Song of Songs
1 The Work of the Hands of an Artist 2-3 Navel, Belly and Breasts 4-6 Neck, Eyes, Nose, Head and Hairlocks 7-9 Stature, Breasts, Breath, Mouth and Lips 10-11 Go out with the Beloved 12-13 Fresh and Old Fruits
The Work of the Hands of an Artist

1“How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.

In verses 1-51“How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.2“Your navel is [like] a round goblet
Which never lacks mixed wine;
Your belly is like a heap of wheat
Fenced about with lilies.
3“Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.4“Your neck is like a tower of ivory,
Your eyes [like] the pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath-rabbim;
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon,
Which faces toward Damascus.
5“Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
[The] king is captivated by [your] tresses.
follows a new description of the bride. In the description the groom gives of the bride earlier (Song 4:1-141“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are [like] doves behind your veil;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead.2“Your teeth are like a flock of [newly] shorn ewes
Which have come up from [their] washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.
3“Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
And your mouth is lovely.
Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.4“Your neck is like the tower of David,
Built with rows of stones
On which are hung a thousand shields,
All the round shields of the mighty men.
5“Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle
Which feed among the lilies.6“Until the cool of the day
When the shadows flee away,
I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh
And to the hill of frankincense.7“You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
And there is no blemish in you.
8“[Come] with me from Lebanon, [my] bride,
May you come with me from Lebanon.
Journey down from the summit of Amana,
From the summit of Senir and Hermon,
From the dens of lions,
From the mountains of leopards.9“You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, [my] bride;
You have made my heart beat faster with a single [glance] of your eyes,
With a single strand of your necklace.
10“How beautiful is your love, my sister, [my] bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all [kinds] of spices!11“Your lips, [my] bride, drip honey;
Honey and milk are under your tongue,
And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.12“A garden locked is my sister, [my] bride,
A rock garden locked, a spring sealed up.13“Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
With choice fruits, henna with nard plants,
14Nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
With all the trees of frankincense,
Myrrh and aloes, along with all the finest spices.
), he says what she means for him. There he starts the description with her head. This new description he starts with her feet, her way of walking. The first description is done from the point of view of love. The second is from the point of view of her public action, which is also seen by others.

The bride is described in the royal glory she possesses, and which is perceived by others. Although she has received that glory of the groom, it is not clear whether the description comes from the mouth of the groom or from the mouth of the daughters of Jerusalem. Because of the public character of the description, it is quite conceivable that the testimony about her is given by the daughters of Jerusalem.

The name “prince’s daughter” (cf. Psa 45:1313The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
Her clothing is interwoven with gold.
), with which she is addressed, is in keeping with this public testimony. We hear no names like ‘bride’ and ‘beloved as in Song of Songs 4. It is not a description of the intimate love relationship between groom and bride, but of the formal connection between king and queen.

As mentioned, the description begins with the feet. It is said that they are “beautiful”. She stands out because of her elegant way of walking. There is no hurry, it radiates peace and dignity. She moves with elegance. She takes her steps in her “sandals”. Whoever goes into captivity goes barefoot (Isa 20:44so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.; cf. 2Sam 15:3030And David went up the ascent of the [Mount of] Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went.). The father gives the prodigal son “sandals on his feet” when he returns home (Lk 15:2222But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;).

In the spiritual sense, the description teaches about our “royal priesthood” (1Pet 2:99But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;). We are not ‘children of the King’, but we do have royal dignity. This means that, in addition to having a relationship of love with the Lord Jesus, we also have a testimony in the world. It is the desire of every believer who loves the Lord Jesus to also respond to what is said here of the bride. Can the Lord Jesus and the people around us give this testimony of us what is given here of the bride?

Our feet are said to be shod “with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:1515and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;). The meaning is not that we should be prepared to proclaim the gospel – however important that may be. It means that in our walk it is visible that we live with peace. We have peace in every circumstance in which God brings us. People see that we go our way with the peace of God in our hearts, even when it is difficult. This is only possible if we are focused on the Lord Jesus, who is the supreme example in this (Mt 11:25-3025At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from [the] wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.26Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.27All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal [Him].28“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”).

