verses of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes clearly state this title, it is strangely missing in the Canticles. One explanation proposed by some is that Solomon could have written his Song of Songs as a young man before he became king, when he had not title. He may have written Proverbs during the course of his kingship when he was in full control of both Jerusalem and Israel, thus he declares himself as “king of Israel,” he may have written the book of Ecclesiastes during the later part of his reign, when he began to lose control of the northern kingdom of Israel, thus describing himself as “king of Jerusalem.” However, the order of writing has long been debated by both Jewish and Christian scholars.

Proverbs 1:1, “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;”

Ecclesiastes 1:1, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.”

Song of Solomon 1:1 Comments (The Unity of the Book) - The opening verse of the Song of Solomon itself testifies to the fact that the book is one unified song and not five separate poems as some suggest. If this opening verse, which serves as a title, was added at a later date during the composition of this book as a part of the Old Testament Scriptures, then it meant the early Jews viewed it as one unified composition.

Although this book can be divided into scenes, we find evidence of unity throughout the book as we see the repetition of similar phrases. For example, the bride says, “I am sick with love” (Song of Solomon 2:5; Song of Solomon 5:8), and “my beloved is mine and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16; Song of Solomon 6:3), and “he whom my soul loves” (Song of Solomon 1:7; Song of Solomon 3:1-4), “his left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me,” (Song of Solomon 2:6; Song of Solomon 8:3), “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please,” (Song of Solomon 2:7; Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 8:4). The phrase “daughters of Jerusalem” is also found in Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 3:10; Song of Solomon 5:8; Song of Solomon 5:16.

Song of Solomon 1:1 Figurative Interpretation “The song of songs” - John Westwood declares that “the name of Christ is indeed the Song of Songs.” [83] “which is Solomon's” - Westwood says no one in history served as a closer type and figure of Christ Jesus than did King Solomon. [84]

[83] John Westwood, A Short Paraphrase of the Song of Solomon (London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1848), 1.

[84] John Westwood, A Short Paraphrase of the Song of Solomon (London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1848), 1.

Verses 2-4

Predestination: Introduction or Prologue (The Shulamite’s Summary of True Love for the King) All three of Solomon’s writings open with an introduction, or prologue, which establishes the theme, or primary message, of the book. Song of Solomon 1:2-4 reveals the intimate relationship that the Shulamite has with her beloved, the king. There are different types of relationships in society. There is the love of parents for their children, or the love of friendship between two individuals, and there is the love of devotion as a servant. But the most imitate type of love is that between a man and a woman within the institution of marriage. This is the type of love that is described in the opening verses of Songs.

Literal Interpretation - Although the king has chosen her, the Shulamite is describing her desire to be completely aroused and touched by the king’s presence. The statement, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine,” (1:2) reflects her physical passions for his touch. The beloved longs for the touch of his tender lips (physical affection). The second statement, “Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee,” (1:3) reflects her longing for the smell of his fragrance that reminds her of his name, the sweet thoughts and remembrances that this relationship brings to her mind (mental affection). The statement, “Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers,” (1:4a,b) describes her desire to be drawn into his bed of the closest intimate intercourse, to give herself totally to him; for the king’s bed chamber is where their hearts are bound (spiritual affection). Within the setting of Songs, we can picture wine being served to the beloved (1:2) within the chamber of the king (1:3) and perfume being poured forth so that its sensual fragrance fills the room (1:4). It was the ultimate romantic environment for this ancient world.

She wants to yield her body to Him (1:2), her mind (1:3) and her heart (1:4), being entirely embraced in the security of his love. The statement, “We will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine” (1:4c) means that her joy is found entirely in him, which she desires more than earthly pleasures. In summary, she describes a total commitment to her beloved: body, soul and spirit. The statement, “The upright love thee” (1:4d) says this is the way God created love to exist between a man and a woman, and this is a metaphor of how the righteous are to love God (1:4d).

During the rest of the Songs the Shulamite will rehearse her journey through the stages of love that brought her to this place of intimacy described in the opening prologue. It is a journey that began at the banquet house, and culminates in the king’s bedchamber, with her daily duties overseeing the vineyard assigned to her. However, the Shulamite woman will discover at the end of this Song (8:6-7) that love and jealousy are the strongest forces within the human soul. No other emotion has the strength to move a person like the passions of love.

Figurative Interpretation Figuratively speaking, Song of Solomon 1:2-4 serves as a description of how God has predestined mankind to love Him passionately from the heart, far above the things of this world. This passage of Scripture is a metaphor for total love towards God: spirit, soul and body.

A proposed interpretation is:

Literal Figurative 1. Kissing ð physical love ð Love for God’s Word 2. Remembrances ð emotional love ð God’s presence 3. King’s chamber ð heart’s abandonment ð Communion with Christ 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

Song of Solomon 1:2 “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” Comments - Watchman Nee explains that there are different kinds of kisses. [85] He says this is not the kiss of asking repentance as the sinful woman kissed the feet of our Saviour in Luke 7:37-50; for the Song of Solomon is not about the conversion experience, but rather, spiritual growth in Christ.

[85] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c1965, 2001), 16-7.

Luke 7:38; Luke 7:50, “And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment….And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace”

Nee says that is not the kiss of granting forgiveness as the father kisses his prodigal son who has come home after having backslidden.

Luke 15:20, “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

It is not the kiss of servitude as the people honored Absalom as their new king in 2 Samuel 15:5. For this kiss lacks love and true devotion.

2 Samuel 15:5, “And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.”

Nee says it is not the kiss of a formal greeting as Judas Iscariot betrays Jesus; for this kiss is outward only, and not of the heart.

Matthew 26:49, “And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.”

Rather, the kiss of Song of Solomon 1:2 is the kiss of intimacy, of love’s passion. The phrase “the kisses of his mouth” refer to intimacy within a relationship that only two married people can have. It symbolizes a Christian who is hungry for a deeper relationship with the Lord than those around him.

Figurative Interpretation - Song of Solomon 1:2 refers to the personal pursuit of God that an individual has to make alone when he becomes a Christian. It is a pursuit that cannot be made while following others. A believer cannot pursuit this level of intimacy with the Lord as he still seeks to please others. For in such a close relationship, the lover becomes jealous over his beloved. There is no room for clinging to other relationships. All other relationships must be laid aside in order to find the Lord, as this Song will reveal. Other virgins may seek Him (Song of Solomon 1:3 b), but they must do it on their own.

We also see in this phrase that the Lover is the one giving the kisses, and not the beloved; because she says, “Let him kiss me…” It is the lover who initiates the kisses. It represents the fact God first gave to us His love, and we are simply asked to reach out and receive His love. We are the ones who are to come to Him in our weaknesses and needs. We are the recipients of His love. It is He who gives life and we are the ones who receive that life. It is God who initiated love’s first kiss with His love to a lost and dying world by sending His Only Begotten Son to die on Calvary. We must simply reach out to give Him what love we do have, and it is He who embraces us and gives to us “the kisses of His mouth.” In summary, this phrase figuratively symbolizes the continual longing within a person’s heart for God to display His love upon us.

Song of Solomon 1:2 “for thy love is better than wine” Word Study on “love” Strong says the Hebrew word “love” “dôwd” ( דּוֹד ) (H1730) means, a love-token, lover, friend, beloved, uncle,” and comes from an unused root properly meaning “to boil.” The Enhanced Strong says this word it is used 61 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “beloved 34, uncle 16, love(s) 8, father's brother 2, wellbeloved 1.” It is used 39 times in the book of Songs of its 61 Old Testament uses.

Comments on “thy love” The Hebrew construction uses the masculine singular possessive pronoun (your) attached to the plural noun “loves.” Thus, the Shulamite is referring to the “loves” that the king has bestowed upon her. The plural form of the noun is used in an abstract manner, rather than concrete, in order to express the manifold ways and depth in which she is loved by the king. Therefore, Gesenius tells us the Hebrew word “love” ( דּוֹד ) (H1730) can carry a broader definition of “tokens of love, caresses or kisses.” We will find this same construction again in Song of Solomon 1:4.

Comments on “for thy love is better than wine” - Wine represents the pleasures of this world that bring happiness to the soul. In Proverbs, wine is synonymous with the pleasures of this earth.

Proverbs 21:17, “ He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.”

Wine makes the heart glad. Note:

Psalms 104:15, “And wine that maketh glad the heart of man , and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.”

In Song of Solomon 1:6 the maiden will reflect upon the effects of the sun that has darkened her skin. The sun represents the affairs of this earthly life. Thus, the wine represents the best pleasures that this life can offer. Yet, with these pleasures comes the dark stains of sin. Thus, this phrase is saying that the greatest pleasures of this world are not to be compared with an intimate relationship with God. If anyone had tasted the pleasures of this world, it was Solomon. He tells us of these vain pursuits in the book of Ecclesiastes. In all of his pursuits, his pleasures soon turned to emptiness and vanity.

