The Song of Songs, by Watchman Nee


Verse 2 says, "As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." The King is saying that she is indeed a lily, not in contrast to the valleys, but in contrast to the thorns. This means that the maiden is a lily, whereas everyone else is just thorns.

According to the Bible, thorns refer to two things. First, they refer to man’s natural life after Adam’s fall. The basis for saying this is Genesis 3:18. There the thorns grew by themselves and did not come out as a result of sowing. Another basis for saying this is in Exodus 3, the chapter on the thornbush. The fire was burning, yet the thornbush was not consumed. The fire and the light did not come from the thorns themselves, but from God. God used the thorns, but He did not cause any loss to the thorns. This means that God would use Moses to deal with the Israelites and the Gentiles according to Himself, and not according to man’s natural life. A proper testimony has, as its capital, not things from man, but things from God. God did not use anything that came from Moses; He only used that which issued from Himself. Second, the thorns signify that which grows out of the natural realm. This refers to the results of sin and the natural self. It is typified by the thorns in Matthew 13:7. The thorns in Hebrews 6:8 signify the fruit that comes out of a person’s own self-will, whose end is to be burned.

The word "daughters" is "maidens" (RSV); it is plural in number. These maidens are not the daughters of Jerusalem. The Lord considers those who pursue after Him as lilies, unlike those who are born of sin. The Lord declares them to be different from those who live in sin. There is sinful living and the natural life all around them, but these ones are different. They are the ones who have faith (the lilies). At the same time, this hints at the sufferings a seeker endures in the midst of an environment of natural and sinful living.


Verse 3 says, "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."

Now she takes her turn to compare the King to the sinners. "The sons" refer to all the things that capture one’s heart, everything that is desired (Gen. 3:6), everything that can serve as the master of one’s heart, and everyone to whom the believer’s heart would turn.

Notice the words "apple tree among the trees." In the original language "apple" is "bergamot orange." It is an evergreen plant and does not shed its leaves in winter. Outwardly, it looks somewhat like a pomegranate, and it tastes somewhat like an orange and lemon. "The sons" can only be compared to ordinary trees, whereas the beloved has three characteristics: (1) He can become a forest. Emphasis is placed on the word "wood," which denotes tallness. (2) His overshadowing never fails. He is an evergreen and therefore provides shade all the time. (3) He bears fruit. Many trees are green but do not bear fruit. He is tall, overshadowing, and fruitful. The maiden has come to realize the Lord as the One who is all in all.

Prior to this, she has given herself fully to the Lord. But now she declares her testimony; these are the words out of her mouth, what she says publicly to all men. She not only acknowledges that He is the wine, but she praises the wine itself. At this time no person or thing can usurp her heart any longer. There are no longer divisions in the church into those of Paul and those of Apollos, which divisions are but things of the flesh (1 Cor. 3:3-4). Now the Lord has filled her sight.

(The Song of Songs, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)