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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Song of Solomon 3

 

 

Verses 1-5

Love is Tested: The Pain of Separation - Literal Interpretation- Song of Solomon 3:1-5 describes the pain of separation when love is at its height leading up to the wedding. Love becomes so strong that it even becomes difficult so sleep at night.

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. 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).

Duane Garrett interprets Song of Solomon 3:1-5 to mean that the young lady has decided to give herself totally to her Lover. 146] In other words, she has made the decision to marry him. He says this text stresses the "mental anxiety" that a young girl experiences prior to marriage. She is no longer at rest in her bed of rest, which the king built for her in Song of Solomon 1:16-17. Her passion for more time with him causes her to lose sleep.

146] 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 3:1-5.

Figurative Interpretation- The preceding acts of separating oneself from the cares of this world and learning to commune with God has the transforming effect of developing an intense longing in one's heart for communion with God and His Word. Figurative interpreted, Watchman Nee suggests Song of Solomon 3:1-5 represents the time when the Lord's presence subsides in order to allow the believer to feel uncomfortable enough to begin seeking God's face of his own will. 147] Just as the Shulamite quickly finds her lover, Jesus knows our limits and allows Himself to be soon found. The Shulamite's efforts to bring her lover into her bedchamber represent our efforts to maintain a feeling of the Lord's constant presence again, which was recently lost. However, this journey of faith requires God's children to walk at times without a sense of His tangible presence. At this phase in spiritual growth, a child of God must find rest in allowing the Lord's presence to come and go at God's own will and timing. The believer is being trained to walk by faith with or without the feeling of His divine presence. For example, Andrew Wommack tells the story of how he experienced forty days of supernatural, divine encounters at an older teenager. When this experience ended, he began to wonder what he had done to cause these encounters to subside. He later understood that he had no more influence of turning them off than he had in turning them on to begin with. It was entirely orchestrated by the Lord. Soon afterwards, Andrew was drafted into the military and served about a year and a half in Vietnam. During this time he was placed in military barracks with others. The walls of these barracks were plastered with pictures of unclothed women. This forced him to spend his entire day with his head in the Bible. He read the Bible twelve hours a day in an effort to keep his eyes and mind off of those dirty pictures. He makes the point that this second uncomfortable experience did more in growing him spiritually than the short season of divine encounters, since it forced him into God's Word intensely for the first time in his life. 148]

147] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 56-7.

148] Andrew Wommack, Gospel Truth (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Andrew Wommack Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

Song of Solomon 3:1 By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

Song of Solomon 3:1Comments- The word "night" is found in the plural in the Hebrew text. Therefore, the text is literally translated, "by nights." Duane Garrett explains that the KJV phrase "by night" is better understood to mean "in the nights," or "night after night." 149] The concept of repetition is meant. He understands this verse to describe a young maiden who longs to lay with her lover each night she goes to bed. Although she does not expect him to be there prior to marriage, she nevertheless longs for him during this time of solitude and rest. Garrett says her "yearning and agitation" are emphasized here in this verse.

149] 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 3:1.

Song of Solomon 3:2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

Song of Solomon 3:3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?

Song of Solomon 3:3 — "The watchmen that go about the city found me" - Word Study on "The watchmen" - Strong says the Hebrew word "watchmen" "shamar" ( שָׁמַר) (H 8104) is a primitive root meaning, "to hedge about, protect, attend to." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 468 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "keep 283, observe 46, heed 35, keeper 28, preserve 21, beware 9, Mark 8, watchman 8, wait 7, watch 7, regard 5, save 2, misc 9."

Comments- Isaiah and Ezekiel use the word "watchman" to refer to those whom God has appointed to watch over His people, those who are to preach the Word of God to the people ( Isaiah 52:8; Isaiah 62:6, Ezekiel 33:7).

Isaiah 52:8, "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion."

Isaiah 62:6, "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,"

Ezekiel 33:7, "So thou, O son of Prayer of Manasseh , I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me."

Song of Solomon 3:3Figurative Interpretation- Under the Old covenant, a Jew had to look beyond the instructions of the Law and understand its original purpose was to bring a man to the Lord. Paul said in Galatians that the Law was given to the Jews as a way of guiding them to Christ. She will encounter these watchmen again in Song of Solomon 5:7, but this time they will strike her. This means that after the Resurrection of Christ the Law was no longer man's instructor, and those who still clung to the Law also persecuted those who accepted Christ as the fulfillment of this very Law.

