WHO IS THE FAIREST?
‘Fairest Lord Jesus! … / Thee will I cherish,/ Thee will I honor,/ Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown!.’1
Read Song of Songs 6:4 – 7:7a
4 You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
as lovely as Jerusalem,
as majestic as troops with banners.
5 Turn your eyes from me;
they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from Gilead.
6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
not one of them is missing.
7 Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
8 Sixty queens there may be,
and eighty concubines,
and virgins beyond number;
9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
the only daughter of her mother,
the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
the queens and concubines praised her.
10 Who is this that appears like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
majestic as the stars in procession?
11 I went down to the grove of nut trees
to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 Before I realized it,
my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.[a]
13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!
Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
as on the dance of Mahanaim?[b]
7 [c]How beautiful your sandaled feet,
O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
the work of an artist’s hands.
2 Your navel is a rounded goblet
that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
encircled by lilies.
3 Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle.
4 Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon
by the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
looking toward Damascus.
5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.
Your hair is like royal tapestry;
the king is held captive by its tresses.
6 How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
my love, with your delights!
7 Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen.
Maybe the woman has found her man – and they are reconciled; maybe this is a separate song of love. Whichever, now it is the man who celebrates his love in the hearing of friends. As you read, be surprised by the lavish and generous beauty of God’s creation shared with his human creatures.
Love is spoken in many ways. In this poem (6:4–9), the man reiterates his love for the woman, rehearsing the familiar aspects of her beauty (also 4:1–7) – her hair, her perfect teeth, her smooth cheeks (6:5–7). And now he also emphasizes the uniqueness of her allure – she is the fairest of countless numbers of other women (6:8,9). His walk through the blossoming fields brings him inadvertently to a royal party of merry-making. Does he find his beloved there (6:12,13)? Perhaps she was dancing (6:13 – 7:1).
Gazing on her, he meditates on her beauty (7:1–9) – this time from her feet up! Amidst the fragrance and sights of this social occasion in the springtime, he is overwhelmed by his love for her (6:5). For him she is royalty, a princess (‘crowns,’ ‘royal tapestry,’ 7:1,5). She is the best (9)!
1German hymn, 17th century, ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’
If you can, go for a walk outside. Be aware of creation, praising God for all the rich diversity of His world. Take delight especially in God’s gift of His supreme love in Jesus.
Thank You, Lord, for thinking of me when You created this beautiful world. I glory in Your creation.