What Is Thy Beloved? – Part 4

His legs

‘His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold’, S. of S. 5. 15.

As we have thought about these verses, we have noted the use of fine gold. We saw it with the head. We saw it with the hands and now we see it in the legs. But these legs ‘are as pillars of marble set upon sockets of fine gold’. We have a picture of strength, stability and security.

When we think of the person of Christ we have the same strength, stability and security. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us, ‘And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail’, 1. 10-12. He is unchanging. In a world that is changing day by day, how comforting to know that the Lord changes not. We can rest on that fact. Our Beloved remains the same. Again, we see security here -something that we can place our faith in. This is One who we shall see and gaze on at length.

His countenance

‘His countenance is as Lebanon’. The mountains and the cedars of Lebanon tower above all their fellows in the region. The bride spoke in verse 10 about him being the ‘chiefest’, or the standard bearer, and we can see this again here. The language that is used would speak to us of the dignity, majesty and greatness of Christ. Keil and Delitzsch wrote, ‘His look, i.e., his appearance as a whole, is aweinspiring, majestic, like Lebanon, the king of mountains; he (the praised one) is chosen, i.e., presents a rare aspect, rising high above the common man like the cedars, those kings among trees’.1 ‘Excellent as the cedars’. Think of the word ‘excellent’ for a moment. When we think of Christ we have that repeated phrase, ‘a more excellent name’, Heb. 1. 4; ‘a more excellent ministry’, 8. 6; ‘a more excellent sacrifice’, 11. 4.

We can meditate on One who has a more excellent name, for in the future day He will be given that ‘name which is above every name’, Phil. 2. 9. Here is One who had a more excellent ministry, One who finished the work that He was given to do. No other called of God could that be said of. We can also think upon One who offered a more excellent sacrifice, ‘one sacrifice for sins for ever’, Heb. 10. 12.

His mouth

‘His mouth is most sweet’. To the casual observer it might be suggested that this is repetition of what has already been said.

However, it is not. When we thought of the lips, we thought of the words, or the speech and the language of the Saviour. When she speaks of the mouth she is speaking of the palate, the sense and faculty of tasting. The image here is of one who desires, and delights in those things that are sweet and pure.

The Song began with the bride’s request, ‘Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth’, S. of S. 1. 2. She has desired to know sweet intimacy with the beloved, and he desires the same sweetness in her. It is exactly the same with Christ and His bride.

As the section closes, she runs out of language and her vocabulary is exhausted. She sums him up by saying, ‘He is altogether lovely’; all of him is desirable. She cherishes every thought of him and every aspect of his person. Indeed, she might say with Peter, ‘To you therefore who believe is the preciousness’, 1 Pet. 2. 7 JND.

Sadly, the nation of Israel’s present view is given by Isaiah, ‘as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him’, Isa. 53. 2.

In contrast, the Shulamite has spoken of the loveliness of his head, his locks, his eyes, cheeks, lips, hands, inwards, legs, countenance and mouth. She has brought out in symbolic language something of the purity, passion, person, pathway, permanence, pity, and his presence. In doing so, we have been brought to think of the Saviour’s preciousness to God and to His people. We have thought of His power and we shall see His ultimate pre-eminence.

In a sense, we pray that the world might ask the words that open the next chapter, ‘whither is thy beloved gone … that we may seek him with thee’, S. of S. 6. 1. We want to follow after Him as you do!

Endnote

1

C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, e-Sword resource.

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