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The Groom in His Garden
Here we see that the groom has accepted the invitation of the bride she is doing at the end of the previous chapter (Song 4:16b). He has come into his garden. In the same way the Lord Jesus gladly accepts our invitation to be clearly present in our lives. He is always present in our lives, but we don’t always take into account His presence.
He desires that our life should be for Him as a garden full of fruit for Him. This is only so if we make our whole life available to Him. It is not only about being His property, but also about being aware of it. Otherwise, to our dismay, we will discover that He is not there, while we believe He is, as we are presented in the following verses.
But here He says: “I have come into My garden. Our garden is His garden. Our life is His. It belongs to Him. Therefore also all that is in that garden is His. We see that in the ever repeated “My” in this verse. He enjoys every fruit in His garden i.e. every fruit in our life that is for Him. This pleasure is great because it is enjoyed in the relationship of kinship and love.
This is evident from the way in which the groom addresses his beloved. He calls her again “my sister”, underlining his relationship with her, and “my bride”, underlining his love for her. He has previously called her so (Song 4:9-10). There it is about who she is for his heart. Here it is about what he receives from her, from her garden, which he enjoys.
In this way the Lord Jesus also speaks to us with whom He has connected Himself, both by becoming like us, yet without sin, and by declaring His love to us. In that relationship He is present in our lives to enjoy every fruit that is worked by Himself in our lives through His Spirit.
It may be that weeds have to be weeded in our garden first, which limits or even prevents the growth of fruits for the Lord. For example, we must change our reading, listening and viewing behavior if this has a wrong influence on our thinking or takes up so much time that we do not get to bear fruit. Then we can invite the Lord Jesus into our garden, but He finds nothing or, even worse, He finds weeds or sinful habits there. When the weeds are removed, there is room for fruit for Him. Then He comes to take that fruit. He comes only when there are fruits and spices that satisfy Him.
The first fruit He has gathered is myrrh, “My myrrh”. Myrrh speaks of His suffering. When He comes to us, can we tell Him anything about His deep suffering for us? Together with the myrrh He also gathered His “balsam”, or, as it also can be rendered, “spices”. We literally see these spices at His burial (Lk 23:56; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:40). His burial is, so to speak, surrounded by the fragrant scent of His completed work.
The Lord Jesus also finds food and drink in His garden. He eats there “My honeycomb and My honey”. Honey speaks of the natural relationships between the believers among each other. When our natural relationships are good, it is worked through Him and gives Him joy. He rejoices when a man loves his wife and when children are obedient to their parents.
We can apply this further to all forms of authority that regulate the mutual relationships. Authority is no longer of our time, as practice shows. We see it in the families, in society and in the church. If the God-given relationships of authority are exercised properly, it is a joy for the Lord Jesus. It is about authority exercised in love. A husband can show that by being there for his wife and not by claiming authority over her. It is about serving as the Lord served Jesus.
Finally, the Lord Jesus speaks – in picture – about drinking “My wine and My milk”. Wine is a picture of joy (Jdg 9:13; Psa 104:15a). He rejoices in the fellowship He has with us (1Jn 1:3b-4). Milk is a picture of the Word of God (1Pet 2:2). Fellowship that gives joy only comes into being by occupying us with God’s Word. This makes us white and clean as milk.
The Lord Jesus finds His full joy in what He can gather from our lives and eat and drink. These are all blessings He Himself has given us. Those blessings return to Him when we appreciate them. This is evident from our gratitude to Him for this.
And not only He enjoys that fruit. He also invites others. There is not only the bride, but there are also the invitees to the wedding. In the future he will prepare a meal with fatty food not only for the remnant of his people, but also for the nations (Isa 25:6). The ‘friends’ are those who have a relationship with Him, but do not yet know the intimacy that the bride or devotee has. Prophetically, they are the other cities of Israel. They too will share in the joy of the kingdom of peace.
We may also apply this verse to the church when it meets on Sunday around Himself. Then He comes into His garden to enjoy what she has for Him. He doesn’t come to tell something, but to receive something. We may bring Him what He Himself has worked through His Spirit and His Word within us in what He has shown us of His Person in the preceding days.
