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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
Song of Solomon 4

 

 

Verses 1-7

“Behold, you are fair, my love; behold, you are fair, Your eyes are as doves behind your veil. Your hair is as a flock of goats, Which lie along the side of mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of ewes that are newly shorn, Which are come up from the washing, Of which every one has twins, And none is bereaved among them. Your lips are like a thread of scarlet, And your mouth is comely. Your temples are like a piece of a pomegranate, Behind your veil. Your neck is like the tower of David , Built for an armory, Whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, All the shields of the mighty men. Your two breasts are like two fawns, Which are twins of a roe-deer, Which feed among the lilies.”

The royal bridegroom hails his bride and exults in her beauty, fully taken up with her attractions. The idea of the goats lying along the side of Mount Gilead is that it describes the luxuriousness of her hair (the mountain is seen as covered with hair), the ewes which have just been washed would be gleaming white, a picture of her shining white teeth, and the newly shorn may refer to the fact that her first teeth have now all been replaced, or may simply be stressing their whiteness, but it is dropped in the parallel description which may favor the former (Song of Solomon 6:6). Their being twins without bereavement indicates that all her teeth are present, pairing off each other, and none are missing. She is perfect in beauty. Her temples were as cool and delicious as pomegranate. The description of the neck has in mind the golden ornaments which hung around it like rows and rows of shields, which were undoubtedly a wedding gift from her bridegroom. The two twin fawns are probably to be seen as symbols of the anticipated fruitfulness of her breasts. It will be noted that apart from the ornaments on her neck all the descriptions would fit in with her country life and thus be doubly meaningful.

This is all a reminder of how our Lord Jesus Christ perceives His church, the new Israel, in terms of what He has made it and what it will be. It is whole and complete, the perfection of beauty through which God would shine forth (compare Psalms 50:2). Note how the emphasis is on the bride’s perfections, not on her apparel, apart from the necklaces bestowed by the king. Yet while she herself is totally connected with nature, totally human, yet, like us, she carries on her the image of the heavenly in the golden ornaments around her neck, which demonstrate that she belongs to the King. In New Testament terms she is being made one with her beloved, and a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

If we wish to look for significance in the details we may see her luxurious hair as indicating to Him that she is one who is under His authority (1 Corinthians 11:10) and full of His glory (1 Corinthians 11:15). Her teeth emphasize the presentable and attractive appearance that she reveals towards Him and to the world (Matthew 5:16). Her scarlet lips are reminder that her words speak lovingly of His great sacrifice for her. Her comely mouth indicates that all the words that she speaks are pleasing to Him. Pomegranates, to which her temples were likened, were prominent on the high priestly vestments (Exodus 28:33-34; Exodus 39:24-26) and in the Temple (1 Kings 7:18; 1 Kings 7:20; 1 Kings 7:42) as signifying what was holy to God, indicating that she has ‘the mind of Christ’ because of the Holy Spirit’s illumination (1 Corinthians 2:16). The golden shields emphasize that she is under royal protection. Her two breasts offer the promise of life to all who will feed from her.

For the tower of David here, the sign of his possession of her as the son of David, which links her specifically with the coming King, contrast the later ‘ivory tower’ when he sees her more in terms of her own beauty (Song of Solomon 7:4).


Verse 6-7

Preparation After The Wedding For The Final Love-Making.

The BRIDEGROOM anticipates the pleasure ahead.

“Until the day be cool, And the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, And to the hill of frankincense. You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you.”

Finally Solomon has an eye on his prize. Now that they are married he cannot wait for the evening when he can complete the day by honorably enjoying his bride, and gazing on her perfection. We may see the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense as descriptive of a bed fit for a king, with its piles of perfumed cushions, revealing that in his mind now is the time when they will consummate their marriage. Or they may signify his expectation of pleasure from the bride herself, compare Song of Solomon 3:6, the two prominences possibly having in mind her two breasts. Either idea would certainly tie in with his final compliment, that his bride is the picture of perfection. There is no blemish in her.

Israel at their feasts no doubt saw this as a reminder of His making of the covenant with them, and the renewal of that covenant, and later, when they had failed Him, as pointing to their future when God would at last claim them for His bride, but where they failed was in not being ready when He came.

We may see in this a picture of Christ’s present satisfaction with His bride whom He has made to be His own, without blemish and without spot (Ephesians 5:27). And as a reminder that having wed us He desires to be with us constantly and to enjoy our reciprocated love.


Verse 8

The Final Love-Making.