Then her “hips” are described. In the hips is the power for walking. After God has disrupted Jacob’s hip joint, he goes limping through life (Gen 32:25,3125When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.31Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.). There is talk of “the curves” of the bride’s hips. This indicates that there are no sharp or angular edges in her walk. We can sometimes be ‘angular’ or ‘sharp’. The Lord is working to eliminate those sharp edges. But He sees us as smooth or round.

Then the curves of the hips are compared with “jewels”. Her walk is as graceful as a jewel. We don’t walk with long faces and heads hung low. If we have bent our necks before the Lord, it is seen in our walk. Then we listen to His directions and do His will (cf. Pro 3:21-2221My son, let them not vanish from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.
; 25:1212[Like] an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
). This is how He is seen in our lives, so that we will be a blessing to those with whom we come into contact. Sharp words will not be spoken and angular or uncontrolled actions will not take place.

We do not have such elegant and graceful behavior by nature. It takes “the hands of an artist” to show this behavior. The Spirit of God is that Artist. The Spirit works this behavior in us as God’s workmanship, as a new creation. Personal efforts or all kinds of therapies for behavioral change are connected with the old man and always fail. It will only be possible if we give the Spirit the opportunity to mold our lives.


The next part of the body is the “navel” (verse 22“Your navel is [like] a round goblet
Which never lacks mixed wine;
Your belly is like a heap of wheat
Fenced about with lilies.
). The navel has to do with life, with its origins. The unborn child is fed in its mother’s womb through the umbilical cord. When a child is born, the navel cord is cut or cut off (cf. Eze 16:44As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths.). The navel is a lasting reminder of the original connection with the mother.

The bride is an independent woman. She is a new personality. From a prophetic point of view, we see here the faithful remnant of Israel, or Jerusalem, which has been revived by a miracle of God. This remnant itself is also “at the center of the world” or “the navel of the earth” (Eze 38:1212to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are [now] inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’). Here is everything that God promised old Israel, but that which the people have lost through unfaithfulness, He now gives to the new Israel. From there will come blessing and life for the whole earth. We see this in the temple stream that flows out of the temple in the kingdom of peace and spreads blessing (Eze 47:1-121Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.2He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of [the gate] that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.3When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water [reaching] the ankles.4Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water [reaching] the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through [the water], water [reaching] the loins.5Again he measured a thousand; [and it was] a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, [enough] water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.6He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen [this]?” Then he brought me back to the bank of the river.7Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there [were] very many trees on the one side and on the other.8Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters [of the sea] become fresh.9It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and [the others] become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.10And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many.11But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt.12By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all [kinds of] trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”).

The navel is compared here with “a round goblet which never lacks mixed wine”. A goblet can be seen as a picture of a person. A round goblet has no beginning and no end, it is endless. There are no corners or points. This is a picture of the new, eternal life we have been given. There is no beginning and no end to that. We ourselves did not contribute anything to its creation.

An endless, unceasing joy is connected with this life. That is what the mixed wine speaks of. It is a joy that expresses itself in various ways. We can apply this to all kinds of relationships we have. In this way we can be a joy for our wife and children in our dealings with them. This also applies to our neighbors and colleagues. We pass on joy as we reveal the new, eternal life we possess.

The “belly” is closely connected to the navel. It is the place where new life is formed and where new life comes forth (Job 1:2121He said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
; 3:10-1110Because it did not shut the opening of my [mother’s] womb,
Or hide trouble from my eyes.
11“Why did I not die at birth,
Come forth from the womb and expire?
; 31:1515“Did not He who made me in the womb make him,
And the same one fashion us in the womb?
; Ecc 5:1414When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him.; 11:55Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones [are formed] in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.). The belly also speaks of what is internal, of feelings, and of the absorption of food (Hab 3:1616I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise [who] will invade us.
; Rom 16:1818For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.; Jer 51:3434“Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured me [and] crushed me,
He has set me down [like] an empty vessel;
He has swallowed me like a monster,
He has filled his stomach with my delicacies;
He has washed me away.
; Eze 3:33He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.; 1Cor 6:1313Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.; Phil 3:1919whose end is destruction, whose god is [their] appetite, and [whose] glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.; Rev 10:9-109So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”10I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.). Her belly is compared to “a heap of wheat Fenced about with lilies”. The wheat reminds us of the Lord Jesus. He compares Himself to a grain of wheat that has fallen into the earth and died, thereby bearing much fruit (Jn 12:2424Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.). From His death and resurrection came forth “a heap of wheat”.