It is primarily about remembering Him, not ourselves. The first thing He gathers is His myrrh. We may tell Him our grateful feelings about His suffering and death and let Him gather them. We often come to meetings to receive food from Him, but here we give Him food. “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see [it and] be satisfied” (Isa 53:11a).
Here a point in the book is reached that there is a complete fulfillment of desires, both with the bride and with the groom. The book could end here. But that’s not how it is, because that’s not how life is.
I Was Asleep but My Heart Was Awake
A new part of the book begins with this verse. The previous part ended with the groom who came into the garden of the bride and rejoices at everything there is in her garden. Now follows a part in which we see how the bride refuses the groom again, but later seeks for him and finds him again.
The bride has fallen asleep. She forgot the groom and doesn’t seem to need his company. In the life of the believer, it may be that at some moment he is full of the Lord Jesus, but that he also has moments or periods when he is not fully focused on Him and his love is diminished. This change of love and its absence will also characterize the remnant.
When we are asleep, we need the call to awaken from sleep (Eph 5:14). The bride’s heart is awake, but still she sleeps. She sleeps relative to the groom, but she is awake to her surroundings. Her attention is no longer focused on him, but on everything else.
That is a situation that the groom does not want. He wants the undivided attention of his bride. He goes to work for that. He lets the bride hear that he is coming. She notices it with her ears and knows it is he. She calls him “my beloved”. Then she hears him knocking and asking to let him in. He addresses her with names that indicate what she means to him. In the same way the Lord tries to win our often cold or indifferent hearts by telling us what we mean to Him.
He calls her “my sister,” which indicated that there is a family relationship. For us it is there through the new life, the Divine nature, which has been given to us (2Pet 1:4; Jn 20:17). He also calls her “my darling” or “my friend”, which indicates confidentiality, the sharing of secrets. The Lord Jesus calls us “friends” because He has made known to us everything He has heard from His Father. He introduced us into God’s thoughts (Jn 15:14-15).
He then calls her “my dove”. A dove is the picture of simplicity and affection towards him. For us, we must have an eye only for the Lord Jesus, which is worked through the presence of the Holy Spirit, Who is compared to a dove (Mt 10:16; Mt 3:16).
Finally, he calls her “my perfect one”. By this he means that she has reached the stage of maturity. Spiritually, it means that a believer knows his position in Christ. He knows that through the one sacrifice of Christ he is “perfect for all time” (Heb 10:14). Then he will also behave spiritually mature (Phil 3:15a). The fact that Christ addresses a ‘sleeping’ believer with these names shows how lovingly He wants to awaken such a believer to live for Him again.
But the groom is not finished talking to her yet. He points not only to what she means to him, but also to what he does and has done for her. He spent the night outside, without a place to sleep. There he thought of her, with thoughts of blessing for her.
It may be that the Lord Jesus stands outside our lives and we are inside our safe, easy environment. There has come a separation that is unbearable for Him. He has none on the earth but His bride, the believers. If she no longer shows any interest in Him, He will do everything to reawaken her love for Him.
To this end He shows what He endures for her. He wanders, as it were, lonely through the night. When He comes to her, He tells her what is on His head and His hairlocks as a result of His search for her. His search is not about her location, because He knows where she is. His search concerns her heart, for it is no longer directed at Him.
If we no longer give Him the only place in our lives, He presents Himself to us in His suffering at night. We can then think of the fears that overwhelmed Him in Gethsémané. There His head is “drenched with dew” and His hairlocks “with the damp of the night”. We know what He wrestled through in Gethsémané, how His sweat fell on the earth “like drops of blood” (Lk 22:44).
His “head … drenched with dew” reminds us that He always thought of His bride to start a new life with her. Dew announces a new day of refreshment. He thought about this in Gethsémané. His “locks [drenched] with the damp of the night” recalls His devotion – of which the locks speak – to her, to which the tears of suffering in the night are attached (Heb 5:7). That has kept Him busy in the garden.
Will this impressive approach work for His sleeping beloved? What does it do with us, who may also have fallen asleep?
Too Much Effort
The bride’s reaction after all the groom in Song 5:2 has said to her is dismissive, shocking. She doesn’t want to change her cozy place for the cold of the night. The groom’s warm love leaves her untouched. She is mentally lazy and satisfied with her rest. Making an effort for the groom is too tiring. She is like the wise girls who, like the foolish girls, have fallen asleep waiting for the bridegroom (Mt 25:5) or as the disciples who are unable to watch with the Lord (Lk 22:45).
