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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Song of Solomon 6

 

 

Verses 1-3

The Wife Becomes Familiar with Her Husband's Ways and Desires- The daughters of Jerusalem then ask the wife about the ways and lifestyle and interests of her husband ( Song of Solomon 6:1). She answers by describing the things that he does ( Song of Solomon 6:2-3), which symbolizes her journey of becoming familiar with her husband's desires and activities.

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. And 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- A garden is a place of rest and delight. The name "Eden" ( עֵדֶן) (H 5731) means, "pleasure" (Strong). Thus, the Garden of Eden was made as a place of delight where God communed with man. In Song of Solomon 6:2 we interpret this verse to mean that the king can be found in his garden, tending each lily with care. The wife has learned where her love enjoys spending his time, which is in his garden, tending the plants.

Figurative Interpretation of the Nation of Israel - The nation of Israel was God's chosen people. He brought them out and set them apart and set up His Tabernacle so that He could have a people who would fellowship with Him. This nation was His "garden of delight".

Figurative Interpretation of the Church - We can easily interpret the lilies in the garden of the king to represent those individuals in whom he delights. As is stated earlier in Song of Solomon 2:2, "As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." It symbolizes the person who communes with him by separating himself from the cares of this world. This is where true peace and rest can be found, and where one finds God's presence on a continual basis.

Song of Solomon 6:1 Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.

Song of Solomon 6:1Comments- The powerful testimony of the Shulamite's praise for her Lover in Song of Solomon 5:10-16 in the midst of persecutions draws the attention of others to know Christ in this intimate way.

Song of Solomon 6:2 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

Song of Solomon 6:2Word Study on "garden" - Strong says the Hebrew word "garden" "gan" ( גַּן) (H 1588) literally means, "a garden (as fenced)." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 42times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "garden 42." The word is used 8 times in the Song of Songs ( Song of Solomon 4:12; Song of Solomon 4:15-16; Song of Solomon 5:1; Song of Solomon 6:2; Song of Solomon 8:13). It figuratively refers to a place of communion with God; for this was one of the reasons God planted the Garden of Eden, to have fellowship with man in the cool of the day.

Song of Solomon 6:2Word Study on "spices" - Strong says the Hebrew word "spices" "besem" ( בֶּשֶׂם) or "bôsem" ( בֹּשֶׂם) (H 1314) means, "fragrance, spicery, the balsam plant." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 29 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "spice 24, sweet odours 2, sweet 2, sweet smell 1." This word is used six times in the Song of Solomon ( Song of Solomon 4:10; Song of Solomon 4:14; Song of Solomon 4:16; Song of Solomon 5:13; Song of Solomon 6:2; Song of Solomon 8:14).

Song of Solomon 6:2Word Study on "to feed" - Strong says the Hebrew word "feed" "ra`ah" ( רָעָה) (H 7462) is a primitive root that means, "to tend a flock, to pasture, to rule." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 173times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "feed 75, shepherd 63, pastor 8, herdmen 7, keep 3, companion 2, broken 1, company 1, devour 1, eat 1, entreateth 1, misc 10."

Song of Solomon 6:2Word Study on "lilies" - Strong says the Hebrew word "lily" "shuwshan" ( שׁוּשַׁן) (H 7799) 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 Psalm 60 (Shushan-eduth) and Psalm 80 (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 ( 1 Kings 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" ( Psalm 45, 60, 69, 80). Psalm 45 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 in Songs is symbolic of those who are upright before God. 218]

218] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 53.

Song of Solomon 6:2Figurative Interpretation - The Lord can be found by others as well in a place of personal communion. "and to gather lilies" - The lilies symbolize those people in whom the Lord delights. As I typed these words, I felt the phrase "an anointing" rising up out of me. We read in Matthew 6:29 that God arrays flowers with "glory", "And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." The lilies in Song of Solomon 6:2 very likely represent those individuals who have an anointing and are walking in fellowship with Him.

Song of Solomon 6:3 I am my beloved"s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.

Song of Solomon 6:3Word Study on "he feedeth" - Strong says the Hebrew word "feed" "ra`ah" ( רָעָה) (H 7462) is a primitive root that means, "to tend a flock, to pasture, to rule." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 173times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "feed 75, shepherd 63, pastor 8, herdmen 7, keep 3, companion 2, broken 1, company 1, devour 1, eat 1, entreateth 1, misc 10."

