Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Song of Solomon 5-6: The Shulamite Pursues Her Beloved

The Song of Solomon 5

            The Beloved comes to her and invites his friends to feast with him (v. 1).  [Verse one, of course, concludes the scene depicted in chapter four].  Then a new episode begins.  Verses 2-16 record a troubling night for the young woman.  Her Beloved, after having knocked at her front door, had departed while she was debating within herself whether she should open the door (vv. 2-6a).  She pursued him until the "keepers of the walls" injured her (vv. 6b-7).  Her instructions to the daughters:  if you find my Beloved, tell him that I am lovesick (v. 8). 
            In response to their query "What makes him so special?", the Shulamite issues in highly poetical language a glowing physical description of him from head to foot:  black, wavy hair, beautiful eyes, cheeks and lips, strong hands, sculpted torso, muscular legs, and attractive face and mouth (vv. 10-16).

The Song of Solomon 6

            The daughters of Jerusalem ask the Shulamite where the Beloved is (v. 1), and she tells them that he is feeding his flock and gathering lilies (vv. 2-3; cf. 1:7).  Then the poem revisits the Beloved as he praises his spouse's beauty (vv. 4-7; cf. 4:1-5).  She is the fairest of hundreds in the king's harem (vv. 8-10). 

            This young woman travels to “the garden of nuts” to see the beauty and growth in the valley (v. 11).  Her spouse and his friends plead for her to return (v. 13).  [What do the 'chariots of my noble people' (v. 12) and 'the dance of the double camp' mean]?