Her excuse that she can’t accept His invitation is that she has “taken of” her “dress’. Clothing speaks of our behavior, of what is visible to others. Spiritually seen, her behavior speaks of a believer who is ashamed to stand up for the Lord Jesus and to testify openly of Him. There is nothing to see of the “garments of salvation” with which He has clothed her (Isa 61:10).
Another excuse she gives is that she has “washed” her “feet”. This means spiritually speaking that a believer has cleansed himself from the pollution of the world and as a consequence also prefers to stay away from it. That is an attitude of isolation. This purity, which in itself is good, becomes an enemy.
To that end leads self-satisfaction with everything we have received in Christ. Then we’ll find it enough and challenges won’t be there anymore. The willingness to face up to the fact that we need to change is the price of progress. Self-satisfaction results in the refusal to be motivated to a higher calling. Imagine, we were allowing the Lord Jesus back into our lives and giving Him authority over it again. That would mean that we would be deprived of the pleasure of our present rest. We should not think about it. What we do not think of, then, is leaving the Lord outside in the cold of the night.
Do we still want to go out and identify ourselves with Him in His rejection? Do we still want to be with Him? Yes, on Sundays of course. But during the week? He does everything that we search for Him again to be with Him, also and especially in daily life.
Paul says that we must go out into the world if we do not want to have contact with all kinds of sinners and do not want to come into contact with the filth of the world (1Cor 5:10). But we are always dealing with sinners. The world pollutes us without we are wanting that it happens. We can’t do anything about colleagues swearing or telling dirty jokes. At school we sometimes have to look at wrong things or read books with sex and coarse language. All this defiles us.
But the Lord Jesus wants to cleanse us. The water of life, the Word of God, cleanses us as we read it. After our contact with the world we have to go home and read the Word of God. Then our thoughts are cleansed and we are filled again with the Lord Jesus and the things that speak of Him.
We might think: ‘If we stay at home, nothing can happen to us.’ But this does not improve the sinful flesh. We can retreat into a monastery, but we take our own flesh with us. The images of our hearts defiles us. Everything that defiles us comes from our own heart, that is what it is all about. The Lord Jesus wants to speak to our hearts.
With what have we locked off our lives so that He cannot come to us? Is the bolt perhaps our conviction that everything is good with us? We can be sure that we are in the right place and that we are doing things in the right way. In the church of Laodicéa we see how this bolt works. They think they are great, but do not realize that they are blind and that the Lord Jesus is outside. The Lord then goes to work to remove that bolt. We see that in the next verse.
The Bolt Removed
In the previous verses we have seen that the bride has fallen asleep and is no longer paying attention to the groom. When the groom comes to her and wakes her up, she brings several excuses to stay in her cozy bedroom. The groom says who she is for him and what he has done for her. But the bride stays: she doesn’t want to get out of her easy position and follow the groom outside. She has locked her room for him with her apologies. We have seen the application this has for us in our relationship with the Lord Jesus.
In the verses we now have before us, we see that the groom, although he has been declined, continues to approach his bride. The bride sees her love extending his hand through the opening of the door (Song 5:4). She has locked the door for him. But he finds an opening in the room in which she has locked up herself. Through that opening he shows his hand. That touches her. It is the hand of her beloved, the hand that is busy for her. That hand wants to remove the bolt, so that the bride can come to him.
This reminds us of the hand of the Lord Jesus whom He shows to His own when they are afraid together (Lk 24:39; Zec 13:6). It is the hand that is pierced for them. It is as it says in a song, ‘I shall know Him … on the hands pierced also for me.’ The Lord Jesus also knows how to find an opening in our lives to show us His pierced hand. If we see that hand, His hand, which was nailed to the cross for us, for me, it cannot leave us unmoved. It will make us, just like the bride, restless inside.
Seeing the groom’s hand leads the bride to stand up (Song 5:5). She wants to open the door for him. She takes the handle of the bolt. There appears to be myrrh on it. That myrrh has left his hand on it and it is now on her own hands and fingers. She comes into personal contact with it. It is myrrh in abundance, her hands “drips with myrrh”. It is also “liquid myrrh”, there is movement in it. She is – in picture – reminded of his suffering, of which the myrrh speaks.