This phrase also reveals to us that no one is ready to pursue Him until the pleasures of this world become distasteful. One is not able to turn loose of this world unless he gets a glimpse of something more glorious. A believer can only see this vision by the Holy Spirit.

Song of Solomon 1:2 Comments - Why would this book of love start out with kissing? It could have started out at many other points in a relationship between two individuals. However, anyone who has ever fallen in love knows the answer. It is the first kiss that officially begins a relationship between a man and a woman. It is the act of crossing over from a casual friendship into intimacy. In fact, the first kiss is the best and sweetest kiss in the life of that relationship. There will be many more, but none will compare to the memories of that first kiss. It is saying to the other partner that I am willing to make a covenant with you the rest of my life. That first kiss causes love to become inflamed into a passion.

In today’s society, if the two partners are in school, it means anticipating one another on campus. If it is in a church setting, it means looking forward to the next church service in order to sit with that person. This anticipation is clearly seen woven throughout the book of the Song of Songs.

Literal Interpretation - Within the setting of Song, we can picture wine being served to the beloved within the chamber of the king and perfume being poured forth so that its sensual fragrance fills the room. It was the ultimate romantic environment for this ancient world.

Figurative Interpretation of Israel - Mike Bickle notes that ancient Jews have interpreted this verse to refer to the “kiss of God’s Word,” or the “kiss of the Torah.” [86] For example, Rashi’s comments on Song of Solomon 1:2 says, “This figure of speech was used because He gave them His Torah and spoke to them face to face, and that love is still more pleasant to them than any pleasure...” [87]

[86] Mike Bickle, Session 3 - Introducing the Divine Kiss: A 7-Fold Bridal Paradigm, in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 3.

[87] The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary, ed. A. J. Rosenberg (New York: The Judaica Press Company, 1963) [on-line]; accessed 13 December 2009; available from http//www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16445/showrashi/true; Internet, comments on Song of Song of Solomon 1:2.

If the book of Psalms is an expression of the Song of Songs, then Psalms 1:0 could be an expression of the introduction to Songs (Song of Solomon 1:1-4). We find a reference to man’s delight in the Word of God within Psalms 1:2, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” This verse supports the Jewish interpretation of Song of Solomon 1:2 being symbolic of the love of God’s Word.

Figurative Interpretation of the Church “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” Song of Solomon 1:2 a reflects God initiating His love towards us; for He is the one kissing us. Regarding the Church’s interpretation this kiss, it can symbolize our intimacy with Christ Jesus, as we find God’s love being poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and we fill the cleansing of our souls from sin and the sweet peace of a clean conscience before God. This phrase expresses that unique relationship that each child of God can have with God through Jesus Christ. Because each one of us is different, each one is loved and nurtured in a different way by the Heavenly Father. “for thy love is better than wine” The revelation and continual experiences of His love to the mature believer positions the heart to desire this divine love more than the best this world has to offer. Some scholars suggest that wine represents both the good pleasures that God gives mankind, as well as worldly vices that bind men in sin. Bickle notes that within this “marriage metaphor” wine represents “the drink of earthly celebration.” [88]

[88] Mike Bickle, Session 5 - Theme: Divine Kiss and the Bride’s Life Vision (1:2-4), in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 4.

Song of Solomon 1:3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.

Song of Solomon 1:3 “Because of the savour of thy good ointments” Word Study on “ointment(s)” Strong says the Hebrew word “ointment” ( שֶׁמֶן ) (H8081) means, “grease, especially liquid (as from the olive, often perfumed),” and comes from the primitive root ( שָׁמֵן ) (H8080), which means, “to shine, to be oily.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 193 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “oil 165, ointment 14, olive 4, oiled 2, fat 2, things 2, misc 4.” The ancient Hebrews mixed olive oil with certain aromatic ingredients, such as spices. to make a sweet-smelling perfume. [89] Thus, this fragrant oil is called an ointment. This same Hebrew word is used in Proverbs 27:9 to symbolize the joy of the heart.

[89] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), “Ointment.”

Proverbs 27:9, “ Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.”

Comments - Oil is figurative of the Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures. It is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling a believer that gives him “fragrance,” both in God’s eyes and in the eyes of other believers. Jesus was the ultimate example of one who was anointed, whose divine character and graces produced the sweetest fragrance before God and men.

Song of Solomon 1:3 “thy name is as ointment poured forth” Comments - Some scholars suggest that the pouring forth of ointment is figurative of the pouring forth of Christ’s blood on Calvary. The ointment has been poured out and we are now the recipients of that sweet fragrance, of that fragrant offering that was accepted by God the Father. The name of Christ now brings us pleasure just as the smell of a sweet fragrance brings pleasure to us through our senses.

Paul spoke of the Gospel message as a “sweet savour of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). While Jesus was on earth, many men rejected Him. But now that He has been exalted and the sweet message of His sacrifice on Calvary is being proclaimed, many have turned to Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

Song of Solomon 1:3 “therefore do the virgins love thee” Word Study on “the virgins” Strong says the Hebrew word “virgin” ( עַלְמָה ) (H5959) means, “lass, damsel, maid, virgin,” and comes from the primitive root verb ( עָלַם ) (H5956) meaning, “to veil from sight, to conceal.” The Enhanced Strong says this Hebrew word is used 7 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “virgin (4 times), maid (2 times), damsels (1 time).” This word is used two times in the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon 1:3; Song of Solomon 6:8).

Comments - Literally understood, these virgins refer to the many ladies in King Solomon’s court. Zöckler understands this as a reference to the “ladies of Solomon’s court,” who hold admiration for the “graceful, brilliant and lovely king.” This young Shulamite lady from a northern province of Israel finds herself in the king’s court and observes how the ladies love the king. [90]

[90] Otto Zöckler, The Song of Solomon, trans. by W. Henry Green, in Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, ed. Philip Schaff (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1872), 54.

Figuratively understood, it may refer to those whom God has hidden under His wings (Psalms 17:8). These are those who have kept themselves undefiled from the world because they have sought refuge in Him. This love for God, which is so personal and so intimate, is not limited to the Shulamite in Song of Solomon 1:2. There is a place for each of His children to come to Him and become enraptured by this great love. With human relationships, we can only give our intimacy to one person, our husband or wife. With God, His love is limitless. He can pour out infinite love to each one of us. This intimate love is reserved for those who have kept themselves pure from the passions of this world. These virgins represent those whose heart is pure before Him, untainted with the adultery of this world (James 4:4).

Psalms 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,”

James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

No one other than virgins was a candidate for a royal marriage in this type of culture. Adulteresses were not chosen by the king to be his wife. Thus, these virgins represent those who are also in pursuit of their Lover just as the maiden is in pursuit. For in that culture, all of the young virgins were hoping to find themselves as the chosen bride of the handsome king. Paul the apostle spoke of this pursuit as one who runs a race, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) So, are we to pursue Christ as if we are the only one whom He will choose.

Song of Solomon 1:3 Literal Interpretation - A person’s name represents his character. When someone uses a person’s name in a conversation, we immediately reflect upon his character. In the same way, the maiden reflects upon the graces and divine character of her lover when she thinks of his name. Regarding the simile of ointment used in Song of Solomon 1:3, every plant and animal in nature has a unique scent. A dog with his keen nose understands this. In fact, every person has a unique scent. Just as pouring forth of sweet fragrances causes a smell that pleases the senses, so does the maiden’s reflection upon his name pour forth pleasure into her heart. This may have been a particular scent that was worn by her lover, so every time she smells it, she is reminded of him.

Figurative Interpretation To the believer, the name of Jesus has become sweet to the sound and comforting to the soul. His name has authority over all the powers of darkness and evil that hinder God’s children on earth. The young virgins that are referred to in Song of Solomon 1:3 would represent those believers who have been saved and purified by the blood of the Lamb and now know that precious name in which they hid themselves.

Song of Solomon 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.

Song of Solomon 1:4 “Draw me, we will run after thee” Word Study on “Draw” Strong says the Hebrew word “draw” “mashak” ( מָשַׁךְ ) (H4900) is a primitive root meaning, “to draw,” with a great variety of applications, such as sow, sound, prolong, develop, march, remove, delay, be tall, etc.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 36 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “draw 15, draw out 3, prolonged 3, scattered 2, draw along 1, draw away 1, continue 1, deferred 1, misc 9.”

The same Hebrew word is used in Psalms 36:10, Jeremiah 31:3, and Hosea 11:4. The God of Israel drew His people to Him with cords of love (Hosea 11:4). Jesus tells us that no man can come to the Father except God draw him (John 6:44). God attempts to draw us near to Him through His lovingkindness.

Psalms 36:10, “O continue (or draw out) thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.”

Jeremiah 31:3, “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Hosea 11:4, “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.”

