Song of Solomon 1:1–6 (NKJV)
1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
3 Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
4 Draw me away!
THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM
We will run after you.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM
We will be glad and rejoice in you.
We will remember your love more than wine.
Rightly do they love you.
5 I am dark, but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not look upon me, because I am dark,
Because the sun has tanned me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me the keeper of the vineyards,
But my own vineyard I have not kept.
This passage begins the great Bible love story, the Song of Solomon (aka the Song of Songs). There are many interpretations of this writing. Some say that this is meant to be an analogy of the relationship between Jesus and His church. Others say it generally a description of the love between God and His people. However, it is just as valid to see this as a celebration of young love leading up to marriage. The almost graphic nature of the desire each one has for the other in this love story demonstrates the sexual attraction between a man and woman that leads them into a powerful and healthy sexual relationship within the confines of marriage. This describes the righteous and holy aspects of true marriage between a man and a woman in a monogamous, committed relationship. For too long, the church has been guilty of stifling any talk, much less celebration, of the sexual component of humanity that is holy in a marriage. God teaches His people to procreate, and gives them a desire for sexual relationship that makes obeying Him fulfilling and pleasant.
Therefore, when the Shulamite expresses her desire to her friends for her lover to kiss her, and giddily discusses how great his cologne smells, she is fulfilling a righteous desire leading up to the fulfillment on her wedding night. She touts his good looks and says that she knows that the other girls all think he is a catch…her catch! Her friends celebrate her relationship and vow to follow along as she and her husband unite joyfully at their wedding. This is good theater, a powerful expression of how God desires that a husband and wife anticipate the greatness of their life together in the days leading up to their wedding.
There is a slightly difficult passage in the last few verses, discussing her tanned skin, caused by her brothers forcing her to keep their vineyards. She bemoans the fact that she was unable to keep her own vineyard because of her forced labor on behalf of her brothers. Her “vineyard” may well refer to her complexion, because most of the women thought to be desirable had creamy complexions rather than tanned ones. However, she defended herself by saying that she was dark, but lovely. This means that her beauty was not compromised by her color. It is important to remember that looks are not the only indicator of beauty, and that God’s plan and purpose for your life is the most important factor in choosing a mate. See the beauty, even if it is not conventional, in the man or woman your love. That beauty, whether it lines up with the cultural conventions of the day or not, will last in your mind and your heart regardless of how culture changes.
Fall in love. Celebrate it. Enjoy it within God’s plan and the bounds of His holiness. Be giddy and silly at times, and enjoy the spouse you love and desire!