Song of Solomon 3:4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother"s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.

Song of Solomon 3:4Word Study on "chambers" - Strong says the Hebrew word "chambers" "cheder" ( חֶדֶר) (H 2315) means, "an apartment, bed chamber, inner chamber innermost." The Enhanced Strong says it is found 38 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "chamber 21, inner 4, bedchamber + 42963, bedchamber + 49043, inward parts 2, innermost parts 2, parlours 1, south 1, within 1." It is used one other time in Song of Solomon 3:4.

Song of Solomon 3:4, "It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother"s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me."

Song of Solomon 3:4Literal Interpretation - The Shulamite found him and brought her beloved to her most intimate place, which was her mother's bed chamber. Since she was still a virgin maiden, this was also her dwelling place.

Figurative Interpretation - "It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth" - We think that we have "found" the Lord. But in actuality, He has allowed Himself to be found by us. He does this to cause our faith to be tested so that it grows. God has set watchmen over Israel and the Church to guide the people. However, every person must encounter the Lord for himself, and not become dependent upon the Jewish priests and Church leaders for guidance. Only those who passionately desire the Lord will look beyond the priesthood and Church leaders to find a personal encounter with Christ. This phase of the Beloved's life ( Song of Solomon 2:8 to Song of Solomon 3:5) has been this time of separation that has given her "dove's eyes," or the spiritual insight to understand her need for a personal encounter with Christ. "I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother"s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me" - Watchman Nee interprets this phrase to mean that "her self-life was mingled with her spiritual desires". 150]

150] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 61.

Song of Solomon 3:5 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

Song of Solomon 3:5Word Study on "the roes" - Strong says the Hebrew word "roe" "tseb-ee'" ( צְבִי) (H 6643) means, "prominence; splendor (as conspicuous); also a gazelle (as beautiful)." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 39 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "roe 9, roebuck 5, glory 8, glorious 6, beautiful 1, beauty 1, goodly 1, pleasant 1." This Hebrew word is used 5 times in the Song of Songs ( Song of Solomon 2:7; Song of Solomon 2:9; Song of Solomon 2:17; Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 8:14). Of all the animals in the ancient Orient, the deer symbolized grace and beauty. In Song of Solomon 2:9; Song of Solomon 2:17; Song of Solomon 8:14 this word is used metaphorically of the Lover, who figuratively represents Christ. It may refer to Christ in Song of Solomon 2:17; Song of Solomon 8:14.

Song of Solomon 3:5Word Study on "love" - Strong says the Hebrew word "love" "ahabah" ( אַהֲבָה) (H 160), means, "love." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used forty (40) times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "love 40." It is found 11times in the Song of Solomon ( Song of Solomon 2:4-5; Song of Solomon 2:7; Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 3:10; Song of Solomon 5:8; Song of Solomon 7:6; Song of Solomon 8:4; Song of Solomon 8:6-7[twice]), with one of these uses as a substantive to refer to her lover ( Song of Solomon 7:6).

Comments- The possessive personal pronoun "my" is not found in the original Hebrew text. The translators of the KJV added it as a means of clarifying their interpretation of the verse to say that Shulamite woman was telling the daughters of Jerusalem not to awaken her lover.

Song of Solomon 3:5Comments- Song of Solomon 2:7 serves as a final verse to one of the five divisions of the Song of Solomon. There are three other identical verses in the Song of Solomon that serves to mark these divisions ( Song of Solomon 2:7, Song of Solomon 3:5, Song of Solomon 8:4).

Song of Solomon 2:7, "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please."

Song of Solomon 3:5, "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please."

Song of Solomon 8:4, "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please."

In these verses the beloved charges the daughters of Jerusalem not to stir up the passions of love until it is time. She bases this plea upon the example in nature of the wild gazelles and does of the field. She uses this example because gazelles and deer were considered the most beautiful creatures of the forest, yet they were the most elusive and hard to find. In contrast, domesticated animals and livestock lacked the beauty, but were easily tamed. As God made these animals beautiful, but elusive in this dispensation of man's fall, these creatures will one day be tamed and companions for us in heaven. In a sense, it is not time for these creatures to be tamed.