This is also what we need when our love for the Lord Jesus is weakened. We need the remembrance of His suffering, not superficially, but the deep experience of it. Once again, I have to understand very well what He has suffered for me personally. The myrrh must drip, as it were, from my hands and fingers. This will lead me to commit myself once again entirely to Him and to give Him all my love.
We see in Peter that he denies the Lord as soon as he gets into trouble. This is because he fell asleep in Gethsémané. Then the Lord shows him His love by looking at Him – while He suffers. Thus He pours, as it were, the myrrh over His hands. Through this personal encounter with the Lord in His suffering, Peter repents.
Then the bride gets up to open. When she opens the door to let him in, it turns out that it is no longer there. He is gone! Where is he? He has withdrawn. Why? He wants her to experience what her refusal to open up to him means. That is how it can be in our lives. When we finally come to open the door for Him and allow Him back into our lives, He suddenly cannot be found. Then we must learn that He also does this out of love for us, to teach us even more to realize Who He is. For He did not disappear forever, but He left to persuade us to seek him.
The bride has suddenly come to life. She is suddenly full of action to look for Him. How did that come about? She says it: “My heart went out [to him] as he spoke.” His voice, his words, have worked that out in her. That’s how it goes with us. The words of the Lord Jesus “are spirit and are life” (Jn 6:63). He speaks living and life-giving words. Peter recognizes this and therefore wants to go to none other than the Lord, for He has “words of eternal life” (Jn 6:67-69).
The bride goes out searching for him, but doesn’t find him. She calls, but he doesn’t answer. By leaving he tests her longing if she really wants to search for him. We also sometimes wonder why the Lord does not answer when we seek Him in prayer. One of the lessons He wants us to learn is that we ourselves cannot set the conditions for contact with Him. Sometimes God hides Himself from us, that is the feeling we have at least (cf. Lam 3:8; 44), because we have hidden ourselves so often for Him. Sometimes God does not answer our calls, because so often we have not answered His speaking to us.
It is His love that acts this way, for He wants to work devotion and raise up love. Therefore the Lord also lets us go through exercises to see if we miss Him and seek Him. He then tries us to see if it really matters to us that we want to have fellowship with Him. It is also possible that we only call to Him because we are in a bad situation. We want to be freed from that and if God only just wants to do that. After that we can continue with our own life, in which He should not interfere too emphatically.
If we really want to live a life in fellowship with Him, we will not be disappointed if He does not respond directly or in any other way than we imagine. Then we continue to trust that He has the best for us and we persevere in our search for Him. We see that here at the bride. She continues her search. This brings her into circumstances that make her testify beautifully of who the groom is to her, as the following verses show. The Lord Jesus also wants to work this in us through situations in which we, to our feelings, have lost Him.
Searching For the Groom
The bride continues searching in the city (Song 5:7). There the guards do their rounds. So it is still night. She doesn’t search for them, but they find her and act hard on her. We have met the guards before (Song 3:1-3). There they are not as hard in their actions as here. Now they wound the bride. When distance has come between the Lord and us, we sometimes have to make painful experiences. Then the Lord lets this happen to bring us back to Him.
Striking and wounding, which literally happens to the bride here, can also happen on a figurative level, for example by making heavy reproaches. Accusatory words can cut hard. They wound the soul, they hurt within. That happens when we are in a place where we do not belong. If the bride had immediately risen and had opened the groom, this would not have happened, then she would have been spared this suffering and shame.
The guards also take her veil off. The veil is a picture of complete devotion to the groom. The veil means: I am only for Him. But that is not true. It is her profession, but not her practice. Therefore, the veil must be removed. If there is hypocrisy in our lives, the Lord must denounce it and take it away.
For example, we say that we only come together in the Name of the Lord Jesus. But it is hypocrisy if we still give our own interpretation to the meetings. Or we have our established habits from which it is not allowed to deviate. Then the Spirit of God cannot work and the veil must be removed. In this case, the veil is not a sign of devotion and surrender, but a kind of bolt. These kinds of bolts, which give the appearance of devotion, but in reality block the Lord’s and the Spirit’s access to our lives, must be taken away.