John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him : and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Comments - “Draw me” - Song of Solomon 1:4 reads, “Draw me, we will run after thee.” There are two occasions within Songs when the bride is drawn away by her Lover (Song of Solomon 2:10; Song of Solomon 5:2). The fact that the Lover initiates the approach in drawing his beloved to him serves as a testimony of his love towards her. If a man cannot go after a woman, then he cannot prove his love towards her. It is this approach that arouses the woman. There are times in our spiritual growth when the Lord “draws us” out of one phase of ministry and into a higher level of sacrifice. Song of Solomon 5:2-8 describes just such a time when Christ calls a believer out of a place of rest. Thus, the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit is to woo us into fellowship with Jesus.

“we will run after thee” - We respond to the wooing of the Holy Spirit by drawing near to Him. Watchman Nee suggests the phrase “run after” means “a continuous desire.” [91]

[91] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c1965, 2001), 20.

If we follow Frances Roberts’ interpretation of Song of Solomon 2:10, the Lover is calling his Beloved away from the cares of this world, from the vanities of this life, to a place hidden in God, a place where the Spirit of God can commune with man. [92] We find this same call expressed in the opening verses of Songs, “Draw me, we will run after thee,” (Song of Solomon 1:4).

[92] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 145-6.

A relationship must have participation from two parties. When God draws us to him, we express our will by making an effort to pursue Him. This requires a sacrifice on man’s part. It is this sacrifice that moves the heart of God, and causes Him to bring us into an intimate place with Him, which is called “his chambers” in Song of Solomon 1:4. We find this two-fold role of God and man referred to in Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul tells the believers to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, then assures them that God is at work in them giving them the desire and ability to fulfill His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Song of Solomon 1:4 “the king hath brought me into his chambers” Word Study on “chambers” Strong says the Hebrew word “chambers” “cheder” ( חֶדֶר ) (H2315) means, “an apartment, bed chamber, inner chamber innermost.” The Enhanced Strong says it is found 38 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “chamber 21, inner 4, bedchamber + 4296 3, bedchamber + 4904 3, inward parts 2, innermost parts 2, parlours 1, south 1, within 1.” It is used one other time in Song of Solomon 3:4.

Song of Solomon 3:4, “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.”

Comments - Because Song of Solomon 1:2-4 is an introduction, reflecting mature love between the king and the Shulamite bride, the phrase “the king hath brought me into his chambers” reflects the intimacy of mature love, rather than a king taking a virgin into the bed of intercourse before love develops between the two. It is a place where the wife continually yields her own will to the desires of her husband. This phrase figuratively represents the place where a servant of God continually yields his will to the Lord in prayer on a continual basis in order to lead a consecrated life. It is a place of continual consecration.

Song of Solomon 1:4 “we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine” Comments on “thy love” The Hebrew construction uses the masculine singular possessive pronoun (your) attached to the plural noun “loves.” Thus, the Shulamite is referring to the “loves” that the king has bestowed upon her. The plural form of the noun is used in an abstract manner, rather than concrete, in order to express the manifold ways and depth in which she is loved by the king. Therefore, Gesenius tells us the Hebrew word “love” ( דּוֹד ) (H1730) can carry a broader definition of “tokens of love, caresses or kisses.” We will find this same construction again in Song of Solomon 1:4.

Comments - For those believers who have experienced His presence, the joy that lifts the heart above the cares of this world are priceless compared to the best that this world has to offer. Wine is figurative of that which lifts the spirit of man in this life. Yet, such an experience is nothing compared to being in His presence.

Song of Solomon 1:4 “the upright love thee” Comments - The word “upright” is plural, so that this phrase reads, “the upright ones love you.” The word “you” is masculine, referring to the Lover. The Shulamite reflects upon others who love the King. Only those who are upright before God love His presence. The unbelievers and the slothful Christians do not know this experience exists, so their love is still searching amongst the cares of this world to find peace and joy. Watchman Nee suggests an alternate reading, “In uprightness they love thee.” He says this means that those who love you, or desire your presence more than the pleasures of this world, do so with pure motives. [93]

[93] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c1965, 2001), 21.

Song of Solomon 1:4 Literal Interpretation - Song of Solomon 1:4 continues the discussion of the Shulamite maiden among other young virgins who are pursuing the king’s hand in marriage. She says, “We will run”, perhaps implying many virgins are in pursuit of him, although some interpret it as her own individual pursuit.

Figurative Interpretation “Draw me, we will run after thee” It is God’s love that draws us along our spiritual journey. In the Song of Songs, it is the driving force of the plot of this love story. Each phase of our spiritual journey begins by God drawing us out of our comfortable place of rest and on to a new phase, which requires greater sacrifices and endurance. Within the Songs, the king draws the bride in a position of betrothal in Song of Solomon 2:8-13. He brings her to him in the wedding carriage in Song of Solomon 3:6-10. He draws her out of her place of rest in Song of Solomon 5:2-4. He leads her through the wilderness back to her village in Song of Solomon 7:5. These passages reflect the seasons that God draws us by His love into a deeper walk with Him. We are to respond by running after Him, growing ever more mature in our spiritual development and divine service. This is our proper response to prove our devotion and love to Jesus our Master. “the king hath brought me into his chambers” - The bed chamber is where a woman gives herself totally to a man. When a woman initially accepts a man’s proposal to date her, she accepts his request to court, but cautiously gives herself only partially to him. However, the bed is where a woman gives her heart totally to the man. This must take place after marriage. The statement, We will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine” (Song of Solomon 1:4 c) means that her joy is found entirely in him, which she desires more than earthly pleasures. In summary, she describes a total commitment to her beloved: body, soul and spirit. The statement, “The upright love thee” (Song of Solomon 1:4 d) says this is the way God created love to exist between a man and a woman, and this is a metaphor of how the righteous are to love God (Song of Solomon 1:4 d). Perhaps this statement is a summary of the previous verses. Or, it may be a reference to how the righteous love God, which is revealed in the rest of Songs. Thus, it may be read, “This is to introduce you to the story of how the righteous love you.”

Verses 5-7

The Insecurity of the Girl Literal Interpretation - In Song of Solomon 1:5-7 the story begins with introduction of the character of the Shulamite maiden. Bickle says, “[T]he testimony of her actual journey now begins (Song of Solomon 1:5).” [94] In this passage of Scripture, the Shulamite maiden expresses her insecurities and feelings of inadequacies in this newly established relationship with the king. She is embarrassed because of her dark complexion. Her dark skin reveals that she has worked in the field, unlike the other fair maidens that the king could have chosen. The fact that she was made to keep the vineyards, and neglect her own vineyards suggests the unfair treatment by her family or community. Such expressions reveal her pursuit of rest in her soul, a pursuit of rest that will find its fulfillment in the final scene of this song.

[94] Mike Bickle, Session 6 Her Journey Begins With Spiritual Crisis (Song of Song of Solomon 1:5-11 ), in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 1.

Women, especially beautiful women, tend to be very sensitive to their faults. My wife spent the first few years of our marriage commenting on her dark complexion. It took me years to assure her that I loved her dark complexion. The Shulamite’s self-evaluation in Song of Solomon 1:5-6 shows that she has not entered into rest in her soul, and is not fully content and assured in her relationship with her beloved. Therefore, she seeks the approval from a lover (Song of Solomon 1:7).

Figurative Interpretation Song of Solomon 1:5-7 is generally agreed to symbolize the conviction of sin. However, there are various views as to whether this is being expressed by an unbeliever, a new believer, or a mature believer who has learned to come into the presence of God.

1. A Young Believer - The dark skin symbolizes the imperfections of young believers. Young converts feel clean in their conscience from their conversion, but soon experience failures in sin. This sin brings guilt as they learn to experience daily cleansing. The vineyards may represent the works that man does in the flesh before coming to Christ. The fact that the Shulamite was made to keep the entire vineyard may represent the bondages of this world that people find themselves subjected to from the pressures of society.

2. A Mature Believer - Watchman Nee says the Shulamite’s feelings of inadequacies are the natural result of any believer who comes into the presence of the King. A believer who enters into the presence of God becomes conscience of his/her sinful, Adamic nature which we all carry in the flesh until we are delivered from our mortal bodies. The Shulamite’s declaration of blackness is an expression of her in weak, sinful, mortal nature in the flesh, but the statement, “but comely” is an awareness of her acceptance by God through conversion. He says, “she is black in Adam and comely in Christ.” [95]

[95] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c1965, 2001), 22-5.

Song of Solomon 1:5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

Song of Solomon 1:5 “O ye daughters of Jerusalem” Comments - The phrase “daughters of Jerusalem” is used seven times throughout the Song of Solomon (Song of Solomon 1:5; Song of Solomon 2:7; Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 3:10; Song of Solomon 5:8; Song of Solomon 5:16; Song of Solomon 8:4) and is unique to the Song of Solomon, not being found elsewhere in the Old or New Testament. It is interpreted literally to refer to the female inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem whom the Shulamite woman is addressing. However, some Jewish and Christian scholars interpret the phrase “daughters of Jerusalem” figuratively to refer to the Gentiles who will be grafted into the vine of Israel, which is now called the Church. Since Jerusalem will be the “mother” of all nations, these people will become her spiritual “daughters.” For example, Ezekiel speaks to Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16:61 and promises that God will give to her the surrounding nations as daughters; for these Gentiles, the Church, will have proceeded from spiritual Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 16:61, “Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant.”

