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‘ALL FAIR’ – Song of Solomon 3:6-4:7

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on October 11, 2017 under PM Bible Study |

PM Bible Study Group; October 11, 2017 from Song of Solomon 3:6-4:7

Theme: The Lord Jesus delights in the perfections He will have brought about in us in our glorification.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

We have been looking at this remarkable book—the Song of Solomon—as if it were a photo album that displays the snapshots of a deep relation of love between King Solomon and his Shulamite bride. And so far in our examination of this album, we’ve viewed two sections. The first was what we titled “The Declaration of Love”; and it was found in the first four verses. The second section—a much larger one—was one we titled “The Courtship”; and it was found in 1:5-3:5.

And let’s take a moment to remember the story it has told to us. Through various snapshots, it told us the story of a poor Shulamite girl—a young woman who labored in the vineyards of King Solomon, under the harsh supervision of her brothers. She was lovely to those who would take the time to look upon her; but she had been tanned into darkness by the hot sun, and she felt self-conscious and unlovely. And yet, along the way, she caught the attention of a handsome, wealthy, successful shepherd; and he became very smitten by her. Unbeknownst to her, this handsome shepherd was none other than King Solomon himself.

In our last section, we saw how their love grew and blossomed to the point that they often stole away together and could hardly stand to be apart from one another. In fact, in the closing few verses of the last section, she even declared that she would not let him go until she had brought him to the house of her mother (3:4); which was a figure of speech for an engagement to marry.

And that leads us to the beginning of a brand new section in this photo album; one that we’ll call—appropriately—“The Wedding Day”. It is a section that runs from 3:6-5:1. We will only be able to cover a portion of this section—up to 4:7. But look at what it says in that verse. The husband declares, on the day of their wedding, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.” This expresses the bridegroom’s absolute delight in the perfection of his bride—a perfection that he himself had graciously brought about in her. And this gives us a picture of our Lord Jesus’ delight in His bride the church—and indeed, in each one of us as individual believers who have been saved by His grace—on the day when we are finally with Him in glory.

Consider the promise we’re given in Ephesians 5:25-28; of how

Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-28).

On that future day of glory, we too will appear before Him “all fair” and with no “spot” or “wrinkle” or any imperfection of sin in us. This section of the Song of Solomon, then, pictures for us the delight that the Lord Jesus will have in us on that day. Indeed, it suggests to us the delight He has in us now in anticipation of that day.

* * * * * * * * * *

Let’s first, then, consider …


Back in those days, the bride would wait at home, and the groom would come with the wedding party to take his bride away to their new home where the wedding celebration would begin. You might remember the parable that Jesus told of the ten virgins who waited, with oil in their lamps, to hear the midnight cry, “Behold, the bridegroom is coming …” (Matthew 25:6). And so, in this section, we find the Shulamite at home awaiting the arrival of her bridegroom.

Perhaps it was hard for her to wait. We see indications of this in the times when she seems to say, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or b the does of the field. Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases” (2:7; 3:5). Perhaps these expressions indicate a patient waiting on her part, but a true longing for that day to come. Those words reflect a frustration that we may feel too, as we patiently wait for the day of our Lord’s return.

But the day of the arrival of the Shulamite’s bridegroom finally came. And what a surprise and commotion it was to the country folks—and perhaps even to her—when they all saw a glorious royal procession making its way from Jerusalem into their humble town. Verses 6-8 say;

Who is this coming out of the wilderness
Like pillars of smoke,
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
With all the merchant’s fragrant powders?
Behold, it is Solomon’s couch,
With sixty valiant men around it,
Of the valiant of Israel.
They all hold swords,
Being expert in war.
Every man has his sword on his thigh
Because of fear in the night (vv. 6-8).

Solomon, the royal son of King David, had arrived, seated on his royal carriage and surrounded by his royal soldiers and bodyguards. His arrival could not have been mistaken or ignored; marked out as it were as if by pillars of smoke and with the fragrance of his royalty filling the air with majesty. What’s more, verses 9-10 tell us;

Of the wood of Lebanon
Solomon the King
Made himself a palanquin:
He made its pillars of silver,
Its support of gold,
Its seat of purple,
Its interior paved with love
By the daughters of Jerusalem (vv. 9-10).

This ‘palanquin’ was a portable enclosed seat—like the cab of a limousine. You may remember that we suggested before that ‘the daughters of Jerusalem’ sometimes seem to represent the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this symbolic love relationship; and here we see that they are said to have paved the interior of this luxurious cab with love (or, as some translations have it, “in love”). The Holy Spirit delights to support the love of the Lord Jesus for those He has redeemed for Himself.

And why is it that Solomon has made this ride into town with such glory and splendor? Verse 11 goes on to tell us;

Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And see King Solomon with the crown
With which his mother crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
The day of the gladness of his heart (v. 11).

All along, the bridegroom who had fallen in love with the humble Shulamite was King Solomon himself! And he has—at long last—come for his bride. Perhaps all the people of the town will have be ashamed of how unlovely they had considered the poor girl to be; and perhaps her brothers will be ashamed of how cruelly they had treated her and of how hard they made her work, when they see that it is she who is to be the bride of the king! Perhaps we can see in this the words of our Lord in Matthew 25:29-31 regarding what will happen in the day of His return:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).

It’s a day of mourning for the unbelieving world; but for those who belong to Jesus, it’s Wedding Day! May it be that we put our trust in Jesus now, and make ourselves ready for Him so that we can greet the day of His coming with rejoicing!

* * * * * * * * * *

Now; because of the profound intimacy of the next section of our photo album, it may be best to think of these next words as a beautiful poem inserted into this page of the album. In it, we find some very tender expressions between the bridegroom and his bride. In the end, she shares a few words too (4:16). But particularly in the first seven verses, we find …


Let’s be honest. This section of the Song of Solomon has often made people a bit uncomfortable. Preachers have been shy about preaching from it. It describes the intimacies of the wedding night between a newly married couple (see v. 6). That, however, is truly a wonderful and God-blessed thing; and it should be treated as one of the greatest gifts of God our Creator. But if that’s all we see in it, we will be missing the rich spiritual treasures it has to teach us. This is ground that we should tread reverently; because it is symbolizing the holy delight our Savior will have in us when our glorification in Him is complete.

Look how the bridegroom begins. He declares,

Behold, you are fair, my love!
Behold, you are fair! (4:1a).

He declares it not just once, but twice. In fact, he declares it a total of four times in this poem of love (see also vv. 7 and 10). And to say that she is “fair” is quite a contrast from the condition she was in when he found her in Chapter 1—“dark but lovely” (1:5), and ashamed to be looked upon because she had been tanned by the sun, and having failed to keep her own ‘vineyard’ (v. 6). She is now very fair; and that’s because the king—in his gracious love—has poured the riches of his own majesty upon he and made her that way.

He goes on to be specific. He describes seven delights that he has in her; and in them, we see seven areas of delight that our Savior Jesus looks forward to perfecting in us on the day of glory. First, Solomon tells his bride,

You have dove’s eyes behind your veil (v. 1b).

Literally, he says, “Your eyes are doves …” And when we think of doves, we think of the humble and gentle creatures that were allowed to serve as the sacred offerings to God in the temple. They are a symbol of purity; and perhaps this shows us how our Savior will delight in our purity in that day. But I would suggest that we can see even more than that in these words. Do you remember how, at our Lord’s baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove (Matthew 3:16)?—after which, the Father expressed His delight in the Son (v. 17)? I believe these words express how our Redeemer—our divine Bridegroom—will look into our eyes on that day of glory and see, without any obscurity or the slightest hindrance of sin—His own Holy Spirit in us. What a delight that will be to Him forever!

Next—in what would have been the love language of a shepherd—he tells her,

Your hair is like a flock of goats,
Going down from Mount Gilead (v. 1c).

To Solomon—and indeed, to anyone in those days—the sight of the humble flocks on the hillside of Mount Gilead would have been beautiful. And the trusses of his bride delighted Solomon in this way too. But perhaps we can see another symbol of what will be a delight to our Lord on the day of our glory. The long hair of a woman, we’re told in 1 Corinthians 11–is given to her “for a covering” as a glory to her (1 Corinthians 11:15). It is meant to symbolize her humble submission to her divinely appointed ‘head’ (i.e., her husband; see also Ephesians 5:22-24). Could it be that this is meant to picture to us how, on the day of our glorification in Christ, He will eternally delight in our full, humble, loving, delightful submission to Him and dependency upon Him as our ‘Head’ forever?—the one from whom, eternally, we draw life and direction? May it be that we submit to Him even now in a way that pleases Him!

In verse 2, Solomon goes on to say—again in words that would register wonderfully with a shepherd’,

Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep
Which have come up from the washing,
Every one of which bears twins,
And none is barren among them (v. 2).

You and I may not feel like that’s the best ‘wedding-night’ compliment to give—to say that your beloved’s teeth are all there, and that they’re all clean. But to be honest, that is a beautiful thing. Sheep are utterly dependent upon the shepherd for food; and for Jesus—our great Shepherd—how delightful it must be to Him to find our teeth all in order and ready to feed on His word. He Himself said that He depended upon every word that proceeded from the mouth of God His Father (Matthew 4:4). How much more should we be able to say,

Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).

How much of a delight we will be to Him when we are able to say this in perfection—and with the ‘teeth’ of full glorification to feast upon His every word!

In verse three, Solomon also told his bride,

Your lips are like a strand of scarlet,
And your mouth is lovely (v. 3a).

The lips are the doorway outward from our innermost being; and our mouth utters forth what is stored in our hearts. Sadly, there is much that comes forth that is sinful and displeasing to our Lord. We’re too often like Isaiah; who said woefully that he was a man of “unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). We’re too often like what is described in James 3—and our tongue is an ‘unruly evil, full of deadly poison’ (James 3:8). Our unwholesome words must very often grieve the heart of our Bridegroom (see Ephesians 4:29-30). How delightful it will be to Him when, at last in our glorification, our lips and our mouths will forever be truly ‘lovely’ to Him!

Also in verse 3, Solomon tell his bride,

Your temples behind your veil
Are like a piece of pomegranate (v. 3b).

Pomegranates were a luscious and pleasurable fruit. It was symbolic of the richness and prosperity of the promised land (see Numbers 13:23). They were also represented on the priestly robe of Aaron (Exodus 39:25, 28), and in the designs of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:18, 20, 42). They were adornments that represented delight and pleasure to the Lord. And this seems to show us that, in our glorification, our Redeemer will look upon our ‘temples’—the place where our mind and thoughts abide—and will find that which delights and pleases Him. Right now, there is much in our minds and thoughts that is corrupt and impure—much that is displeasing to our Savior. And as is so often the case, what is corrupt in our minds and thoughts then comes out of our mouths. But then, we will be able to say—with full purity and full truthfulness a—“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

And then, Solomon says something of his bride that—again—is in keeping with his unique ‘love-language’ style; but that might sound strange to our ears:

Your neck is like the tower of David,
Built for an armory,
On which hang a thousand bucklers,
All shields of mighty men (v. 4).

This wouldn’t work on a Hallmark Card today. But it reflects the kind of strength and and defensive stability that Solomon would have grown up to appreciate under the nurture of his royal father David. A strong tower that is built well and fortified by defenses symbolizes character and strength. No such tower would ever be easily knocked down. And that’s what Solomon found delightful in his bride. She was strong and stable and reliable. Likewise, our Lord looks forward—in our full glorification—to our strength and stability in Him. King David wrote of the Lord, “For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy” (Psalm 61:3). And likewise, the more we find our shelter in the Lord, the stronger we will be. In a context of spiritual warfare, Paul exhorted his believing friends to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). And on that day of glorification, our Savior will delight to find that we are completely strong in Him.

Finally, Solomon says of his bride,

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle,
Which feed among the lilies (v. 5).

Solomon declares that his bride’s breasts were a sign of beauty to him; and he describes them in a way that would have appealed to him as a man who loved God’s creation and the beauty of wildlife. But more, behind the Shulamite’s breasts were where her heart was kept; and he had great delight in her heart of love for him. In 2:16, the Shulamite said, “My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies.” And now, her heart is where he is. This symbolizes the day when our Savior will delight in the fact that our whole inner being is His—at peace in Him; feeding, as it were, among the lilies.

* * * * * * * * * * *

You’ll notice that, at the end of this list, Solomon declares that he will give himself over to the delight he finds in his bride. He says;

Until the day breaks
And the shadows flee away,
I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh
And to the hill of frankincense (v. 6).

And perhaps you’ll remember that it was the fragrance of myrrh and frankincense that characterized his caravan when Solomon first came to take her as his bride (3:6); and now, she is completely characterized by that which characterizes him. This is a picture of the complete union we are destined to share with our Savior; when He prays to the Father and declares that

the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:22-23).

And once again, note how it all ends. Solomon says to her,

You are all fair, my love,
And there is no spot in you (v. 7).

That’s what our Lord Jesus will declare of us on that day. But is it true? Can we really hope for this? Yes! As it says in Jude 24-25;

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen (Jude 24-25).

Only our Redeemer—our divine Bridegroom—can produce in us that which delights Him so. May the day of our Savior’s full and perfect delight in us come soon! May we rejoice in the fact that He delights in us even now—looking ahead to what He will perfect in us in glory; and to how He will then be able to declare us “all fair”.

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