The Song of Songs, by Watchman Nee


A. The Beloved’s Praise (6:4-9)

After the maiden arrives at this stage, we see the Lord’s satisfaction in her. This book speaks of a progressive union; the purpose of the union is fellowship, while the meaning of fellowship is identification. Hence, the maiden sees in the King what she has experienced in the King. The King sees the manifestation of His life in the maiden. The King’s praise is a proclamation of the riches the believers have received through their union with the Lord.

Verse 4 says, "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners." The Lord is viewing the believers from heaven, from within the sanctuary. Hence, this is something which happens within the veil. The Lord has mentioned her beauty and comeliness previously. But the beauty and comeliness in this verse are more restricted than before. Therefore, "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem."

Tirzah is where the palace is (1 Kings 14:17). Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Tirzah signifies the heavenly sanctuary, the dwelling of God. Jerusalem signifies the heavenly Jerusalem. The Lord is examining our heavenly nature and life within the sanctuary. In that Jerusalem everything is comely, and in that Tirzah everything is beautiful, because both are God’s new creation. Today believers are already displaying the beauty and comeliness of the coming sanctuary.

Weapons are the most important thing to an army in battle, whereas the banner is the most important thing in victory. If the battle is lost, the banner is put away in shame. An unfurled banner signifies the glory of victory. This verse indicates that the maiden is beautiful and comely before the Lord, as solid as the heavenly city and as serene as the sanctuary. At the same time, she displays the glory of her victory before the enemy and the world. A life within the veil is not just a life before the Lord, but a life before the enemy, because the heaven in which the saints dwell is the very heaven which the enemy assails. God has no intention for His believers to possess only the heavenly beauty without possessing a warring nature. The heavenly warfare is never abated before the Lord.

Believers ought to be lovable and terrible at the same time. Believers today have lost their loveliness before the Lord, and they have lost their terribleness before the enemy and the world. Are men terrified by us? The Bible often mentions the terribleness of the Lord; He is terrible because He is holy. If we maintain our holiness and victory, we will see the enemy retreating and the world standing back. But believers today have sacrificed their terribleness, and neither men nor demons are afraid of them any longer.

Verse 5a says, "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me." The first phrase in verse 5 is a poetic expression. The power of love is expressed by the affection in the eyes. The Lord is not rejecting the believers’ love; rather, there is the element of encouragement and praise. Just as He turned down the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:25-29), delayed two days before going up to Judea (John 11:5-7), told Moses, "Let me alone" (Exo. 32:10), and allowed Jacob to hold on to Him (Gen. 32:26), He is inviting the maiden’s expression of love with a word of seeming rejection. Turning away is the opposite of fixing one’s eyes upon an object. This speaks not only of love, but of the firmness of love. It seems that He has become weak before her love; this weakness in Him has been displayed often in the face of love. He seems to give a hint of His total helplessness, apparent failure, and lack of defense before love. Only those who have experienced the Lord’s apparent rejection, delay, denial, and helplessness know the way of the Lord.

(The Song of Songs, Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)