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GONE TO HIS GARDEN – Song of Solomon 6:1-10

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on January 10, 2018 under PM Bible Study |

PM Bible Study Group; January 10, 2018 from Song of Solomon 6:1-10

Theme: In times of the wandering of our heart, our Savior’s delight in our fellowship beckons us back to Him..

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

In this wonderful ‘photo album’ of love that we call “The Song of Solomon”, we have been exploring a particular section of the love story between Solomon and his Shulamite bride. We have been calling this section—which we find in 5:2-6:12—“The Joys and Challenges of Marriage”. We call it this because, not only does it show us how Solomon and his bride delighted in the joys and happiness of married life, but we also find a time of struggle.

The struggle, as we have seen it most recently in our study, began in 5:2. That was where we read of how Solomon came to seek sweet fellowship with his bride; but found that she was occupied in other ways and was somewhat ‘inconvenienced’ by his call. Her heart attitude toward him changed in the course of time; but when she sought him, he had gone away and she went out in search for him. And that was when we read of how the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ called her in verse 9 to recite what it was that she loved about him, and of how she then listed his delightful qualities in verses 10-16. We took those ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ to be a picture to us of the Holy Spirit in His ministry of turning our attention to our glorious Bridegroom Jesus—even in times when our own affection and devotion to Him wanes. And we spent time in our last study considering how the Shulamite’s description of Solomon reminds us of the delightful qualities of our Savior. We learned that, when our own affection and devotion to Him wanes because of sin or neglect or preoccupation with lesser things, our passion for Him is renewed when we deliberately take the time to remember how wonderful He is.

So; we’re still in that section we call “The Joys and Challenges of Marriage”. And now that the Shulamites’s affection has been renewed for her husband, she goes out to find Him in the place that Solomon loved to meet with her—in his garden.

* * * * * * * * * *

Solomon’s ‘garden’ is mentioned nine times in this book in seven different verses (see 4:12, 15, 16; 5:1; 6:2, 11; 8:13). And this ‘garden’ seems to be the place of fellowship that Solomon loved to go in order to meet with his bride. In fact, it seems symbolic of the delight he takes in having the deepest and most intimate communion with her, and in enjoying the blessedness that he has showered upon her. We see this perhaps the most clearly in 4:12-5:1; where we’re told that, on the wedding night, he tells her,

A garden enclosed
Is my sister, my spouse,
A spring shut up,
A fountain sealed.

Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
With pleasant fruits,
Fragrant henna with spikenard,
Spikenard and saffron,
Calamus and cinnamon,
With all trees of frankincense,
Myrrh and aloes,
With all the chief spices—
A fountain of gardens,
A well of living waters,
And streams from Lebanon (4:12-16);

and where she responds by saying,

Awake, O north wind,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
That its spices may flow out.
Let my beloved come to his garden
And eat its pleasant fruits (5:1).

Think of what a garden is. It’s a place in which beautiful things are planted, and nurtured, and made to grow; so that, eventually, those things will be the joy and delight of the one who beholds them. Similarly, our Lord Jesus has redeemed us to Himself, and nurtures us, and cares for us in such a way as to cause His own character to be reflected in us. He delights in us personally; and in the ways that He is bringing His own glory to perfection in us through the process of sanctification. He takes delight in how this aspect of our being is becoming more like Him, or how that part of our character is being conformed to His own image. He loves to visit the ‘garden’, as it were, to partake of intimate fellowship with us and see how the things He is perfecting in us are growing and blossoming. And in the day of our full glorification in Him, what a thrill and joy we will be to Him eternally! And what’s more, what joy we will have in His joy!

What a wonderful picture this is then of the joy that our Lord Jesus has in meeting with us—His bride; and of how eager we should be that He delights in what He has made us to be! Isn’t it interesting to note that our Savior’s favorite place to meet with His disciples was in the Garden of Gethsemane? And isn’t it significant that it was there—in that garden—that He offered Himself in love for us as our redeeming sacrifice; so that He could make us glorious in His sight?