The BRIDEGROOM speaks love to his bride.

“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, With me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, From the top of Senir and Hermon, From the lions’ dens, From the mountains of the leopards.”

The bridegroom invites his beloved bride to enter the equivalent of heaven on earth with him as they make love together, visualized in terms of taking her to the great mountains of Lebanon, in the places where the lions have their dens and the mountain leopards freely roam, places of grandeur and isolation, far from the gaze of men, where they are free to do what they wish. There they will be able, as it were, to look down on the world as they enjoy their lovemaking.

So does our Lord, having united us with Himself (Romans 6:5), invite His people up into the equivalent of Heaven itself to share with Him in His glory (Ephesians 2:4-6; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:13; Colossians 3:1-3). He wants us in His presence in heavenly places.


Verses 9-11

“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, You have ravished my heart with one of your eyes, With one chain of your neck. How fair is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine! And the fragrance of your oils than all manner of spices! Your lips, O my bride, drop as the honeycomb, Honey and milk are under your tongue, And the smell of your garments is like the smell of Lebanon.”

The bridegroom reveals the depths of his love for his bride. She has ravished his heart, he is spellbound by her eyes, he is captured by one chain from her neck. He wants her to know that her love is fully reciprocated by him, for he sees her love as a thing of beauty, as something which is better than wine (just as in a similar way she had seen his love - compare Song of Solomon 1:2), and her perfumed body as better than the fragrance of many spices (again compare Song of Solomon 1:3). Her lips are like the taste of the honeycomb, from under her tongue come honey and milk, and her clothes are like the delightful odor of Lebanon. All about her outdoes the finest offerings of the rest of creation, and is perfect and satisfying.

And we may be sure of how much greater is our Lord’s love for us, (note the strength of the expressions), for He also delights in us and in what He sees in us as we grow in Him, and in what He knows that one day we will be (Romans 9:29-30; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 1:22; 1 John 3:1-3; Revelation 19:8). But in our case it is not our physical appearance that delights Him, but the spiritual qualities that are developing in our lives. His longing is that we reveal the beauty of holiness. And above all He delights continually in our reciprocated love as our lips speak forth His praise.

‘The smell of Lebanon.’Lebanon was famous for its scented air. Compare Hosea 14:6-7; Isaiah 35:2.


Verses 12-15

The BRIDEGROOM now delights in the fact that his bride is his, and his alone.

“A garden enclosed is my sister, my bride, A spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, with precious fruits; Henna with spikenard plants, spikenard and saffron, Calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, Myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices. You are a fountain of gardens, A well of living waters, And flowing streams from Lebanon.”

The bridegroom now delights in the fact that his bride is pure and has been kept only for him. She is like an enclosed and locked garden into which no one has been allowed to enter, she is like a spring that has been shut off from men, she is like a fountain that has been sealed so that none can drink from it. She is a pure virgin, who has never known a man. And the contents of that enclosed and locked garden, which he is about to enter, include an orchard of pomegranates, with many precious fruits, henna with spikenard plants, and all the richest spices known to man. And they are all his for the taking. Furthermore she is like a spring that feeds many gardens, a well of living waters, and flowing streams from the mountains of Lebanon. His delight in her is total.

And this is how it should be with us. This is what our lives should be for our Lord, and it is how He wants us to be, with our lives wholly separated in spirit from all that is outside so that they may only produce for His pleasure (Ephesians 1:12; Philippians 1:10-11) and so that He may enjoy us to the full. He wants to come into our garden so that we may have communion together, and so that He may partake of our fruits. He wants our lives to be lives that give off the savor of life unto life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16), lives from which should flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). For if we are taken up with Him, we will also be taken up with the work that He wants us to do. Indeed we will be unable to help it, for it will be the inevitable consequence of our closeness to Him.


Verse 16

THE BRIDE’S RESPONSE in which she offers herself to the bridegroom.

“Awake, O north wind, And come, you south, Blow on my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, And eat his precious fruits.”

The bride is delighted that the bridegroom should partake of the fruits of the garden (of herself) to which he is so looking forward, and calls on the winds of heaven to ensure that he enjoys her spices, granting him full rights of access to her garden that he might partake of its fruits.

This is a reminder of the fact that we also should allow our Lord, Jesus Christ, our heavenly Bridegroom, full access to our lives, calling on the winds of the Spirit to so open our hearts to Him that He can enjoy our love and do with us as He will, because we belong totally to Him. It is a call for full yieldedness.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 4:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/song-of-solomon-4.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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