Dreams of a Home in the Forest
We come to another scene illustrating the developing love between the young woman and Solomon. They are spending time together to get to know each another. Here we find them talking together in a massive cedar forest.
15 “How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves.”
Solomon opens our scene, complimenting the beauty of his fiancee. This time his focus is on her eyes, to which he compares to doves. Exactly what aspect of doves he is referring to is much debated, but it is likely the vagueness is purposeful because no single characteristic is being selected but a combination of all. Wild doves are grey in color, so he may have been referring to the color of her eyes. Domesticated doves are often white, so Solomon may be describing her dark pupil in midst of her white eyes. Doves, even in those days, were seen as peaceful birds, so he may have been referring to the contented look in her eyes. The eyes of doves are dark and round, so he may have been referring to her round, dark eyes.
She, in turn, returns the complement.
16 “How handsome you are, my beloved,
And so pleasant!
She then turns to their surroundings and asks her love to imagine the forest as their home.
16 Indeed, our couch is luxuriant!
17 “The beams of our houses are cedars,
Our rafters, cypresses.
The grass they are reclining on has become a luxuriant couch. The stately cedars have become the pillars supporting their home while the branches overhead form the rafters and the roof. One finds it hard to imagine one of the elegant noblewomen enjoying the outdoors as much as this young woman.
2 1 “I am the rose of Sharon,
The lily of the valleys.”
As beautiful as the house is, the crowning jewel is the woman of the house. She compares herself to two flowers. We don’t know precisely which blossoms she had in mind. Many different flowers have been called the “rose of Sharon” and the lily of the valleys is a general term. Sharon itself is a costal plain between Joppa and Mount Carmel on which grows numerous wild flowers.
Even though we don’t know the exact flowers, we can take note of the change in this young woman. No longer is she the shy young maiden who is concerned about her complexion and lack of care for her personal appearance. She can confidently state to her love that she is beautiful.
2 “Like a lily among the thorns,
So is my darling among the maidens.”
Solomon not only agrees, but he does her one better by saying that compared to the other ladies in the court, she is like a lily growing among thorns. The contrast between her beauty and the beauty of those around her is so great that it is not worth comparing. A gentleman should never fear flattering his fiancee even if the compliment may be hard to believe. A woman needs to know that she holds her husband-to-be’s full attention.
3 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
So is my beloved among the young men.
In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
She returns a similar compliment. She refers to him as a productive apple tree in a forest of plain-old-every-day trees. He stands out, he is desirable to have, and he shows vitality. She wants to be with him always and enjoy the company of his being close by. She enjoys his “fruits:” the warmth of his love for her and his sweet kisses upon her lips.
We see their relationship maturing. She is becoming comfortable with him and she is looking forward to their future together. It demonstrates her feelings of safety and security.
1) Why are compliments important in a relationship? How realistic should your compliments be?
2) Why are images of a future home important to a young woman?
3) How does a man help a woman feel safe and secure? Why are safety and security important issues to a woman?