So; let’s look at the closing portion of this ‘Joys and Challenges’ section—now that the challenge is past—and consider the picture we are given of the delight we share with our Savior meeting Him in His ‘garden’ of deep fellowship with us.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The story is told to us, from the standpoint of the Shulamite, as beginning after she has taken the time to recite to herself the delightful qualities of her husband. Now, her heart—formerly inconvenienced by his call—longs for fellowship with him once again. And this is where we find her …


As she thinks back again upon his delightful qualities, it seems that ‘the daughters of Jerusalem’ further advance her thoughts by speaking to her. As we have suggested before, these ‘daughters’ seem to be symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of highlighting the love of the Lord Jesus for us and of drawing our attention to Him. They had already spoken to the Shulamite and prompted her thoughts of her husband (see 6:9); and now, they speak again and ask her,

Where has your beloved gone,
O fairest among women?
Where has your beloved turned aside,
That we may seek him with you? (6:1).

After hearing of the Shulamite’s recitation of his qualities, it’s as if they too express a longing for him. But their longing is meant to inspire hers; and their desire to seek him is meant to provoke her to seek him as well.

How wonderful it is of the Holy Spirit that, as He enjoys perfect communion with the Father and the Son—and as He Himself shines the spotlight on the love of the Son of God for us—He wants us to share that fellowship of love too. He even provokes us to to that love. If this is a true understanding of this symbolism, then notice that the Spirit even affirms the beauty and delight that the Lord Jesus takes in us (calling us, as it were, the fair one’s of our Savior—fairest of them all); and that He accompanies us in the pursuit of our Savior; saying, “I will seek Him along with you. I will draw you to where He is.” We should be grateful for how the Holy Spirit beckons our beloved Lord to our minds when we need to think of Him most. How often, in our fallenness, we would ignore Him if the Spirit didn’t work so faithfully to call Him to our minds!

So; in answer to the question of ‘the daughters of Jerusalem’, the Shulamite affirms where her beloved husband is. It’s as if she knew all along where to find him. She says;

My beloved has gone to his garden,
To the beds of spices,
To feed his flock in the gardens,
And to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s,
And my beloved is mine.
He feeds his flock among the lilies (vv. 2-3).

You’ll recall how Solomon already spoke of how much he delighted in the fellowship of intimacy that he had with the Shulamite. In 4:12-16, he said that she is “a garden enclosed”. He spoke of her pleasant fruits; of her fragrant henna and spikenard and saffron—of calamus and cinnamon, frankincense and myrrrh and aloes and chief spices. Truly she was to him the place to go to enjoy “the beds of spices”; where he took sweet delight in her. It was where he, as it were, ‘gathered lilies’ of sweet moments with her—taking pleasure in the glory that he has showered upon her. What a picture this is of the delight that our Savior takes in meeting with His own in the place of deep fellowship.

Notice too that this was were Solomon ‘fed his flocks’. This reminds us that it isn’t our Lord alone who gains the blessing of fellowship. The garden of this fellowship is also where those who belonged to him are blessed and nourished. Perhaps you’ll recall that, when our Lord taught the crowds in parables, it was only when He was alone with His disciples that they could ask Him what those parables meant. As Mark 4:34 tells us, “And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.” That’s where our Shepherd ‘feeds His flocks’; in the place of intimate fellowship.

And what a wonderful affirmation this all provokes in the heart of the Shulamite. As she thinks of her husband and of how he loves to meet her in the garden, she declares that she is his and he is hers. She recalled not only where He is; but that it is there that he feeds his flocks—and she is his! She wanted to be in the garden with him and to be fed by him. And as we grow to delight in our Savior’s delight in us, this spiritual ‘garden’ of fellowship is also where we will want to be; because we belong to Jesus and He to us.

May it be that the Holy Spirit increases our desire for our Savior’s love; and that we are moved by Him to recall that our Savior meets with His own in the garden of deep fellowship. That’s where we need to be!

* * * * * * * * * * *

And that’s where the Shulamite knew that she also needed to be. It appears that she made here way to the garden immediately. And when she did, she was met by the bridegroom who was waiting there for her.

In the verses that follow, it is he who speaks to her about her. Just as she had recited his delightful qualities to herself, he recites her own delightful qualities back to her. He declares the ways that he has beautified her; and that’s where we find her …


He begins by greeting her in the place of deep fellowship by saying,

O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah,
Lovely as Jerusalem,
Awesome as an army with banners! (v. 4a).

