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Bible Commentaries
Song of Solomon 7

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-9

Son 7:1-9

Song of Solomon 7:1-9

THE KING RENEWS HIS FLATTERING APPEAL

Song of Solomon 7:1-9

"How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter!

Thy rounded thighs are like jewels,

The work of the hands of a skillful workman.

Thy body is like a round goblet,

Wherein no mingled wine is wanting:

Thy waist is like a heap of wheat

Set about with lilies.

Thy two breasts are like two fawns, that are twins of a roe.

Thy neck is like the tower of ivory;

Thine eyes as the pools in Heshbon,

By the gate of Bath-rabbim:

Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon

Which looketh toward Damascus.

Thy head upon thee is like Carmel,

And the hair of thy head like purple;

The king is held captive in the tresses thereof.

How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

This thy stature is like a palm tree,

And thy breasts to its clusters.

I said, I will climb up into the palm tree,

I will take hold of the branches thereof:

Let thy breasts be as clusters of the vine,

And the smell of thy breath like apples,

And thy mouth like the best wine,

(That goeth down smoothly for my beloved,

Gliding through the lips of those that are asleep)”

(As in RSV) And your kisses like the best wine that goes down smoothly, gliding over lips and teeth."

Once more we have Solomon’s flattery, but there can be little wonder why the maiden rejected it. As plainly evident in what he said, he looked upon her, as he looked upon every woman, as something to be eaten or consumed, simply a means of satisfying his appetite (lust). He saw her body as a goblet of mixed wine (Song of Solomon 7:2), her breasts as clusters of dates in the palm tree (Song of Solomon 7:7), like clusters of grapes (Song of Solomon 7:7). Her breath smelled like apples (Song of Solomon 7:7), and her kisses were like wine. All of this says in tones of thunder: "You look delicious, and I’m ready to eat you!"

Delitzsch and other scholars attribute the first part of this paragraph (Song of Solomon 7:1-5) to the women of the king’s harem who are praising the maiden’s beauty. This theory is based upon the alleged mutual love and admiration among the women of the harem; and we reject it, because it is contrary to human nature and is absolutely unsupported by anything in the Bible. The attitude which is characteristic of women involved in a polygamous situation is represented by the hatred of Sarah for Hagar, and that of Penninah toward Hannah (1 Samuel 1:1-6).

"The king is held captive in the tresses (of her hair)" (Song of Solomon 7:5). The use of the third person here is not a denial that the king is the speaker. Monarchs frequently spoke of themselves in the third person.

Whatever may be correct regarding the first five verses here, Song of Solomon 7:6-9 were very probably the words of the king, making his last attempt to win over the Shulamite; but it was of no avail."

Exegesis Song of Solomon 7:1-10

There is an interesting explanation of these verses in An Exposition of the Bible by Walter F. Adeney—He does not attribute these verses to Solomon but to the women of the court, he says:

“The Shulammite now seems to be attempting a retreat, and the ladies of the court bid her return; they would see the performance of a favourite dance, known as ‘The Dance of Mahanaim.’ Thereupon we have a description of the performer, as she was seen during the convolutions of the dance, dressed in a transparent garment of red gauze—perhaps such as is represented in Pompeian frescoes,—so that her person could be compared to pale wheat surrounded by crimson anemones. It is quite against the tenor of her conduct to suppose that the modest country girl would degrade herself by ministering to the amusement of a corrupt court in this shameless manner. It is more reasonable to conclude that the entertainment was given by a professional dancer from among the women of the harem. We have a hint that this is the case in the title applied to the performer, in addressing whom Solomon exclaims, “O prince’s daughter,” an expression never used for the poor Shulammite, and one from which we should gather that she was a captive princess who had been trained as a court dancer. The glimpse of the manners of the palace helps to strengthen the contrast of the innocent, simple country life in which the Shulammite delights.

It has been suggested, with some degree of probability, that the Shulammite is supposed to make her escape while the attention of the king and his court is diverted by this entrancing spectacle. It is to be observed, at all events, that from this point onwards to the end of the poem, neither Solomon nor the daughters of Jerusalem take any part in the dialogue, while the scene appears to be shifted to the Shulammite’s home in the country, where she and the shepherd are now seen together in happy companionship.” (p. 534, 535.)

We much prefer this explanation to the labored efforts of the commentators to apply this to the Shulammite. No doubt the women of the harem could imagine (with Solomon) that if this maid were to dance she would meet the description here given.

There are ten features of the female form:

(1) How beautiful are your feet—as you walk in your sandals, you have the grace of a princess.

