Our love story continues with Song of Solomon 3 and 4. The implication of our study is both literal and prophetic. I believe Solomon penned this love story as a young king, but I also consider it a beautiful portrayal of God’s love for His people.
The Dreams of Young Love (3:1-3).
We find the young maiden dreaming of receiving Solomon as her husband. She had dreamed of marrying him (3:1-2), but with her wedding night approaching, she could not find the man she loved. She dreamed that she had wandered the streets of the city, looking for Solomon. She had approached the “watchmen” (the guards) of the city, and asked, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” (3:3) When she found her groom, she held him tightly in her embrace, and dared not let him depart until she had led him to her “mother’s house (3:4).
The Patience of Young Love (3:5).
Rejoicing she had found her beloved, she challenged other young maidens (“ye daughters of Jerusalem”) to be patient in the matter of love and marriage: “Stir not up, nor awake my love” (3:5b) and wait “till he please” (3:5c). She challenged young maidens to not stir up desires that cannot be righteously satisfied outside the bounds of marriage.
The Joy and Happiness of Young Love (3:6-11).
Our young maiden had dreamed about her mysterious shepherd, and he (Solomon) had courted her lovingly and patiently. She had dreamed of her wedding day, and waited for him to come with his wedding party, and claim her as his bride.
One day she lifted up her eyes, and saw on the horizon what appeared as a cloud of dust, (“pillars of smoke,” 3:6a). The entourage brought with it a fragrance of burning incense, “perfumed with myrrh and frankincense” (3:6b). In the midst of the caravan, she spied a royal litter, a “bed, which [was] Solomon’s” (3:7). The bed was borne along by sixty “valiant men,” bearing swords on their thighs (3:8).
No longer disguised as a shepherd, the king of Israel, had come to claim her as his bride! (3:9) Imagine the pageantry and wonder of that moment. Her skinned tanned dark by the rays of the sun, and her hands calloused by her labors, yet, she had been borne away on a bed of the finest “wood of Lebanon” (3:9-10).
The young bride, overwhelmed by joy, urged her attendants (“ye daughters of Zion), to behold their king wearing the crown given to him by his mother (3:11b), and perhaps adorned by her for his wedding day.
Our love story continued with the groom having come to sweep away his bride on her wedding night. Though she was beautiful, she was a of lowly means, and Solomon lovingly assured her, boasting of her beauty.
Looking through the Eyes of Love (4:1-7)
Solomon’s poetic portrayal of his bride is foreign to our concept of beauty; however, we must remember he is looking at her through the eyes of love. The focus was not so much on how she looked (though she was physically beautiful to Solomon), but how he felt when he looked at her.
He regarded her beauty, and gentle eyes, saying, “thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks” (4:1). Her hair flowed over her shoulders, and reminded him of a “flock of goats” skipping down the slopes of “mount Gilead” (4:1). Her teeth were white, like sheep “shorn, which came up from the washing” (4:2). Her lips red, “like a threat of scarlet” (4:3). Her mouth was beautiful to behold, and her “temples” (i.e., cheeks) red “like a piece of a pomegranate,” and framed by the locks of her hair (4:3b).
Solomon described her neck “like the tower of David,” and her chastity like a great tower, and not easily taken (4:4). Solomon claimed her as his wife, and said, “7Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot [i.e., no blemish] in thee” (4:5-7).
The Groom’s Invitation to His Bride (4:8-11)
Solomon invited her to come away with him, and mentioned four mountain peaks in northern Palestine (4:8). He professed she had stolen his heart (4:9). He declared his physical attraction to his bride (4:10-11), whose lips were as sweet as “the honeycomb,” and whose garments bore the freshness of the outdoors (4:11).
Two Metaphors Described Solomon’s Bride: “12A garden inclosed [and]… a fountain sealed” (4:12-16).
“Closed” and sealed,” portrayed that she had guarded her virtue and moral innocence. She had been a chaste woman, and given no man her favor. It was their wedding night, and Solomon tenderly took his young virgin to himself. With seven costly spices, the king described the precious nature of her love (4:13-14), and the young bride accepted her husband, saying, “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits” (4:16).
Closing thoughts – Cinderella stories abound with the narrative of a peasant girl who falls in love with a handsome prince. Sadly, our society is robbing little girls of their innocence, and many parents are failing to instill in their sons the qualities of a genteel, caring spirit.
The beautiful love story found in The Song of Solomon is more than an ancient tale of a king and his maiden. It is the portrayal of God’s love for people of faith, and Christ’s love for His bride, the Church.
Ephesians 5:25, 27 – 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith