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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on December 13, 2017 under PM Bible Study |

PM Bible Study Group; December 13, 2017 from Song of Solomon 5:9-16

Theme: Our beloved Savior is excellent in ten wonderful ways.

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

Ask someone in love about the one they love sometime. And be sure to give yourself some time; because they love to speak about the one they love. It is, in fact, a sign of true love.

That’s part of the story that we find in this marvelous ‘photo album’ that we have been studying together—the Song of Solomon. In it, we have been taking a tour of the love between the Shulamite woman and her husband King Solomon. It has been a picture to us of the love we are to have toward our Lord Jesus and of His love toward us. Particularly, we have been studying the division of this photo album we’ve been calling ‘The Joys and Challenges of Marriage” (from 5:2-6:13).

You might remember that one of the challenges that was faced was a sense of complacency. After the wedding—and in the midst of the marriage—the Shulamite found herself ‘inconvenienced’ by the desire of her bridegroom to fellowship with her; and she regretted her expression of inconvenience and went out to seek him. And in the midst of her search—in a deep spirit of longing for him—she was asked, in 5:9, what it was that she loved about him. Her reply was given in verses 10-16; and they were beautiful words of adoring love. Clearly, we can see her love for her beloved one by the way she described him.

In our last study, we only had a chance to just pass briefly through these words. But they are worth our going back and examining again in greater detail; because they give us a description—in symbolic form—of how we are to adore our Lord Jesus in His excellencies.

Perhaps you have been feeling complacent in your own love for the Lord Jesus lately. Perhaps you have allowed the concerns of life to distract you from Him. It may be that when He comes to call upon you and says, “My beloved one, come away with Me. Stop what you’re dong. Let’s spend some time in fellowship with one another”, that you’ve felt inconvenienced or too busy to be with Him. Taking a good look at who He is and what He is like would quickly convince us that there is no greater thing that we could ever do than to sit in fellowship with Him at His feet.

* * * * * * * * * *

So then; let’s look a little closer at this description that the Shulamite gives of her beloved King/Husband. Notice first that …


We can know who it is who is asking the question by going all the way down to the Shulamite’s words in verse 16. It’s there that we find she is talking to the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’. They are those strange figures who show up often in the story to provoke her thoughts with questions and to rejoice with her in her love for Solomon. We have suggested before that they can be thought of as symbolizing the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives; because it is His great ministry to us to point our attention to Jesus and to highlight Him to us.

And so, in the midst of her nighttime search for her husband—catching her, as it were, in a time when she is aware of her improper complacency of attitude toward him—they ask a great question:

What is your beloved
More than another beloved,
O fairest among women?
What is your beloved
More than another beloved,
That you so charge us? (v. 9).

Note what they call her. They refer to her as “fairest among women”. This of course was not always true of her. She was formerly unattractive to the eyes of this world. She was a poor farm girl who had been darkened by her many hours of hard labor in the sun; and she didn’t want anyone to look upon her (see 1:6). She was fairest among women now because Solomon had taken her to himself and adorned her with the beautify of his own royal glory. And that would remind us of ourselves in the love of Jesus. We too were unlovely in our sin. But Jesus Christ—in gracious love—took us to Himself and has adorned us with the beautify of His own glory. It is a glory that will, one day, be fully realized and fully displayed on the day of His return. We are, in that respect, formerly unattractive; but now are ‘fairest among women’.

For the daughters of Jerusalem to speak this way to her would be to remind her of the depth of gracious love that she had been shown; and that would only serve to provoke in her an even deeper sense of love for her beloved. And note the question. They ask—as if to remind her—what it is that is so wonderful about her beloved husband. Why is he better than another? What is it about him that causes her to issue the charge to them that we find in v. 8; “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am lovesick”? These daughters of Jerusalem aren’t asking because they don’t know the answer. Rather, they are asking this question rhetorically—to provoke her to think back on the beauties of the one she has neglected.

We should be grateful for the way that the Holy Spirit—so often, and in times of our greatest need—reminds us of who Jesus is, and calls us to think back on Him who we have been neglecting.

* * * * * * * * * *

So the question is put to the Shulamite. And it provokes in her a renewed memory of her beloved. That’s when we find that …


A. First, we find that the Shulamite answers the question by declaring her beloved’s excellency in a general way. She says,

My beloved is white and ruddy,
Chief among ten thousand (v. 10).

It’s almost as if she is trying to stretch the capacity of words to describe him. “He is white”; which is meant to speak of the purity of his beauty. He has no stain or imperfection upon him. And yet, he is ‘ruddy’ or ‘red’. That, by the way, was a description we were given when we were first introduced to Solomon’s father David: “ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking” (1 Samuel 16:12). And this is a picture of our Lord Jesus. As He walked upon this earth, He was ‘white’ with the purity of His sinless Person; but He was also stained ‘ruddy red’ with the blood that He shed for us. Can there be a more glorious description of our Redeemer?—“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8)?

She also declares that He is ‘Chief’ or ‘the distinguished One’ among ten thousand. The number 10,000 here is meant to symbolize an innumerable quantity. He is the very best of the very best.

B. The Shulamite doesn’t leave this as a vague statement, however. How is it that her husband is ‘Chief among ten thousand’? How is it, specifically, that he is ‘more than another beloved’? She goes on to express His excellency in ten specifics.


She says, “His head is like the finest gold …” (v. 11a). The head is the first thing we typically notice about someone. And looking at her beloved, she beheld a head that was like the finest of gold. Perhaps, as she looked upon Solomon, she saw a crown of gold—or at least a head upon which a crown of gold rightly sat. It was the crown that she saw upon him on the day of their wedding (see 3:11). And this is a picture of our Lord Jesus as well. We always remember that the One who loved us and took us as His own is ‘royalty’. He is ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’; and upon His head will rest the crown of eternal majesty. How wondrous that such a glorious King would even know our names—let alone love us so!


Next to the head, we often notice someone’s hair. In fact, you may notice that their is an upward-to-downward description being given to us in the things that the Shulamite says. She says, “His locks are wavy, and black as a raven” (11b). Solomon’s hair apparently wasn’t ‘red’ (as it would seem his father’s hair was), but rather black. His hair was wavy and dark as the feathers of a raven. He would have been striking to behold; and the crown of his head would have stood out in bold relief. And again, we can see a picture here of our Savior. It tells us of His youthful vigor. Even though He is pictured in Revelation 1:14 as having a head and hair ‘white like wool’, He is here pictured for us as ‘the Ancient of Days’ (Daniel 7:9) who is eternal in His strength. As it says of Him in Psalm 102:25-27;

Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You will endure;
Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
Like a cloak You will change them,
And they will be changed.

But You are the same,
And Your years will have no end (Psalm 102:25-27).


We would next notice someone’s eyes; and the beloved of the Shulamite’s eyes were striking—but also tender. “His eyes are like doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set” (v. 12). She saw wonderful tenderness in them. Someone’s piercing gaze can be intimidating; and in Revelation we’re told of our Lord’s eyes being “like a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14). They see all. Nothing is hidden from them; and by them, He determines justice and judgment. But toward us, those same eyes are like doves. There is no harm toward us in them. They are soothing—like the rivers of water. They are washed as it were ‘with milk’; which pictures to us their tender and pleasant gaze. They are ‘fitly set’; that is, as if gemstones set in beautiful filigree. We see nothing in His gaze toward us but love and beauty.


Moving downward, she speaks of Solomon’s cheeks—just below those loving eyes. She says, “His cheeks are like a bed of spices, banks of scented herbs” (v. 13a). We might think of this as his face; and when the Shulamite gazes upon his face, she is delighted as if she were—in a very poetic way—taking in the fragrance of a beautiful spice garden. And think of our Savior’s face. We do not know what He looked like as He walked this earth. But we know that, in order to bear our sin and purchase our salvation, His face was beaten and struck; and that His beard was plucked out; and that “His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; so shall He sprinkle many nations” (Isaiah 52:14-15). His face is sweeter to us than Solomon’s could ever be to the Shulamite; because it bears the fragrance of His sacrificial love for us.

5. HIS LIPS (v. 13b).

Next to Solomon’s cheeks were his lips. The Shulamite says, “His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh” (v. 13b). We encountered ‘liquid myrrh’ in this section already. It was found in verse 5. When Solomon came to visit, he had left a token of his love—liquid myrrh; and her hands dripped with it when she took hold of the door. Here, though, it wasn’t just a token. It was characteristic of his very words to her. He spoke to her in ways that delighted her heart and that was the substance of his token. And that’s also true of our Lord. The Bible tells us, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46); that He came into this world “full of grace and truth” (v. 14); and that everyone “marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Luke 4:22). What comes from our Lord’s lips, for us, is always good—only what gives us grace. Has it ever been that our Lord ever speaks to us the ‘wrong thing’?


Moving down from his lips, we discover Solomon’s hands. The Shulamite says, “His hands are rods of gold, set with beryl” (v. 14a). His hands (or as it can be translated “arms” were royal—things of beauty. But they weren’t delicate hands. They were strong—rods of gold, but set in a beautiful setting of precious gem. And this speaks of our Lord’s hands. They are tender toward us; but they bear the marks of His love for us through the nail prints that are forever upon them. And they are strong! He says, “My own arm brought salvation for Me” (Isaiah 63:5); and the hands that embrace us are the hands by which He “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3).


The Shulamite declares the glories of Solomon’s body—moving downward from his hands. Some scholars believe this can be translated ‘belly’. She says, “His body is carved ivory inlaid with sapphires” (v. 14b). He is, if we may say it from her standpoint, a work of art! And consider our Savior. He took upon Himself a body by which He could be our Savior. As He Himself prayed to the Father, “a body You have prepared for Me” (Hebrews 10:5). And as the writer of Hebrews puts it, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18). What a precious body was His—sinless; in the strength of youth; and fit to bear for us our sins, without any sin of His own!


Moving down still, the Shulamite speaks of Solomon’s legs. “His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of fine gold” (v. 15b). She declares that he stands strong and stable; and his stride is one of purity—becoming of one who is royal in his majesty. And this also speaks of our Redeemer. When He is pictured for us in Revelation 1:15, we’re told that His “feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace”. What holiness! He always only did the Father’s will; and was able to declare, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29).


The Shulamite had spoken of physical qualities. But note now how she speaks of Solomon’s moral qualities. He speaks of his countenance—that is, his appearance and the bearing of himself that others beheld. She said, “His countenance is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars” (v. 15b). Lebanon was known for its tall forests of mighty trees. And that’s how Solomon impressed others—a mighty and majestic cedar; beautiful to gaze upon and unchanging in its strength. And that also speaks of our Lord. He is unchanging in His character and majesty. He is “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).


Finally, the Shulamite notes Solomon’s mouth. Since she has already spoken of his lips, we can take this to mean that she speaks of the things he says, and of how his words adorn his whole character. We can take these two phrases together because of the nature of Hebrew poetry: “His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely” (v. 16a); and understand them together as expressive of how his noble and gracious speech always suited the dignity of his being. How like our Savior! As it says of Him in Psalm 45:2, “You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured forth upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever.”

C. When all is said of Solomon, the Shulamite—who may have been formerly complacent in her love—is complacent no longer. He in the end appreciates the excellency of her bridegroom in a very personal way. She declares—almost with a sense of appropriate pride and renewed awareness;

This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem! (v. 16b).

How wonderful that such a one as our Lord Jesus is not only our ‘beloved’ Bridegroom, but also our dearest Friend.

* * * * * * * * * *

Have you grown complacent in your love for Jesus? Could it be that the cure for such complacency is to remember and recite His excellencies? Could it be that the Holy Spirit is asking you—even now—what it is that makes the Lord Jesus so special to you? Could it be that He is calling forth an answer from you?—one that causes you to think carefully; one that it would be for your own good to give?

When we take the time to thoughtfully answer that question: “What is your beloved more than another beloved?”, how much more in love with Jesus we grow to be!

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