Tirzah was, in the years after Solomon’s reign, often made a capital of the Northern Kingdom. And of course, Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah. Solomon was, in a sense, speaking his ‘love language’ to her again; and letting her know that she was as beautiful to him as all his kingdom—all the blessed ‘promised land’ of God. But what’s more, she was striking for him to behold—as ‘awesome as an army with banners’. This too is the ‘love language’ of a mighty king; and in these words, he expressed how much delight he took in her. In fact, he goes so far as to say,

Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have overcome me (v. 4b).

There was no false flattery in this. This former ‘farm girl’ had become so glorified to Solomon—in all the rich glory of his which he poured on her—that he could almost scarcely look upon her for long before he was overwhelmed by her. This is the picture of the glory of our Lord Jesus—glory beyond words; glory that cannot be gazed upon by unholy eyes—that our Lord purposes to share with us.

Now; she had allowed her love for her husband to wane. But his love for her did not wane at all. In fact, he proves this by what he then goes on to say to her;

Your hair is like a flock of goats
Going down from Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
Which have come up from the washing;
Every one bears twins,
And none is barren among them.
Like a piece of pomegranate
Are your temples behind your veil (vv. 4c-7).

Do these words sound familiar? They should. They are almost exactly the very words that he spoke to her on the night of their wedding (see 4:1-3). And Solomon wasn’t just repeating himself. He was affirming to her that the things of her that he delighted in on the wedding night are still a delight to him. This is a picture to us of our Lord’s own steadfast love for us. When we wander in our love for Him, or when we allow that love to grow weak or to be neglected, and then come back to the place of fellowship with Him, our unfaithfulness never makes Him unfaithful to us. He always welcomes us back; and He assures us that His love for us is as strong as ever.

Solomon went on then to tell his bride;

There are sixty queens
And eighty concubines,
And virgins without number (v. 8).

It may be that these were other wives; but then again, this isn’t certain. At this point in the story of Solomon, it is likely that she was his only bride; and that these were members of the royal household. Some of them may have sought to be Solomon’s bride. But he assures the Shulamite that she stands out above them all:

My dove, my perfect one,
Is the only one,
The only one of her mother,
The favorite of the one who bore her.
The daughters saw her
And called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines,
And they praised her (v. 9).

Did you know that when we are fully glorified and in the presence of our Lord, the angels of heaven will behold the glory that our Savior has showered upon us? The Father will make us to sit in heavenly glory with our Lord; “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7); and this is “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places” (3:10). Perhaps the blessings Solomon’s bride received from the queens and the concubines and the virgins was meant to reflect this.

It seems that Solomon then, in an overwhelming way, declares the glory of his bride:

Who is she who looks forth as the morning,
Fair as the moon,
Clear as the sun,
Awesome as an army with banners? (v. 10).

Should it be any wonder if the Lord would delight in our glorification in such a way as this? After all, it would be He Himself who gave such glory to us.

And all of this teaches us that, in those times when our waning love is restored and our wandering heart returns, we should come back to the garden of fellowship with our Savior—and receive all the ways that He says He delights in us. How this would fix our wandering hearts to Him!

* * * * * * * * * *

And this, then, is were we find the Shulamite celebrating in the welcome of her husband, and finding herself …


If the garden is the place where he delights to meet with his bride; then she—in her restored state of fellowship with him—says,

I went down to the garden of nuts
To see the verdure of the valley,
To see whether the vine had budded
And the pomegranates had bloomed (v. 11).

She is saying, as it were, that she went to see of love still thrived—if the delights of her husband’s fellowship were still there for her. And indeed; that love did thrive and his delight in her did still flourished! She said;

Before I was even aware,
My soul had made me
As the chariots of my noble people (v. 12).

The phrase ‘my noble people’ is a translation of the Hebrew phrase Ammi Nadib; which means ‘princely people’. It seems as if she was saying that her heart thrilled and raced to know of his delight in her. The place of deepest fellowship with her beloved husband was where she needed to be all along; and once there, her inner being ran like a beautiful chariot—decked out for glory and honor. We might say it sped like a sports car!

* * * * * * * * * *

What a beautiful picture this is of the love between Solomon and his bride. But more, what a picture it gives us of our Savior’s delight in the things that He is perfecting in us; and of how much He longs to meet us in the fellowship of His ‘garden’. When we think of our Savior’s joy in having fellowship with us in this way, we can’t help but think of that wonderful song by Austin Miles—a song that, no doubt, had this passage in mind when it was written:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

May it be that we come to the garden of deep fellowship with our Bridegroom often—not only for His joy, but also for our own joy in Him!

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