“Daughters of Jerusalem, I am dark like the tents of Kedar, yet lovely like the curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not stare at me because I am dark, for the sun has gazed on me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me a keeper of the vineyards. I have not kept my own vineyard. 7 Tell me, you, the one I love: Where do you pasture your sheep?
Where do you let them rest at noon? Why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions? 8 If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats near the shepherds’ tents. 9 I compare you, my darling, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Your cheeks are beautiful with jewelry, your neck with its necklace. 11 We will make gold jewelry for you, accented with silver.” Song Of Solomon 1:5-11
In a few short days, my lovely bride and I will be celebrating yet another anniversary! Please understand that when I say celebrate, I really mean it! You see, at one time, very early in our marriage, we weren’t sure we’d be celebrating our love and commitment to one another in the future. We’re grateful to God, His grace and providence and for the example that some of His people set for us in regards to a joyous, passionate, Christ centered marriage….those things saved our union.
Today, we can humbly and very thankfully say that our marriage…well, it just rocks. We’ve been blessed to serve as mentors to several young couples who seemed to be headed down the road that we were on and witness God restore the love and commitment they had for one another.
Point is – we know firsthand the unbelievable joy and bone crushing heartache that often accompanies the union of two imperfect people.
As we work through the next few verses of our study of The Song of Songs, we’ll really begin to see the raw honesty and emotion that these ups and downs seem to provide.
As I read the text we’ll study, I’m struck by the fact that many of the great difficulties we experienced early on could have been avoided had we (namely, I) practiced the principles found here. What I’ll highlight from this text is simple, practical wisdom from the Word and prayerfully, we’ll all employ these truths in our homes.
First Off, We See That The Way A Woman Sees Herself Is Unbelievably Important
Now, obviously, I’m a fella. I grew up with a brother. I hung out with dudes that enjoyed hunting, fishing, contact sports, scratching and grunting. That’s about all I knew, Seriously, I went to my Senior Prom with two of my best pals. Not. Even. Kidding. That being said, I was in for the shock of my life when I took the hand of my bride. There were so many things about her (women in general, actually) that I just didn’t understand.
Today, that has been magnified as we’ve added 2 more female arrows to the Caudell quiver. There are so many revelations I’ve had that I could talk about at length here but sticking with our text, I’ll pick one.
“I have learned that how the Caudell girls think they look matters. Tremendously”
For example, let’s take an average Sunday morning at Casa De Caudell. In order to prepare ourselves for Church, it takes my son Kaden and I no more than 15 minutes (that’s including the shower!). There’s no thought to it. We go to the closet, grab something, smell it and as long as it smells clean…ummm….decent, we slap it on and head out the door.
The same cannot be said of the Caudell gals. Annette, for instance will meticulously go through her clothes on Saturday evening until she finds what she believes looks best. She’ll change her mind during the night (she will even lose sleep over it occasionally) and go through the process again the next morning. When I get home from church there are usually 6-8 different outfits on the bed that she has tried on. Guess what? She handles getting ready better than our girls do!
A little honest confession here: This used to really, really, really agitate me. Like, really.
I guess the primary reason it chapped my hide was because of the fact that I just didn’t get it. Just put on clothes and go. Who cares anyway? That’s my M.O. Besides, I thought the 1st outfit (along with the 2nd, 3rd 4th…) looked fantastic anyway.
Eventually, I had to ask myself, “Is this attention to detail really that horrible? Enough of a personal inconvenience for me to stick my foot in my mouth? “
Simple answer. NO. Though I didn’t and still don’t get it….when it comes to my girls, how THEY think they look is a big, big deal.
As we begin looking into our text we see a Biblical picture of this reality. Verse 5 gives us a glimpse into the heart of Shulammite regarding the view she has of herself.
(5) “I am dark like the tents of Kedar…”
The “Tents of Kedar”spoke of the nomadic tribe of Bedouin herders whose tents were fabricated from the jet black hair of their goats and could only be found on the dusty outskirts of the desert. Not exactly a picture of something desirable!
It seems as though Shulammite is going through something similar to Nettes Sunday morning routine, throwing a dress back into the closet and screamimng…”AHH! This looks hideous on me!!!”
Yet, in the next few words she’s describing herself as “lovely like the tents of Solomon”
In .3 seconds, in her view, she’s went from a black goat haired tent in the desert to the elegant, desirable curtains fit only for a King!
Now, hear me clearly…I don’t know why these things happen in the mind of a women and I won’t even pretend to explain it away. I will tell you this for fact, though. Shulammites appearance, how she viewed herself, mattered. I believe that the same could be said for most any woman who’s walked this planet. They are just wired that way, I guess.
But not only does the way SHE VIEWS HERSELF matter…
The Way Her Husband Views Her Matters As Well
In verse 6, we gegin to see a measure of her insecurity concerning how Solomon may see her.
“Do not stare at me because I am dark, for the sun has gazed on me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me a keeper of the vineyards. I have not kept my own vineyard.”