In the same way, the beloved is telling the daughters of Jerusalem that catching love and enjoying its pleasures is like catching a beautiful deer. It may appear to be something much to be desired, but it is as elusive as the deer of the forest. This Shulamite woman has discovered that passion during the early stages of courtship is a difficult emotion to manage and does not give her the rest and peace that she expected it to give her; for passion binds someone and does not turn him loose. As much as a romantic love affair appears desirable, she warns the other virgins to wait for God to bring it to pass in His time; otherwise, it will overwhelm someone and cause more harm than good.

In other words, true rest is not found in the strong passions of courtship ( Song of Solomon 1:2 to Song of Solomon 2:7), nor, as she will later discover, in her engagement ( Song of Solomon 2:8 to Song of Solomon 3:5), nor in her wedding ( Song of Solomon 3:6 to Song of Solomon 5:1), nor in the state of marriage ( Song of Solomon 5:2 to Song of Solomon 8:4). But she will find out that true rest can only be found in yielding herself to her husband and bearing fruit within a marriage ( Song of Solomon 8:10).

Regarding the themes that are repeated in each of these phases of love, we find that the beloved suffers from lovesickness during the courtship ( Song of Solomon 2:5) and does not find rest. During the engagement she suffers from being separated from her lover ( Song of Solomon 3:1-4) and does not find rest. During the wedding she suffers from having to abandon her freedom and desires as a single person in order to walk in unity with her husband ( Song of Solomon 5:2-8). During the development of her marriage she must deal with the desire to have her husband's undivided attention ( Song of Solomon 8:1-4).


Verse 6

The Wedding (Scene 3: The Wedding Processional, Wedding Festival, and Wedding Chamber) (Communion, or Full Consecration to Christ [Divine Service]) - Literal Interpretation- Many scholars see in Song of Solomon 3:6 to Song of Solomon 5:1 the symbolism of the wedding ceremony between the bridegroom and the bride. We have the wedding procession described in Song of Solomon 3:6-11, followed by the wedding song of the bridegroom singing to the bride ( Song of Solomon 4:1-15), with the exchange of wedding vows in Song of Solomon 4:16 to Song of Solomon 5:1.

Figurative Interpretation - Figuratively speaking, this third song represents the phase in a believer's spiritual journey when he/she gives oneself entirely to God and receives a divine commission to serve Him. Within the context of Song of Solomon , a believer's call to divine service is described as a bride who gives up her people and will and gives herself entirely to her new husband. We now belong to Jesus, our will yielded to His plan and purpose for our lives in divine service.

A good example of this phase of loving God with all of our heart is seen in Acts 13, when Paul and Barnabas were sent on their first missionary journey, although Paul had been evangelizing the regions of Syria and Cilicia for over a decade. We see Anna, the prophetess, serving the Lord day and night in the Temple. She moved into this level of love when she entered the full-time ministry of prayer and intercession in the Temple. Another example is seen in the life of Abraham, when he left his family and went to the land of Canaan. Another example is seen in the life of Joseph when he was exalted over Egypt to serve that nation.

Outline- Note the proposed outline of this section:

1. Scene 1- The Wedding Processional — Song of Solomon 3:6-11

2. Scene 2 - The Wedding Ceremony — Song of Solomon 4:1 to Song of Solomon 5:1

a) The Wedding Song — Song of Solomon 4:1-15

i) The Bride's Beauty — — Song of Solomon 4:1-7

ii) The Request for Marriage — Song of Solomon 4:8

iii) The Bridegroom's Love — Song of Solomon 4:9-10

iv) The Bride's Purity — Song of Solomon 4:11-15

b) The Wedding Vows — Song of Solomon 4:16 to Song of Solomon 5:1

The Wedding Contrasted with the Adulteress in Proverbs - We can contrast this holy wedding ceremony of the bride and the groom with the act seduction between the adulteress and the nave young man in Proverbs 7:1-27. The adulteress woos her victims by presenting herself in seductive clothing ( Proverbs 7:9-12), while the bride arrives in all of her beauty and glory ( Song of Solomon 3:6-11). While the bridegroom sings a love song to his bride ( Song of Solomon 4:1-15), the adulteress romances her victim with words of seduction ( Proverbs 7:13-20). Finally, the wedding is consummated with marriage vows ( Song of Solomon 4:16 to Song of Solomon 5:1), while the adulteress lures her victim into the bed of adultery with vain promises ( Proverbs 7:21-23). The outcome of the marriage bed is rest and fulfillment of God's divine plan for two individuals, while the outcome of adultery is destruction.


