Read Song of Songs 1
6 Where has your beloved gone,
most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
that we may look for him with you?
2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
he browses among the lilies.
4 You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
as lovely as Jerusalem,
as majestic as troops with banners.
5 Turn your eyes from me;
they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from Gilead.
6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
not one of them is missing.
7 Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
8 Sixty queens there may be,
and eighty concubines,
and virgins beyond number;
9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
the only daughter of her mother,
the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
the queens and concubines praised her.
10 Who is this that appears like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
majestic as the stars in procession?
11 I went down to the grove of nut trees
to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 Before I realized it,
my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.
13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!
Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
as on the dance of Mahanaim?
The MacArthur Bible Handbook separates Song of Songs into 3 segments: The courtship (leaving), the wedding (cleaving), and the marriage (weaving). Chapter 6 falls into the “marriage” segment, specifically celebrating restoration within the marriage after its first major disagreement in chapter 5. In chapter 6, we see how Christian community helps restore a marriage.
The new bride (the Shulamite) is looking for her husband in an attempt to reconcile and express her love for him. What makes this example of restoration even more beautiful is the support and encouragement of the “others” or “friends.” The passage opens with them asking the woman where her husband is, concerned about the division within marriage. They then offer to seek him with her. They are showing concern, encouraging her, and offering to help with the process by giving their time and effort.
Marriage is God-sustained! These Others are following God’s admonishment in Galatians 6:2 that brothers and sisters should “carry each other’s burdens.” We see examples of this play out in other parts of the Bible, such as in Exodus 17:12-13 when Moses’s friends held up his arms for him in battle when he was exhausted. God ordained things are always worth our effort, and the Others are encouraging this!
Once the married couple has been reunited, the Others exclaim, “return, that we may look upon you.” They are sharing the joy of something that is holy and good! This feeling is likely akin to watching the bride and groom being united on their wedding day. Psalms 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When we fix our joy in the Lord, our hearts will be more attuned with His, and we will find joy in the things that are holy and good like He does.
When we encourage the things of God, we help God’s will to be fulfilled on this earth, ultimately for our good and happiness! Therefore, we ought to surround ourselves with fellow believers and be the community for others. When we do this, we allow God to work through others to point us back towards Him and the things He has ordained!
- Are you open to friends speaking into your life and encouraging you towards God?
- Do a self-inspection. Are there any areas of your life that you are not allowing others to speak into? Why is that?
- Are you encouraging your friends towards things of God? In what ways?
Did You Know?
Per the MacArthur Bible Handbook, at the time that Song of Songs was written, Greek worship of gods and goddesses was already fully developed. Major deities included Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Apollo, Ares, Demeter, Athena, Hermes, and Artemis.
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