1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

"I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse"

— This is the answer of Christ to the prayers of his Bride.

"I have gathered my myrrh with my spice"

— We have found that myrrh consistently relates to sacrifice, including the sacrificial death of the Lord. The Groom thus claims to have gathered to himself his perfected Ecclesia, all the members thereof being associated with myrrh, his sacrificial death, and having developed the fruits of the spirit.

The Christadelphian Expositor

1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

Eye hath seen...

2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

Holy harmless undefiled

3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

6 I opened to my beloved [dodi]; but my beloved [dodi] had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed [nefesh departed] when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem [banot Yerushalayim], if ye find my beloved [ dodi], that ye tell him, that I am sick of love [shecholat ahavah ani (I am faint with ahavah, lovesick].

My Beloved...Chiefest among Ten Thousand


Christ being perfect in both kind and degree, surpassed all other, both in the character and extent of his excellence ; and not less so in the immeasurable fulness of the Spirit which he possessed, and the divine Fatherhood to which he stood related. As tilting into these altogether unique conditions, he had a mission and a work placed in his hands, to which none other might compare; for said his forerunner, "behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."

Such an exceptional work required equally exceptional circumstances, as the channel of its accomplishment. These were all divinely created and supervised, with the most delicately adjusted bearing upon the result proposed that it is possible to conceive of.

The impress of the Father's mind and image, upon the mentality of the Son of his love, laid the foundation of a child, the like of which had never yet appeared in the annals of human history, and never would again, as the sequel has shown.

Nature left to itself never produces such, as the history of all nations and all ages as abundantly testify. Circumstances that might be bearable to a clodhopper, or a mentally inebriate Protestant martyr, were filled in his case, with a thousand causes of anguish that never entered into the heart of the martyrs of the inquisition to conceive of.

His was sorrow in its acutest form; and dishonour and poverty of surroundings in senses that can only be appreciated by those who are intelligently in sympathy with the object for which he appeared. The only man that ever had the world on his shoulders in any real sense, was the man who is destined in the full evolution of the divine purpose to have it at last under his feet.

Looking, then, at what Christ was and did, in the days of his flesh, we may (with little admixture of the parabolic) say that he:

Spake as never man spake. Preached as never man preached. Prayed as never man prayed. Loved as never man loved. Lived as never man lived. Walked as never man walked. Worked as never man worked. Taught as never man taught. Wrought as never man wrought. Obeyed as never man obeyed. Was tried as never man was tried. 

Promised as never man promised. Trusted in God as never man trusted. Was patient as never man was patient. Was pure as never man was pure. Was meek as never man was meek. Was holy as never man was holy. Was divine as never man was divine. Was kind as never man was kind.

Was noble as never man was noble. Was excellent as never man was excellent. Was lovely as never man was lovely. Was despised as never man was despised. Was grief-stricken as never man was grieved. Was innocent as never man was innocent. Was faithful as never man was faithful. Was true as never man was true. Was wise as never man was wise. 

Was great as never man was great. Was rich as never man was rich. Was poor as never man was poor. Was zealous as never man was zealous. Was gifted as never man was gifted. Was compassionate as never man was before. Was gracious as never man was gracious. Was humble as never man was humble. Was self-sacrificing as never man was before. Was related as never son was before. Had prospects never man had before. Was strong in faith as never man was before. Was stern in virtue as never man was before. Was like God as never man was before.

Blessed as never man blessed. Comforted as never man comforted. Rebuked as never man rebuked. Answered questions as they were never answered before. Spake parables beyond any other man. Was begotten as no other man ever was. Did more miracles than any other man. Was a greater light than all other lights. 

Was heir of greater things than any yet born. Fulfilled more prophecies than any before. Possessed more Spirit than any of the prophets. Has had a larger following than man ever had. Is the greatest character of history. Was perfect as never man was perfect. Was more pleasing to God than any in Israel. Was shepherdly beyond all other shepherds. Was chief among ten thousand. Ascended up where no man ever ascended before.

The Christadelphian, March 1888. P171

9 What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? 

10 My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among 10 000.

-the Bride, the True Ecclesia, gives a description of Christ's beauty and excellence:

"My Beloved is white and ruddy"

Whiteness-purity-righteousness, is the first characteristic. Without it, all the rest would be meaningless. There must be this foundation; nothing else will endure.

The word for white also carries the idea of shining brightness, of brilliance, like Moses' face, or Jesus' at the Transfiguration.

"Ruddy" means "rosy." It was used of David when Samuel first saw him. It indicates strength, health and radiant beauty. Strangely, the root word is Adam-red-the word indicating sin and the flesh. But perhaps, it is fitting that we should be reminded that this is the root background of the word, though in the particular form used here it means glowing health. *

The chiefest among 10,000

"Chiefest" is literally, as in the margin, "a standard-bearer, an ensign, a bannered one"-the one who leads, and around whom all rally for the conquest.