In the same sense, in Joshua 15:45 the towns surrounding Ekron are referred to as “daughters” in the literally Hebrew, since the inhabitants of these small villages came out of the city of Ekron.

Joshua 15:45, “Ekron, with her towns (lit. daughters) and her villages:”

John Gill suggests that the “daughters of Jerusalem,” used allegorically, describes young converts to Christ, since they are very much respected by the king (Song of Solomon 3:9-11), yet seem to know very little about Him (Song of Solomon 5:9). In other words, we have the allegorical story of a mature Christian leading others to the same intimate relationship that he has learned to enjoy.

Song of Solomon 1:5 “as the tents of Kedar” - Word Study on “Kedar” Strong says the Hebrew name “Kedar” “qedar” ( קֵדָר ) (H6938) literally means, “dusky (of the skin or the tent),” and comes from the primitive root ( קָדַר ) (6937), which means, “to be ashy, i.e., dark-colored.” The Enhanced Strong says this name is used 12 times in the Old Testament and is translated in the KJV as “ Kedar 12. ” Kedar was the second son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13-15, 1 Chronicles 1:29-31).

Genesis 25:13-15, “And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:”

1 Chronicles 1:29-31, “These are their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth; then Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, Mishma, and Dumah, Massa, Hadad, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael.”

Comments - According to Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 60:7, Kedar was a semi-nomadic tribe that lived at times in villages, and at other times moved about in tents with their flocks of animals. According to Ezekiel 27:21 they traded their flocks with other merchants for other goods. Thus, Jeremiah refers to their tents, flocks, curtains, vessels and camels.

Isaiah 42:11, “Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.”

Isaiah 60:7, “All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.”

Jeremiah 49:28-29, “Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east. Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on every side.”

Ezekiel 27:21, “Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants.”

In addition, they also seemed to have been a warlike tribe of archers who raided the good of others.

Psalms 120:5-7, “Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.”

Isaiah 21:17, “And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it.”

A. S. Fulton says the tribe of Kedar settled in northwest Arabia near the border with Palestine, and that Assyrian inscriptions have mentioned the tribe of Kedar in association with the Arabs and Nebaioth. He describes the tribe of Kedar as a semi-nomadic tribe that often dwelt in tents made of haircloth. [96] John Gill says that the continual exposure to the sun and rain made these tents black, “and yet a number of them made a fine appearance.” He quotes Shaw who had traveled to this region of the world and observed the Bedouin tribesmen:

[96] A. S. Fulton, “Kedar,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

“the Bedouin Arabs at this day live in tents called “hhymes,” from the shelter which they afford the inhabitants; and “beet el shaar,” that is, “houses of hair,” from the materials or webs of goats’ hair whereof they were made; and are such hair cloth as our coal sacks are made of; the colour of them is beautifully alluded to, #Song of Solomon 1:5; for nothing certainly can afford (says he) a more delightful prospect than a large extensive plain, whether in its verdure, or even scorched up by the sunbeams, than, these movable habitations pitched in circles upon them; of which (he says) he has seen from three to three hundred.” [97]

[97] John Gill, Song of Solomon, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Song of Song of Solomon 1:5.

Song of Solomon 1:5 Figurative Interpretation When God calls us to salvation, we are in His eyes sin-stained, but greatly beloved. Even after we are saved, we still carry the nature to sin within our mortal bodies. This fleshly tendency towards sin must daily be overcome by our inner man, which has been regenerated. When we see this true fleshly nature in ourselves through the light of God’s Word, we cry out as Paul, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

Song of Solomon 1:6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Song of Solomon 1:6 “Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me” Comments - In the African culture a light-skinned woman is considered more beautiful than a dark-skinned woman. In the Philippines as well, light skin is more desired, so women often bleach their skin to lighten it. When I was first writing my wife in the Philippines, she initially introduced herself as a “morena,” or a “dark-skinned” individual, in almost an apologetic way. This Philippine word puzzled me until I later understood this aspect of their culture. Her first letter was essentially asking if I would accept her with a dark complexion, which she considered undesirable. Ironically, as many Americans, I thought dark skin was rather attractive. This is why tanning salons have opened business in this culture, which provided machines to tan the light skin of Americans.

Song of Solomon 1:6 “my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept” Word Study on “vineyard” Strong says the Hebrew word “vineyard” “ korem ” ( כָּרַם ) (H3754) means, “a garden, a vineyard.” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 93 times in the Old Testament, being used in the KJV as “vineyard 89, vines 3, vintage 1.” This word is used 9 times in the book of Songs.

Comments - The Song of Songs refers to a garden nine times (Song of Solomon 4:12; Song of Solomon 4:15-16; Song of Solomon 5:1; Song of Solomon 6:2; Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 8:13) and to a vineyard nine times (Song of Solomon 1:6; Song of Solomon 1:14; Song of Solomon 2:15; Song of Solomon 7:12; Song of Solomon 8:11-12) within its text. A garden is a place of meditation and rest, while a vineyard is a place of bearing fruit as a result of entering into rest and communion with God. For our life of walking in the Spirit and bearing fruit is simply the overflow of being filled with the Spirit while in communion with the Lord. The beloved’s vineyard would figuratively represent a believer who has entered into his calling and ministry and is labouring for the Lord. Watchman Nee believes the vineyards the Shulamite was forced to labor in represents the works of man, while her own vineyard represents the work that God has assigned to her. [98] The Shulamite will eventually get her own vineyard in Song of Solomon 8:12 and learn to keep it.

[98] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c1965, 2001), 24.

Song of Solomon 8:12, “My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.”

Comments - In the African culture, the women take the leading role of tending the garden. In the Philippine society children of a family are assigned different tasks. For example, as a young girl my wife was given the duty of cooking and cleaning the house. Some children go out a make a living to help support the family. In the Philippine culture, the youngest daughter is given the lifetime task of taking care of the parents when they are older.

Song of Solomon 1:6 Figurative Interpretation “Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me” - The Shulamite’s darkness is popularly interpreted as a believer’s awareness of sins. When we become aware of our sins, we feel guilt and shame, and are drawn by God’s love to a place of repentance and reconciliation to God. “my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept” She not only feels the shame of sin, but also the shame of rejection because of the anger of her brothers towards her. The fact that she served in the vineyards of others means that she was forced, or compelled, to serve in bondage, and trying to please others with her works. While God gives to us when we serve Him, the world only takes away and hates. It cannot love us with a God-kind of love. This is because the children of this world do not naturally walk in love, but rather, in hatred. They compel others to become their servants, rather than directing them to God’s designed plan for their own lives. In other words, people use others selfishly rather than sacrificing themselves to help others.

Song of Solomon 1:7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?

Song of Solomon 1:7 “for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” Word Study on “one that turneth aside” Hebrew “aw-taw'” ( עָטָה ) (H5844) Strong tells us that this word means, “to wrap, cover veil, clothe, roll.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 17 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “10, array 1, turn aside 1, clad 1, covering 1, filleth 1, put on 1, surely 1.” Thus, many modern versions translate this word as “veil.”

Comments - Most modern English versions translation this phrase as “one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions.” A veiled woman in the oriental culture would be a lady who is not spoken for and who has no lover. Such a single woman would wait by the flocks hoping to catch the eye of some young shepherd. Thus, the beloved does not want to gather in this group as if she were like them. Instead, she desires a special relationship with her beloved and wants his special attention when she goes forth to find him. Again, this reflects her insecurity and lack of rest and trust in this new relationship.

Song of Solomon 1:7 Comments - In Song of Solomon 1:7 the Shulamite woman was searching for her Lover. She will search for him a number of times in this Song. The purpose of each search is to find rest. She will look for him during the phase of Courtship in Song of Solomon 1:7. She will look for him again during the phase of Engagement in Song of Solomon 3:1-4. She will search for him during the phase of Maturing Marriage in Song of Solomon 5:6-7, until she learns his ways and becomes confident in his devotion towards her and learns that he abides in the garden among the lilies (Song of Solomon 6:1-3). She will eventually learn that true rest will be found in yielding to his plan for her life, which is communion with him in the garden, and labouring in her own vineyard (Song of Solomon 8:10).

Literal Interpretation She has tried to follow what others have placed in her path and demanded of her, yet she found only hatred from the children of this world (Song of Solomon 1:6). Having realized the fact that she has neglected her own vineyard, or purpose in life, she looks to her Lover for direction in order to fulfill her purpose, which is to fulfill her destiny. She asks to be joined to her Lover’s flock and not another. She wants to feel chosen, and not just another virgin unclaimed by love. This is why Ruth lay at the feet of Boaz, who found her the next morning and chose her as his wife. In this pursuit is a place of rest, which the Beloved longs to find in her soul, which in this love story can be understood as an assurance that he truly loves her and will provide for her. Here we see that the Shulamite woman is not familiar with her lover’s ways. She asks for clarity in understanding the ways of her Lover (Song of Solomon 1:7), and he replies by telling her how to learn of his way, without giving her a direct answer (Song of Solomon 1:8). This can be interpreted to mean that this relationship is yet immature. There is not shortcut to mature love. She is asking something that will take time to develop.

