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Colloquy of Friends and Bride


What is your beloved more than another beloved,

O fairest among women?

What is your beloved more than another beloved,

that you thus adjure us?



My beloved is all radiant and ruddy,

distinguished among ten thousand.


His head is the finest gold;

his locks are wavy,

black as a raven.


His eyes are like doves

beside springs of water,

bathed in milk,

fitly set.


His cheeks are like beds of spices,

yielding fragrance.

His lips are lilies,

distilling liquid myrrh.


His arms are rounded gold,

set with jewels.

His body is ivory work,

encrusted with sapphires.


His legs are alabaster columns,

set upon bases of gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon,

choice as the cedars.


His speech is most sweet,

and he is altogether desirable.

This is my beloved and this is my friend,

O daughters of Jerusalem.


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9. Her own beauty (Eze 16:14), and lovesickness for Him, elicit now their enquiry (Mt 5:16); heretofore "other lords besides Him had dominion over them"; thus they had seen "no beauty in Him" (Isa 26:13; 53:2).

10. (1Pe 3:15).

white and ruddy—health and beauty. So David (equivalent to beloved), His forefather after the flesh, and type (1Sa 17:42). "The Lamb" is at once His nuptial and sacrificial name (1Pe 1:19; Re 19:7), characterized by white and red; white, His spotless manhood (Re 1:14). The Hebrew for white is properly "illuminated by the sun," white as the light" (compare Mt 17:2); red, in His blood-dyed garment as slain (Isa 63:1-3; Re 5:6; 19:13). Angels are white, not red; the blood of martyrs does not enter heaven; His alone is seen there.

chiefest—literally, "a standard bearer"; that is, as conspicuous above all others, as a standard bearer is among hosts (Ps 45:7; 89:6; Isa 11:10; 55:4; Heb 2:10; compare 2Sa 18:3; Job 33:23; Php 2:9-11; Re 1:5). The chief of sinners needs the "chiefest" of Saviours.

11. head … goldthe Godhead of Jesus Christ, as distinguished from His heel, that is, His manhood, which was "bruised" by Satan; both together being one Christ (1Co 11:3). Also His sovereignty, as Nebuchadnezzar, the supreme king was "the head of gold" (Da 2:32-38; Col 1:18), the highest creature, compared with Him, is brass, iron, and clay. "Preciousness" (Greek, 1Pe 2:7).

bushycurled, token of Headship. In contrast with her flowing locks (So 4:1), the token of her subjection to Him (Ps 8:4-8; 1Co 11:3, 6-15). The Hebrew is (pendulous as) the branches of a palm, which, when in leaf, resemble waving plumes of feathers.

black—implying youth; no "gray hairs" (Ps 102:27; 110:3, 4; Ho 7:9). Jesus Christ was crucified in the prime of vigor and manliness. In heaven, on the other hand, His hair is "white," He being the Ancient of days (Da 7:9). These contrasts often concur in Him (So 5:10), "white and ruddy"; here the "raven" (So 5:12), the "dove," as both with Noah in the ark (Ge 8:11); emblems of judgment and mercy.

12. as the eyes of doves—rather, "as doves" (Ps 68:13); bathing in "the rivers"; so combining in their "silver" feathers the whiteness of milk with the sparkling brightness of the water trickling over them (Mt 3:16). The "milk" may allude to the white around the pupil of the eye. The "waters" refer to the eye as the fountain of tears of sympathy (Eze 16:5, 6; Lu 19:41). Vivacity, purity, and love, are the three features typified.

fitly set—as a gem in a ring; as the precious stones in the high priest's breastplate. Rather, translate as Vulgate (the doves), sitting at the fulness of the stream; by the full stream; or, as Maurer (the eyes) set in fulness, not sunk in their sockets (Re 5:6), ("seven," expressing full perfection), (Zec 3:9; 4:10).

