In our first article we considered something of the general features mentioned by the Shulamite as well as one or two features that were conspicuous. She mentioned her beloved as the standard bearer and from that we turned our hearts and minds to the person of Christ.
In this article we will see some more of the detail, starting at the crown of his head. The details, she tells the daughters of Jerusalem, are what set her beloved apart from the others - it is a glowing tribute in lovely language throughout. It seems that she has scanned the whole world as far as symbolism is concerned, from the animals, flowers, and trees, to colours, to precious metals and precious stones. Such a wide variety is used in her description.
Is it not true that there is so much variety in the features of the person of Christ? Will it not take eternity to explore the person and work of Christ? Even then, we will never plumb the depths! John wrote, ‘our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ’, 1 John 1. 3. What a tremendous privilege we have of being able to converse with the Father about the Son.
‘His head is as the most fine gold’, S. of S. 5. 11. As we are aware, gold is an exceedingly precious metal. It is a fitting symbol of the divine glory. As we think about the head of the Saviour, how remarkable that at His birth we read that Mary ‘brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger’, Luke 2. 7. His head laid in the manger because there was no room for Him, the One who had created the worlds. This was the same throughout the public ministry of the Saviour, Matt. 8. 20.
The culmination of it all is found in the events leading up to and including Calvary. We can think of the crown of thorns upon His head, as well as the head that men beat with a reed, Matt. 27. 27-31.
We can recall the words of the hymn writer:
Every mark of dark dishonour
Heaped upon thy thorn-crowned brow,
All the depths of thy hearts sorrow
Told in answering glory now.
Truly, the head that once was crowned with thorns is indeed crowned with glory now. John records, ‘And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown’, Rev. 14. 14.
‘His locks are bushy, and black as a raven’. In the word ‘bushy’ we have the idea of ‘flowing’. Here is the emblem of youthfulness and beauty. The blackness of the locks would be an indication that there is no ageing - no signs of grey or deterioration. There is no decline and no decay.
The eyes are ‘as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set’. The dove would be a symbol of innocence, of guilelessness and tenderness. When we think of the term ‘fitly set’, it reminds us of the skill of the jeweller. There is tremendous skill in setting the gemstone in the ring in order to display its beauty. Thus, says the Shulamite, the eyes are fitly set.
How often we can think of the eyes of the Saviour as He saw the need of those around Him. How often do we read that He looked upon individuals or the multitude with compassion?1 How many occasions did He observe the few disciples that followed after Him?2 Think too of the occasions when His eyes were filled with tears, whether considering the grave of Lazarus, or the garden of Gethsemane.3 He observed the havoc that sin had brought upon creation, yet the prophet wrote of God, ‘Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?’ Hab. 1.13. However, the prospect is glorious, for Paul wrote, ‘the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now’, Rom. 8. 21, 22.