Figurative Interpretation Young believers are not familiar with the ways of God and must learn how to find daily peace and rest. As the Shulamite asks for clarity in understanding the ways of her Lover, so do young Christians. They want to know God in their lives and to have clear answers to His way; but they must learn that understand the ways of God is a lifetime journey, and that the journey is not always clear. The reason God designed it this way is so that we, as Christians, will have to seek the Lord daily for direction, rather than on just one easy occasion. This is so that God can enjoy our fellowship. Her statements in Song of Solomon 1:7 may be figurative of her initial search for a relationship with God and the need to find the answer among God’s flock, which is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as she asks to be joined to his flock and not another, so do we seek to find God’s special place for us. In Mark 4:35-41 we read the story of Jesus passing across the Lake of Galilee with His disciples. Although there were many little boats accompanying them, only one boat carried Jesus. This boat was the place where the disciples were ordained to be. All the boats arrived at the same destination, but only one carried Jesus, the Anointed One. In a similar way, there are many churches to serve in, but we are called to serve in only one place. This is the first step in a believer fulfilling his destiny.

Verses 5-17

The Courtship (Scene 1: The Shepherd’s Flock and the King’s Banquet House) (Justification) Literal Interpretation - Song of Solomon 1:5 to Song of Solomon 2:7 describes love’s first passions within the courtship of King Solomon and the Shulamite maiden. There are two scenes in this first song. The setting for the first scene (Song of Solomon 1:5-11) places the Shulamite in the fields of the shepherds. The second scene (Song of Solomon 1:12 to Song of Solomon 2:7) finds her in the evening banquet hall and in nighttime rest. The king’s palace is where King Solomon has taken a young Shulamite lady from a northern province of Israel, whom he intends on making his bride in much the same way that Esther was first brought to the royal palace by the king and prepared for one year before entering into his bed chamber. We know this because the passage refers to the king’s table (Song of Solomon 1:12) and banquet hall (Song of Solomon 2:4).

Song of Solomon 1:5-7 - In Song of Solomon 1:5-6 the Shulamite begins by expressing her initial insecurities and embarrassment over her dark complexion. Her dark skin reveals that she has worked in the field, unlike the other fair maidens that the king could have chosen. These comments by the beloved express her feelings of inadequacies, symbolic of being tainted with sin. It shows that she has not entered into rest in her soul, and is not fully content and assured in her relationship with her beloved, and thus, she longs to find rest with her beloved (Song of Solomon 1:7), which will not be found until Song of Solomon 8:10. She does not know that her destiny and service for the king will bring her back to the vineyards, but not her own vineyard, nor that of her brothers, where she was forced to labour under the sun; now she will work in the vineyards of the king (Song of Solomon 8:12).

Song of Solomon 8:10, “I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.”

Song of Solomon 8:12, “My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.”

Song of Solomon 1:8-11 - In Song of Solomon 1:8-11 we have the first response of the Lover. She has asked for a special place with him in the shepherd’s field (Song of Solomon 1:7); for she did not want to be like the other veiled women who were unspoken for. He replies by telling her to go and feed by the tents of the shepherds (Song of Solomon 1:8) while assuring her of his devoted love for her alone (Song of Solomon 1:9-11). Note that this description of his beloved is relatively short compared to his later descriptions.

Song of Solomon 1:12 to Song of Solomon 2:7 - In Song of Solomon 1:12 to Song of Solomon 2:2 we see a series of communications exchanged between the two lovers as they speak words of love. As a result, the beloved falls more deeply in love and becomes “lovesick” (Song of Solomon 2:3-5). She longs for his close embrace (Song of Solomon 2:6) and warns other young virgins not to fall into this passion before its proper time (Song of Solomon 2:7), because such passion is difficult to manage. At this point in love’s journey she has not entered into rest.

Figurative Interpretation Figuratively speaking, Song of Solomon 1:5 to Song of Solomon 2:7 can be interpreted allegorically as man first coming to Christ and accepting God’s love for him. Its figurative interpretation may be understood to symbolize a person who becomes saved; however, within this love song, a person becomes aware of and accepts God’s love for him.

The first scene (Song of Solomon 1:5-11) reflects our labours of love for the Lord when we first come to Christ. The two statements, “feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents,” and “I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots,” (Song of Solomon 1:8-9) both reflect service. Even new believers have ways to serve the Lord. I had a job when I rededicated my life to the Lord, so I immediately began to tithe. I was soon teaching Sunday school as an additional way of serving. The second scene (Song of Solomon 1:12 to Song of Solomon 2:6) reflects our time of rest and communion with the Lord. We rest in an abundance of newly discovered blessings as babes in Christ.

Even while we are newly saved, and still behave somewhat like the world, our heart bears witness to God’s redemptive love for us (Song of Solomon 1:5-6). In these two verses of Scripture the Shulamite maiden expresses her awareness of his love for her in spite of her shortcomings. A new believer begins to seek direction in this spiritual journey, one that can be found by following the same journey the saints of old have walked (Song of Solomon 1:7-8). He sees us in our greatest potential as a child who will endure discipline so that we can serve Him, as Pharaoh’s decorated horses pulled the king’s chariot (Song of Solomon 1:9-11). He has set a table before us of wonderful blessings (Song of Solomon 1:12). He has ordained for us to experience perfect rest (Song of Solomon 1:13) and joy (Song of Solomon 1:14) because of His great love for us (Song of Solomon 1:15). He has set forth rest (Song of Solomon 1:16) and protection (Song of Solomon 1:17) for His children. We are seen by Him as the most lovely among the children of men (Song of Solomon 2:1-2). His love overshadows us and overflows into our daily lives (Song of Solomon 2:3-6). This is the way God expresses His love towards men during this season of their lives.

Although young believers have strong expressions of love and passion for God, they are untested by the fires and trials of life. Thus, they are still undependable for service in the Church. They even express the gifts of the Spirit. Yet, the seasoned pastor understands that they need time for passion to mature into wisdom through the discipline of trials before being given great responsibilities. Any parent knows how his children are full of passion. They are either laughing or crying. They pursue activities and fun and play with all of their energies. Yet, in all of their passion a child lacks wisdom to know how to manage their emotions. Their responds to their environment is often impulsive rather than thoughtful. So it is in the growth of believers in the Christian life.

Peace and contentment in the midst of trials are the signs of true Christian maturity. Paul the apostle expresses this contentment in his epistle to the Philippians (Philippians 4:11). But first, we must go through a season of passion, as described in the first section of Songs.

Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

How does such passion arise in the heart of young, immature believers? I have seen it in both new converts as well as older Christians. Such passion is aroused by the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. For the new believer, it is the fresh, new experiences of God at work in their lives. They have tasted for the first time the joys of serving the Lord and they want more. For the older Christians who have never grown in the Lord, the Holy Spirit will often touch them by being slain in the Spirit, or healing their bodies to let them know that there is more to the Christian life than what they have experienced thus far. This touch from God stirs them up to pursue Him on a deeper level than they have done so before. Therefore, this position will not last long, for in the next song (Song of Solomon 2:8 to Song of Solomon 3:5), the Shulamite is called out from her bed of rest into a place of separation and communion.

Outline - Note the proposed outline of this section:

1. Scene 1 The Shepherds & their flocks Song of Solomon 1:5-11

a) The Shulamite’s Insecurity Song of Solomon 1:5-7

b) Solomon’s Praise & Reassurance Song of Solomon 1:8-11

2. Scene 2 The King’s Banquet Table Song of Solomon 1:12 to Song of Solomon 2:7

a) The King’s Provision Song of Solomon 1:12-17

b) The King’s Love for His Beloved Song of Solomon 2:1-2

Verses 8-11

The Lover’s First Reply (Solomon’s Praise and Reassurance) In Song of Solomon 1:8-11 we have the first response of the Lover, where he expresses his great love for his beloved.

Literal Interpretation - The Shulamite has asked for a special place with him in the shepherd’s field (Song of Solomon 1:7); for she did not want to be like the other veiled women who were unspoken for. But he tells her to go ahead and feed by the tents of the shepherds (Song of Solomon 1:8) while assuring her of his devoted love for her alone (Song of Solomon 1:9-11). Note that this description of his beloved is relatively short compared to his later descriptions.