Song of Solomon 6:3Word Study on "lilies" - Strong says the Hebrew word "lily" "shuwshan" ( שׁוּשַׁן) (H 7799) 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 Psalm 60 (Shushan-eduth) and Psalm 80 (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 ( 1 Kings 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" ( Psalm 45, 60, 69, 80). Psalm 45 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 in Songs is symbolic of those who are upright before God. 219]

219] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 53.

Song of Solomon 6:3Literal Interpretation - Song of Solomon 6:3 suggests that there is a growing confidence in the beloved's confidence of her lover's devotion towards her. This can only come from spending intimate time with someone.

Figurative Interpretation - "I am my beloved"s, and my beloved is mine" - As Christians, we find that our confidence grows in His love for us as we draw near to Him. We find this sense of confidence described in 1 John 3:20-22 for those who have learned to walk in fellowship with the Song of Solomon , as stated in the opening passage of 1 John 1:3.

1 John 3:20-22, "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

1 John 1:3, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

"he feedeth among the lilies" - According to the previous verse ( Song of Solomon 6:2), the lilies are found in the garden. Jesus communes with the upright in the prayer garden.


Verses 4-10

The Husband Describes the Uniqueness of His Wife - In Song of Solomon 6:4-10 the husband expresses his love and admiration for the beauty and uniqueness of his wife. Just as the beloved emphasized her lover's uniqueness in Song of Solomon 5:9-16, so does he now express her uniqueness among women. The king repeats some of the same words used earlier in Song of Solomon 4:1-3.

Figurative Interpretation- Figuratively, God responds with deep love to a believer's endurance and devotion to Him. His love and jealousy deepens for those who prove their love for Him in the midst of persecutions.

Song of Solomon 6:4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.

Song of Solomon 6:4Word Study on "beautiful" - Strong says the Hebrew word "beautiful" "yapheh" ( יָפֶה) (H 3303), means, "beautiful." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used forty-one (41) times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "fair 21, beautiful 5, well 5, fairest 3, fair one 2, beauty 1, beautiful + 083892, beauty 1, comely 1, pleasant 1." It is used twelve (12) times alone in the book of the Song of Solomon.

Song of Solomon 6:4Word Study on "Tirzah" - Gesenius says the Hebrew name "Tirzah" "teer-tsaw"" ( תִרְצָה) (H 8656) means, "pleasantness." Strong says it means, "delightsomeness."

Comments- The city of Tirzah was the earliest capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. It preceded Shechem as the capital. It was in Tirzah that Jeroboam (the first king), Nadab his Song of Solomon , Baasha, Elah and Zimri reigned as kings ( 1 Kings 15:21; 1 Kings 15:33; 1 Kings 16:6; 1 Kings 16:8-9; 1 Kings 16:15). The reference to the beauty of Tirzah indicates an early date of the writing of the Song of Solomon.

Song of Solomon 6:4Word Study on "an army with banners" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "chiefest" "dagal" ( דָּגַל) (H 1713) literally means, "to cover, to cover over," thus, "to act covertly, to deceive." He says the passive participle in Song of Solomon 5:10 means, "erect as a banner, conspicuous, distinguished," and the Niphal in Song of Solomon 6:4; Song of Solomon 6:10 means, "to be furnished, or arrayed, with banners." Strong says it is a primitive root literally meaning, "to flaunt, i.e. to raise a flag," and figuratively, "to be conspicuous." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 4times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "(set up) banner 3, chiefest 1."

Psalm 20:5, "We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions."

Song of Solomon 5:10, "My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand."

Song of Solomon 6:4, "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners."

Song of Solomon 6:10, "Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?"

Comments- This Hebrew word is used in the phrase "terrible as an army with banners" in Song of Solomon 6:4; Song of Solomon 6:10, which Gesenius translates, "terrible as furnished with banners," i.e, as hosts or a camp of soldiers. He explains that the Shulamite woman is described as conquering and captivating the hearts of all.

Song of Solomon 6:5 Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.

Song of Solomon 6:4-5 — "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me:" - Comments- Literal Interpretation- Song of Solomon 6:4 describes the beauty of the Shulamite woman as being like two majestic cities, Jerusalem and Tizrah, and like an army of soldiers. In other words, her beauty is captivating and majestic. It makes the heart weak as one beholds such beauty. This is reflected in the next phrase, "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me," ( Song of Solomon 6:5). We may compare the king's expressions of being overcome in awe at his wife's beauty to the queen of Sheba as she admired the kingdom of Solomon: for as she beheld his majesty, the Scriptures tell us that there was no more spirit in her."

