Chapter 1, verse 15 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.
The dove is a symbol of innocence and purity (10) page 29
The “you” in this sentence is emphasized by the “ah” (often translated “behold”): Your are beautiful, not someone else. (29) page 68
In the present context, given the background of the ancient Near East, one can see the doves only as messengers of love. Thus the sentence would mean: “your glances are messengers of love!” The man is saying: You are beautiful, and your glances speak to me of love and receptivity. (29) page 71
behold you are beautiful p 196 Shulamith uses the same word Solomon has used twice to describe her in the previous lyric. He twice calls her beautiful and she responds “You are beautiful.” In the original language, the word for “beautiful” can be sued appropriately for a male or female, whereas in English “beautiful” is much more commonly applied to females. Consequently, many translations of her response to him translate this word as “handsome.” However in translating it that way, one loses the precise sense of her returning the comp0liment with the same word.” (22a) page 178
verse 16 And our bed is verdant.
In the other eighteen usages in the Old Testament, the word describing the “bed” describes trees every time but once (and then it is the product of a tree). (22a) page 197
the word translated verdant is an agricultural term for the state of being healthy or in season, as a tree in blossom or grass that is green. The implication is that they rest upon the grass which serves as a couch (22) page 157
verse 16 The woman does not disagree but returns the compliment: You are beautiful! Although the OT speaks less often of male beauty than of female beauty, its statements about males are equally unabashed. (1 Sam. 16:12; 178:42; 2 Sam 14:25); it knows that male beauty can work just as seductively on women as female beauty on men(cf. Gen 29:6-7). (29) page 71
She follows, twice praising his attractiveness, and then expands the imagery of the dove by describing herself and her lover as doves among the trees….— She cannot resist playful flirtation her, since the word for resting place in other contexts is best translated bed. It is true that is describing the branches of the trees, the word takes on the nuance of nest or resting place, but it also hints at a time when they will not be like birds in the trees but lover in bed. (22a) pages 60-61
Three comparative images are introduced: Solomon likens her eyes to doves (1.15); Shulamith likens herself to a “lotus flower of the valleys” (2.1); Shulamith likens him to “an apple tree among the trees of the forest” (2.3) Then each image is embellished: Solomon embellishes the second image by adding “ as a lotus flow among thorns” (2.2): Shulamith embellishes the third image with, “In his shade I longed to stay, and his fruit was sweet to my taste” (2.3) so after Solomon calls Shulamith’s eyes does in 1.15, she continues the imagery with “yes our resting place is in the trees, and the beams of our houses are cedar trees, and our rafters are cypress trees.” (22a) page 197
verse 17 The beams of our house are cedars; our rafters are firs.
houses is plural – all outdoors is their home comprised of natural trees. (22) page 157
The cedars of Lebanon were used in the temple (I Kings 5:6-9)
They have met out in the open where plenty of people can see them, although they wouldn’t be close enough to hear their conversation.
It is not altogether clear what is meant literally here and what is a figure of speech. Should one envision a chamber with beams crafted of precious cedar as in a royal palace? Or are “couch,” “beams,” and “wainscoting” figurative terms to describe a love nest in the green forest? Either reading is grammatically possible. (29) page 73
As in 1:10-11, the Song and the prophetic critique speak again of the same thing from different perspectives. The prophets combat love-making under every leafy tree because they see it as a continuation of and concession to the cult of Baal. The Song celebrates this love as a way to surround one’s own vitality with the life-giving , blooming, all-encompassing vitality of nature, without seeing in it any particular homage to Baal. (29) page 75