If the Lord sometimes uses hard-handed methods for this, let us not blame the other who is used by the Lord for it. The ‘guards’ who find us can be all kinds of people. Even though they are people who, like the guards, have no idea what they are doing to us, it is still important to see the Lord’s hand in them. He is busy bringing us back to a living connection with Him.
We see the effect on the bride. She is not confused, but accepts the treatment she gets. She knows it is her own fault. That is where the return begins. She has arrived at a low point and is starting to make her way up.
We also see it with Samson. His long hair – the outward sign of his devotion to and separation for God – was cut off and taken away (Jdg 16:17-19). His eyes are stung out and he grinds flour in the Philistine prison (Jdg 16:21). Deeper he could not sink. But then we read that the hair of his head began to grow again (Jdg 16:22). If we have become sincere and honest, that is a new beginning. Our first dedication was good at first, but gradually it became a cover, a bolt. When you see that, the time has come for a new dedication. That is what the Lord wants to work with you and me.
From a prophetic point of view, this will happen in the end-time to the remnant from the antichrist and his followers. They will punish the remnant, the bride, because she does not join them in following the antichrist. They are a means in God’s hand for this, without realizing it themselves.
After this humiliating lesson, the bride will not resign herself. She continues to search. She did not ask the guards for help. She has no relation with them at all. They found her and occupied themselves with her unasked for. This is different with “the daughters of Jerusalem” (Song 5:8). She turns to them and asks if they want to tell the groom that she is lovesick when they find him. In doing so, she indicates how much she desires his presence. She said that once before (Song 2:5), but there she is in the arms of the groom. Here she says it while she misses him and he had to leave her by her own fault.
She is not ashamed of her weakness and asks for help in her search to those who do not have that intimate relationship with the groom (cf. Song 6:1). Recognition of weakness does not take away anything from our beauty, but forces respect. If we have any self-knowledge, we are aware that we are only very weak in the derivation of our privileges. We owe nothing to ourselves, but everything to the Lord.
The daughters of Jerusalem see a special beauty in the bride (Song 5:9). They talk to her with “o most beautiful among the women”. We would say: she doesn’t look like that. After all, the guards had strongly got their hands on her and injured her. The fact that the daughters of Jerusalem address her in this way is because she is full of the bridegroom. That is noted.
If we are full of the Lord Jesus, all the things in our lives that would otherwise stand out will disappear into the background. We can think of things we have done for which we are ashamed. But when we have truly confessed them and we are full of the Lord Jesus, the testimony of Him shines through everything. Instead of contempt, the question then arises as to what is special about Him of Whom our heart is so full, thus shading every other love.
Her answer comes in the following verses. In it the bride gives a description of the groom. She says wonderful things about him. This goes beyond just saying what she has received from Him. She speaks of Himself, as He is. Her description of Him is the spiritual fruit of the trial she underwent as a result of leaving Him.
White and Red – Head and Hair
The daughters of Jerusalem asked the bride twice in Song 5:9: “What kind of beloved is your beloved?” They ask this question because they see how full the bride of her groom is. In Song 5:10, she begins an impressive description of him of whom her heart is so full. She doesn’t have to search for words.
Remarkable is that every time the bride speaks about the groom, she does so to others. She testifies of who he is for her to her surroundings. When the groom speaks about the bride, he does so to her. He always assures her of the value she has for him and lets her know how much he rejoices in her. We may do the same with regard to Him of Whom our heart is full, realizing that His heart is full of us.
She starts by telling who her groom is. He is “My beloved” and He is “white [better than dazzling] and ruddy”. We can apply this directly to the Lord Jesus, our ‘Beloved’. First and foremost, He is white. This speaks of His absolute purity. He is the pure One and the holy One. The Lord Jesus was born of a sinful woman, Mary, but was not conceived by a sinful man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Therefore He is also “that holy One” (Lk 1:35).
He is absolutely without sin. He never committed one sin, neither in deeds nor in words (1Pet 2:22). And not only that. He did not know sin (2Cor 5:21). It is so that in Him there is no sin (1Jn 3:5). No one could convict Him of sin (Jn 8:46). The devil had nothing in Him, that is to say, no single lead (Jn 14:30). The bride, and every human being, stands out against this. The bride has also acknowledged this. She has said of herself that she is dark (Song 1:5-6). Only someone who can repeat it after her with heart can have a relationship with Him.
