The Shulamite complies with the request of her attendants, and as she glides before them in the dance, they sing in further commendation of her beauty of form and grace of movement. The description in the original consists, like Sol 4:1-5, of five stanzas nearly coinciding with the verses in the text.
How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.Thy feet with shoes - Or, thy steps in the sandals: the bride's feet are seen in motion in the dance. "Joints" might be rendered circling movements.
Prince's daughter - Or, daughter of a noble; the bride is of honorable though not of kingly birth.
Like jewels - The image suggested is that of large well-formed pearls or other jewels skillfully strung or linked together.
Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.Or, Thy lap is like a moon-shaped bowl where mixed wine faileth not." The wine in the bowl rising to the brim adds to the beauty of the vessel, and gives a more pleasing image to the eye. Some interpret, "thy girdle is like a moon-shaped bowl," or "bears a moon-shaped ornament" (compare Isaiah 3:18).
Set about with lilies - The contrast is one of colors, the flowers, it may be, representing the purple of the robe. "The heap of wheat is not seen because covered by the lilies."
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.A tower of ivory - The tower of ivory, the allusion being to some particular tower, built probably by Solomon 1 Kings 10:21.
Fishpools in Heshbon - Or, simply pools. Among the ruins to the south of Heshbon still remain a number of deep wells cut in the rock, and a large reservoir of water. The simile well sets forth the appearance of a large clear liquid eye (compare Sol 5:12 note).
Gate of Bath-rabbim - Perhaps the gate looking toward Rabbath-Ammon on the north side of the city, though this does not agree with the wells above mentioned; or, the gate of the city "full of people" Lamentations 1:1; or, an expression indicating the gate itself as the scene of numerous gatherings.
Nose - Better perhaps "face "or "brow."
The tower of Lebanon - Possibly "the house of the forest of Lebanon" or part of it 1 Kings 7:2; 1 Kings 9:19, built by Solomon in the early part of his reign; or possibly a watchtower erected by David to overawe Damascus after his war with Hadadezer 2 Samuel 8:6.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.Compare and contrast with Sol 5:15. The rendering in the margin takes "Carmel" as the name of a color, equivalent to "carmine" (rendered "crimson" in 2 Chronicles 2:7, 2 Chronicles 2:14; 2 Chronicles 3:14). This interpretation is favored by the parallelism with "purple," but removes a beautiful image.
Purple - A deep violet black.
The king ... - Rather, "A king is bound in the tresses or windings of thy hair." These last words indicate the king's approach.
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!A brief dialogue; Sol 7:6-9 are spoken by the king, Sol 7:9 and Sol 7:10 by the bride.
A general sentiment.
How fair, and what a charm hast thou,
O love! Among delightsome things!
Compare Sol 2:7, note; Sol 8:6-7, note.
This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.This thy stature - The king now addresses the bride, comparing her to palm, vine, and apple-tree for nobility of form and pleasantness of fruit; and the utterances of her mouth to sweetest wine.
I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.For my beloved, that goeth down sweetly - Words of the bride interrupting the king, and finishing his sentence, that goeth smoothly or pleasantly for my beloved. Compare Proverbs 23:31.
I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.His desire is toward me - All his affection has me for its object. The bride proceeds to exercise her power over his loving will.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.