Figurative Interpretation - Since this is the time when the Beloved realizes the great love her Lover has for her, we may interpret it to figuratively apply to the revelation a new believer has of God’s great love for him when he joins the body of Christ and fellowships with other believers and learns to pray and commune with the Lord. These words of the king are words of life, words that a believer hears and receives to transform his life into a new creature in Christ. The Lord said to Kenneth Copeland, “When you came to me in sin, I did not see you as a no-good sinner. That is how you saw yourself. I saw you the way I planned for you to be before the foundation of the world. Many people have rejected what I planned for them and they allowed death to reign in their lives until hell.” [99]

[99] Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

Song of Solomon 1:8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.

Song of Solomon 1:8 “If thou know not” Comments - This relationship is relatively new and she does not know all of the ways of her lover.

Song of Solomon 1:8 “O thou fairest among women” Comments - The lover assures his beloved of her uniqueness among women; for her need of assurance was the motive behind her question in Song of Solomon 1:7.

Song of Solomon 1:8 “go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock” - Word Study on “the footsteps” Strong says the Hebrew word “footsteps” “aw-kabe'” ( עָקֵב ) (H6119) means, “a heel (protuberant), a track, the rear (of an army),” and comes from the primitive root ( עָקַב ) (H6117), which means, “to supplant, circumvent, take by the heel, follow at the heel, assail insidiously, overreach.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 13 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “heel 6, footsteps 3, horsehoofs 1, at the last 1, steps 1, liers in wait 1.”

Comments - The Hebrew word ( עָקֵב ) (H6119) is found in Genesis 3:15; Genesis 25:26. Therefore, some commentators suggest that the phrase “go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock” is a reference to Jacob because his name is derived from this same Hebrew word. This patriarch also lived a shepherd’s lifestyle. Thus, this phrase would refer to following the God of Jacob in order to obtain his covenant blessings.

Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel .”

Genesis 25:26, “And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel ; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”

Song of Solomon 1:8 Literal Interpretation - “If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock” - The Shulamite woman is told to follow the footsteps of the flock, which will lead her to the shepherds’ tents. “and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents” - The lover is telling the beloved where to find him and his place of rest, as she inquired of this place of rest in the previous verse (Song of Solomon 1:7). We find a similar statement in Ruth 2:8-9, where Boaz takes Ruth into his loving care, and gives her plenty of provision to meet her personal needs.

“Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.”

Figurative Interpretation “If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock” - Perhaps the Lover’s response to follow the footsteps of the flock is an allegorical of a new convert’s need to join a local congregation and become a part of God’s flock. Many Jewish and Christians scholars interpret the phrase “go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock” to mean, “follow the path of your forefathers of Israel”. In other words, she is to follow the faith of the patriarchs who established the people of God, which is faith in the God of Israel. All of the patriarchs were shepherds. “and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents” - The shepherds could symbolize the pastors and leaders whom God has set over His flock Israel, as well as the Church of Jesus Christ. She begins her spiritual journey towards a destination of rest by joining this flock, where she now walks the path of righteousness ordained for God’s children. The phrase “feed thy kids” may reflect a new believer’s spiritual duties. Even new believers have ways to serve the Lord. I had a job when I rededicated my life to the Lord, so I immediately began to tithe. I was soon teaching Sunday school as an additional way of serving. , and cares for those little ones in her path. We begin by taking care of those people and things that God has initially entrusted in our care. We can initial minister to those under our sphere of influence.

When we compare the king’s statement in Song of Solomon 1:8 to Boaz’s statement in Ruth 2:8-9, it becomes clear that the king is calling the Shulamite to a place of rest and divine provision. Perhaps a good illustration comes from a documentary on the Joyce Meyer program, where a missionary went into a village and rescued a young 15-year old girl from prostitution, which had enslaved her. The missionary team brought her to a home, where she and other young girls were to be taken care of. [100] In a similar way Boaz and King Solomon are taking these young maidens into their care and oversight. It is the first stages of affection from the eyes of Boaz and King Solomon.

[100] Joyce Meyer, Enjoying Everyday Life (Fenton, Missouri: Joyce Meyer Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), December 2007, television program.

Song of Solomon 1:9 I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.

Song of Solomon 1:9 Comments - Song of Solomon 1:9 refers to the beauty of Pharaoh’s chariots. We know from 1 Kings 10:26 that Solomon had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. 1 Kings 10:28-29 tells us that King Solomon had these chariots brought up from the land of Egypt since they were apparently the finest chariots build in his day.

1 Kings 10:26, “And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.”

1 Kings 10:28-29, “And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price. And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.”

2 Chronicles 9:28, “And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands.”

The Scriptures tell us that King Solomon had forty thousand stalls for his chariot horses.

1 Kings 4:26, “And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.”

King Solomon would have selected the finest horses out of this great number to pull his chariot were the finest in the land. Those few chosen horses would have been well trained and groomed, then magnificently decorated with gold and silver.

Literal Interpretation - The lover is assuring his beloved of either her uniqueness of being the most beautiful among all the women of the land, or, this verse may refer to her stunning décor that the king has clothed her with.

Figurative Interpretation A chariot is an instrument of travel. The charioteer who drives the chariot has a destiny, a plan, a journey to accomplish. The chariots were not driven by the common man, but rather, by a king. The horses that pulled the chariot were beasts of servitude, called and trained and disciplined to take a leader to a destination. They were carefully chosen and paired with their partner based upon their similarities, and worked together in unison with the entire team of horses.

Song of Solomon 1:9 may describe God’s love for His children, with each one being unique and beloved in His sight. Or, the bridled horse may be figurative of discipline in the life of a believer. Those believers who submit to divine discipline are arrayed in beauty and placed in the foremost positions of God’s army, as were the horses in Pharaoh’s chariots. An example of such a call to discipline is found in John 21:15-23 where Peter was given a charge by the Lord Jesus Christ on the shores of Galilee after the Resurrection to take the office of an undershepherd over the Church. This calling would eventually lead Peter to die the death of a martyr, which meant Peter would have to yield his own will to do the will of the Master. Bill Britton records a vision the Lord gave him that explains how a bridled horse is symbolic of Christian discipline. He tells the story of two colts in a beautiful field of grass. Both of them are taken to a corral for training. One colt jumps the corral fence and returns to the open field, while the other endures the harsh time of discipline. Eventually, the trained colt is placed alongside other beautiful stallions to pull the king’s carriage. When the untrained colt in the field sees his brother pulling the carriage, he becomes envious. Eventually, a drought comes and withers the grass in the open field, and dries up the pond. While the undisciplined colt suffers, his trained brother remains well-fed by the king’s servants. [101]

[101] Bill Britton, “The Harness of the Lord,” (Springfield, Mo) [on-line]; accessed 14 December 2009; available from http://www.gem-international.org/kingdomlife/brittonharness.htm: Internet.

Song of Solomon 1:10 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.

Song of Solomon 1:11 “Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels” Word Study on “rows” Strong says the Hebrew word “rows” “towr” ( תֹּור ) (H8447) means, “a succession, i.e. a string, or (abstractly) order.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 4 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “turn 2, row 1, border 1.” It is used in the next verse as “borders” (Song of Solomon 1:10). This was a part of the headband of the horse. It consisted of round ornaments which hung down in front of the face of the horse or was woven within the braids of the horse’s hair in the front.

Song of Solomon 1:11 “thy neck with chains of gold” Comments - These chains, or strings, of gold were necklaces.

Song of Solomon 1:11 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.

Song of Solomon 1:11 “We will make thee” Comments - Some versions associate this statement along with all of the first person plural verbs in the Song of Solomon that refer to the daughters of Jerusalem. Others make the king the subject of this verb in Song of Solomon 1:11 because of the context of this passage in Songs 8-11. Thus, he refers to himself in the plural. This is a common way of speaking in Uganda, which is a simply language much like Hebrew in many ways. An individual uses the plural form “we” when referring to his family or those who will carry out the action of the verb, so that an individual is referring to all of those under his influence and leadership. It’s used in Song of Solomon 1:1 may serve to emphasize his intent and desire to perform the act of ornamenting his beloved.

Though different in grammatical form, the idea found in the Hebrew “plural of majesty,” or “intensity,” is being used in Song of Solomon 1:11 as a way of referring to the lover’s strength and sphere of influence. We see a clear example of this plural form in Genesis 1:1 when the word “God” is used in its plural form with a singular verb, followed by “Let us make…” in Genesis 1:26.

Song of Solomon 1:11 “borders of gold with studs of silver” - Word Study on “borders” Strong says the Hebrew word “rows” “towr” ( תֹּור ) (H8447) means, “a succession, i.e. a string, or (abstractly) order.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 4 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “turn 2, row 1, border 1.” It is used in the previous verse as “rows” (Song of Solomon 1:10).

Song of Solomon 1:10-11 Literal Interpretation - When we interpret Song of Solomon 1:10-11 within the context of its previous verse (Song of Solomon 1:9) which compares the Shulamite woman to the magnificently decorated trappings of the horses of the king’s chariots, we can easily imagine her cheeks and neck adorned with gold and silver in much the same way that these horses were adorned with silk tassels, fringes and other ornaments on their cheeks and neck.

