1. Song of Solomon 4:1 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What does the young man draw attention to?

Song of Solomon 4:1 (ESV)

1 Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead.

This is the second time that the young man uses the word behold. The first was in Song of Solomon 3:6 where he drew attention to the sight of Solomon on his wedding day (Song of Solomon 3:7–11). Now he uses it to draw attention to the simple beauty of his bride (Song of Solomon 4:1–7).

The answer to Who is this coming up from the wilderness? (Song of Solomon 3:6) is not the glory and luxury of Solomon, but the simple beauty of the woman.1 The repetition of the word behold intensifies the young man’s appreciation of her beauty. It is as if he were saying, You are beautiful beyond words.2

This poem (Song of Solomon 4:1–7) uses a common Arabic poetic device called a wasf, an Arabic term that means description. The poem is a description by the man of each part of his bride’s body, with different metaphors. An Arabic wasf love poem is sung at a wedding and expresses the anticipation of lovemaking. It is therefore quite sensuous and provocative in its imagery, but it is always tasteful.3 The metaphors the man uses to express his appreciation of his wife’s beauty are not simply describing her physical appearance but also how he feels when he looks at her. Aspects of the woman’s beauty provoke a profound emotional response.4