(2) Your thighs are a work of art—like the carved jewels of a master artist.

(3) Your navel is like a lovely goblet in which the best of wine can always be found.

(4) Your waist is like a heap of wheat encircled with anemones.

(5) Your two breasts are as soft as two fawns—perfect twins of a roe.

(6) Your neck is like an ivory tower.

(7) Your eyes have the depth of the pools of Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbin.

(8) Your face (or nose) has the grandeur and serenity of the tower of Lebanon, which looketh toward Damascus.

(9) Your head is like the beautiful Mount Carmel.

(10) Your hair, as it shines in the sunlight, is the royal color of purple—a king would be held captive in its ringlets.

Marriage Song of Solomon 7:1-10

One’s wife should be physically attractive to her husband. She should know it. It would not be at all offensive if you were to make your own personal paraphrase of these verses and give them to your wife as a love letter from her husband. Better yet, you could read them to her. Perhaps the metaphors and similes you use could have a more contemporary motif. Your wife would not be at all flattered if you told her that her nose was like the tower of Lebanon. If you do not tell your wife of her physical attraction to you she could be willing to listen to someone else who is ready to describe her charms.

Communion Song of Solomon 7:1-10

We believe most of this section is a flattering attempt on the part of Solomon or the women of his court to seduce the Shulammite. No doubt the description fits the maiden—but the purpose behind telling it is surely open to censure. Flattery is such a subtle tool of Satan. So many Christians are very susceptible to flattery. Why? Because no one has convinced them of their true worth. We are almost ready to believe anyone who can see a value in us, even if it is only for their own advantage. We need to read again and again the love letters of our Father and His Son who tell us over and over again how valuable we are to them and the world in which we live.

Verses 10-13

Son 7:10-13

Song of Solomon 7:10-13

THE SHULAMITE’S FINAL REJECTION OF THE KING

"I am my beloved’s;

And his desire is toward me.

Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field;

Let us lodge in the villages.

Let us get up early to the vineyards;

Let us see whether the vine hath budded,

And its blossom is open,

And the pomegranates are in flower:

There will I give thee my love.

The mandrakes give forth fragrance;

And at our doors are all manner of precious fruits, new and old,

Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved."

There are very powerful reasons for seeing these verses as a rejection of the king by the Shulamite. Chief of those reasons is the dramatic word HIS that stands at the head of this paragraph. "I am my beloved’s, and HIS desire is toward me" (Song of Solomon 7:10). This contrasts with the sixteen personal pronouns in the second person which dominate the king’s flattering appeal. They are the equivalent of you, you, you, you - sixteen times! Yet the very first words of the Shulamite were addressed to the king standing right there in front of her; and yet she spoke of her beloved in the third person! and it is impossible to refer the word his to Solomon. The Shulamite’s lover was not present. She spoke of him, not to him. He was the shepherd, not the king.

Furthermore, the balance of the paragraph fully harmonizes with that understanding.

"Let us go forth into the field" (Song of Solomon 7:11). This could not possibly refer either to a palace or to a harem.

"Let us lodge in the villages" (Song of Solomon 7:11). The Shulamite is definitely not speaking of Jerusalem.

"Let us get up early" (Song of Solomon 7:12). Even a fool knows that farmers get up early; kings don’t!

"Let us see whether the vine hath budded, etc." (Song of Solomon 7:12). The employment mentioned here is that of rural dwellers, not that of urbanites.

"There will I give thee my love" (Song of Solomon 7:12). The use of the second person pronoun here cannot change what she has already said. In these words, she is speaking of her true love, the shepherd, who will accompany her in their inspection of the vineyard. Can anyone imagine Solomon going with one of his concubines on such a mission?

We have somewhat elaborated the exposition of these verses, because our interpretation differs sharply from that which is advocated by most of the commentators we have consulted.

Waddey: "The queen gently requests that her husband take her for a visit to her old home place.”

Bunn: "The maiden now invites her lover to receive her love.”

Delitzsch, while rejecting it, fairly stated the hypothesis which we have accepted: "Advocates of the shepherd-hypothesis believe that the faithful Shulamite, after hearing Solomon’s panegyric, shakes her head (negatively), saying, `I am my beloved’s.’"

Cook: His whole comment on this last paragraph was; "All his affection has me for its object. The bride proceeds to exercise her power over his loving will."

Woodstra: "This is the king extolling the beauty of his bride and her love for him."

Meek: "This is repeated in part from Song of Solomon 2:16 and Song of Solomon 6:3.