Verses 6-11

The Wedding Processional- Song of Solomon 3:6-11 symbolizes the wedding processional of the king and his bride. Although this passage of Scripture does not fully describe this grand event, its language clearly suggests it. Scholars suggest that the Song of Solomon 3:6-11 describes a wedding processional with either the bride or King Solomon arriving in a royal bed perfumed with spices ( Song of Solomon 3:6; Song of Solomon 3:9-10), accompanied by sixty valiant men armed with swords ( Song of Solomon 3:7-8). The "daughters of Zion," or bridesmaids, were then charged to go forth to meet him ( Song of Solomon 3:11).

The Ancient Oriental Wedding Processional- Garrett believes the bride would have been carried in the bed, with King Solomon awaiting her arrival in Jerusalem. He also believes the crown that was placed upon the king in Song of Solomon 3:11 may have been more like a wedding garland rather than an official "crown of state." 151] He supports his views with quotes from the Babylonian Talmud that mentions the ancient Jewish tradition of using wedding "crowns" by the bride and groom, as well as the bride riding in the palanquin.

151] 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 3:6-11.

"During the war with Vespasian they [the rabbis] decreed against [the use of] crowns worn by bridegrooms and against [the use of] the drum. During the war of Quietus they decreed against [the use of] crowns worn by brides and that nobody should teach his son Greek. During the final war they decreed that a bride should not go out in a palanquin in the midst of the city, but our rabbis permitted a bride to go out in a palanquin in the midst of the city." 152] (B. Soṭah 49a)

152] Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sotah 49a, trans. A Cohen, ed. I Epstein [on-line]; accessed 9 December 2008; available at http://www.come-and-hear.com/sotah/sotah 49.html; Internet.

"Yes, for we have learnt: At the time of the Vespasian invasion they prohibited the wearing of garlands by bridegrooms and the beating of drums at weddings. They also desired to prohibit dyed garments, but felt that it was better not to do Song of Solomon ,in order to relax the law in regard to their bloodstains." (B. Niddah 61a) 153]

153] Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah 61a, trans. A Cohen, ed. I Epstein [on-line]; accessed 9 December 2008; available at http://www.come-and-hear.com/niddah/niddah 61.html; Internet.

He adds a supporting text from 3 Maccabees 4:8, which refers to a wedding garland worn by men.

"And their consorts, with ropes on their necks instead of garlands, in the flower of their youthful age, spent the remainder of the days of their marriage feast in dirges instead of mirth and youthful ease, seeing the grave already yawning at their feet." ( 3 Maccabees 4:8) 154]

154] III Maccabees, translated by R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 1, ed. R. H. Charles (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), 168.

We also find a description of an ancient Jewish processional in 1 Maccabees 9:37-39 in which the bride, accompanied by a great processional, came to meet the bridegroom and his friends at a prearranged location. The bride's processional was made up of "timbrels, and minstrels, and many weapons," which went to meet the bridegroom at a prearranged location, where the wedding and the marriage feast were to take place.

"But after these things they brought word to Jonathan and Simon his brother, that the children of Ambri were making a great marriage, and were bringing the bride from Nadabath with a great train, a daughter of one of the great nobles of Canaan. And they remembered" John their brother, and went up, and hid themselves under the covert of the mountain; and they lifted up their eyes, and saw, and behold, a great ado and much baggage; and the bridegroom came forth, and his friends and his brethren to meet them (i.e. those forming the bridal procession) with timbrels, and minstrels, and many weapons." ( 1 Maccabees 9:37-39) 155]

155] III Maccabees, translated by R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 1, ed. R. H. Charles (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), 99.

We understand from the Parable of the Ten Virgins ( Matthew 25:1-13) that this processional could take place at night, but in Song of Solomon 3:6-11 is takes place during the day.

