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Deeper Commentary


Song of Solomon 5:1

I have come into my garden-
As noted on Song 4:16, this clearly means that he accepted her invitation to sleep with her. 

My sister, my bride-
AV "my sister, my spouse". Solomon's assumption that he was Messiah, the promised seed of David, presumably led him to assume that he was likewise the promised seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. No less that four times he calls his Egyptian girlfriend "my sister, my spouse" (Song 4:9,10,12; 5:1). This repeated emphasis seems to me to be an allusion to the way in which the patriarchs called their wives their sisters (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18; 26:6-11). And yet clearly enough, these incidents were lapses of faith for which they were rebuked. Yet Solomon didn't want to see it like that; they did it, therefore he could. David his father had horses and many wives; therefore he could. His sense of morality, of right and wrong, was controlled by the precedents set by his worthy ancestors. And so often we see this in supposedly Christian lives- the weak elements of our fathers we tend to feel are perfectly acceptable for us too. We do just what Paul says we should not do- we compare ourselves amongst and against ourselves, rather than against the Lord Jesus (2 Cor. 10:12).

I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, friends! Drink, yes, drink abundantly, beloved-
The idea may be that they hear some voice urging them as friends and lovers to feast and get drunk on love. For clearly Solomon has entered the closed garden of the previous verses, and they are having sex.

Song of Solomon 5:2 Beloved
I was asleep, but my heart was awake-
After the sex of :1, she again has a nightmare that he has left her, as she does in chapter 3. This is true to life; it is psychologically inevitable that a woman in her situation, with so many reasons to fear she will lose him, will have such nightmares. 

It is the voice of my beloved who knocks-
See on :12 for "dove". At the same time as Solomon was having this romance, at the start of his reign, he was writing up his Proverbs; including Prov. 8:34: "Blessed is the man who hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my door posts". This may be an intentional contrast with the bad woman if Prov. 7, who tempts men to furtively enter the doors and gates of her house at night. And Solomon failed in this; for the Song of Solomon speaks of the "gates" of his illicit Gentile girlfriend (Song 7:13), outside which Solomon waited secretly at night (Song 5:2,4). He does precisely what he condemns and warns others against. He failed to personalize wisdom, apparently thinking that mere possession of such Divine truths was enough to justify him, regardless of personal behaviour.

Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled; for my head is filled with dew, and my hair with the dampness of the night-
He sees her as "undefiled" even though he has just slept with her and she is no longer a closed garden (Song 4:16; 5;1). They both create images of each other which are simply not true to reality, and fall in love with those images rather than reality. In the dream, Solomon has been out all night. We continue to get the impression of the secret, illicit nature of their relationship, unable to be seen in public together (Song 8:1).

Song of Solomon 5:3 I have taken off my robe. Indeed, must I put it on? I have washed my feet. Indeed, must I defile them?-
She is asleep and doesn't want to go and open the door immediately, because she has no attractive robe on, and by walking over the dirt floor to the door, her feet would become dirty. She is aware that Solomon's praise of her has often been of her external adornment with jewellery and clothing, and she fears to be seen by him without them. This is typical of the whole nature of their relationship.

Song of Solomon 5:4 My beloved thrust his hand in through the latch opening. My heart pounded for him-
He apparently spoke or called to her at this time (:6) but she made no response because she was obsessed with putting on her make up. It was this focus upon externalities which cost her the relationship at that point. Her nightmare reveals the inner truth of the situation and relationship, which unconsciously she recognized.

Song of Solomon 5:5 I rose up to open for my beloved. My hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock-
The scene is true to psychological reality. She fears being seen by him without her attractive clothing and makeup on; but then her love for him gets the better of her. She has begun painting herself with myrrh, but with the liquid still dripping off her fingers, she goes to the door and fumbles with the lock with her slippery fingers. But it is too late. He's gone (:6). The whole scene looks forward to the New Testament pictures of the unworthy not opening immediately to the Lord Jesus when He knocks on their door at His return. Like the foolish virgins, they want time to prepare, rather than trusting in His love and realizing that no amount of external religious preparation can qualify them for Him. Although I deny that the Song is an allegory of Christ and His bride, at this point I would say that this particular scene is indeed used as a parabolic representation of the reaction of the unworthy to the Lord's return. Unless we respond to His coming immediately, then we will not find Him (Lk. 12:36). The immediacy of our response will be a function of our faith in His love for us, and our love for Him- as well as our understanding that we cannot make ourselves acceptable to Him by mere external appearance and cosmetic adornment. 

