Chapter 5 revealed problems in the marriage that needed to be overcome. As we studied that chapter we saw the strategies given by God to deal with our marital problems and bring harmony back to the relationship. Chapter 6 begins with a question by the chorus (the daughters of Jerusalem) if everything is fine. Notice verse 1 that they ask if she ever found her beloved. Remember that the fifth chapter showed him leaving. She had hurt him and there was a fracture in the relationship. She went out looking for him, desiring to be with him, and praising him for who he is. Rather than focusing on what he is not, she is focusing on what he is. Did it work?
Verses 2-3 tell us that this did work. She says that he has gone down to his garden. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Remember in chapter 4 that we saw the garden as a sexual reference. So the picture is that they have reconciled and are back in each other’s arms. She has called out to him and he has responded to her. He does not hold a grudge or is embittered. She finds him and they resolve their problem. The marriage appears to be back on track. What we will notice in chapter 6 is that the marriage is in harmony again because they are praising each other again. They want to be together and are communicating what they want and need to each other. So there is a happy marriage relationship as each is responding to the other’s desires. But this requires that we want happy marriages. This sounds obvious but some do not recognize that they are happy being miserable. They like have a bad marriage so that they can complain to others about their situation, receiving pity and attention. This must not be how a Christian behaves. God commands us to have Christ-like marriages (Ephesians 5:22-33). So we are not going to be happy by trying to keep things miserable in our marriages. We are going to give and sacrifice as Christ did so we can have relationships that he has commanded us to have.
Praising Her (6:4-10)
Notice that he is doing for her and saying to her the things that he did and said at the beginning of their relationship. Verses 5-7 contain the same words that he spoke in 4:1-3. One of the keys to marital harmony is to continue to show love for each other by doing the things you know your spouse likes. Do and say the things you did and said when you were dating and when you first got married. Too many marriages talk about when things were better in the marriage before. It was better when we first were married or it was better when we were dating. There is a simple answer to this problem. Do what you were doing before. Don’t stop. Those words and actions do not have to be mere memories. Go back to those good times and continue to do them. Kindle the love for each other by doing what the other person loves. Do not take the love of each other for granted. Doing so is a critical mistake.
But he also adds new information too. Verses 8-10 give new words of love to her, as well as verse 4. Tizrah was a beautiful city in the northern part of Israel which would become the capital of the northern nation of Israel from the time of Jeroboam to Omri (cf. 1 Kings 15:33). His attitude toward her is that she is the best. This is what he says in verses 8-9. There are many queens and virgins, but he does not want any of them. He only wants her. Wives need to hear this from their husbands. This is especially true today in this over-sexualized world that places such a heavy emphasis on physical beauty. Husbands need to tell their wives that if they had it to do all over again, they would marry her again. He holds her up as a precious gem that he is grateful to have. I believe that this is what Peter means in 1 Peter 3:7 where he tells husbands to honor their wives as the weaker vessel. Too many get hung up on the “weaker vessel” language which completely misses the point of the instruction. Peter did not say she is a weaker vessel. Peter said to honor her like that. Do not treat her as common. Treat her as special. Treat her like the prize and value that she is to your life.
Her Song (6:11-13)
In verse 11 it appears that she is going to a valley to see if it is spring when the plants are blooming and budding. Spring is a metaphor for love. Is it still the time of love? Is the relationship still good? Another way to look at this is that she is seeing if their reconciliation has brought about a new spring. Scholars note the difficulty of the Hebrew in verses 12-13 and this explains the difference in translation in our English versions. At the very least she seems to be saying that she has been swept away in her desire for him as he has been putting her on a pedestal and elevating her by his words and actions. The others seem to cry out that they want to see her. However, he intervenes and says that it is not your business to look upon her. She belongs to him and him alone.
You will notice that for the first time she is given a title: Shulammite. Shulammite is an interesting name because it is the feminine form of the Hebrew word for Solomon. So this likely has a picture of these two belonging together. Both of them are finding peace with each other (the root word for both of their titles is shalom, meaning peace).
In this chapter we see what the husband is doing to maintain the marriage relationship. He continues to praise her and show her love as he did when they were dating and when they were first married. Further, he does new things for her, praising her in new ways, and not just doing what he has always done so that it become mundane and habitual. This has caused her to look for a time for love between them after reconciliation from their last marital problem. He has responded to her by sweeping her away so that they can be together.