This applies here to Israel in the future when all who are scattered in Israel are gathered together as “a heap of wheat” (Mt 13:24-3024Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.25But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.26But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.27The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’28And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’29But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.30Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘“; 24:3131And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.). All Israel is then saved (Rom 11:2626and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”). That is the fruit of the work of Christ. The remnant has the features of Him from Whom they received life, just as every grain in the heap of wheat has the same features as that one wheat grain from which they came.

This heap of wheat, this great harvest, is “fenced about with lilies”. The lilies are a picture of the remnant of the tribulation in the land. These images increase the glory of the ‘of the prince’s daughter’, but above all of the Artist Who shaped her in this way.

The description of the breasts (verse 33“Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.
) fits seamlessly with the description of the navel and belly. The breasts indicate adulthood, maturity. They also point to the ability to pass on to the newborn child the food she herself first took to herself. We have also seen this description in Song of Songs 4, which is given there by the groom (Song 4:55“Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle
Which feed among the lilies.
).

What was said there is also true here. Breasts are a picture of spiritual maturity and the ability to pass on food to small children. The “two fawns” seem to allude to this. Fawns drink from their mother’s milk. The milk that is passed on by the breasts speaks of the Word of God through which believers grow spiritually (1Pet 2:22like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,).

There is also balance in the bride’s public appearance. This is expressed in the image of “twins of a gazelle”. The original word means ‘two young deer born from the same mother’. They are identical in size, one is not bigger than the other. Her life is in balance. Doctrine and life are in balance. They do not lapse into extremes. This is also important for us. We must not set these two sides of the life of faith against each other, but let them develop side by side. If so, we will go our way with the elegance of a gazelle.

Prophetically we see in the bride’s performance as a daughter of the prince, the performance of the new Israel in the kingdom of peace. Israel will be a blessing to all the nations of the earth in a lovely, elegant manner, like a gazelle, during the kingdom of peace. The peoples will be provided by her with what they need.


Neck, Eyes, Nose, Head and Hairlocks

4“Your neck is like a tower of ivory,
Your eyes [like] the pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath-rabbim;
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon,
Which faces toward Damascus.
5“Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
[The] king is captivated by [your] tresses.
6“How beautiful and how delightful you are,
[My] love, with [all] your charms!

The description of her neck also fits her character as the prince’s daughter (verse 44“Your neck is like a tower of ivory,
Your eyes [like] the pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath-rabbim;
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon,
Which faces toward Damascus.
). She is no longer obstinate, reluctant to bow under the yoke of the Lord, but powerful in faith. Her neck is a paragon of beauty. Her neck speaks of honor, compared to the tower of David (Song 4:44“Your neck is like the tower of David,
Built with rows of stones
On which are hung a thousand shields,
All the round shields of the mighty men.
), a kind of weapon storage-place, which indicates defensive power. Here her neck is compared to “the ivory tower”, which speaks of royal glory. It fits her description as a prince’s daughter.

In the bride’s description of the bridegroom, she compares the groom’s belly with shiny ivory (Song 5:1414“His hands are rods of gold
Set with beryl;
His abdomen is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
). Ivory is mentioned in connection with the kingship of Solomon, king of peace (1Kgs 10:2222For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.; 2Chr 9:2121For the king had ships which went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.). Solomon made “a great ivory throne” (1Kgs 10:1818Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold.; 2Chr 9:1717Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with pure gold.). We can therefore connect ivory with the kingship of Christ which He exercises in peace.

That the bride’s neck is compared to the ivory tower indicates that Jerusalem will share in the reign of the Lord Jesus. That is what the Lord says to His disciples: “And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:2828And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.).

Now there is still rejection, but soon He will reign and then they may reign with Him. The throne and the twelve thrones speak of this. It is the throne of His glory, the throne which will be established on earth in the glory of the kingdom of peace, when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea” (Isa 11:9b9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.
). The thrones they will sit on relate to their government over Israel, that is to say their rule over Israel. They will be distributers of blessings for Israel.