Song of Solomon 5:6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had left-
Presumably because he feared being spotted by the night watchmen on patrol. We get the impression a curfew was in place in the city. There is always the sense of fear that they would be caught together (Song 8:1). See on ;5.


He had gone away. My heart went out when he spoke. I looked for him, but I didn’t find him. I called him, but he didn’t answer-
Notice the sequence here:

While she sleeps at night, the bridegroom comes and knocks [unworthy virgins sleeping instead of being awake; the Lord Jesus comes; Lk. 12:36 uses the same figure, of the Lord's return being like a knock]

She replies that she's not dressed properly, makes excuses about her feet, she can't come and open [the unworthy don't respond immediately]

He tries to open the door from the outside, putting his hand through the latch-hole [by grace, after the pattern of Lot being encouraged to leave Sodom when he hesitated, the Lord will be patient even with sleepy virgins in His desire for their salvation]

Her heart is moved with desire for him [the rejected still call Jesus 'Lord, Lord'; they love Him emotionally]

She starts dressing herself up, and then is overtaken by desire and rushes to the door, her hands dripping all kinds of perfume and make up over the lock as she opens it [cp. the virgins going to buy oil, the unworthy trying to prepare themselves all too late, not trusting that their Lord loves them as they are at the moment of His coming]

But he's gone , he withdraws himself [all too late, the door is shut, He never knew them]

Her soul fails [the shock of rejection]

She seeks him but doesn't find him, calls but he doesn't answer [Prov. 1:28; the rejected call, but aren't answered; they seek the Lord early, but don't find Him. Hos. 5:6 is likewise relevant: "They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them"].

She feels tired of her relationship with him ("sick of love").

She is persecuted by the world around her ["condemned with the world"]

The basic point is that if we don't immediately respond to the Lord's knock, we show ourselves to not love Him enough. If we don't open immediately, it's as if we didn't open at all. The Lord wants us as we are, bleary eyed and without our make up, but with a basic overriding love of Him , and faith in the depth of His love, which will lead us to immediately go out to meet Him . This will be the ultimate and crucial divide- between those who believe in the Lord's love for us, who have known the humanly unknowable love of Christ; and those who think they need to prepare themselves to make themselves good enough for Him. Solomon called to the girl through the keyhole: " undefiled...". But she doesn't want to immediately come to Him because she doesn't want to meet him with 'defiled' feet (Song 5:2,3). She couldn't believe his words, that in his eyes, she was undefiled. And the enormity of the passion of Christ for us is likewise so hard for us to accept. In Song 3:1 we find the girl again at night, dreaming of having Solomon with her. But when one night he does actually come, she doesn't go to meet him immediately. And there's a warning for us. Like Israel we may 'desire the day of the Lord', study prophecy about it, write about it, enthuse about it. But when He comes, to what end will it be to us? Will we in a moment drop everything and go to Him, believing that He loves us just as we are? Or will we run off to buy oil, slap make up on...? The tragedy of Solomon's girl was that she started putting her make up on, and then her heart smote her and she opened the door, her hands dropping perfume all over the bolt (Song 5:5 RV). She finally realized that he had loved her for who she was, how she was. But it was tragically too late. He'd gone. We need to learn that lesson now, to know the love of Christ... so that in that moment when we know for sure 'He's back!', we will without hesitation go to Him with that perfect / mature love, that casts out fear.

Song of Solomon 5:7 The watchmen who go about the city found me. They beat me. They bruised me. The keepers of the walls took my cloak away from me-
The word for "cloak" is only used about the inappropriate clothing of Jerusalem's wanton women (Is. 3:23). She had previously met these men in her previous dream of Song 3, and it's as if they had then given her a warning. But now they beat and bruised her. She lives in constant fear that soldiers guard Solomon's bed from her, and the night watchmen are after her. AV "took away my veil from me" could imply that these men raped her. Then we would read "bruised" in the sense of rape as in Ez. 23:3,8.

Song of Solomon 5:8 I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I am faint with love-
Her worst nightmare on that night of losing her beloved is that she would then bump into the daughters of Jerusalem, in her bedraggled and bruised state (:7). And so it happens in her dream. Her words here could be read as saying that she is "sick of love" (AV), that she is over it, it's all too much for her, and they need not fear her competition any more. Or, it can be read as "fain with love", as if she defiantly tells them that he is still her beloved, and she is passionately in love with him. The ambiguity is perhaps intentional, to show us the understandable but contradictory feelings within her.