Here, as frequently elsewhere in the book the lovers are represented as separated, with the girl longing for her beloved."

Robinson: "The Shulamite speaks here in reply to the king. Her heart is set on her native fields and vineyards. These are more attractive to her than the splendor and ceremony of a court."

Willard: "The first nine verses of this chapter are held to be evidence of decadence and lust on the part of the aging Solomon. It is probably the most difficult portion of the book for those who interpret Solomon and the maiden to mean Christ and the Church."

Adam Clarke: "Here the bride wishes to accompany her spouse to the country and spend a night in his country house."

This writer’s acceptance of the shepherd-hypothesis in our interpretation is influenced substantially by what is written in Song of Solomon 2. See our comments there. Also a key factor in our interpretation is our utter inability to find anything in the Biblical record of Solomon’s life that is fit to be compared to the sinless Son of God.

The allegorical interpretation has been favored throughout the centuries since the destruction of Jerusalem, in spite of the fact that there is no hint whatever in the Song itself that the production is, in any sense, an allegory; and no inspired writer ever indicated such a thing. This writer confesses that the principal reason for accepting an allegorical interpretation lies in the near-impossibility of the book’s presence in the Bible by any other means.

Many questions about the Song of Solomon remain unanswered in this writer’s mind; and it is our prayer that further study may shed more light on it.

The bridegroom has come for his bride. Whether this is literal or figurative, we could not say. Does this only happen in the dreams of the maiden or has Solomon capitulated? If Solomon has given her leave to go back to her home in Shunem, then perhaps a message has been sent to her shepherd and he actually is present to respond to the words of his beloved. We shall comment separately upon each of these six verses.

Song of Solomon 7:11. It must have been with a good deal of poignancy that the maiden thought of the open fields of Galilee. She no doubt thought of friends or relatives in some of the villages who would welcome she and her new husband as overnight visitors. All the associations of many years back rushed in upon her and her heart is full of yearnings to be back again amid familiar faces and places. She is tired of the oppressive atmosphere of the king’s harem.

Song of Solomon 7:12. It is still the spring of the year. It was spring when she was snatched away from her garden. Unless we conclude an entire year has gone by, her sojourn at court was only a few weeks. After a pleasant conversation with friends at the house in the village they would retire for the night. She is already anticipating their marriage and what is here proposed amounts in our terms to a honeymoon. How fresh and new is the atmosphere in the early morning! A stroll through the vineyard could be so beautiful! Holding hands, we could stoop down and check together the development of the blossoms. We could pause to drink deeply of the fragrance from the flowers of the pomegranate trees. “There in the seclusion and privacy of His hanidwork I will give you my love.” Away from the eyes of anyone but her beloved she would express her deep feelings for him.

Song of Solomon 7:13. We are back in the village of Shunem. In the garden near the house the fragrance of the mandrakes is filling the air. At the doors of our house we have kept from past seasons dired fruit—we will also have fresh produce from our garden. Ever since I met you I have planned and laid up these gifts for the day when we could share them together. Besides the literal meaning we have given to her words, we seem to catch another meaning! Mandrakes had long been associated with love (Cf. Genesis 30:14-18). Perhaps these words are but a veiled promise of her expressions of love to be given to him in their house.

If the Shulammite represents the bride of Christ, then these words can become a pattern for the love the church should have for her Lord. This has always been a parallel for the love the husband should have for his wife and the wife for her husband. Where is the bride who will express her love with the same, intensity and fidelity as the Shulammite? We believe there are many who would if they were married to a man like the shepherd. But is this the criteria for such a response? Many a husband knows he is far from the ideal here described but his wife loves him none-the-less. This is surely the fulfillment (in reverse order) of how Christ loved the church. Even when this is true can we not read into these words the longing of the dear girl we married? She does want to find anew the fresh fields and the secluded spot—she still wants your exclusive interest in her—to share with her the little things—the beautiful things of very ordinary life. Just a cup of tea—a simple flower—even an orange eaten with love is worth more than the many expensive “things” for which we spend so much time away from her. If somehow her husband could be her brother she could then get on the inside of his thoughts and could establish a rapport shared in a happy family. Anything to be one with the one she loves more than life.