Her eyes are not compared here with doves, as has happened before (Song 1:1515“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are! Your eyes are [like] doves.”
; 4:11“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are [like] doves behind your veil;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead.
), but with the rest of the pure and quiet water of “the pools in Heshbon”. It is not spring water from the depths or from a fountain that springs up, but water that is open and pure for the light of the sky. Her eyes radiate the peace of God’s Word, of which the pools are a picture. Everywhere she looks, she sees purity, cleanliness, everything is in accordance with God’s Word. There is nothing that disturbs this peace, for everything bears the hallmark of the Prince of Peace.

The pools are located “by the gate of Bath-rabbim”, which means ‘daughter of many’. If everything is in accordance with God’s Word, there is no desolation or death anymore. The LORD will make the house of Israel “increase their men like a flock” (Eze 36:37-3837‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock.38Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the waste cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”‘“; cf. Zec 8:4-54Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age.5And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.’). A great multitude of redeemed, which have been brought back to the land by the LORD, shall bear witness of the great redemption which He has brought about. This is the fulfillment of His Word.

The “nose”, which used to rise in pride to express contempt for the LORD (cf. Psa 10:44The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek [Him].
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
; Eze 23:2525I will set My jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in wrath. They will remove your nose and your ears; and your survivors will fall by the sword. They will take your sons and your daughters; and your survivors will be consumed by the fire.), is now compared to “the tower of Lebanon”. The tower is a castle, a fortress and at the same time a lookout post for watchmen. The nose is for smelling. It is said of the Messiah that “He will delight [or: He will smell things] in the fear of the LORD” (Isa 11:33And He will delight in the fear of the LORD,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
), that is to say, the air which He breathes is permeated by the fear of the LORD. The same goes for the bride’s nose.

Everything that threatens this fear of the LORD, that pollutes the air, she can smell it. The big threat in the end times is Damascus, the capital of Syria. From her tower she looks down on this in the kingdom of peace. Syria, in the person of the king of the north, is the leader of Assyria, who will attack, overwhelm and destroy Israel in the end time. This enemy is judged by Christ Himself (Dan 11:4545He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.).

We need to know our enemy and where he is. When recognizing the enemy, the sense of smell may be more important than seeing or hearing. Smell is not linked to the words we hear or the deeds we see, but to an inner discernment. This goes far beyond what we see or hear. It is about being able to distinguish between what is of God and what is not of God. Someone may look neat and what they say may sound good, but it may not smell right because there is no fear of God in it.

The description of the bride ends with the head and hair (verse 55“Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
[The] king is captivated by [your] tresses.
). Her “head” is compared to “Carmel”. Carmel is the place where Elijah stood before God and gained victory over all that was evil (1Kgs 18:19-24,37-4519Now then send [and] gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, [together] with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”20So Ahab sent [a message] among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel.21Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long [will] you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word.22Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.23Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire [under it]; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire [under it].24Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good idea.”37Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and [that] You have turned their heart back again.”38Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.39When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.”40Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.41Now Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a [heavy] shower.”42So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees.43He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back” seven times.44It came about at the seventh [time], that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare [your chariot] and go down, so that the [heavy] shower does not stop you.’”45In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.). It is the place of mighty prayers and the blessing that follows. The fact that her head was like Carmel means that she was aware of the power of prayer. As a result, she has gained victories and received blessing. The blessing is that Jerusalem will be given “the majesty of Carmel” (Isa 35:22It will blossom profusely
And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the LORD,
The majesty of our God.
).

Her “flowing locks” have a purple color, which is the color of royal garment. That also fits her description as a prince’s daughter. By speaking of “flowing locks” the emphasis is on her long hair “as a glory to her” (1Cor 11:1515but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.). This speaks of the fact that her royal dignity also has the aspect of surrender to the authority of the king, and that she devotes herself to him.

This aspect arouses such great admiration in him that it makes him a captive. It captivates him, all his attention goes out to that attribute. It is the same with us when we show our royal dignity by our submission to the Lord Jesus and to each other.

Subservience is a special feature of our dignity. We show our submission to Him by being obedient to everything He says to us in His Word. When we submit out of love, it fascinates Him so much that He especially pays attention to that. All other proofs of love result from this.

