By Don Ruhl
In the Song of Solomon 5.2–6.3, Solomon went to the Shulamite, but she turned him away, although she quickly regretted it.
Here that problem does not exist. If this poem follows the previous one chronologically, then he obviously got over her rejection. However, it may not be in chronological order. If that be the case, this is simply another time when he noticed her beauty and because of his great love for her, he praised her highly.
Song of Solomon 6.4 – Loving Beauty
O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah,
Lovely as Jerusalem,
Awesome as an army with banners!
Love is beautiful. Tirzah is located in the North, and means beauty, pleasant, or acceptable. Thus, when he made this comparison, she knew just how special she was to him.
Love is lovely. What made Jerusalem lovely? It was the city of God. The temple was there. It was the royal city of Israel. Today Jerusalem is thousands of years old, and does not have the splendor that it once did. How many wars have occurred there? First Kings 10.26–27 indicates how magnificent Jerusalem was in the days of Solomon, that silver was as common as stones.
Love is awesome. “An army” does not appear in the Hebrew text, although all major translations add those words, yet, Solomon could just have easily been saying that she was as awesome as Jerusalem full of banners, “The Hebrew text does not contain the word for ‘army’, but simply reads ‘as bannered’. The context suggests that it is the cities which are thus bedecked, and the introduction of ‘armies’ here is superfluous” (G. Lloyd Carr, p. 147).
Either way, he thought she was awesome! When we love someone, or even something, we see awesomeness that others may not see. Love does something to our thinking and to our eyes. Is it possible that superb beauty can be as awesome as an army that marches with its banners? Can a beautified city resemble superb beauty in a woman? Is this merely outward beauty, or could it also be her attitude? her composure? her stateliness?
Song of Solomon 6.5–7 – Loving Captivation
Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have overcome me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
Going down from Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
Which have come up from the washing;
Every one bears twins,
And none is barren among them.
Like a piece of pomegranate
Are your temples behind your veil.
Love is captivating (v. 5a). The meeting of the eyes does something to the heart. Is she truly looking at me? Proverbs 30 captures the same idea,
There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and
The way of a man with a virgin.
(Pro 30.18, 19)
“The king was so smitten with love that he could not bear her glance, which overpowered him like an army conquering a fortified city” (Walter R. Roehrs, pp. 439, 440). Her beauty, hence her glancing at him, was too much for him. Is she really that beautiful and is she truly looking at me? She took his breath away.
Love notices individual features (vv. 5b–7). He had already said these things, why say them again? This explains what he meant in the first part of verse 5. If you truly like something, do you repeat it? If you truly like something in someone you admire, do you let them know only once?
Song of Solomon 6.8, 9 – Loving the Perfect One
There are sixty queens
And eighty concubines,
And virgins without number.
My dove, my perfect one,
Is the only one,
The only one of her mother,
The favorite of the one who bore her.
The daughters saw her
And called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines,
And they praised her.
(Song 6.8, 9)
Love is unique (vv. 8, 9a). In verse 8, see the increase in numbers: From sixty to eighty to numberless, and then a decrease in rank: From queens to concubines to virgins.
Solomon had an endless array of women from which to choose, but he chose the Shulamite, and by this he showed how special she was to him, which is reminiscent of 2.2,
Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the daughters.
Of the hundreds of millions of potential spouses that God could have given to any of us, He has given to us our particular spouses.
Love is favored by all (v. 9b). The mother of the Shulamite loved her. Solomon’s other women blessed and praised the Shulamite.
Song of Solomon 6.10 – Loving the Awesome One
Who is she who looks forth as the morning,
Fair as the moon,
Clear as the sun,
Awesome as an army with banners?
Love looks glorious. When someone is in love, does it show up in his body language, in his attitude, in how he treats others? I have known people who changed completely when they were in love.
Think on the beauty of the sky that Solomon presented. What is it like to be outside before the sun rises, then to see it rise? What is the moon like, especially when it is full and on a clear night? How does a clear sky with beautiful sunshine affect you? How was she like these natural phenomenon of the sky? How did she affect him?
Love is awesome.
What shall we do with this section of the Song of Solomon?
Learn to notice God-created traits in the one you love. Learn to compliment your spouse. Men:
- Tell her of her beauty, focusing on her inward nature.
- Tell her that she is irresistible.
- Tell her that she is unique.
- Tell her that she affects you as the morning, the moon, and the sunshine.