This question was asked of the Shulamite regarding her beloved, and she provided the answer. Whilst historically it refers to Solomon and the Shulamite, we want to consider it devotionally as it would speak of Christ and the believer.
It was a test for the Shulamite as she was being asked to tell those that questioned her about her beloved and, before we consider the question, we might apply that test to ourselves. As I pray, what have I learned to appreciate of the Son that I can tell the Father about? We can note that the bride doesn’t hesitate to speak of the beauties of her beloved. What of us?
Overall, we note through the description given of the ‘beloved’ that there is no deterioration - from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet, all is ‘fine gold’. Notice:
We can contrast this with the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw, Dan. 2. 31-33. It started well, the head of gold, but there was deterioration down through the arms and torso through to the feet: iron mingled with clay. Here, in Song of Solomon chapter 5, there is perfection seen throughout.
She speaks of his head, his locks, his eyes, his cheeks, his lips, his hands, his inwards, his legs, his countenance, and his mouth. In all of this, the glories of the Lord, the bridegroom of the church, shine forth. We can see His personal glory, His moral glory, the glory of His words and ways, and the sweetness of His presence.
She starts by saying that her beloved is white and ruddy. When we think of white, the idea is ‘bright and clear’, dazzling white. White symbolizes the purity and holiness of the Saviour.
There were no shades of grey; there was nothing shady in His character. We can think of many individuals in the scriptures where there were shades of grey in their character, those sins that they committed. Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife. The same was true of Isaac. Moses murdered the Egyptian and smote the rock twice when he should have spoken to it. All the mighty biblical figures were flawed except when we come to the Saviour. Here was One who is perfect, intrinsically pure - ‘white’.
Think of Him upon the mount of transfiguration. Mark records, ‘And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them’, 9. 2, 3. This was the outshining of the impeccability of the Saviour. Here was One who could not sin, one who was ‘separate from sinners’, Heb. 7. 26.
This same word was used of David. Here we can see the description of a greater than David. As a youth, David constantly watched over his father’s flock. In later years he was to have the responsibility of the care of the nation as their king. However, when we think of the Saviour, we think of One who loved the flock and gave Himself for it, John 10. 11. His love and compassion was demonstrated on so many different occasions, but supremely at Calvary. Paul wrote, ‘the Son of God … loved me, and gave himself for me’, Gal. 2. 20.
‘The chiefest among ten thousand’ is the estimation of the Shulamite. David’s men said of him that he was worth ‘ten thousand of us’, 2 Sam. 18. 3. Here, v. 10, the bride goes further, saying he is the ‘chiefest among ten thousand’. Strong says that the word means ‘being conspicuous like the raising of a flag or banner’. When we think of Christ, we think of One who is supreme. The psalmist states, ‘My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever’, Ps. 45. 1, 2.
In a future day, there will be a multitude that declare, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing’, Rev. 5. 12.