After listing the bride’s beauties in her public appearance as a prince’s daughter, the groom, in awe, exclaims that she is “beautiful” and “delightful” (verse 66“How beautiful and how delightful you are,
[My] love, with [all] your charms!
; Song 1:1515“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are! Your eyes are [like] doves.”
; 4:11“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are [like] doves behind your veil;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead.
; Psa 45:11a11Then the King will desire your beauty.
Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.
). He has that intimate relationship of love with her. He finds his full joy in her. Whatever he might desire, she transcends everything. She is full of pleasure for him. He is not talking about her here, but to her.

For the Lord Jesus, the bride, His earthly bride Jerusalem, is really everything. She is exceptionally beautiful and delightful to Him. She is beautiful in her appearance, she is delightful in her behavior. For Him she is the “sweetest”. His heart is full of her and goes out to her. She is His “love”, “with [all] your charms”. He enjoys every part of the city. There is nothing else that disturbs. Everything is perfectly in accordance with His desires. He describes in the following verses the full enjoyment He finds in her.


Stature, Breasts, Breath, Mouth and Lips

7“Your stature is like a palm tree,
And your breasts are [like its] clusters.
8“I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’
Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
And the fragrance of your breath like apples,
9And your mouth like the best wine!”
“It goes [down] smoothly for my beloved,
Flowing gently [through] the lips of those who fall asleep.

The groom sees the bride in her full stature as “a palm tree” (verse 77“Your stature is like a palm tree,
And your breasts are [like its] clusters.
). The palm tree is the symbol of victory (Rev 7:99After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and [all] tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches [were] in their hands;; Jn 12:1313took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and [began] to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.”). The victory is achieved by the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. Jerusalem stands as a result of this, in the victorious power of salvation. All enemies have been defeated. He, the Messiah, has accepted Jerusalem again in His love and declares His love to her.

This also applies to us. Christ sees us in victory, and so may we see ourselves. Through Him we are ‘more than victors’ (Rom 8:3737But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.). The Lord says that, to encourage us. It will not make us proud, but it will make us humble and grateful at the same time. We may share in the victory He has achieved. If we stand firm in His victory, it will be a joy for Him. It will result for us, that we will grow in our faithfulness to Him (Psa 92:1212The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
).

Her “breasts”, which transmit food, are a great, abundant joy for the groom (cf. Pro 5:19b19[As] a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
). This is referred to as “clusters” of grapes. In the kingdom of peace Jerusalem will also pass on food and joy to others, the nations. They may “suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom” (Isa 66:10-1110“Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her;
Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her,
11That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts,
That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom.”
). This proves that Jerusalem has reached spiritual maturity.

It is the intention that we too will grow spiritually and become adults. The measure of our spiritual growth can be seen in the food we eat. If we have long been converted and are still drinking milk and not eating solid food, that is an unhealthy development. This lack of spiritual growth was blamed on the believing Hebrews (Heb 5:11-1411Concerning him we have much to say, and [it is] hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.13For everyone who partakes [only] of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.14But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.). If we grow spiritually and eat solid food, we can pass on to others what we have enjoyed ourselves. That will bring great joy to them.

The groom has positioned the bride in victory, but he wants to share in the blessed consequences this means for her. For that he wants to “climb the palm tree” (verse 88“I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’
Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
And the fragrance of your breath like apples,
). Thus, the Messiah of Jerusalem wants to hear what He means to her as the Conqueror in Whose power she has defeated all enemies. To “take hold of its fruit stalks” can be seen as an expression of His desire to taste the fruit of what she did, that is to hear from her what individual victories she has achieved in His power.

A believer who does not gain victories or grow spiritually is not a joy to the Lord’s heart. The Messiah wants to share in the joy of Jerusalem’s spiritual growth, of which “breasts like clusters of the vine” speak. The emphasis here is on the joy of the Bridegroom. Her breasts are there for Him in the first instance.

When Israel is about to take possession of the promised land, twelve men will explore the land. When they return from their journey, they bring the fruit of the land with them as proof of the fertility of the land. One sensational example of this is “a branch with a single cluster of grapes; which they carried on a pole between two [men]” (Num 13:2323Then they came to the valley of Eshcol and from there cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes; and they carried it on a pole between two [men], with some of the pomegranates and the figs.).

The bunch of grapes is a picture of joy. Happiness is the result of communion with the Father and the Son and with each other (1Jn 1:3-43what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.). Happiness and community belong together. The New Testament believer does not possess earthly, material blessings, but heavenly, spiritual blessings (Eph 1:33Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ,). Anyone will have joy who, together with others – two men are needed to carry the cluster – occupies himself with the heavenly blessings.