Shulammite speaks of her former occupation, a worker in the vineyard. Now as we study this book together, you’ll see the term “vineyard” used time and time again to symbolize Shulammites body, her person. For Shulammite, the vineyard represents all that conveys her femininity, her appeal. Her status, her complexion, her look, her sexuality, her everything is represented by the vineyard. Practically speaking, perhaps due to her strenuous work in the vineyard she feels as though she was unable to give her body (appearance) the care that she would have liked to give it and now, hindsight being 20/20, there’s some regret there as she ponders Solomons physical attraction to her.
At the beginning of verse 6, she’s obviously defensive about the issue as she implores Solomon, “Do not stare at me because I am dark”
Fact is, though a nice tan is a hot commodity in todays culture to the point where women (and some men too…boy, have I got a story to tell you…but you’ll have to ask) will climb into a super heated microwave oven known as a “tanning bed” to achieve that “bronzed” look. In Solomons day, men desired the fair skinned look of a women who didn’t look like, well, a vineyard worker. Shulammite, of course, was a simple country girl who wasn’t born with a silver poon in her mouth but rather a set of pruning shears in her hand.
Country girl with a farmers tan = prized today…ridiculed then.
Her dark complexion caused her to worry over how Solomon perceived her. Was he attracted to her? This mattered to her deeply and the same is true today.
Insecurity is a tricky thing. It can become awfully dangerous. For Shulammite, her insecurity soon turned into an anxious countenance.
(7) “Tell me, you, the one I love: Where do you pasture your sheep?
Where do you let them rest at noon? Why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?”
In verse 7 we find that Solomon is gone. Where? We’re not sure but the imagery that’s given of a Shepard probably speaks to the fact that he was most likely away simply performing day to day task.
With the mounting concern over her own appearance and well as the insecurity she’s now feeling regarding how her love perceived her, alone with her thoughts…she’s growing more anxious by the minute. She needs Solomons affirmation. She needs to hear from her mans lips that he thinks she’s beautiful.
“Where do you pasture your sheep? Where do you rest them at noon?”…in other words, “I’ve got to see you!”
At this point in our text, we’ve seen Shulammites angst. Now, what will Solomon do about it?
No doubt, Solomon is the wisest King to occupy Israel’s throne. He’s a sharp dude. Solomon KNOWS his women. He’s sensitive to her needs. Look at his response…
He Offers Her Affirmation
(8) “If you don’t know, most beautiful of women….”
Here’s the Kyle International Version of that, “Girl, just so you have no doubts about it…you have no rival. Your beauty is matchless”
He Gives Her Security
(8) “…follow the rtracks of the flock” – Solomon is saying to his lady, “You need me? I’m available to you. I’m here!”
He Provides Adoration
(9-11) “9 I compare you, my darling, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Your cheeks are beautiful with jewelry, your neck with its necklace. 11 We will make gold jewelry for you, accented with silver.”
He Lets Shulammite Know How Special She Is – “I compare you, my darling, to a mare among Pharaohs courts”
Side Note – use that line on your wife and you’ll have to explain a black eye to your hunting buddies.
Wait? He compares her to a “mare”? How does that address her insecurities? How’s that help? She’ll need therapy now!
Well, though that comparison stuns us, it would have swept Shulammite off of her feet! Pharaohs chariots were pulled only by stallions! A Mare would have stood out! Solomon was saying, “Baby girl, you stand out! You are the only women in a world of men! You’re desired by all”. He’s letting her know that she is special!
Solomon keys in on her chief insecurity – “How does the love of my life view me? This dark skin…these calloused hands? Is he attracted to me?”
(10) “Your cheeks are beautiful with jewelry, your neck with its necklace”
Fellas, if your reading this and want some sound advice that will bless your marriage, tell your wife that she’s beautiful. There is just something about that word. It’s powerful. I try and make it a habit of letting my wife AND my girls know that I think they are beautiful. I say that because I mean it but also because I know that they need to hear it….daily.
We finish up our study text today with verse 11 where we see this very wise man go above and beyond in expressing his love and attraction to Shulammite
(11) “We will make gold jewelry for you, accented with silver.”
Did you see that? Solomon presents her with gifts. Gold and silver. Now, please understand something here…vibrant relationships aren’t contingent upon material gifts. That’s not what is happening here at all.
No. I actually want you to see one HUGE word from verse 11 that serves as the key to a women’s heart….
“We will MAKE…”
Make – speaks of creativity. Guess what? Creativity is the spice that kicks a marriage relationship up a notch. Creativity requires forethought and effort. A trip to the Jewelry store doesn’t.
Creativity is what Solomon gives Shulammite….and creativity is what Shulammite needed from him.
I’ll wrap this up with some really practical application….Men, study your wife. Find out what makes her click and go all out. That’s love and that’s what she needs
Join Us Next Week As We Continue Our Blog Study. Any questions, as always, shoot them my way! – Pastor Kyle