1. Song of Solomon 5:1 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Who tells the couple to eat and drink?

Song of Solomon 5:1 (ESV)

1 I came to my garden, my sister, my bride, I gathered my myrrh with my spice, I ate my honeycomb with my honey, I drank my wine with my milk. Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!

It is most likely the daughters of Jerusalem who now speak, or even God himself, giving approval to their union. Either way, it reflects the authors evaluation of the consummation of their marriage. This corporate benediction again reminds us that sex and marriage are not simply individual appetites and pleasures that may be indulged as a private matter between any two consenting adults, but always exist in the larger context of the covenant community.1

This passage (Song of Solomon 4:16 – 5:1) forms the exact centre of the Song, with 111 Hebrew lines before it (excluding the song title in Song of Solomon 1:1) and 111 Hebrew lines after it. The consummation of the man and the woman’s relationship therefore forms the centre and climax of the whole Song.2

This section is a celebration of the true meaning of marriage as designed by God in Genesis 2:18–25. The young man and his bride experience the pure bliss of the two of them being united as one flesh. This unity is not just a sexual union but a union of two people at every level.

The description of the man’s rejoicing in the sexual pleasure his new wife offers, and her willingness to freely offer herself to him, is a hint of what Genesis means when it says, And the man and the woman were both naked and they felt no shame (Genesis 2:25). In contrast to Solomon’s wedding bed (Song of Solomon 3:7–11), the vivid imagery used in this section to describe the sexual pleasure the man and the woman find in each other has none of the self-centred, sordid, shallow, objectifying pleasure-seeking of pornography, or illicit sex. It is simply a pure delight in a good and wonderful gift from God to be shared between one man and one woman in the context of lifelong union in marriage.

The wedding itself is a simple celebration of love and marriage as opposed to the glory and splendour of Solomon’s wedding day. Ultimately, of course, the wedding God’s people are all waiting for is the one that takes place in Revelation 19:6–10 where the Lamb and his Bride are finally married. His Bride is simply clothed in the white linen of righteousness, bought with his own blood, and it is a wedding of great rejoicing because of the great love the groom has for his bride. This is in stark contrast to the great prostitute of Revelation 18:1–24 who represents the world in its rebellion against God displayed in sexual immorality and the allure of empty pleasure. She is dressed in fine linen, in purple, and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls (Revelation 18:16). But in a single hour, all this wealth is laid to waste.