Reading through the Bible together
Chapter 6 contains the second of three refrains in the Song containing the couple’s equality, mutuality, oneness, and reciprocal love. The Shulamite says of her husband: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (6:3).
This chapter also contains the third of Solomon’s four wasfs (expressions of praise) describing the beauty of his beloved (for the other three wasfs see 3:6–11; 4:8–15; and 6:13–7:9). Some have taken the reference to “sixty queens and eighty concubines” (verse 8) to mean that the Song of Solomon was written after Solomon was into polygamy. But for at least the first twenty years of Solomon’s reign he had one wife (see 1 Kings 3:1; 6:38; 7:1, 8; 9:10, 24), and the Song presupposes an exclusive relationship between Solomon and the Shulamite (e.g., 1:7; 2:2, 3, 7, 16; 5:1, 10; 6:3; 7:10; 8:6–7). In this verse Solomon does not say “I have [queens, concubines, virgins].” Rather, he states “There are [sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number], . . . but my beloved is the only one [for me].” Solomon is asserting that however many other women of whatever status there may be, his beloved is his “one and only.” God longs for us to guard the exclusiveness of our marriages.
Solomon’s wife is described in glowing terms: “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, [beautiful and] awesome as an army with banners” (verse 10). Ellen White applies this language to the onward triumph of the church militant: “So long as they remained united, the church would go forth ‘fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.’ Song of Solomon 6:10. Nothing could withstand onward progress. The church would advance from victory to victory, gloriously fulfilling her divine mission of proclaiming the gospel to the world.” (Acts of the Apostles 91; cf. Revelation 12:1).
“O Lord, let this be the experience of Your church in these last days! Amen.”
Richard M. Davidson
Professor of Old Testament Interpretation
Andrews University Theological Seminary