The poem, the “Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s” (verse 1) opens with the bride professing her love for him, saying that his kisses are sweeter than wine. She speaks fondly of the fragrance of his anointing oils, and the charm with which he commands the other women. The “others” in verse four are the women of the kingdom who would rather be in her place. They counter that they value his love even more than wine, and press forth more flattery hoping to gain favor.
The bride says that she is dark of skin from her days in the sun working the vineyard and tending the flocks. She knows that she has beauty, but she is concerned that it will go unnoticed because of her weathered appearance – perhaps that she will even be taken as a foreigner. She is a common girl of meager means, but does not apologize for being unsheltered (“why should I be like the one who veils herself”).
We are not given the details of their courtship as the girl comes before the king. It is enough that he recognizes her beauty and speaks openly about it. The compliment he pays her – “I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots” may not seem very flattering to us, but would be a true recognition of beauty in such a time and place. He also pictures her with strings of jewels. The “nard” of verse 12 is a herb that gives forth a pleasing fragrance. This is the fragrant oil with which the woman in John 12:3 anointed Jesus’ feet.
She refers to him as her beloved. The myrrh between her breasts to which she refers is a fragrant sachet used by women of the time. Her description of him as an ornament of beauty (“a cluster of henna-flowers in the vineyards of Engedi”) perhaps has more of the sound of flattery to us.
Though a powerful king, she has stood out in his sight, and now she pictures their life together in the future (verse 16).
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.