"10,000" is not a specific figure, but means an innumerable multitude. It is translated elsewhere (Genesis 24:60-of Rebekah's seed) by "millions." So the true, and obviously much more fitting and significant meaning is-

"A standard-bearer for an innumerable multitude"

-even the great multitude of the Redeemed, "which no man can number"-for they are known only to God. *

11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

His head is most fine gold

Gold is Faith-specially "fine" or refined gold. This picture of the Beloved, while it is primarily Christ as distinct from and viewed by the Ecclesia, inevitably introduces the inseparable aspects of the multitudinous Christ of which he is especially the head of gold, as the Mercy-Seat, the Ark's coverlid, was pure gold.

Gold is also preciousness, royal splendor and glory. Here is the true and eternal divine Head of Gold-Ruler of the nations-as Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon were the false, presumptuous human head of gold. *

His locks are bushy

The word "bushy," occurring only once in the Bible, is taken by most lexicons to mean "waving palm branches," symbol of victory, peace and joy.

The abundant flowing hair is also the multitudinous unity of the Son of Man (Rev. 1), for the hairs of his head (v. 14) are the many sons he has brought to glory.*

And black as a raven

Black normally indicates sorrow and affliction, as of the Bride in 1:5. But here we have not black as such, but black hair. The basis of the symbolism is the natural, and in the natural black hair speaks of youth and strength and vigor and health, as white hair is age and infirmity. Black hair was a welcome sign of health after leprosy (Lev. 13:37).*

12 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

Supreme intelligence, wisdom, integrity, dignity, kindness and compassion

The eye is perception, intelligence, discernment-the mental viewpoint and outlook. The dove symbol is clear in Scripture. Its highest representation is when the Spirit of God appeared as a dove. From this all other meanings must flow. The dove is humility, guilelessness, gentleness, harmlessness, and peace.

With the eagle symbol, which also represents the Spirit of God, it shares the aspect of free, heavenly flight, of outspread wings; of freedom from earthly bondage. There is an eagle aspect to the operation of the Spirit, but the basic, permanent manifestation is the dove of gentleness and peace. God is a consuming fire as need may require, but God is Love ALWAYS and essentially. *

By the rivers of waters

Water is life and fruitfulness: cleansing: refreshing.

Water also can be affliction and tears (Psa. 69:14-15)-

"Deliver me out of the deep waters: let not the waterfloods overflow me."

-not contradictory meanings, but all parts of one great whole. All things work together for good. Tribulation worketh patience (Rom. 8:20)-

"He subjected the creation to vanity in hope."

All things in life are interrelated, and sorrow and tears will at last bring forth life and joy (Psa. 126:6). The water that destroyed the wicked world saved the righteous Noah; and the water that destroyed the oppressor Pharaoh saved the people of God.

*Bro Growcott - Song of Songs

Washed with milk

Again there are many shades of meaning. Milk is primarily the abundance of divine blessing

"A land flowing with milk and honey."

In Isa. 55 milk and wine are the free Gospel of salvation, the words of eternal life. To be able to digest milk only is a sign of sad infantile immaturity (1 Cor. 3:2). But though we must grow unto strong meat, still we must never advance beyond the point where we earnestly

"desire the sincere milk of the Word" (l Pt. 2:2)

as our sound guidance and safe foundation.

Eyes washed with milk means pure and godly vision, a cleansed and enlightened outlook, viewing all things-understanding all things-by the light of the Gospel of Truth.*

And fitly set

Literally, as in the margin, "sitting in fullness," a strange expression, but surely intended to direct our minds to the final consummation of the

"fullness of Him that filleth all in all."

Sitting is completion of work. The dove aspect "sitting in fullness," is peace, end of labour, perfection-

"It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell" (Col. 1:19).

*Bro Growcott - Song of Songs

13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

The flower-bloom of eternal youth and beauty. All things, except Christ, grow old and die. Nothing in this life is lasting, but of him it is said-

"Thou hast the dew of thy youth" (Psa. 110:3).

"They shall perish, but thou remainest: Thou art the same: thy years shall not fail."

The greatest of present joys must so quickly pass into sorrow, and loss, and final loneliness. But Christ is ever young and ever new.

It is hard to really enjoy anything we know must at last and before long pass away. We have all experienced intense pleasures which in their very enjoyment have been sadness from knowing that in a short time they would be over and would never return. On only a slightly larger scale, this is life itself.

But there is more to "cheek" than this. "Cheek" or "cheeks" occurs 11 times in Scripture, other than in this Song. In all but two (and even one of these is related) there is a reference to submission to smiting and affliction-

"They smote the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek" (Mic. 5:1).

"If any man smite thee on one cheek, turn to him the other also" (Mt. 5:39).

Cheek, therefore, inescapably turns our minds to patient submission to abuse and loss and suffering for righteousness' sake.