1 Kings 10:5, "And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD there was no more spirit in her."

Figurative Interpretation - The three-fold description of the bride in Song of Solomon 6:4 reflects strength as well as beauty. Such strength would refer to her character, just as we see in the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31. The cities of Tirzah and Jerusalem reflected the strength of Solomon's kingdom. The army with banners reflects also reflects the strength of his kingdom, just as presidents today parade their armies as a testimony of their strength. Figuratively speaking, the Lord now sees this believer as a mighty warrior in the Kingdom of God, beautiful in stature and strength. His beauty is now captivating ( Song of Solomon 6:5 a).

"thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead" - Figurative Interpretation - "thy hair" - Watchman Nee interprets the hair to represent "special consecration and obedience." 220] (1) Consecration- Nee notes how Samson's hair was an outward sign of an inward consecration. In other words, he had been dedicated and set apart for the Lord ( Numbers 6:5, Judges 13:7). (2) Submission & Obedience- Nee notes the second significance of hair, in that it serves as a covering. We read in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 that a woman's hair is given her as a covering that represents the authority of her husband over her. In other words, she is to reflect his glory with this covering of hair. This metaphor may represent the divine glory that a believer reflects in his life as a result of submitting to the authority of his head, which is Christ.

220] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 71-2.

Numbers 6:5, "All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow."

Judges 13:7, "But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death."

"is as a flock of goats that appear from mount Gilead" - Nee interprets the flock of goats to mean that this consecrated child of God has been well-fed on the slopes of Gilead ( Jeremiah 50:19, Micah 7:14). 221] In other words, the Lord has given His people abundant pastures. Just as goats that feed well are fat and ready to be offered as food or sacrificial Temple offerings, so is this believer ready to offer his body as "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service." ( Romans 12:1)

221] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 71.

Jeremiah 50:19, "And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead."

Micah 7:14, "Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old."

Since the valleys in Israel were used for crops, the surrounding hills were ideal for grazing livestock, such as sheep and goats, for these are their natural habitat in the wild.

This phrase is used earlier in Song of Solomon 4:1.

Song of Solomon 6:5, "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead."

Song of Solomon 6:6 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.

Song of Solomon 6:6Literal Interpretation- The lover describes her teeth figuratively by comparing them to a flock of sheep. He is basically saying that her teeth are beautiful, white, clean and evenly set in her mouth, and not one of them is missing. Regarding the phrase, "everyone beareth twins", we know that each tooth in our mouth has a matching tooth on the other side as its matching pair. A beautiful set of teeth would have been of high praise in a culture where dentistry may have allowed the pulling of teeth to be a standard way of relieving tooth pain.

Figurative Interpretation - "Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep" - Teeth are figurative of the health of an animal or person. This may be interpreted to mean that the believer has divine health as a testimony of walking in God's blessings. "which go up from the washing" - Perhaps the washing is figurative of the fact that the believer is walking without sin. But the idea may be the leaping and prancing of sheep coming up from their washing as a way to mean they were all in good health. "whereof every one bearth twins, and there is not one barren among them" - Song of Solomon 4:2 creates a picture of a flock of sheep with many offspring. Twin offspring, with none barren, represents a healthy, well-fed flock. When food is scarce, an animal's reproduction naturally decreases in the wild to compensate for a shortage of food. Thus, with an abundance of food is an abundance of offspring. Fruitfulness is a testimony of divine favor with God. It is evidence that a person is walking is God's blessings of abundance and prosperity. Thus, we can see the two-fold blessings of health and prosperity alluded to in Song of Solomon 4:2, which is a testimony that the believer's soul is prospering in Christ ( 3 John 1:2).

3 John 1:2, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

This verse is found earlier in Song of Solomon 4:2.

Song of Solomon 4:2, "Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them."

Song of Solomon 6:7 As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.

Song of Solomon 6:7Word Study on "a pomegranate" - Strong says the Hebrew word "pomegranate" "rimmôwn" ( רִמּוֹן) (H 7416) means "a pomegranate, the tree or the fruit," and it also refers to the pomegranate ornament used in the Tabernacle and Temple. The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 32times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "pomegranate 31, pomegranate tree 1." It is used times in the book of Songs ( Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of Solomon 6:7; Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 7:12; Song of Solomon 8:2).