Song of Solomon 3:6 Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

Song of Solomon 3:6Word Study on "Who is this" - In the Hebrew phrase ( מִי זֹאת), the Hebrew word מִי is the interrogative pronoun, "Who?" The Hebrew word זֹאת is the feminine demonstrative adjective "this." There is a debate among scholars as to whether this feminine adjective (or pronoun) is used in its narrow sense to refer to a female (as in Song of Solomon 6:10; Song of Solomon 8:5), or in a broader sense to include the neuter (as in Exodus 13:14). Garrett tells us that this phrase "who is this" is only used four times in the Old Testament. He believes it is the bride riding the palanquin, and supports the narrow feminine translation of "Who is she?" 156] Note the other uses of this Hebrew phrase:

156] 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 3:6.

Exodus 13:14, "And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:"

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 8:5, "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee."

Song of Solomon 3:6Word Study on "wilderness" - Strong says the Hebrew word "wilderness" "midbar" ( מִדְבָּר) (H 4057) means, "a pasture, open field, desert, speech." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 271times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "wilderness 255, desert 13, south 1, speech 1, wilderness + 07761." This word is used 3times in the Song of Solomon ("wilderness" Song of Solomon 3:6; "speech" Song of Solomon 4:3; "wilderness" Song of Solomon 8:5). Within the context of Song of Solomon 3:6; Song of Solomon 8:5, it probably refers to the open plains that surround many cities in the land of Palestine, which was used as pasture for the flocks, with this same Hebrew word used in Isaiah 42:11 to describe the relationship between the city and its surrounding plain, "Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice." Zöckler suggests it is a reference to "the plain of Estraẽlon or Merj ibn'Amir, lying southward toward Shunem to Jezreel," through which a traveler coming from the capital must pass. 157] In Song of Solomon 4:3 it necessitates a figurative meaning, "the instrument of speech", since it comes from the primitive root ( דָּבַר) (H 1696), which means, "to speak"; hence, we can imagine a shepherd driving his sheep with his words across the pasture.

157] Otto Zckler, The Song of Solomon , trans. by W. Henry Green, in Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, ed. Philip Schaff (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1872), 128.

Song of Solomon 3:6Literal Interpretation - Song of Solomon 3:6 paints a picture of a distant movement of men, stirring up a cloud of dust. The first response from those who view this sight at a distant is to ask who they are. The second response from them is the recognition of the smell of myrrh, frankincense and other fragrances that must have been blown towards them by the wind. Garrett believes there must have been burning incense in order to create such an aroma, although he does not feel the daughters of Jerusalem had to necessarily smell it in such a metaphorical context. 158]

158] 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 3:6.

In the phrase "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke," we cannot help but to compare this image to the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness with a cloud to cover them and lead them by day.

Figurative Interpretation- "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness" - If we interpret the wilderness in light of the journey the children of Israel made in the wilderness, and its application in the epistle of Hebrews , we can say that it refers to this world with its vanity and depravity. Jesus came from the heavenly realm, spiritual Jerusalem, to the earthly realm. "like pillars of smoke" - He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon the virgin Mary, and walked in the fullness of the Holy Spirit during His earthly ministry. "perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant" - Watchman Nee suggests that myrrh refers to His crucifixion and death, and frankincense to His resurrection. 159]

159] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 65.

Song of Solomon 3:7 Behold his bed, which is Solomon"s; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.

Song of Solomon 3:7Word Study on "bed" - Strong says the Hebrew word "bed" "mittah" ( מִטָּה) (4296) means, "a bed (as extended) for sleeping or eating, a sofa, litter, bier," and it comes from the primitive root ( נָטָה) (5186), which means, "to stretch out, spread out." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 29 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "bed 26, bedchamber + 023152, bier 1."

Comments- Within the context of Song of Solomon 3:6-11 the bed clearly refers to the king' palanquin, which Webster defines as "An inclosed carriage or litter, commonly about eight feet long, four feet wide, and four feet high, borne on the shoulders of men by means of two projecting poles, used in India, China, etc, for the conveyance of a single person from place to place."

Song of Solomon 3:7Literal Interpretation - "Behold his bed, which is Solomon"s" - Song of Solomon 3:8 paints the picture of an ancient wedding processional, which in the custom of the day, included the bride coming to meet the bridegroom with a host of men to accompany her. She had most likely been taken from her home village, through the wilderness, and was approaching the city of Jerusalem, where the royal wedding would take place. "threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel" - David had thirty men as his elite guard ( 2 Samuel 23:13; 2 Samuel 23:23-24). Solomon had double this number, which indicated a greater glory as king of Israel. In this sense, it may figuratively refer to Christ Jesus having a great glory than King David. It the setting in which the song describes this wedding processional sixty valiant men would have been sufficient to ward off any enemies that would have tried to assault and plunder Solomon's processional.

