This chapter from the Song of Solomon begins with the voice of the “others” or the “chorus”. The woman speaker makes it clear that she is particularly speaking to the women among the audience, as she calls out to them as “The daughters of Jerusalem”. The voices of the others serve as a reminder that the couple’s love is honored and approved by their friends and family. The woman has made a request of the audience, that they help her find the one she loves, and they are eager to do this very thing. As readers, it is important to keep in mind that beginning in chapter five, the text has hinted that this might all still be occurring within the woman’s dream. It is important to remember that possibility when reading through chapter six from chapter 5.
Song of Solomon Chapter 6 Analysis
The first and second verses reveal that the woman has now found her lover and she declares their commitment to one another, proclaiming, “I am my lovers and my beloved is mine”.
The man praises the woman’s beauty, comparing her to the two most beautiful and powerful cities in the land, Tirzah, and Jerusalem. “Tirzah” literally means “pleasing” and the woman was pleasing to him just as the city of Tirzah was pleasing to look at. His description of her as “awesome as an army with banners” reveals that he is not only delighted with her physical beauty, but also with her dignity, strength, and courage.
The true effect she has on him is perhaps most clearly articulated when he says, “Turn away your eyes from me, for they overwhelm me”. He then begins to describe her physical attributes in much the same fashion as his earlier description. He compares her hair to a flock of goats, her teeth to a flock of ewes, “all of them bear[ing] twins” Then He again praises her for having all of her teeth, a rare accomplishment in the ancient world. This verse reveals that although he is able to dwell on every other physical attribute in order to describe it thoroughly, he is unable to continue to look into her eyes, for her eyes overwhelm him. Some believe this is yet another suggestion that the two are waiting until marriage for the physical act of love. While he greatly admires her features, looking directly into her eyes would be too tempting for him.
At this point, the man begins to describe her rosy complexion, comparing her cheeks to pomegranate halves, just as he did in chapter four. In ancient culture, the pomegranate was often an erotic symbol.
He then lets her know that no other woman could ever compare to her beauty. This is revealed when he says, “There are sixty queens and eighty concubines and virgins without number” but then proclaims that no woman, not even a woman of royalty, could ever compare with her. He says, “My dove, my perfect one, is the only one.” He then proclaims, “The young women saw her and called her blessed”. In this, he is essentially telling her that he is not the only one who finds her beautiful. He is telling her that all of the other women believe her to be blessed because of her beauty.
At this point, the man compares her beauty to that of the skies, claiming that she is “beautiful as the moon” and “bright as the sun”. He communicates to her that he sees her beauty as majestic and captivating beyond words. He continues his description and repeats that she is “awesome as an army with banners”. The repetitive description of her as an army reveals that her honor, virtue, and dignity are just, if not more important to him than her beauty. He is enthralled by her beauty but he is captivated by her virtue.
At this point, the woman resumes the position of speaker and claims that she has gone down to the orchard to enjoy its beauty when the desire for her lover suddenly overcame her.
After she expresses her physical pain as a result of her yearning for her lover, the men in the chorus of others call to her so they “may look upon” her. Keep in mind that this is all a part of the woman’s dream. She has been longing for one man, and one man only. Her dream involved praise and love from her lover as well as other men’s demands to look at her. Biblical Scholars reveal that the word “you” in this verse was written in the masculine plural form. This suggests that the men in the chorus who have been fairly silent until now have spoken up in protest of her leaving their sight because they wanted to look upon her beauty. This verse reveals that she feels deeply loved and regarded by her lover, while she feels rather objectified by other men. Perhaps this is another reason that she has been dreaming that her lover would take her in and protect her from the perils of the world. This also explains her previous nightmare that the watchmen beat her when they found her. She seems to have trust in her lover, but not for the other men in her life. The daughters of Jerusalem she particularly addresses in love, but the men she does not mention except for in her nightmarish episode of the watchmen, and when they call out to her to come forth out of the garden so they might look upon her.
In the second part of this verse, her lover does come to her rescue to protect her from the men who wish to gaze on her. He responds to them in defense of her dignity. He tells them that they have no right to stare at her beauty because she has committed herself to him and him alone.