O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you– if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love. How is your beloved better the others, most beautiful of women? How is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so?
He used the term most beautiful of women in front of them in chapter one when they were just starting to be a couple. They remembered this and are taking some shots at her, now that he seemed to have left her.
In answer to the inquiry or sarcastic questions of the Daughters of Jerusalem, Shulamit answers and points out in detail why Solomon is so special to her as over against all others. (24) page 46
She starts describing him:
My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
He is radiant and lustrous, distinguished among ten thousand, she begins “everything about him is intensely desirable to me” she concludes. And in between, she compliments ten aspects of her beloved. This number underscores his work in her eyes, since ten, like seven, is a number used to signify perfection. (22a) page 100
His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven. His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels. His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh. His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars. His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
At first this seemed like she was giving a description of him on a pedestal, almost referring to him in god-like qualities.
Then I read this comment from Tremper Longman III, in his book Song of Songs (30).
I will admit up front that I am being more adventurous than usual in my translation and interpretation of the second part of the verse. It is conceivable that the verse simply is referring to the fact that his stomach is as smooth as a slab of ivory. However, the words are too suggestive for me to settle on that approach. When one thinks of ivory, one thinks of a tusk of ivory, an object that could easily have erotic connotations. The decoration with lapis, a precious stone blue in color, simply would highlight the object’s preciousness. In such an erotic poem, the line at the least is suggestive of, if not explicitly referring to, the man’s member, and thus it is to be compared to the well-garden imagery in 4:12-13. The word that we are here translating as member (me’eh) also had an erotic sense in regard to the woman in 5:4 (30) page 173
Now read the passage as the girl describes him, and see if she describes things that the other girls don’t know. It is interesting when the member (ivory) is described that some translations use lapis and others use sapphires. One is reddish in color, the other blue. These are the two colors you would see at the end of the member if it was circumcised. When she talks about the arms set with chrysolite (white in color). This would highlight the fingernails at the ends of the arms. She isn’t letting the other girls push her around. She is describing his body highlighting the parts she has shared with him sexually.
This probably isn’t a story you heard in Sunday School.