Figurative Interpretation - "Behold his bed, which is Solomon"s" - The bed reflects the redemptive work of Christ Jesus. These acts of redemption are what unity a believer with Christ as a bride is espoused to a bridegroom ( 2 Corinthians 11:2). This bed is also a place of rest, where a believer rests in his exalted position as God's child. Watchmen Nee suggests that it symbolizes Christ's position of victory and rest over His enemies, but I believe it would suggest the believer's position of victory and rest in Christ, since Solomon build the bed, and the bride is mostly likely the one riding in it. 160]

160] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 66.

2 Corinthians 11:2, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."

Song of Solomon 3:8 They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.

Song of Solomon 3:8Comments- Garrett says that Song of Solomon 3:8 answers the question proposed in the previous verse of why there were sixty valiant men accompanying the bride in the king's palanquin. The answer is "because of the fear in the night." Sixty valiant men would have been sufficient to fight off any enemies that would have tried to assault and plunder Solomon's wedding processional. 161]

161] 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 3:8.

Song of Solomon 3:9 King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.

Song of Solomon 3:9Word Study on "a chariot" - Strong says the Hebrew word "chariot" ""appiryown" ( אַפִּרְיון) (H 668) means, "a palanquin, a chariot." The Enhanced Strong says it is used one time in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "chariot." It clearly refers to the king's palanquin in the context of this verse.

Song of Solomon 3:9Figurative Interpretation - The chariot in Song of Solomon 3:9 is best translated "palanquin." This palanquin of the wood of Lebanon refers to Jesus' humanity.

Song of Solomon 3:10 He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.

Song of Solomon 3:10Word Study on "the bottom" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "bottom" "ref-ee-daw"" ( רְפִידָה) (H 7507) means, "a support, properly of a litter." Strong says it means, "a railing," and it is derived from the primitive root ( רָפַד) (H 7502), meaning, "to spread (a bed), to refresh." This word is used only one time in the Scriptures. Garrett believes it refers to the wooden framework that supported the golden covering of the seat. 162]

162] 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 3:10.

Song of Solomon 3:10Word Study on "the covering" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "covering" "mer-kawb"" ( מֶרְכָּב) (H 4817) means, "a chariot, seat of a chariot." Strong says it means, "a chariot, a seat in a vehicle." It is best translated "seat" within the context of Song of Solomon 3:10, which is the popular view in modern English versions. The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 3times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "saddle 1, chariot 1, covering 1." The other two uses are found in Leviticus 15:9 and 1 Kings 4:26.

Leviticus 15:9, "And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean."

1 Kings 4:26, "And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen."

Song of Solomon 3:10Word Study on "being paved" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "paved" "ratsaph" ( רָצַף) (H 7528) means, "to arrange stones together for a pavement, to tessellate [to form into squares or checkers]." Strong says it means, "to tessellate, i.e. embroider (as if with bright stones)." This Hebrew word is used one time in the Old Testament.

Song of Solomon 3:10Word Study on "love" - Strong says the Hebrew word "love" "ahabah" ( אַהֲבָה) (H 160), means, "love." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used forty (40) times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "love 40." It is found 11times in the Song of Solomon ( Song of Solomon 2:4-5; Song of Solomon 2:7; Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 3:10; Song of Solomon 5:8; Song of Solomon 7:6; Song of Solomon 8:4; Song of Solomon 8:6-7[twice]), with one of these uses as a substantive to refer to her lover ( Song of Solomon 7:6).

Song of Solomon 3:10Word Study on "for the daughters of Jerusalem" - The inseparable preposition ( מִן) is often translated "from." This results in the translation "from the daughters of Jerusalem" ( מִבְּנֹות יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם), which is preferred in modern English translations.

