By Henry Mahan
Song of Solomon 5:9-16
v. 9. This question is put to the church of the Lord Jesus--'O thou fairest among women'--the same title Christ gives her in 1:8.
Every soul has a beloved, an object of worship, something or someone in which to glory, rejoice, and enjoy. With some it is the world (its riches, materialism, and honors); with others it is pleasure and the applause of men; with others it is near and dear family relations; with others it is religion and works of righteousness; and with most it is self!
A true believer in Christ Jesus worships, loves, rejoices, and glories only in Christ Jesus--his beloved! Christ is preferred above all persons, possessions, and pursuits.
The world and professors of religion (because they are ignorant of Christ's excellencies) ask the church, 'What is your beloved more than our beloved?' These next verses contain the church's answer to the question.
v. 10. 'My beloved is white and ruddy.' White devotes his purity and holiness, his divine nature, the brightness of the Father's glory, full of grace and truth. 'He knew no sin.' Ruddy or red indicates his human nature, partaker of our flesh and blood, his strength in suffering, his bloody sacrifice for the sins of his people.
'He is the chiefest among ten thousand.' Among all creatures, angels, or men he is exalted. A certain number is used for an uncertain. There are kings, but he is King of kings.
There are priests, but he is a priest forever. There are names, but his is a name above every name (Phil. 2:9-11).
v. 11. 'His head is as the most fine gold,' not in respect to his hair, which is black, but by reason of the crown he wears. He is the sovereign, almighty King, who rules over all (John 17:2; Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:16-18). Our Lord is not going to be king; he is king of creation, providence, and salvation by reason of the Father's decree and his death (Psalm 2:6; Rom. 14:9).
'His locks are bushy and black as a raven.' Two things seem to be indicated here--his beauty and his eternal youth. Who can describe the perfections of the glorified man, Christ Jesus?
John's vision on Patmos gives us a glimpse (Rev. 1:12-17). His beauty and youth are unchanging, infinite, immaculate--the very image of God's holiness, brightness, and glory. And one day we shall be like him (Psalm 17:15).
v. 12. 'His eyes are as the eyes of doves.' To the rebel and unbeliever his countenance and eyes may be fierce and condemning, but to his own beloved his eyes are gentle and clear as 'washed with milk.' He looks upon us in total love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Someone said, 'The eyes are the windows of the soul, which reveal the true thoughts.' Then, I can rest and rejoice, for his eyes are gentle and compassionate. His thoughts toward me are love. His eyes are 'fitly set' or unchanging toward me (Mal. 3:6; Rom. 11:29).
v. 13. 'His cheeks are as a bed of spices and sweet flowers.' This just has to indicate the rest, comfort, and assurance the believer feels in the presence of his Lord. Leaning upon his cheek and reclining in his everlasting arms are like unto lying upon a bed of sweet spices and soft, sweet-smelling flowers. No rain, no storm, no wind can disturb my rest (Matt. 11:28; 1 Peter 5:7).
'His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.' This is indeed his grace and mercy, which flow from his lips continuously. Sweet to my ears, to my heart, and to my taste are the words of my Lord. His promises are sure and precious.
His lips call my name, assure me of his love, and intercede for me. He has no words of condemnation, but words of life (Rom. 8:1).
v. 14. 'His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl.' The hands are for action and distribution, by which he gives gifts and graces to his own; and, being the Lord of all, he is rich and generous (Phil. 4:19). All of my needs he supplies. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3).
'His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.' Some believe these words describe the overall beauty of his whole body, some believe it has reference to his priestly garments (the royal girdle of righteousness), and others the compassion of Christ to his church. His love is like ivory for the excellency of it, like sapphires for the firmness and duration of it, as well as for the sincerity of it. We know that the word 'belly' is used in scripture for the innermost part of a person (John 7:38; Psalm 31:9). There is merit in all these thoughts.
v. 15. 'His legs are as pillars of marble set upon sockets of fine gold.' The legs support the body, and this denotes the strength and power of our Lord Jesus to bear up and carry what has been laid upon him--the covenant of grace, the mediatorial kingdom, the redemption, and the reward of his people. He is able to save (Heb. 7:25). He is able to keep (Jude 24-25). He is able to comfort (Heb. 2:18).
'His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.' Lebanon was a goodly mountain north of Judea; the cedars of Lebanon were the choicest and preferable to all others. Christ's appearance and person is majestic, stately, and durable, like the choicest cedars, pleasant to the eyes. In all comparisons he is more excellent, which is the theme of the book of Hebrews (Heb. 1: 4) .
v. 16. 'His mouth is most sweet.' This is repeated from Verse 13 because his words are a principal part of his beauty. All that proceed from his mouth are most sweet--his gospel, his commandments, his promises, his doctrine.
'Yes, he is altogether lovely.' If I have neglected any part of him or failed in any respect to define him, I add, 'he is altogether lovely!' There is nothing about him nor his person that is not exquisitely beautiful.
'This is my beloved and my friend,' my rich, powerful, faithful, everlasting, and unchangeable friend.