Figurative Interpretation For those believers who will become submitted to the Church of God and trained in the ministry become disciplined solders of God’s army. This will be arrayed in beauty under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Pharaoh adorned Joseph with a gold chain about his neck.

Genesis 41:42, “And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;”

Solomon refers to adornment in Proverbs 1:8-9 when a child submits to the instructions the parents.

Proverbs 1:8-9, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”

Or, we may refer to Peter’s description of godly adornment, which is inward, the ornament of a meek and a quiet spirit.

1 Peter 3:3-4, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Perhaps the closest verse in comparison to Song of Solomon 1:10-11 is the Lord’s figurative description of Israel in her glory among the nations by Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 16:11-14, “I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”

Verses 12-14

The Beloved Meditates upon Her Lover Literal Interpretation In Song of Solomon 1:12-14 the Beloved accepts His invitation to dine at His table. Each of these three verses refers to the Shulamite’s sense of smell. She recalls a time when she sat with him at his table (Song of Solomon 1:12). She later thinks about him on her bed, imagining what it would be like to someday lay with him in the marriage bed (Song of Solomon 1:13). She then compares him to a cluster of henna blossoms with their sweet fragrance (Song of Solomon 1:14). In other words, her thoughts of him arouse her emotionally.

Figurative Interpretation These verses may be figurative of a believer’s acceptance of God’s blessings. The aroma of spikenard may represent the prayers of adoration towards God. The bundle of myrrh may represent the eternal nature that she received as a result of being born again through acceptance of the king’s invitation. As the young bride meditates upon her lover, we are to begin our Christian life by meditating upon God’s Word and spending time in prayer.

Song of Solomon 1:12 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

Song of Solomon 1:12 Literal Interpretation - Song of Solomon 1:12 pictures the Shulamite seated at the king’s table adorned with perfume that sends its fresh smell into the presence of the king. Thus, she would have been the one that catches his attention.

Figurative Interpretation Mike Bickle suggests Song of Solomon 1:12 means that fragrance emitting forth is figurative of a person’s adoration and worship of the Lord because of His divine provision. [102]

[102] Mike Bickle, Session 7 - The Bride’s Identity in the Beauty of God (Song of Song of Solomon 1:12-2:7 ), in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 3.

Song of Solomon 1:13 A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.

Song of Solomon 1:13 Literal Interpretation - The Shulamite woman meditates upon what it would be like to someday lay with him in the marriage bed.

Song of Solomon 1:14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

Song of Solomon 1:14 Word Study on “of camphire” Strong says the Hebrew word “camphire” “kopher” ( כֹּפֶר ) (H3724) has four distinct definitions. (1) It properly means “a cover,” thus, “a village (as covered in). It also means, (2) “bitumen”; (3) “the henna plant, (as used for dying)”; figuratively, (4) “a redemption-price.” Strong says this word comes from the primitive root word ( כָּפַר ) (H3722), which means, “to cover, expiate or condone, placate, cancel.” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 17 times in the Old Testament, being translated “ransom 8, satisfaction 2, bribe 2, camphire 2, pitch 1, sum of money 1, village 1.”

Comments - The word “camphire” is an old English spelling of the modern word “camphor.” Webster says camphor is “A solid concrete juice or exudation, from the laurus camphora, or Indian laurel-tree, a large tree growing wild in Borneo, Sumatra, &c.” The VgClem translated the phrase “botrus cypri,” (Song of Solomon 1:13) which follows the LXX reading “ βότρυς τῆς κύπρου ,” which means, “ a cluster of camphor.” ( Brenton) Most modern English versions translate this word as henna flowers, or as the cypress tree, both of which have fragrant blossoms.

ASV a cluster of henna flowers

BBE a branch of the cypress tree

Darby - a cluster of henna-flowers

DRC a cluster of cypress

God’sWord - a bouquet of henna flowers

JPS - a bouquet of henna flowers

LITV - a cluster of henna

NIV - a cluster of henna blossoms

Rotherham - A cluster of henna

RSV - a cluster of henna blossoms

YLT - a cluster of cypress

Song of Solomon 1:14 Word Study on “vineyard” Strong says the Hebrew word “vineyard” “ korem ” ( כָּרַם ) (H3754) means, “a garden, a vineyard.” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 93 times in the Old Testament, being used in the KJV as “vineyard 89, vines 3, vintage 1.” This word is used 9 times in the book of Songs. A vineyard figuratively refers to the labours that man does while serving the Lord in this life.

Comments - The Song of Songs refers to a garden nine times (Song of Solomon 4:12; Song of Solomon 4:15-16; Song of Solomon 5:1; Song of Solomon 6:2; Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 8:13) and to a vineyard nine times (Song of Solomon 1:6; Song of Solomon 1:14; Song of Solomon 2:15; Song of Solomon 7:12; Song of Solomon 8:11-12) within its text. A garden is a place of meditation and rest, while a vineyard is a place of bearing fruit as a result of entering into rest and communion with God. For our life of walking in the Spirit and bearing fruit is simply the overflow of being filled with the Spirit while in communion with the Lord. The beloved’s vineyard would figuratively represent a believer who has entered into his calling and ministry and is labouring for the Lord.

Song of Solomon 1:14 Word Study on “Engedi” Strong says the Hebrew word “Engedi” “`Eyn Gediy” ( עֵינ גֶּדִי ) (H5872) means, “fount of the kid,” and refers to a place in Palestine. Strong says it is derived from two words, ( עֹונָה ) (H5869), which means, “eye” or “fountain,” and from ( גְּדִי ) (H1423), which means, “a young goat, a kid.”

Comments - The city Engedi was also called Hazazontamar, an Amorite town, which name means, “sandy surface of the palm tree.” ( PTW) (see Genesis 14:7, 2 Chronicles 20:2)

Genesis 14:7, “And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar .”

2 Chronicles 20:2, “Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi .”

Song of Solomon 1:14 Comments - The city of Engedi was located on the western shore of the Dead Sea. John Gill’s commentary refers to Pliny, who tells us that it was second only to Jerusalem for fertility and groves of palm trees. [103] Josephus says that there grew the best of the palm trees and of the balsum. [104] Therefore, some Jewish scholars believe that Song of Solomon 1:14 is referring to clusters of dates growing on the date palm rather than “camphire,” which does not grow in clusters and was unknown to the ancient Middle East. Since the LXX uses the word κύπρου , it may be referring to the cypress tree, which, according to Pliny, grew in this area and bore a white fragrant flower. [105] Gill says i t also may be referring to the cypress vine, which according to Pliny, was a grape vine that derived its name from Cyprus, and would have been accessible to Solomon. [106] This would best reconcile itself with the phrase, “a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi”; or, it may be referring to the henna plant, whose white, fragrant blossoms grow clusters. [107] Most modern English versions translate this word as henna flowers or as the cypress tree, both of which have fragrant blossoms.

[103] Pliny the Elder writes, “Below this people was formerly the town of Engadda, second only to Hierosolyma in the fertility of its soil and its groves of palm-trees; now, like it, it is another heap of ashes.” ( Natural History. 5.17) See Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol. 1, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn’s Classical Library (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 431.

[104] Josephus writes, “About the same time the Moabites and Ammonites made an expedition against Jehoshaphat, and took with them a great body of Arabians, and pitched their camp at Engedi, a city that is situate at the lake Asphaltitis, and distant three hundred furlongs from Jerusalem. In that place grows the best kind of palm trees, and the opobalsamum.” ( Antiquities 9.1.2)

[105] Pliny the Elder writes, “The Cyprus is a tree of Egypt, with the leaves of the ziziphus, and seeds like coriander, white and odoriferous. These seeds are boiled in olive oil, and then subjected to pressure; the product is known to us as cypros. The price of it is five denarii per pound. The best is that produced on the banks of the Nile, near Canopus, that of second quality coming from Ascalon in Judaea, and the third in estimation for the sweetness of its odour, from the island of Cyprus. Some people will have it that this is the same as the tree which in Italy we call ligustrum.” ( Natural History 12.51) See Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol. 3, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn’s Classical Library (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 146.

[106] Natural History 14.1. See Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol. 3, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn’s Classical Library (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 217-218.

[107] John Gill, Song of Solomon, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Song of Song of Solomon 1:14.

Regardless of the type of plant or tree that is referred to in Song of Solomon 1:14, we can clearly see the picture that is being created by these words of a beautifully manicured vineyard near the shores of the Dead Sea, full of clusters of blossoms part of the year and full of fruits during the time of harvest. It would have been a sight that anyone would have wanted to take their true love to be filled with the sweet smell and pleasant beauty of such a wonder.

Within the context of Song of Solomon 1:12-14, the Shulamite woman is meditating upon her lover. In Song of Solomon 1:14 she compares him to a cluster of henna blossoms with their sweet fragrance. In other words, her thoughts of him arouse her emotionally.