The “fragrance” of her “breath” shows that she has eaten from the apple tree. The apple tree is the groom (Song 2:33“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
So is my beloved among the young men.
In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
). The groom appreciates that she has done that. The apples represent the good words the groom has spoken (Pro 25:1111[Like] apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
). The way we speak and the topics we talk about betray what we have ‘eaten’. When we have eaten ‘apples’, our words and attitudes will be filled with the fragrance of fellowship with the Lord Jesus. We look like Him then. When we have eaten of the ‘fruits of Egypt’ (Num 11:55We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,), another fragrance will hang around us.

What fragrance is around us? What we occupy ourselves with in the hidden and in our free time will be perceived by others. The fragrance we spread is determined by the things we absorb in our minds. Are we reading God’s Word, the words of the Lord Jesus, or are we feeding on what the world has to offer in entertainment? Both fragrances are noticed by the people around us and especially by the Lord Jesus.

In verse 9a9And your mouth like the best wine!”
“It goes [down] smoothly for my beloved,
Flowing gently [through] the lips of those who fall asleep.
the groom speaks about her “mouth” or “palate”. The palate has to do with the taste, it tastes food. The groom is very enthusiastic about her taste, because what she eats tastes “like the best wine”. Jerusalem has tasted the “gracious words”, the “comforting words” (Zec 1:1313The LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words.) of the Messiah and has tasted therein that He is “good” (Psa 34:88O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
). This is “for a joy and the delight” of her heart (Jer 15:1616Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.
).

In the second line of verse 99And your mouth like the best wine!”
“It goes [down] smoothly for my beloved,
Flowing gently [through] the lips of those who fall asleep.
the bride begins to speak. It is as if she is interrupting him. Her answer is that the joy she has found in his words “goes [down] smoothly” back to him, her “beloved”. She owes her joy to none but him. Joy flows back to its origin, that is he himself. Similarly, the good, comforting words we speak are in reality the words of the Lord Jesus we pass on.

But she also mentions a group of people to whom the wine goes, not as a rich stream, but “flowing gently”. She thinks of “those who fall asleep”. She wants the lips of those who sleep to be touched by the wine. Even if it is gently, the effect cannot fail to occur. If the wine touches their lips, they will be raised from their sleep and will also bear witness to that love.

Life is present in those asleep, but it is not seen. Those who sleep look like dead. When they are awakened, it becomes visible that they are alive. Prophetically speaking, it may be meant that ‘being asleep’, the ten tribes appear to have disappeared, that is, the tribes of the scattering. They are said to sleep in the dust, which means they are hidden therein (Dan 12:22Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace [and] everlasting contempt.).

The application to us we see in the words Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus. He says to them: “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you” (Eph 5:1414For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”). The Christian who sleeps is not able to testify of the glorified Lord. He needs to wake up and get up. Then he will be happy again in Christ because the Holy Spirit can fill him with that joy (Eph 5:1818And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,). This will be evident from his speaking, thanking and submission (Eph 5:19-2119speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.), aspects which we also saw with the bride.


Go out with the Beloved

10“I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.
11“Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.

The bride is now aware of the special love of the groom. She said earlier: “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song 2:1616“My beloved is mine, and I am his;
He pastures [his flock] among the lilies.
). That is at the beginning of her relationship of love. What she has received is in the foreground. In it we hear what is important for the newly converted, what he has received: forgiveness of sin, eternal life.

A little later the bride says: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:33“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures [his flock] among the lilies.”
). She has grown in her relationship with her beloved. Here it is no longer in the foreground that he is hers, but that she is his. This can also be seen in the growth of someone who has been converted. Then it is no longer of first priority that the Lord Jesus is his, but that he belongs to the Lord Jesus, that he is His property (Rom 14:7-87For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.). What is still important, is what he has received: the Beloved is also his.

In the verse we now have before us, she says: “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.” Here it is all about who the bride is for the groom. In the spiritual growth of the believer then, that stage has been reached that is especially important- who he is for Him. The awareness that His thoughts and desires go out to us then gives us the greatest joy. The proof of spiritual maturity is that the heart is no longer focused on one’s own happiness, but on the happiness or joy of the Other.

