1. Song of Solomon 3:7 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What is the litter (bed, couch, carriage) of Solomon?

Song of Solomon 3:7 (ESV)

7 Behold, it is the litter of Solomon! Around it are sixty mighty men, some of the mighty men of Israel,

In Song of Solomon 3:7 the youmg man is drawing the attention of his listeners to the litter of Solomon. He goes on to speak of Solomon’s litter, Solomon’s men, and Solomon’s wedding (Song of Solomon 3:7–11), but Solomon himself is never described and he never speaks.1 The poem is not about Solomon or his wedding directly, but about what Solomon and his wedding represent in the young man’s mind. Solomon is a poetic symbol and foil in the young man’s poem.2

The origin of the Hebrew word appiryon that is translated as carriage in Song of Solomon 3:9 is very uncertain. The description that follows in Song of Solomon 3:10 seems to suggest that it is probably referring not to a movable object, but rather to a room within Solomon’s palace and it is being used in a very metaphorical way. The word mitta (translated as litter in this verse) is a regular word for a bed or a couch, a common item of furniture in the Old Testament, found in the bedroom, among other places. The litter, therefore, is best thought of as the bed inside the royal room (appiryon) in Song of Solomon 3:9. In this poem, the bed moves because it is metaphorically a chariot on which the king travels in his sexual exploits.3