13. cheeks—the seat of beauty, according to the Hebrew meaning [Gesenius]. Yet men smote and spat on them (Isa 50:6).

bed—full, like the raised surface of the garden bed; fragrant with ointments, as beds with aromatic plants (literally, "balsam").

sweet flowers—rather, "terraces of aromatic herbs"—"high-raised parterres of sweet plants," in parallelism to "bed," which comes from a Hebrew root, meaning "elevation."

lips—(Ps 45:2; Joh 7:46).

lilies—red lilies. Soft and gentle (1Pe 2:22, 23). How different lips were man's (Ps 22:7)!

dropping … myrrh—namely, His lips, just as the sweet dewdrops which hang in the calyx of the lily.

14. rings set with … berylHebrew, Tarshish, so called from the city. The ancient chrysolite, gold in color (Septuagint), our topaz, one of the stones on the high priest's breastplate, also in the foundation of New Jerusalem (Re 21:19, 20; also Da 10:6). "Are as," is plainly to be supplied, see in So 5:13 a similiar ellipsis; not as Moody Stuart: "have gold rings." The hands bent in are compared to beautiful rings, in which beryl is set, as the nails are in the fingers. Burrowes explains the rings as cylinders used as signets, such as are found in Nineveh, and which resemble fingers. A ring is the token of sonship (Lu 15:22). A slave was not allowed to wear a gold ring. He imparts His sonship and freedom to us (Ga 4:7); also of authority (Ge 41:42; compare Joh 6:27). He seals us in the name of God with His signet (Re 7:2-4), compare below, So 8:6, where she desires to be herself a signet-ring on His arms; so "graven on the palms," &c., that is, on the signet-ring in His hand (Isa 49:16; contrast Hag 2:23, with Jer 22:24).

bellyBurrowes and Moody Stuart translate, "body." Newton, as it is elsewhere, "bowels"; namely, His compassion (Ps 22:14; Isa 63:15; Jer 31:20; Ho 11:8).

bright—literally, "elaborately wrought so as to shine," so His "prepared" body (Heb 10:5); the "ivory palace" of the king (Ps 45:8); spotless, pure, so the bride's "neck is as to tower of ivory" (So 7:4).

sapphires—spangling in the girdle around Him (Da 10:5). "To the pure all things are pure." As in statuary to the artist the partly undraped figure is suggestive only of beauty, free from indelicacy, so to the saint the personal excellencies of Jesus Christ, typified under the ideal of the noblest human form. As, however, the bride and bridegroom are in public, the usual robes on the person, richly ornamented, are presupposed (Isa 11:5). Sapphires indicate His heavenly nature (so Joh 3:13, "is in heaven"), even in His humiliation, overlaying or cast "over" His ivory human body (Ex 24:10). Sky-blue in color, the height and depth of the love of Jesus Christ (Eph 3:18).

15. pillars—strength and steadfastness. Contrast man's "legs" (Ec 12:3). Allusion to the temple (1Ki 5:8, 9; 7:21), the "cedars" of "Lebanon" (Ps 147:10). Jesus Christ's "legs" were not broken on the cross, though the thieves' were; on them rests the weight of our salvation (Ps 75:3).

sockets of fine gold—His sandals, answering to the bases of the pillars; "set up from everlasting" (Pr 8:22, 23). From the head (So 5:11) to the feet, "of fine gold." He was tried in the fire and found without alloy.

countenance—rather, "His aspect," including both mien and stature (compare 2Sa 23:21, Margin; with 1Ch 11:23). From the several parts, she proceeds to the general effect of the whole person of Jesus Christ.

Lebanon—so called from its white limestone rocks.

excellent—literally, "choice," that is, fair and tall as the cedars on Lebanon (Eze 31:3, &c.). Majesty is the prominent thought (Ps 21:5). Also the cedars' duration (Heb 1:11); greenness (Lu 23:31), and refuge afforded by it (Eze 17:22, 23).

16. Literally, "His palate is sweetness, yea, all over loveliness," that is, He is the essence of these qualities.

mouth—so So 1:2, not the same as "lips" (So 5:13), His breath (Isa 11:4; Joh 20:22). "All over," all the beauties scattered among creatures are transcendently concentrated in Him (Col 1:19; 2:9).

my beloved—for I love Him.

my friend—for He loves me (Pr 18:24). Holy boasting (Ps 34:2; 1Co 1:31).