Song of Solomon 5:5-6:3
I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee. My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
There are those who believe this tenth canticle[5:2-6:3] and the sixth [3:1-5] were dreams that the Shulamite had. Mainly because of the opening statements of both:
3:1 By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
5:2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
Secondly, they believe them to be dreams because of the reoccurring nature and the same characters being in both stories and of the same subject matter, being that her beloved had left her. To me, if I was going to be convinced that these were dreams this latter reasoning would come much closer to convincing me than the first. The opening line of the sixth canticle, could be interpreted as having a dream but it could also be interpreted that she turned to look for him in their bed, but he had already gone. The opening line of the second could also be interpreted as a dream but also as those moments between sleep and consciousness when our heart and mind are active, but our body is not yet. Whether you interpret the these as dream or not the portraits and lessons are the same. The fact that all the characters repeat and the subject matter repeats does make me think this could have been a reoccurring dream. If that is the case then the subject matter of this dream could be only that, a dream and not a reality, that our beloved would forsake us.
How many times has our heart and mind assumed that one day we will wake up to find that our Beloved Jesus will forsake us. There have been times, because we could not feel his presence, we dreamed that he had departed. I would remind you that he never leaves us nor forsakes us. This thought has tormented many, even myself. I have had dark seasons when life seemed like a nightmare because my heart condemned me, my love was not perfected and I lived in fear of a dream, a ghost, I feared the impossible, that Christ had departed or that I had never known him at all. These thoughts that course across our minds are what dreams are to reality. As far removed as a dream is from the reality we live in, so are such imaginations of the heart. Our heart can search high and low for the comfort that we once felt from our beloved but being in a panicked state leads us to people and things that cannot give us comfort. Like the Shulamite went to the watchmen and the daughters of Jerusalem we too run to and fro searching for our beloved. To seek the Lord in faith is encouraged and instructed but to search with a panicked heart driven by anxiety instead of faith is not encouraged; “Be careful for nothing.” I have read many volumes that encourage such torture of heart and soul, who have promoted such horrors of the soul and such anxious care. These are typical of the watchmen who caught her and smote her and took away her vail. These are like ministers that we have run to find Christ but instead of being faithful ministers who join in the search for us with diligent care and with reassurance of the promises of God they take bad doctrines and smite the people with them, they remove the assurance of God’s love for them, like the watchmen removed the veil from the Shulamite. That veil was most likely her wedding veil, a token of his love for her and their eternal bond of marriage. That is what the watchmen removed, the last token that he in fact was hers and she was his. Mind you, they could not break that covenant of marriage or the love that she had toward him and him toward her, but they removed that token of remembrance. So do all ministers who preach of a salvation that can be lost, of a covenant that is not eternal. They are smiting their congregations with rods of false doctrine and removing the promises that act as token and assurance of our eternal bond to our Beloved Jesus. How many down cast saints have we seen that live their lives in frantic care as if any moment Jesus is going to forsake them. I have known saints who would not go into a store where alcohol was being sold, not because of there hatred for alcohol, or for conscious sake but they said it was because if Jesus were to come back, he would not come in that store to get them. Dear fearful, fretful believer, Jesus would bust into the crack house, the whore house, the most dreadful of places. Like Hosea went back to the brothel for His bride so would Christ kick down the doors of any establishment that one of his least children were in.
“I am sick of Love” is what she told the daughters of Jerusalem to tell him, if they saw him. Her searching and care to find her beloved sparked a curiosity in them and they replied, “What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?” Herein lies a benefit to our searching for our Lord. On lookers wonder what it is that would cause us to devote our lives to the pursuit of someone. Who is this, whose presence brings such joy and peace and whose seeming departure brings such horror and alarm? He must be better than the men they were courting or married to. They could not imagine a man being of such a nature, that his presence was like heaven on earth and his absence like hell on earth. Let me tell you that the felt presence of Jesus is like heaven on earth, when he has seen fit to let us feel his presence and to comfort our hearts with love there has been such rapture of soul that nothing in this life can compare. On the other hand, just the imagination of his departure has been to us like hell on earth, to believe that he might depart is the closest to hell a believer will ever come.
In verses 10-16 she describes her beloved to the daughters of Jerusalem. She mentions his head, his hair, his eyes, his cheeks, his lips, his hands, his belly, his legs, his countenance, and his mouth. She concludes her poetic description with this summary: “He is altogether lovely." In this lies a key to calming our troubled hearts when they have dreamed that Jesus may have departed. Recalling the loveliness of our Savior. In your search for him, it would benefit you, instead of anxious care, give yourself to remembering how lovely he is, give yourself to telling others how lovely he is. In so doing we will have followed the instruction given in Philippians 4:8
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
There is not another subject of thought more true, honest, just, pure, lovely or of good report than Jesus. Notice in our verses that it seems that the Shulamites heart is settled, and the daughters of Jerusalem’s heart is roused to the same search in chapter 6 verse 1: “Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.” Here is the benefit of telling others about the loveliness of Christ. It creates in them a hunger and desire for such a relationship, and it comforts and reminds us of His love for us.
With her heart now settled and panic is no longer clouding her mind she can instruct others about where to find him. “My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.”
When our hearts have been stayed by the remembrance of our Lord and the recollection of his promise and by the seal of his Spirit we resume to a place of faith and peace. “I am my beloveds, and he is mine.” We return to a place of telling others about where to find Jesus: “My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies”. If you are in one of these nightmares of doubt, be reminded that it is just that, a dream, not a reality. The reality is that He will never leave you nor forsake you [Hebrews 13:5], That we can be confident that he which begun a good work in us shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ [Philippians 1:6]. Remind your self of his love for you and your love for him, think on the loveliest, purest, most just, and perfect subject of thought, Jesus; and like the Shulamite your heart can come back to reality, peace, and even instruction to others in the same search.