This will also apply to Jerusalem in the future. The Lord Jesus delivers the city and He takes it for His bride. She will become aware that His desire is for her. This awareness is overwhelming and gives certainty to the inviolability of the new relationship. As long as our love for Him is the basis of our feelings, there is often uncertainty about the relationship with Him. The awareness that Christ loves us puts an end to all uncertainty about it.

Now that the bride has come to rest in her relationship with the groom, she wants to go out with him (verse 1111“Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.
). She now does everything together with him. In verses 11-1211“Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.12“Let us rise early [and go] to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
[And its] blossoms have opened,
[And whether] the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
she says four times “let us”. As a practical point, I would like to make the following remark. It is important in marriage to keep in mind that men and women have and do everything together. This applies not only when they are together, but also when they are not together. When the man is at work and talking about the children, you can hear him talk about ‘my children’, while they are really ‘our children’, the children both of his wife and of him.

The bride takes the initiative and says to the groom to go with her. She wants to “go out into the country” with him and “spend the night in the villages” with him. Herein we can see the desire to make others familiar with the love that is between them, so that the blessing of love can also be enjoyed in all places on earth where it is still night.

Going into the country means going to work with a view to the harvest. It is not about ‘her’ field, ‘her’ work, but about others. It concerns the whole country of the Lord’s interests. They “go out”. The bride leaves her ‘comfort zone’ and goes in search of people who long to hear of their love. Similarly, if we live in a close bond of love with the Lord Jesus, we will leave our ‘comfort zone’ to tell people in the world about our love for Him and His love for us.

That does not necessarily mean that we will go to far away areas. Leaving our ‘comfort zone’ means that we will take a clear stand before the world about our relationship with the Lord Jesus, about Who He is for us. That happens in “the country”, that is where we do our daily work. It will be seen in the way we do our work and also in the way we talk about Him.

We can do our work in a way that nobody notices us being a Christian. Then we avoid negative reactions and other inconveniences. But that is not what the believer who is full of the love of Christ does. Whoever is full of the love of Christ is compelled by that love to tell others about it (2Cor 5:14a14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;). We may do the work of an evangelist in daily life in our daily activities.

Staying the night in the villages requires that after work in the country we take time for rest. Villages speak of a peaceful environment. The hectic city life is lacking there. During the rest there is time for fellowship with the Lord. This is necessary before the next day arrives with new activities.


Fresh and Old Fruits

12“Let us rise early [and go] to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
[And its] blossoms have opened,
[And whether] the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
13“The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;
And over our doors are all choice [fruits],
Both new and old,
Which I have saved up for you, my beloved.

In verse 1212“Let us rise early [and go] to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
[And its] blossoms have opened,
[And whether] the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
follows the third “let us”. After the night we do not sleep in. The bride wants to “rise early [and go] to the vineyards”. Here we can think of a service in the midst of God’s people. The vineyard is a picture of Israel, where God has done everything to make it fruitful (Isa 5:1-71Let me sing now for my well-beloved
A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard.
My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
2He dug it all around, removed its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
And He built a tower in the middle of it
And also hewed out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected [it] to produce [good] grapes,
But it produced [only] worthless ones.
3“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge between Me and My vineyard.
4“What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?
Why, when I expected [it] to produce [good] grapes did it produce worthless ones?
5“So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard:
I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed;
I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.
6“I will lay it waste;
It will not be pruned or hoed,
But briars and thorns will come up.
I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”
7For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel
And the men of Judah His delightful plant.
Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.
). There are several ‘vineyards’ here. We can apply this to all the work that happens for the Lord with the intention that He may receive fruit from it.

The vineyard is the environment of care, of attention to the fruit. For that care and attention, the mind of a shepherd is necessary. In the beginning of the book Song of Songs the bride spoke about her ‘own vineyard’ (Song 1:66“Do not stare at me because I am swarthy,
For the sun has burned me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me caretaker of the vineyards,
[But] I have not taken care of my own vineyard.
). This indicates that everyone has their own ground which has been given by the Lord Jesus to work there for Him. In Song of Songs 1 she says that she has not guarded her own vineyard. But she has learned to do so in the meantime and now she can go out to other vineyards to discover fruit there.