ASV, "from the daughters of Jerusalem"

NIV, "by the daughters of Jerusalem"

RSV, "by the daughters of Jerusalem"

YLT, "by the daughters of Jerusalem"

Song of Solomon 3:10Comments- "the covering of it of purple" - Garrett says that the dyed purple garments in the ancient world were made from the secretions of one of four known species of mollusks. Since it required around eight thousand mollusks to produce a single gram of this dye, it was very expensive, and only used by the extremely wealth, such as royalty. 163] These mollusks were found in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and marketed through Tyre and Sidon. 164]

163] 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 3:10.

164] Alfred Ely Day, "Purple," 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).

"the midst thereof being paved with love" - The phrase "the midst thereof being paved with love" has given scholars plenty of opportunity for conjectures. Garrett settles for the literal translation "its interior fitted together" with love. The preposition "with" is not in the original Hebrew. 165]

165] 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 3:10.

"for the daughters of Jerusalem" - We must picture the ladies in Jerusalem being the ones who lovingly decorated the king's palanquin with all of its beautiful artistry. Rebecca Springer's book Within Heaven's Gates records just such an image about a group of children who decorated one of the rooms in Rebecca's heavenly mansion. Rebecca's brother-in-law Frank tells her how the children dropped by and decorated the room:

"One day as I was busily working on the house, a company of young people, boys and girls, came to the door and asked if they might enter. I gladly consented. Then one of them said: ‘Is this house really for Mr. and Mrs. Springer?' ‘It Isaiah ,' I answered. ‘We used to know and love them. They are our friends and the friends of our parents. May we do something to help you make it beautiful?' ‘Indeed you Prayer of Manasseh ,' I said, touched by the request. ‘What can you do?' At once the girls, all of whom had immense bouquets of roses in their hands, began to toss the flowers over the floor and against the walls. Wherever they struck the walls, they, to even my surprise, remained, as though in some way permanently attached. When the roses had all been scattered, the room looked just as it does now, only then the flowers were fresh-gathered roses.

"Then the boys each produced a small case of delicate tools. In a moment they were all down upon the marble floor, busy at work. How they did it I do not know - it is one of the celestial arts, taught to those of highly artistic tastes - but they embedded each living flower just as it had fallen. They preserved it in the marble as you see before you. They came several times before the work was completed, for the flowers do not wither or fade here, but are always fresh and perfect.

"I never saw such a merry, happy company of young people. They laughed and chatted and sang as they worked. I could not help wishing more than once that the friends whom they had left mourning for them might look in on this happy group and see how little cause they had for sorrow.

"At last, when all was complete, they called me to see their work. And I was not sparse in my praises either for the beauty of the work or for their skill in performing it. Then, saying they would be sure to return when either of you came, they went away together to do similar work." 166]

166] Rebecca Springer, Within Heaven's Gates (Springdale, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1984), 20-21.

Song of Solomon 3:10Literal Interpretation - The pillars of silver would be used to hold up the roof of the palanquin. The roof would be plated with gold. The chair and any curtains were purple. The designs and inlays were perhaps done by the daughters of Jerusalem in their love for the king.

Figurative Interpretation- "He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple" - The description of silver, gold and purple refer to Jesus' deity and office and King of Kings. Watchman Nee suggests the silver columns refer to God's grace in redemption, the golden floor to the divine movement of God in man's redemption, and the purple seat to Christ as King of Kings. These redemptive events carried man to restoration and union with Christ, with the church being espoused to Christ. 167] "the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem" - The statement that the daughters of Jerusalem decorated this palanquin suggests that the Church has played a role in God's redemptive plan, in that it is the voice and body of Christ on earth today that God uses to redeem mankind. In comparison God designed the Tabernacle, but He anointed craftsmen to design and create the intricate details of its decorations. Both of these examples symbolize the fact that man plays a secondary role in redemption.

167] Watchman Nee, Song of Songs (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: CLC Publications, c 1965, 2001), 67-8.

Song of Solomon 3:11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.

Song of Solomon 3:11Word Study on "espousals" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "espousals" "khath-oon-naw"" ( חֲתֻנָּה) (H 2861) means, "marriage, nuptials." Strong says it means, "wedding." This word is found one time in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "espousal 1."

Song of Solomon 3:11Comments- The phrases "in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart" are parallel and reflect the same event, which is the wedding. Garrett notes that the second phrase reflects upon the joy of this occasion. 168]

168] 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 3:11.

 


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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 3:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/song-of-solomon-3.html. 2013.

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