What a tremendous example this passage is of the kind of love we, as the bride, should give to our living Lord. “Christ is a living Person. He loves you with a personal love, and He looks everyday for your personal response to His love. Look into His face with trust till His love really shines into your heart (Romans 5:5). Make his heart glad by telling Him you love Him.” (author unknown) Converse with your heavenly Husband—say to Him, “Come, my beloved, let’s go to work—“ or “let’s wash the dishes.” He is alive—He does want to participate in all you are and do. He also sleeps with you at night. How delightful to begin the day with Him. We have found so much good in the little booklet Manna In The Morning published by Moody Press. We wish to say a word of recommendation here—if you are not meeting Him in the morning—or even if you are—get it and read it. Oh, how we need to plan ahead for a continual love affair with our Lord. There is all manner of precious fruit from our experiences and from His word—both new and old which we can share with Him. This will never happen if we do not plan it. Communion with our Lord through the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:1 ff) is a joint participation—a partnership that includes all of life. Do we take Him into “our mother’s house”? i.e., into the relationship and fellowship of the family conversation? or of the TV programs and the exchange of the usual subjects? If we did, perhaps our family would be so impressed with His presence that instruction would have an entirely different meaning.

Praising the Bride’s Beauty - Song of Solomon 6:4 to Song of Solomon 7:9

Open It

1. Why is it hard to say you’re sorry?

2. What is your favorite love story?

Explore It

3. How would you describe the events of these verses? (Song of Solomon 6:4 to Song of Solomon 7:9)

4. How did the Lover describe his wife? (Song of Solomon 6:4-9)

5. Why did the Lover tell his Beloved to turn her eyes from him? (Song of Solomon 6:5)

6. Where did the Lover go? (Song of Solomon 6:11)

7. How did the Lover describe his reconciliation with his Beloved? (Song of Solomon 6:11-13)

8. What did the Lover say about his Beloved’s feet and legs? (Song of Solomon 7:1)

9. What did the Lover say about his Beloved’s navel and waist? (Song of Solomon 7:2)

10. How did the Lover describe his Beloved’s breasts? (Song of Solomon 7:3; Song of Solomon 7:7)

11. What did the Lover say about his Beloved’s neck, eyes, and nose? (Song of Solomon 7:4)

12. How did the Lover describe his Beloved’s head and hair? (Song of Solomon 7:5)

13. What did the Lover find pleasing? (Song of Solomon 7:6)

14. What did the Lover say he would climb? (Song of Solomon 7:8-9)

Get It

15. Judging from the events of these verses (and the events that led up to them, 6:1-3), what are some essential elements in the process of reconciliation?

16. What does this story say about reconciliation?

17. Why is it sometimes hard to reconcile your differences with someone you love?

18. In what way do you find the somewhat sensual nature of these verses surprising, refreshing, or offensive?

19. How is the Lover’s praise of his wife’s beauty important to the reconciliation process?

20. How might the Beloved’s breasts be like clusters, her breath like apples, and her mouth like wine?

21. How have these verses impacted your view of marriage?

22. How have these verses impacted your view of human sexuality?

Apply It

23. What conflict in your relationship with your spouse will you work to resolve this week?

24. What broken relationship will you mend this week?

The Bride’s Tender Appeal - Song of Solomon 7:10 to Song of Solomon 8:4

Open It

1. What makes a person feel secure in a relationship?

2. What makes a person feel insecure in a relationship?

3. When do you think it is OK for a woman to take the initiative in a relationship?

Explore It

4. To whom did the Beloved say she belonged? (Song of Solomon 7:10)

5. Where did the Beloved want to go to spend the night? (Song of Solomon 7:11)

6. Why did the Beloved want to go to the vineyards? (Song of Solomon 7:12)

7. What did the Beloved say that the mandrakes sent out? (Song of Solomon 7:13)

8. What had the Beloved stored up for her Lover? (Song of Solomon 7:13)

9. Whom did the Beloved wish her Lover was like? Why? (Song of Solomon 8:1)

10. Where did the Beloved say she would take her Lover? (Song of Solomon 8:2)

11. What did the Beloved say about her Lover’s arms? (Song of Solomon 8:3)

12. What charge did the Beloved give to the Daughters of Jerusalem? (Song of Solomon 8:4)

Get It

13. How would you describe this relationship between husband and wife?

14. In what way do married people belong to one another?

15. What does the fact that the Beloved felt comfortable with taking the initiative suggest about the couple’s relationship?

16. During what season did these events take place?

17. Why might the Beloved wish her Lover were like a brother to her so that she could kiss him outside without being despised by others?

18. What feeling about their relationship might the Beloved’s description of her Lover’s arms suggest?

Apply It

19. What can you do this week to deepen your relationship with your spouse?

20. How can you make your spouse feel loved, accepted, and secure this week?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Song of Solomon 7". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/song-of-solomon-7.html.
 
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