Next is that he is red. Red is the color of the blood. The Lord Jesus poured His blood to possess His bride. Only through His blood can the darkness of sin be washed away. This makes someone pure in the eyes of the holy God. The Lord Jesus is perfectly pure in His life and has never had anything to do with sin. The only time He has had to do with it is on the cross. There He is made sin by God for everyone who believes in Him. This is also the complete settlement of sin. The sins of the faithful sinner have been judged and forgiven forever and disposed of.
After this general, introductory description, the bride exclaims in delight that he stands out above everyone. If we are so full of our Lord, we can’t cry out any other than this. He is “fairer than the sons of men” (Psa 45:2a). No one can be compared to Him. He is the Firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29). He is the Author Who leads many sons to glory (Heb 2:10). He is the true David who has defeated his ten thousands (1Sam 18:7).
He is not only elevated as a banner above Israel, but also above all nations (Isa 5:26; Isa 11:10; 12). His banner is the cross. There the victory has been achieved and the full result will soon be visible. We can already see that result in faith and praise Him for it.
From Song 5:10 onwards the bride mentions ten characteristics of the groom. She describes him from head to toe. The description begins with his head. That’s fine gold. It is clear that this is visual language. We can apply this again directly to the Lord Jesus. The head is a picture of wisdom and insight, and gold of Divine glory. His wisdom and understanding are Divine. So He is busy with His bride, but also with His creation. His headship also speaks of dominion. He is Head above all (1Cor 11:3; Col 1:15-17).
His thinking is always focused on God and full of doing His will. Further on in this chapter the gold is also mentioned in connection with His hands and His feet (Song 5:14-15). It points out that the execution of God’s thoughts in His works and His way is always Godly perfect.
His curly hairlocks speak of His devotion and submission as Man to His God (cf. 1Cor 11:15). It is a feature of His being a Nazarite (Num 6:5). For a man, having long hair is a disgrace (1Cor 11:14). His ‘shame’ is that He submits Himself completely to God and gives up His position as Head of Creation.
They are black locks, not grey. It points out that the power of life is in Him and He is in the power of His life. The Hebrew word for ‘black’ is related to the word for ‘youth’. The raven is an unclean bird (Lev 11:13; 15). Thus is the Lord Jesus treated by the religious leaders of His people. But God gives the raven his food when his young call for help from God (Job 38:41). In this way the Lord Jesus has always expected and received everything from His God. This has given him the strength to go his way to the glory of God.
Eyes, Cheeks and Lips
The bride continues her description of the groom with “his eyes” (Song 5:12). To see someone’s eyes one has to be close to the person. The eyes are sometimes called ‘the mirror of the soul’. If you look someone deep in the eyes, you can read a lot of what is going on in him, whether someone is happy or sad.
The bride compares his eyes to “doves” (cf. Song 1:15; Song 4:1). That means that his eyes are characterized by what characterizes doves. Doves have a “clear” or “single” (Darby translation) eye (Mt 6:22). A single eye is an eye that focuses on only one object. With the Lord Jesus we see this in perfection. His gaze was always straight ahead (Pro 4:25). Several times we read of Him that He raised His eyes to heaven (Jn 17:1; Jn 11:41).
His eyes were always on the Father. He always had, so to speak, ‘eye contact’ with His Father. He never saw anything wrong and never looked in a wrong way. Eve did, so sin came into the world. The Lord Jesus has always been guided by His Father – by everything He said. This is indicated by “beside streams of water”. He lived by the Word of God (Mt 4:4). That Word was a refreshment for Him (Psa 110:7).
With that refreshment He also revives or restores others who are affected by sin. This is how He looked at Peter, after Peter has denied Him three times. This reminds Peter of the word the Lord has spoken to him. That breaks his heart, and the way to recovery has begun (Lk 22:61-62).
Still the bride is not finished with the description of the groom’s eyes. She sees his eyes “Bathed in milk, [And] reposed in [their] setting”. The eye white of the eye socket the bride compares with milk. Milk is associated with the thought of abundance, purity, cleanness and healthy food. Israel is a land that flows over with milk and honey. Milk is also a picture of the healthy food of God’s Word (1Pet 2:2).
