Song of Solomon 6
1"Where has your beloved gone,
O most beautiful among women?
Where has your beloved turned,
That we may seek him with you?"
They offer to seek him with her, given that it seems dangerous for her to be out and about alone.
2"My beloved has gone down to his garden,
To the beds of balsam,
To pasture his flock in the gardens
And gather lilies.
Somehow she learns or discerns that he has gone to his garden to pasture his flock there and gather some flowers. She rejoices thus to find him and be well-received by him.
3"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies."
She is at rest in knowing that she loves her beloved and he loves her.
4"You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
As lovely as Jerusalem,
As awesome as an army with banners.
Though they had had some confusing and hurtful miscommunication (which happens in marriage), he immediately tells her that she is extremely beautiful and lovely, a delight to look upon. This affirms his love and delight in her regardless of what had happened. This is unconditional, committed love.
5"Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have confused me;
Next, however, he does address the situation and conflict, though, given that they are in public, he doesn’t finish it, presumably, until later when they are in private. Earlier, he had been enticed by one glance of her eyes. Here, he tells her to look away because her eyes have confused him. The word for “confused” literally means “to behave proudly or act boisterously, arrogantly, or insolently.” Thus, it still seems that they have some differences to work out. She still looks good to him, and he affirms his commitment to her. Yet he acknowledges that something needs to be worked out.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead.
6"Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.
7"Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.
He compliments her hair, her teeth, and her temples, continuing to emphasize that he thinks she is beautiful. A clear message from this book is that physical attraction is healthy, normal, and good when done in a Biblical fashion. We should not overemphasize the inner person at the expense of ignoring the outer person. Though the outer person is decaying, it is still relevant.
8"There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,
And maidens without number;
9But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:
Though Solomon would take on a lot more queens and concubines, at this point there were only 140, though there were many more maidens in the kingdom. Yet he tells her that she is his perfect one, unique among all the rest. This is a high compliment, though a better compliment would be if there were no other queens or concubines.
She is her mother's only daughter;
She is the pure child of the one who bore her
The maidens saw her and called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines also, and they praised her, saying,
10'Who is this that grows like the dawn,
As beautiful as the full moon,
As pure as the sun,
As awesome as an army with banners?'
She is the only daughter of her mother. She was called blessed by the maidens and praised by the queens and concubines as being as beautiful as the moon and pure as the sun. Clearly, this was a beautiful girl.
11"I went down to the orchard of nut trees
To see the blossoms of the valley,
To see whether the vine had budded
Or the pomegranates had bloomed.
Solomon begins to explain his side of the story. He says that he went down to an orchard of nut trees (perhaps to just have some time to reflect or maybe to cool down his anger over being left outside). He looked at the blossoms of the valley to see whether the vine had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom. Was this of urgent importance for him to be out in the night? No, but it was better than lashing out in anger. Now, they could calmly work things out, especially once they were off by themselves.
12"Before I was aware, my soul set me
Over the chariots of my noble people."
He didn’t come home after going for a walk because duty had called, and he needed to be set over the chariots of his people. Thus, there was a long time that had passed where she didn’t know where he was before learning that he was tending to his sheep. If there was a threat from outside the kingdom, this might explain more why the guards so aggressively stopped his wife as she wandered about hidden under a shawl. They may have thought she was a spy from the enemy.
13"Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
Come back, come back, that we may gaze at you!"
"Why should you gaze at the Shulammite,
As at the dance of the two companies?
The people who saw this Shulammite woman wanted her to stay out in public so that they could gaze upon her beauty. Yet Solomon says that they shouldn’t be gazing upon her as such would be inappropriate. They can gaze at the movements of the chariots and armies, but they shouldn’t be gazing upon his beloved. A Biblical husband thus looks out for his wife and comes to her defense when her rights are being violated.
Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. "Hebrew Lexicon entry for Rahab". "The NAS Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon". <http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=7292&version=kjv>.