Verses 12-17

Scene 2: The King’s Banquet Table: The Lovers Exchange Words of Love In Song of Solomon 1:12 to Song of Solomon 2:7 we see a series of communications exchanged between the two loves as they speak words of love. As a result, the beloved falls more deeply in love and becomes “lovesick” (Song of Solomon 2:3-5).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Shulamite’s Response to the King Song of Solomon 1:12 to Song of Solomon 2:1

a) The Beloved Meditates upon Her Lover Song of Solomon 1:12-14

b) The Shulamite’s Response Song of Solomon 1:16 to Song of Solomon 2:1

2. The King’s Love for His Beloved Song of Solomon 2:2

Verse 15

Song of Solomon 1:15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.

Song of Solomon 1:15 Word Study on “doves’” Strong says the Hebrew word “dove” “ yownah ” ( יוֹנָה ) (H3123) means, “dove.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 32 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “dove 21, pigeon 10, variant + 01686 1.” It is used 6 times in the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon 1:15; Song of Solomon 2:14; Song of Solomon 4:1; Song of Solomon 5:2; Song of Solomon 5:12; Song of Solomon 6:9). On three occasions it refers to the Shulamite, and on three occasions the lovers describe one another with dove’s eyes.

Song of Solomon 1:15 Literal Interpretation In Song of Solomon 1:15 the king responses by expressing his attraction to her beauty, especially her attractive eyes.

Figurative Interpretation - The eyes of man are figurative of man’s heart (Matthew 6:22-23; Matthew 13:15, Luke 11:34). Watchman Nee suggests the dove’s eyes symbolize the spiritual perception that she has acquired. [108] Luke 24:16 says that “their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” This means the two on the road to Emmaus could not discern what was taking place in their midst. The dove may represent the believer who is born again by the Spirit of God.

[108] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c1965, 2001), 32.

This metaphor is used again in Song of Solomon 4:1, but with a lengthy description of her beauty. This suggests that as the relationship grows between the king and the Shulamite, his love grows deeper. Figuratively interpreted, this suggests that God’s love grows deeper for those who come aside in communion with Him.

Song of Solomon 4:1, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.”

Verses 16-17

The Shulamite’s Response - Her lover has told the Shulamite woman how beautiful she is in Song of Solomon 1:15. She responses to her lover’s comments with the same words by telling him how beautiful he is to her. While he has focused upon her eyes, she focuses upon the possibility of marriage and a home. The reference to the bed and the house in Song of Solomon 1:16-17 may suggest her desire to become his future wife. She then compares herself to the common flowers of her region, while some interpret this comparison to refer to her beauty rather than her simplicity among women (Song of Solomon 2:1).

Song of Solomon 1:16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.

Song of Solomon 1:16 “also our bed is green” Comments - The bed is a place of rest. It is similar to Psalms 23:2, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”

Psalms 23:2, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Song of Solomon 1:17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

Song of Solomon 1:17 Comments - Houses in the ancient times had their walls built out of stone and plaster, while the roofs were built with wooden rafters. Openings were made in the walls for windows with wooden lattice work. Thus, the cedars and rafters in Song of Solomon 1:17 are most likely referring to the roofs of these ancient houses.

Literal Interpretation - The house is a place of shelter and protection. The reference to the cedar beams and fir rafters in Song of Solomon 1:17 suggests that the covering of this shelter is a provision of the wealth of the king. When we read about Solomon’s house in 1 Kings 7:1-12, we find that his own house was magnificent, made of cedar and costly stones. Thus, the house referred to in Song of Solomon 1:17 would have been beautiful, large, and magnificent.

Figurative Interpretation - In a figurative interpretation, this covering of the roof of the house represents the covering that a person sits under when joined to a local church.

Song of Solomon 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

Song of Solomon 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon” Word Study on “Sharon” Strong says the Hebrew word “Sharon” “sharown” ( שָׁרֹון ) (H8289) means, “plain,” or it refers to a place named Sharon located in Palestine. The Enhanced Strong says this Hebrew word is used 7 times in the Old Testament, being translated “Sharon 6, Lasharon 1.” JFB says that this was a region i n North Palestine, between Mount Tabor and Lake Tiberias. Since the name Sharon literally means, “a plain,” the LXX and Vulgate translate this word as “a plain”: “ πεδίον ” and “campus.”

Comments - The rose is one of the most noble, beautiful and fragrant of all flowers, much as it is today. The plains of Sharon, with its rich soil, would have grown the finest horticulture of the land.

Song of Solomon 2:1 “and the lily of the valleys” Word Study on “lily” Strong says the Hebrew word “lily” “ shuwshan ” ( שׁוּשַׁן ) (H7799) means, “a lily (from its whiteness), as a flower or [archaic] an ornament.” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 15 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “lily 13, Shoshannim 2.” However, its compound uses in Psalms 60:0 (Shushan-eduth) and Psalms 80:0 (Shoshannim-Eduth) can be included. It is found 8 times in Songs (Song of Solomon 2:1-2; Song of Solomon 2:16; Song of Solomon 4:5; Song of Solomon 5:13; Song of Solomon 6:2-3; Song of Solomon 7:2). Lilies were used to adorn Solomon’s Temple ( 1Ki 7:19 ; 1 Kings 7:22; 1 Kings 7:26, 2 Chronicles 4:5). This word or its derivatives are used in the title of four psalms as “Shoshannim” (Psalms 45, 60, 69, 80). Psalms 45:0 is a song of love, where a wedding processional is described. In Songs the Beloved is describes as “a lily of the valley,” and “a lily among thorns” (Song of Solomon 2:1-2). The Lover feeds among the lilies in the garden (Song of Solomon 2:16; Song of Solomon 4:5; Song of Solomon 6:3), and gathers lilies (Song of Solomon 5:13). Hosea describes the children of Israel as a lily, saying, “I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.” (Hosea 14:5) Watchman Nee suggests that the lilies mentioned in Songs is symbolic of those who are upright before God. [109]

[109] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c1965, 2001), 53.

Comments - It is in the valleys where the soils were most fertile, as in the plains of Sharon. There the horticulture would have grown at its best. John Gill refers to Pliny, who tells us that the lily of the valley was next to the rose in “nobleness.” [110]

[110] Pliny the Elder says, “The lily holds the next highest rank after the rose, and has a certain affinity with it in respect of its unguent and the oil extracted from it, which is known to us as ‘lirinon.’ Blended, too, with roses, the lily produces a remarkably fine effect; for it begins to make its appearance, in fact, just as the rose is in the very middle of its season.” Natural History 21.11. See Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol. 4, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn’s Classical Library (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1856), 314-415; John Gill, Song of Solomon, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Song of Song of Solomon 2:1.

Song of Solomon 2:1 Comments - The “plains of Sharon” mentioned in Song of Solomon 2:1 a would be parallel to “the valleys” mentioned in Song of Solomon 2:1 b. This means that the first and second parts of Song of Solomon 2:1 are intended to state a similar metaphor.

Literal Interpretation Scholars approach Song of Solomon 2:1 with two interpretations. If the Shulamite is speaking, then Song of Solomon 2:11 is:

1. A Comment on Her Beauty - If Song of Solomon 2:1 is referring to two of the most beautiful flowers of the field then we could interpret this verse to be a statement from the Shulamite about her beauty.

2. A Comment on Her Simplicity - However, many scholars interpret the “rose of Sharon” to refer to a common wild flower, such as the crocus, which grows abundantly on the plains of Sharon, and they understand the lily of the valleys to refer to a common lily that is sprinkled among the upland valleys of this region. Thus, the Shulamite would be commenting on her simple appearance and state, rather than her beauty, followed by the king taking this analogy of the lily and elevating her appearance by saying she was like a “lily among thorns” (Song of Solomon 2:2).

Figurative Interpretation - Francis J. Roberts understands the statement in Song of Solomon 2:1 to be a reference to Christ as the “Rose of Sharon.”

“Thou mayest by praise open to Me the gates of the temple by thy soul. The King shall enter and bring His glory. The Rose of Sharon shall bloom in thy heart and His fragrance shall be shed abroad.” [111]

[111] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 42.

Kenneth Copeland shared the testimony of how he has smelled the anointing on several occasions. He described it as the smell of roses. One day when this smell filled the pulpit area, the Lord spoke to him and said that the “Rose of Sharon” had just passed by. [112]

[112] Kenneth Copeland, “Sermon,” Southwest Believers Convention, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas, 8 August 2008.

Jesus referred to the glory of the lilies of the field, and compares them to Solomon’s glory.

Matthew 6:28-29, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

However, if the Shulamite is speaking in Song of Solomon 2:1, then figuratively speaking, Mike Bickle understands this as a description of a believer’s new identity in Christ, as a resurrected saint. [113]

[113] Mike Bickle, Session 7 - The Bride’s Identity in the Beauty of God (Song of Song of Solomon 1:12-2:7 ), in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 13.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 1". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/song-of-solomon-1.html. 2013.