Comments- The pomegranate tree was one of the most attractive fruit trees in the Middle East, with brilliant scarlet blossom in the spring ( Song of Solomon 7:12). The Israelites planted the tree in orchards ( Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 7:12) and made wine from its juice ( Song of Solomon 8:2) The beautiful texture of its inner fruit may have been behind the metaphorical phrase, "thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks" ( Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 6:7). 222]

222] E. W. G. Masterman, "Pomegranate," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Song of Solomon 6:7Word Study on "temples" - Gesenius tells us the Hebrew word "temples" "rak-kaw"" ( רַקָּה) (H 7541) is derived from the primitive root ( רָקַק) (7665), which means "to spit." This noun means properly, "something thin." He says it means, "temple" ( Judges 4:21-22; Judges 5:26), or poetically, "cheek" ( Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 6:7). Strong says it means, "a temple." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 5 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "temple 5." This word is used 2times in Songs ( Song of Solomon 4:3, Song of Solomon 6:7).

Song of Solomon 6:7Literal Interpretation- Garrett takes the view in Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 6:7 that the Shulamite's beautiful upper cheeks reminds her lover of the rich, pinkish colors of a slice of pomegranate fruit. 223]

223] Duane Garrett, Song of Songs, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 23B (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Song of Solomon 6:7.

Figurative Interpretation - John Westwood suggests that this phrase refers to the attitude of humility. 224] Andrew Miller says the idea is "of modesty, shamefacedness, or blushing." He calls it the "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit" ( 1 Peter 3:4). 225]

224] John Westwood, A Short Paraphrase of the Song of Solomon (London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co, 1848), 23-4.

225] Andrew Miller, Meditations on the Song of Solomon (London: G. Morrish, c 1877), in Biblecenter.org [on-line]; accessed 29 December 2008; available from http://www.biblecentre.org/commentaries/ Amos 26_Song of Song of Solomon 1to 5.htm#Canticles%204; Internet, comments on .

Song of Solomon 6:8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.

Song of Solomon 6:8Word Study on "virgins" - Strong says the Hebrew word "virgin" ( עַלְמָה) (H 5959) means, "lass, damsel, maid, virgin," and comes from the primitive root verb ( עָלַם) (H 5956) 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 (4times), maid (2times), damsels (1time)." This word is used two times in the Song of Songs ( Song of Solomon 1:3; Song of Solomon 6:8).

Song of Solomon 6:8Comments- The large number of queens and concubines of King Solomon may reflect the fact that he inherited his father's harem, as David has inherited King Saul's harem ( 2 Samuel 12:8).

2 Samuel 12:8, "And I gave thee thy master"s house, and thy master"s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things."

Song of Solomon 6:9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

Song of Solomon 6:9Word Study on "dove" - Strong says the Hebrew word "dove" "yownah" ( יוֹנָה) (H 3123) means, "dove." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 32times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "dove 21, pigeon 10, variant + 016861." 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 6:8-9Literal Interpretation - The king describes the Shulamite's uniqueness among women. We can compare her earlier description of his uniqueness among men in Song of Solomon 5:10.

Song of Solomon 5:10, "My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand."

Song of Solomon 6:10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

Song of Solomon 6:10 — "Who is she that looketh forth as the morning" - Word Study on "looking forth" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "looking forth "shaqaph" ( שָׁקַף) (H 8259) means, "to lay upon, to lay over, to cover with planks, (Niphal) to lie out over, (Hiphil) to look forth." Strong tells us that this primitive root means, "to lean out (of a window), to peep, to gaze." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 22times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "look 11, look down 6, look out 3, look forth 1, appear 1." This Hebrew word is used in the Niphal construction in Song of Solomon 6:10.

Comments - In addition to the more popular translation, "look forth," (ASV, Darby, KJV, Rotherham, RSV), there are a wide variety of other modern translations for the word ( שָׁקַף) (H 8259): "looks down" (ESV), "appears" (NET, NIV), "comes forth" (NAB), "grow" (NASB), "looks like" (God'sWord), "shines out" (NCV), "arising" (NLT).

ASV, "Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, Fair as the moon, Clear as the sun, Terrible as an army with banners?"

Darby, "Who is she that looketh forth as the dawn, Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, Terrible as troops with banners?"

ESV, "Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?"

God'sWord, "Who is this young woman? She looks like the dawn. She is beautiful like the moon, pure like the sun, awe-inspiring like those heavenly bodies."