It is this that gave Christ all his value and his beauty, and his present never-ending bloom of youth. *

His lips are like lilies

Most of the scriptural references to lilies are in the Song (8 times). All the others but one are either in the description of the ornamentation of Solomon's temple, or in Christ's comparison of Solomon's glory to the greater glory of the lily.

The lily as a symbol of purity does not appear to be a scriptural idea, nor do the Bible lilies appear to have been white. The Bible lily appears to be a magnificent flower whose color ranged from pink to purple, and whose scriptural significance was God-bestowed, inherent glory, as contrasted with human, superficial glory.

"His lips like lilies" refer to the divine beauty of all that he said-the "words of grace" at which his hearers marveled-

"Never man spake like this man!"

Dropping sweet smelling myrrh

The name myrrh is from the same root as Marah or Mary, meaning bitter, and refers to its bitter taste. The combination of bitter taste and a sweet odor make it a perfect type of the sacrificial affliction that beautifies the character and is a sweet incense unto God.

*Bro Growcott - Song of Songs

14 His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

His hands are as gold rings

Rings are a symbol of sonship, royalty and authority. Nearly every reference to rings in Scripture, from Pharaoh's ring given to Joseph, to the father's ring given to the Prodigal Son, carries this meaning.

An inseparable part of the beauty of Christ is his relationship to God and his universal majesty and authority based on his faithfulness-a ring of gold:

"This is My beloved Son." "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth."*

*Bro Growcott - Song of Songs

15 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

His legs are pillars of marble

We have had the "sitting in fullness"; here is the standing in strength-faithful, determined and enduring. "Stand fast" is a frequent scriptural exhortation.

To stand is also to have dominion, to have conquered and overcome, as to

"stand upon the sea of glass" (Rev. 15:2).

And it is to pass triumphant through judgment-

"Who shall stand when he appeareth?" (Mal. 3:2).

Pillars and marble turn our minds to the Temple, both literal and spiritual-

"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of my God" (Rev. 3:12)

-an upholder and supporter of the edifice of God's presence.

The most precious marble is pure white. It is crystalline in structure, and its special luster and beauty is due to the fact that light penetrates the surface and is reflected from the multitude of crystals beneath. There is an obvious typical fittingness in this penetration of the light and its reflection from within.*

His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars

The figure of the mountain-(eminence and power and majesty-the mountain that fills the whole earth)-is combined with the royal, unperishing glory of the cedar. A mountain of cedar trees-a living, flourishing, fruitful mountain-each tree an individual part of the glorious multitudinous unity of power that will at last fill the earth with God's glory.*

16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

His mouth is most sweet

This is not the common word for mouth, but rather, as the margin shows, "palate." The idea involved is taste, rather than speech, as the consistent use of the word elsewhere makes clear. It is sometimes translated "taste" as in the Song itself (2:3), and in its first use, Job 6:30-

"Cannot my taste (marg: palate) discern perverse things?"

The idea of the heavenly beauty of his speech is covered in the earlier reference to the lips. Here the reference is to the unerring and unhesitating discernment and choice of that which is wholesome and good, and the rejection of everything that is in the slightest way fleshly or evil or impure. It is summed up in a similar figure in Isa. 7-

"Butter and honey shall he eat that he may know (that is, learn) to refuse the evil and choose the good."

The lesson is that taste, appeal, desire, is not a blind, unchanging force to be catered to, but a delicate capacity and potentiality to be trained and developed and shaped to spiritual ends and satisfactions.

A child's untrained, undiscerning taste rejects the wide range and variety of taste experiences which the providence of God has provided in that which is good for food, and desires only sweets. The adult learns that bitterness mixed with the sweetness is a much richer and more satisfying experience.

In our present imperfect, incomplete, mortal condition, unalloyed sweetness soon becomes monotonous and sickening. We are not constituted to be able to stand it for long at a time.

The immortal state will be a perpetual intensity of joy without surfeit.*

*Bro Growcott - Song of Songs

He is altogether lovely

Rather, literally, and much more impressively and vividly-

"The whole of him is loveliness."

The power and beauty of Christ is his perfection. Nothing out of harmony; nothing to detract; no danger of later discovered flaws to disappoint and disillusion. Nothing to fear from the cruel, unsparing microscope of intimate familiarity.

The more minutely we examine him, the more beautiful he is revealed to be. This is an unfailing characteristic of all of God's handiwork, but never of anything of man's.

This is the pattern God has set before us-the ideal to which He would have us ceaselessly strive-the ultimate to which He will finally elevate the faithful.

Bro Growcott - Song of Songs

This is my Beloved; and this is my Friend

Why add "This is my Friend"? It would appear to be an anticlimax, but it is not. It is actually a deepening and enlarging of the picture. The figure is taken from natural things. "Beloved" expresses only a narrow and restricted and passing aspect of the broad range of personal relationships.

Upon reflection, we shall perceive that "Friend" is the fuller and the richer and the more inclusive and enduring, less self-centered, term-

"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."