1. Song of Solomon 3:6 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Who is coming up out from the wilderness?

Song of Solomon 3:6 (ESV)

6 What is that coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of a merchant?

This central section of the Song (Song of Solomon 3:6 – 5:1) focuses on the much-anticipated marriage between the young woman and the young man.

In contrast to the rest of the Song, the main voice in this central poem is not the young woman but the young man. In an extended poem he speaks in Song of Solomon 3:6 – 4:15 as he celebrates and rejoices in the beauty of his bride and his marriage to her. His poem has two parts to it: Song of Solomon 3:6–11 and Song of Solomon 4:1–15.

In the first part of his poem (Song of Solomon 3:6–11) he is addressing the community in general or possibly the daughters of Jerusalem (Song of Solomon 3:11). He starts with a question. The Hebrew interrogative mi can refer to an object, but it normally indicates a person. So, it should be translated as Who is that coming up…? and not What…? The feminine singular Hebrew demonstrative zot, translated as that, clearly indicates that a woman is in view (see also Song of Solomon 6:10; Song of Solomon 8:5).1

The young man is, therefore, expressing his eager expectation at the arrival of his young bride on their wedding day. The reference to a wedding in Song of Solomon 3:11 seems to suggest that a wedding day is in view.