NAB, "Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe-inspiring as bannered troops?"

NASB, "‘Who is this that grows like the dawn, As beautiful as the full moon, As pure as the sun, As awesome as an army with banners?'"

NCV, "Who is that young woman that shines out like the dawn? She is as pretty as the moon, as bright as the sun, as wonderful as an army flying flags."

NET, "Who is this who appears like the dawn? Beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awe-inspiring as the stars in procession?"

NIV, "Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?"

NLT, "Who is this, arising like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as an army with billowing banners?"

Rotherham, "Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"

Song of Solomon 6:10Word Study on "an army with banners" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "chiefest" "dagal" ( דָּגַל) (H 1713) literally means, "to cover, to cover over," thus, "to act covertly, to deceive." He says the passive participle in Song of Solomon 5:10 means, "erect as a banner, conspicuous, distinguished," and the Niphal in Song of Solomon 6:4; Song of Solomon 6:10 means, "to be furnished, or arrayed, with banners." Strong says it is a primitive root literally meaning, "to flaunt, i.e. to raise a flag," and figuratively, "to be conspicuous." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 4times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "(set up) banner 3, chiefest 1."

Psalm 20:5, "We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions."

Song of Solomon 5:10, "My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand."

Song of Solomon 6:4, "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners."

Song of Solomon 6:10, "Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?"

Comments- This Hebrew word is used in the phrase "terrible as an army with banners" in Song of Solomon 6:4; Song of Solomon 6:10, which Gesenius translates, "terrible as furnished with banners," i.e, as hosts or a camp of soldiers. He explains that the Shulamite woman is described as conquering and captivating the hearts of all.


Verses 11-13

The Shulamite Visits the Vineyards - In Song of Solomon 6:11-13 the Shulamite visits the vineyards of the king for the first time since being brought from her native village to the king's palace ( Song of Solomon 6:11). She is taken up in his royal chariot, perhaps to visit all of his vineyards ( Song of Solomon 6:12). Her people call her back ( Song of Solomon 6:13 a) and the king shows forth his jealousy for the first time with a mild rebuke to them ( Song of Solomon 6:13 b).

Song of Solomon 6:11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.

Song of Solomon 6:11Word Study on "garden" - Strong says the Hebrew word "garden" "ginnah" ( גַּנָּה) (H 1594) is another form for ( גַּן) (H 1588), which is used in Songs and it means, "a garden." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 4times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "garden 4." It is found one time in the Song of Songs ( Song of Solomon 6:11).

Song of Solomon 6:11Word Study on "the pomegranates" - Strong says the Hebrew word "pomegranate" "rimmôwn" ( רִמּוֹן) (H 7416) means "a pomegranate, the tree or the fruit," and it also refers to the pomegranate ornament used in the Tabernacle and Temple. The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 32times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "pomegranate 31, pomegranate tree 1." It is used times in the book of Songs ( Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of Solomon 6:7; Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 7:12; Song of Solomon 8:2).

Comments- The pomegranate tree was one of the most attractive fruit trees in the Middle East, with brilliant scarlet blossom in the spring ( Song of Solomon 7:12). The Israelites planted the tree in orchards ( Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 7:12) and made wine from its juice ( Song of Solomon 8:2) The beautiful texture of its inner fruit may have been behind the metaphorical phrase, "thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks" ( Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 6:7). 226]

226] E. W. G. Masterman, "Pomegranate," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Song of Solomon 6:11Literal Interpretation- If the Shulamite is speaking in Song of Solomon 6:11 we may interpret this statement to mean that she has come to look at the king's vineyard. This is the first time she has visited a vineyard since being taken from her homeland to the king's palace. The new bride has the freedom to move about and visit such places.

Figurative Interpretation- Figuratively speaking, the royal vineyards are symbolic of God's churches, where His servants are labouring to bring redemption to mankind. The fruit of these vineyards are symbolic of the overflow of the work of the Spirit from one's communion with God. In Song of Solomon 6:11 the Shulamite goes forth to see these vineyards as a metaphor of God revealing to His devoted servants the work of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Song of Solomon 6:12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.

Song of Solomon 6:12Word Study on "Amminadib" - Hebrew "`Ammiy, Nadiyb" ( נָסִיךְ, עַם) (H 5993) - There are two views of interpreting the word "Amminadib" in Song of Solomon 6:12 It is either understood as a reference to a well-known individual by that name, or it is interpreted to mean "my princely people," or "my willing people."