The description “reposed in [their] setting” radiates tranquility. This gives a picture of the full fellowship of the Lord with His Father. His eyes do not wander, nor go back and forth nervously. His eyes are always on His Father. From the fellowship with the Father His eyes also go to His disciples (Lk 6:20) and to the crowds (Jn 6:5; Mt 14:14).
It is good to know the eyes of the Lord Jesus and to read in them what is in them for us. They are the eyes of doves, which also reminds us of the Holy Spirit, who descended upon Him in the form of a dove. The Spirit gives His eyes a shine reminiscent of streams of water and a look reminiscent of the purity of milk. His eyes are for His own a source of sympathy.
After the eyes, the gaze is focused on His cheeks. Then we remember that He gave His cheeks to those who plucked out His beard (Isa 50:6). For those who know Him, those cheeks are “like a bed of balsam, Banks of sweet-scented herbs”. His reaction to the reprobate treatment inflicted upon Him is full of rest, like a bed. He has suffered silently. And what a lovely fragrance ascended out of that rests up to God, like the fragrance of balsam. He who was once despised as the defenseless One is therefore admired by God and His own.
The “banks” (of a river) speak of not being distracted, going one direction. The Lord Jesus did not let himself be distracted from the way he had to go. He went all the way all His work was completed. Herbs, like spices, give a pleasant scent. His watchfulness, his constant attention to the Father, has been for the Father a fragrant fragrance, a great joy for His heart.
Here the bride tells that she has seen that in him. Have we seen this in the Lord Jesus? We have to look at Him, that is, we read the Word and think about Him. As we think about His life on earth, we will get to know more and more of His Person and start to admire Him more and more. We will bear witness to this to others.
The bride compares the lips of the groom with “lilies dripping with liquid myrrh”. We read of the Lord Jesus that on His lips “grace is poured upon Your lips” (Psa 45:2). The lily is a picture of tenderness in a region of thorns (Song 2:1-2). The Lord Jesus spoke words of life and encouragement among a people compared to “thistles and thorns” (Eze 2:6).
In an unruly, pain causing world, He speaks words of grace. These words are not in the newspaper, but in God’s Word and in the hearts of those who have accepted His words. They have experienced, like the bride, that His words are not cheap words. They are imbued with the suffering that He wanted to undergo in order to be able to speak those words. This is what the “liquid myrrh” speaks of. There is testified of Him: “Never has a man spoken as much as this man speaks” (Jn 7:46). “And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips” (Lk 4:22a).
He can sympathize with our weaknesses because He suffered the same on earth as we did, yet without sin (Heb 4:15). We never knock on the door in vain if we want to tell Him our problems. When we come to Him with our need, He is open to us and we may experience that He understands us. Then he says: “Take courage” (Mt 9:2; 22; Mt 14:27; Mk 10:49; Jn 16:33; Acts 23:11). This is such a word of grace with which He comforts us with the comfort He knows from His own experience.
Hands, Abdomen, Legs, Appearance, Mouth
The bride continues with the hands of the groom. Hereby we think of the Lord Jesus. His hands point to His works. The universe is the work of his hands (Psa 19:1; Isa 45:12; Isa 66:1-2). The “rods of gold” remind us that everything He does carries His Divine attribute. Just as a rod is without end, so are His works without end. This all-powerful Creator is our Bridegroom, Who has connected us to Himself through His love.
His hands are nailed to the cross (Psa 22:16c). They are precious to anyone who is touched by them (Mt 8:3; 15; Mt 14:31). He has engraved the believers in His palms (Isa 49:16). What is engraved is impossible to remove. No one can pull a child of God out of His hand (Jn 10:28).
It is added that they are “set with beryl”. Beryl is a precious stone. Precious stones have a meaning. A possible meaning can be derived from the place they have on the breastplate of the high priest. The beryl or topaz is the first stone of the fourth row of precious stones (Exo 28:20; Exo 39:13). We can draw a parallel with the fourth Gospel, the Gospel to John. In that Gospel the glory of the Lord Jesus is presented as the Son of God.