The application is about people who do not yet have an insight into the glorious connection between God and His people. If we know and enjoy that ourselves, we want to tell others who are in churches and groups that know nothing about that. For example, that woman who had been visiting a particular church for fifty years and said that she had never heard a sermon about the rapture of the church. Or someone who said she had never heard about the true meaning of marriage as a picture of Christ and the church.

The Lord’s intention is that we should work for Him in our own area in such a way that He becomes happy about it. The vineyard speaks of joy. We can think of our families, the local church and society. These are all areas where we have a responsibility. In all these areas we may testify of our connection with the Lord Jesus and the joy He finds when we are doing everything for Him.

When we realize that, we will look “whether the vine has budded [And its] blossoms have opened” that is, whether new life is coming and the first signs of that new life are already visible. Shepherds will take care to ensure that in the lives of young people there is a promise of a dedicated, Spirit-led life which the Lord Jesus rejoices in.

We will be careful in the local church to see whether there are such promising young people who will grow up to the glory of God (cf. Song 6:1111“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.
). This is to help them in their spiritual growth, so that they can reach maturity. “Let us see” means that there is spiritual vision. It may also be about believers who have been weak for a time in their being a Christian, but now show signs of renewed interest in the things of the Lord.

We will also look at “[whether] the pomegranates have bloomed”. As noted in a previous discussion of the pomegranate (Song 4:33“Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
And your mouth is lovely.
Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.
), this fruit indicates a fullness of life because of the many seeds it contains. Each seed is juicy, sweet and red. The joy of which the vineyard speaks is part of the fruit of the Spirit. But there are more parts to that (Gal 5:22-2322But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.). It is about the fullness of the fruit of the Spirit becoming visible in our lives. That is what it is all about when it comes to giving care to the believers.

The whole action of the bride shows that she is freed from her self-centeredness. She wants to give Him her love. This is the result of the connection with Him and being busy for Him and with Him in His work. Then He will be the center of all life with all its activities. This will give rise to a desire to share it with others, to let others share in it.

True service is not the result of obligations or because there is no one else to do the work, but of being engaged with Christ. If we are drawn to others, are concerned about their spiritual growth and want to be helpful in this, we are giving our love to the Lord Jesus. For the believer, life is not just about giving and taking, but only giving. God is the Giving God, and we can follow Him in this.

Rachel, in her superstition, used “mandrakes” (‘love apples’) (verse 1313“The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;
And over our doors are all choice [fruits],
Both new and old,
Which I have saved up for you, my beloved.
) in her relationship with Jacob, because she thought she would be redeemed from her infertility as a result (Gen 30:14-1614Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”15But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”16When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night.). This superstition is not the case with the bride. She calls “the mandrakes” because of their fragrance. It points out that her relationship with the groom is profound and spreads a fragrance that anyone can smell.

The true, profound, mutual love between the Messiah and Jerusalem is a matter that provides others with “all choice [fruits]”. These fruits hang over the doors of the house of groom and bride. The house of Israel is provided with doors through which people can enter the city. In the kingdom of peace, a visit to the city provides a ‘food package’ of all kinds of delicious fruits.

These are not, in the first place, literally edible fruits, but they are the fruits that the Spirit works and through which everyone is richly blessed. There is no greater blessing imaginable in a family than when its members live together in harmony and do everything in their power to make life as pleasant as possible. That will characterize the city.

What is enjoyed in the city, consists of “both new and old” fruits. It is about new experiences, such as the bride has gained in the recent great tribulation. These are also experiences the city has gained in the past from the faithfulness of God. These are the fruits that Jerusalem has saved up for Him and offers Him when He comes to her. We may also save up our experiences for Him and offer them to Him when we are with Him. He will ask us about these (Mt 25:19-2319“Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them.20The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’22“Also the one who [had received] the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’).

The new experiences are connected with the old experiences the fathers have gained in their lives with LORD. They are old and new things (cf. Mt 13:5252And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”). Even old truths have to be true over and over again. It must all come from a living relationship with Him.

Through what we experience, old truths, of which we knew well, acquire their true meaning and shine through our experiences or deeper study of the Word. We see that meaning and shine because we discover Him in His Word. If we seek Him, He cannot “escape notice” (Mk 7:2424Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know [of it]; yet He could not escape notice.).


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