Daughters of Jerusalem

Song of Solomon 5:9 How is your beloved better than another beloved, you fairest among women? How is your beloved better than another beloved, that you so adjure us?-
The daughters of Jerusalem mock her as "fairest among women", repeating Solomon's term of endearment to her. They were clearly aware of his relationship with her. And there she was, without her make up, bruised and bedraggled after being raped (see on :7). So they are being deeply sarcastic. The daughters of Jerusalem seem to be implying she has other "beloveds" and they mock her claims to see anything uniquely wonderful in her beloved Solomon; bear in mind that his Hebrew name meant "beloved".


Song of Solomon 5:10 My beloved is white and ruddy. The best among ten thousand-
David had been described as the chiefest among ten thousand (2 Sam. 18:3), and yet this is how Solomon’s illegal girlfriend describes him. He had clearly told her all about his father David- and she evidently pleased Solomon by describing him as being like his father, even though she probably had never known David. He sought a wife who would be a surrogate parent rather than a help-meet. Perhaps she  has in view Solomon's 1000 wives. She may imply that he is better and more worthy than them all, and she is his special one. So she naively believes; for all her manipulation and hard headed self confidence, she is a fool to believe this.

Song of Solomon 5:11 His head is like the purest gold. His hair is bushy, black as a raven-
The description of him as having a head of gold and then proceeding down his body in description to his feet... all recalls the picture of the idol image seen in Daniel 2. Constantly we have hints that when compared with other scripture, this woman and this relationship are absolutely spiritually fake.

Song of Solomon 5:12 His eyes are like doves beside the water brooks, washed with milk, mounted like jewels-
Solomon sees her as a dove with dove's eyes (Song 1:15, also Song 5:2), and she then says here that he has dove's eyes (Song 5:12). They tend to praise each other in the same language. Indeed this is an accurate record of a romance. But the praise is all of externalities, no attention is paid to the character, and there is absolutely no spiritual dimension to the relationship. This says so much about Solomon. This lack of attention to true spirituality means that his love of Divine wisdom at the time was purely of an intellectual, theoretical nature. And this is the warning for us. For he was writing this love song in his youth when he married foreign women, and it was then that he received Divine wisdom and wrote it up in the book of Proverbs.

Song of Solomon 5:13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices with towers of perfumes. His lips are like lilies, dropping liquid myrrh-
She has just tried to make herself pretty with liquid myrrh and perfume. She had delayed opening the door to him because of it, and landed herself in so much trouble (:5). She fails to see that attraction is not based on external things like myrrh. But actually they have had no other basis for their relationship. Even she is without her perfume and myrrh and a bedraggled rape victim (:7), she can only think in terms of externalities. For that is all these two have between them.

Song of Solomon 5:14 His hands are like rings of gold set with beryl. His body is like ivory work overlaid with sapphires-
She seems to claim she knows his naked body. But she praises his hands not for the hands in themselves, but because of all the gold rings with jewels which he wears, giving the impression his hands  / fingers are gold. Even in her distraught state, she can only think of him in terms of externalities; for that was the sole basis of their relationship.

Song of Solomon 5:15 His legs are like pillars of marble set on sockets of fine gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars-
As noted on :14, even in her desperate situation, she can only praise Solomon for his external appearance. There is no implication that she praises him for his personality or character. 

Song of Solomon 5:16 His mouth is sweetness; yes, he is altogether lovely-
She hereby boasts that she has experienced deep kissing with him. She no longer wishes to keep the relationship secret. As he sees her as so entirely beautiful, so she sees him (Song 4:7; 5:16). This mutuality of praise is indeed part of the "in love" period. But it was all a matter of external observation of each other, and because of that, the relationship fell apart.

This is my beloved, and this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem-
She seems to boast to them that he loves her, he is her friend. She clings on even in her desperation to the myth he had got her to believe, that he loved her uniquely and not the daughters of Jerusalem, whom he disparaged to her as "thorns" compared to her as a lily (Song 2:1-3). Solomon ought to have considered wisdom his sister and friend (Prov. 7:4), as he had exhorted others; but instead he considers this Egyptian woman to be both those things.