We can also connect the beryl with the government ways of God. The stone is also mentioned in connection with the wheels of the throne car of God which Ezekiel sees (Eze 1:16; Eze 10:9). The throne car symbolizes God’s government in the world. He makes it clear that God leads everything to the goal He has set and that no one can change anything about it.
All “the works of his hands”, all his actions in and with the world, “are truth and justice” (Psa 111:7). What applies to the world also applies to the life of His own. God’s plan with the world and with our lives is that it therein the Lord Jesus will be visible and glorified. It is a great privilege to see that.
“His abdomen” speaks of His inner being. He is inwardly committed to us. His interior is compared to “carved ivory”. Ivory is mentioned in connection with the kingship of Solomon, the king of peace (1Kgs 10:22; 2Chr 9:21). Solomon has made “a great throne of ivory” (1Kgs 10:18; 2Chr 9:17). We can therefore connect ivory with the kingship of the Lord Jesus that He exercises in peace. His government excels in justice.
His government is not hard or insensitive, but full of sympathy for His subjects. He excels in this too. This is emphasized by the “sapphires” with which the ivory is covered. Sapphire is a precious stone which, like the beryl mentioned above, appears on the breastplate of the high priest. This stone is the second stone in the second row of the breastplate (Exo 28:18; Exo 39:11). We can link this to the second Gospel, the Gospel of Mark. This Gospel is that of the Servant, Who serves men full of compassion and does everything in obedience to His Sender.
We also see the sapphire, again like the beryl, in connection with the governmental ways of God. He is connected with the throne of God. In any case, it reminds Ezekiel of this (Eze 1:26; Eze 10:1). The reign of God is exercised by the Lord Jesus as the Son of man. God has given Him the power to do so. It is a great encouragement to know that He Who rules is our beloved Savior, Who has given His life for us.
Then “his legs” are described. They look like “pillars of alabaster” (Song 5:15). Pillars support a building and indicate stability, like the two pillars of the temple, Jachin and Boaz (1Kgs 7:21). Alabaster is hard. It makes clear how rigid and immovable everything is with the Lord Jesus. The universe rests on Him and is therefore certain. There is nothing in the world and nothing in the church that is capable of shaking Him.
The pillars are “set on pedestals of pure gold”. This indicates that God’s glory is the foundation of His immovable dominion. The pedestals are reminiscent of His feet, of His way through the world. He went His way in God’s power, without hesitation, without returning, without slowing down.
Everywhere He has left the traces of His glory. His walk on earth was perfectly Divine. God “does not take pleasure in the legs of a man” (Psa 147:10). But how different were His legs. He is perfectly stable, untouchable to all problems and all needs that may arise over His own. By looking at Him in this way we are encouraged to persevere in our way on earth.
The bride has described her groom from head to toe. She then takes a step back, as it were, and looks at his whole “appearance”. It looks “like Lebanon” and “the cedars” thereon (Psa 92:12; Isa 60:13). The view is overwhelming because of the immovability and beauty.
Just as cedars transcend all trees, so for us the Lord Jesus transcends all people. He is the glorified Man in heaven. This is a place the Father could give to Him and Him alone and not to anyone else. We see this when we see Him in His full glory, as far as it is perceptible to us. He is the only One Who has truly and fully earned to be “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb 2:9).
And suddenly another thing is described of Him: “His mouth is [full of] sweetness” (Song 5:16). With the mouth, better: palate, the food is tasted. Everything that the Lord Jesus has tasted in His life on earth is mere sweetness. He has fed Himself with everything the Father said to Him. It was His food to do the will of His Father (Jn 4:34). He has tasted perfectly “that the Lord is merciful” (1Pet 2:3).
Yes, everything about the Lord Jesus is “wholly desirable”. For those who love Him, there is nothing to discover in Him that is not desirable. It is not possible to describe His glory in full extend (cf. Jn 21:25). Everything about Him is overwhelming.
The “daughters of Jerusalem” have asked the bride what is so special about her groom (Song 5:9). She has given an impressive description of him. This confession is the result of the loving contact of the groom with his bride. The Lord Jesus is also working in our lives to persuade us to see much of Him and bear witness to that. In everything we learn about Him in glory and beauty, we may also say: This is my Beloved and this is my Friend. We experience Him close to us when we are engaged with Him in that way.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Song of Solomon 5". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13