1. An Individual- At least three people in the Old Testament bore the name Amminadab: (1) he was one of David's ancestors [ Ruth 4:19-20, 1 Chronicles 2:10]; (2) he was a son of Kohath and grandson of Levi and father of Korah [ 1 Chronicles 6:22]; (3) he was one of the priests who took part in moving the ark to the city of David [1Ch ( Song of Solomon 1:10-11]. The proper name of an individual is translated in AB, DRC, KJV, WebsterBible, but the majority of modern English translations understand this Hebrew word to refer to the Shulamite's people.

2. The Shulamite's People - Most modern English verses choose to translate the meaning of this word as a reference to the Shulamite's people rather than a proper name..

ASV, "I was aware, my soul set me among the chariots of my princely people."

NIV, "Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people."

RSV, "Before I was aware, my fancy set me in a chariot beside my prince."

YLT, "knew not my soul, It made me--chariots of my people Nadib."

Song of Solomon 6:12Literal Interpretation- Many modern translations choose to identify the chariot with her people, meaning she is being lured back to her homeland. In contrast, Duane Garrett and others interpret Song of Solomon 6:12 to mean that the Shulamite is being taken away in the king's chariot to a new life as his wife. 227]

227] Duane Garrett, Song of Songs, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 23B (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Song of Solomon 6:12.

The context of this passage suggests that the Shulamite is taken up into the royal chariot to be carried away. As she is carried off, perhaps to see all of the royal vineyards, she now understands the enormous task of serving in the royal vineyards. She now experiences the passions to join in the work of the vineyards. The Shulamite will again be seen in this royal chariot with the king in Song of Solomon 8:5, where they are coming up from the wilderness to her native homeland. The fact that she now rides in this royal chariot reflects her special place in the king's heart.

Figurative Interpretation - If the next verse ( Song of Solomon 6:13) is interpreted as the husband calling her back, then Song of Solomon 6:12 might be interpreted as the new bride having a sudden desire to return to her people. In Song of Solomon 6:11 she had gone down into the valley to look at the fruit. This may have reminded her of the home and family she had left when she became the king's bride. For example, in July 1997 my wife and I were sent into the mission field. We had been together only twelve weeks as newlyweds. These sudden changes to a new environment in an underdeveloped nation caused her to miss home and want to return. This desire to return home is a natural experience for a new bride who has been taken from her home. But with encouragement from her parents, my new bride stayed with me in the mission field.

However, since Song of Solomon 3:1-6 tells us that the chariot represents God's redemptive plan for His people, it is my view that this metaphor represents a believer being taken away in God's redemptive chariot to view His vineyards and embrace a divine passion for the salvation for mankind. Song of Solomon 6:12 represents a time when the Lord reveals to his servant the enormous task of redemption for mankind, which are taking place in His many vineyards. This servant now embraces the same desire that God feels to redeem mankind. The fact that the Shulamite will be seen in this royal chariot again in Song of Solomon 8:5 suggests these devout servants of God are taken on a divine journey of redemption in the Lord's work.

Such divine passion for man's redemption is seen in the life and ministry of Paul the apostle in Romans 9:1-3 and Philippians 1:7-8.

Romans 9:1-3, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:"

Philippians 1:7-8, "Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

Song of Solomon 6:13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.

Song of Solomon 6:13 — "Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite" - Word Study on "Shulamite" - Strong says the Hebrew word "Shulamite" "Shuwlammiyth" ( שׁוּלַמִּית) (H 7759) means, "peaceful," and identifies her as Solomon's queen. He says the word comes from the primitive root ( שָׁלֵם) (H 7999), which means, "to be safe, to be completed, to be friendly." This name only occurs twice in the Old Testament, with both uses found in Song of Solomon 6:13. It is interesting to note that the name "Solomon" ( שְׁלֹמֹה) (H 8010) is also derived from the same primitive root.

Some scholars have suggested that the name "Shulamite," or Shunammite, refers to a person from the city of Shunem, which was north of Jezreel and near the plain of Megiddo, located within the boundaries of the tribe of Issachar.

Joshua 19:17-18, "And the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families. And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem,"

1 Samuel 28:4, "And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa."

1 Kings 1:3, "So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king."

2 Kings 4:8, "And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread."

Because Abishag was a Shunammite, who was a beautiful young maiden offered to the aged King David, and because it was a custom for the heir to the throne to inherit the harem, many scholars suggest that the Shulamite of the Song of Solomon was actually Abishag.

Song of Solomon 6:13 — "As it were the company of two armies" - Word Study on "the company" - Strong says the Hebrew word "the company" "mek-o-law"" ( מְחֹלָה) (H 4246) means, "a dance." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 8 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "dance 5, dancing 2, company 1."

Word Study on "of two armies" - Strong says the Hebrew word "two armies" "machaneh" ( מַחֲנֶה) (H 4264) "an encampment, an army, literally, or figuratively, of dancers, angels, cattle, locusts, stars; or even the sacred courts." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 216 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "camp 136, host 61, company 6, tents 5, armies 4, bands 2, battle 1, drove 1."

Comments- Modern versions translate this phrase as "a dance before two armies" (RSV), "the dance of Mahanaim" (ASV), "bands of armies" (LXX).

The phrase "company of two armies" may refer to one of the dances that were popular at ancient Jewish weddings. Mahaniam (literally, "the two camps") refers to one of the most important events in Israel's history when Jacob returned from Syria to the Promised Land with his wives and children. Just as Jacob returned to his homeland to prosper in his own destiny, leaving Laban's behind, so does the Shulamite go forth of her own will to see the prosperity of the King's vineyard. However, Jacob was not fully dependent upon God in his life. He wrestled with the angel in order to gain God's protection, which angel smote his thigh, so that he limped the rest of his life. This apparent weakness resulted in his total dependence upon the Lord's provision and protection for him. His name was also changed to Israel to signify his position with God and as a prince among men. Perhaps this reference to Mahaniam reflects a similar call for the Shulamite to return to her homeland in Lebanon.

My wife and I had a traditional Philippine wedding. After the marriage ceremony, there was dancing. I did not know that it was a custom for all the men to dance with the new bride. I felt uncomfortable with this activity, so I took my wife away from the celebrations abruptly, and we drove off to the honeymoon hotel. I later heard that the wedding guests we should have stayed for the full celebration, so they left early, taking the food with them, and finished their party at their home.

Song of Solomon 6:13Literal Interpretation - Bickle suggests that the daughters of Jerusalem are calling for the Shulamite to return to them in Song of Solomon 6:13 a, "Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee." 228] She has chosen to go away from them, into the King's vineyards, and they want her to remain with them so that they can look upon her beauty. He believes the watchmen of the city make a sarcastic remark in Song of Solomon 6:13 b, "What will ye see in the Shulamite," by suggesting their desire to let her depart, saying "there is nothing good in her." 229]

228] Mike Bickle, Session 17 - Vindication of the Persecuted Bride ( Song of Solomon 6:11-7:9), in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 10.

229] Mike Bickle, Session 17 - Vindication of the Persecuted Bride ( Song of Solomon 6:11-7:9), in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 11.

If the husband is speaking in Song of Solomon 6:13 b, "What will ye see in the Shulamite," then it reveals his jealousy for his bride for the first time when he calls her from her people. As their love grows deeper, his jealously will also grow, as is mentioned in Song of Solomon 8:6-7.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7, "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned."

I lean towards Duane Garrett's view, who interprets Song of Solomon 6:13 to mean that her people are calling her back. Garrett interprets the king making a response with a "mild rebuke" by asking them why they want her to stay so that they can gaze upon her. Garrett suggests that the women want her back to look at her beauty. 230] In contrast, the people may be asking the king what he sees in the Shulamite that is so special that he carries her away. They cannot see the love and devotion that she has demonstrated before the king that placed her in a unique place in his hearts. They only see him rejoicing over her as a bridegroom that dances in his own wedding dance.

230] Duane Garrett, Song of Songs, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 23B (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Song of Solomon 6:13.

Figurative Interpretation - The average Christian does not understand the passion that such devoted servants embrace, a passion that drives them to serve the Lord without interest in the affairs of this life. They would like to call such servants back to their carnal ways, but also express jealousy as to why God chose them and anoints such servants rather than themselves. Bickle believes the "company of two armies" reflects the divisions within the body of Christ, those walking in the flesh and those being led by the Spirit. 231]

231] Mike Bickle, Session 17 - Vindication of the Persecuted Bride ( Song of Solomon 6:11-7:9), in Song of Songs (Kansas City, Missouri: International House of Prayer, 1998), 13.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 6:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/song-of-solomon-6.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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