Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 23: The Song of Songs & Hymns, by Watchman Nee


This maiden sees three things in the chambers: (1) She sees the blackness in Adam and the fairness in the Son of His love; (2) she sees the vanity of outward work through God’s dealing; and (3) she also sees the spiritual need. Hence, the Lord answers her according to her seeking, and He praises her and makes a promise to her.

A. The King’s Answer (1:8)

Verse 8 says, "If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents."

The King calls her "fairest among women." "If thou know not"—the tone of this sentence seems to indicate that the King is rebuking her and that she should have already known about such a thing. "If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock." On the one hand, "the footsteps of the flock" signifies the footsteps of the believers today; these believers are taking the standing of one flock, that is, the standing of the church. (Although there are many sheep, they have not gathered as a flock, and they are not taking the standing of the church.) Here one can find food and rest. On the other hand, the flock also signifies the saints who have died and have gone on before us throughout the past generations. They have found food and rest. We can also find food and rest if we go to the place where they were. The word "footsteps" means experience.

The kids are not the sheep, because the maiden herself is a sheep. Nor are they the flock, because she is outside of the flock. The kids are the lambs who are younger than she. "Feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents." This reminds her not to forget her duty toward the kids in her daily life, as a result of her pursuit for food and rest, and not to lock up the gates of the kids. This is something to be watchful about. While we are seeking after food and rest, we must still fulfill our duty toward immature disciples. We cannot close the door and seek only our own edification. Putting it another way, she can derive her food and rest from feeding the kids!

The word "shepherds" is plural in number. These are the under-shepherds, those who are under the Lord. The word "tents" is plural in number. The Lord intends that she secure a place for herself beside all the other shepherds and feed the kids among them. On the one hand, she has to follow the by-gone saints in their consecration, faith, endurance, trust, pursuit after God’s will, dedication to prayer, and so forth. On the other hand, in her daily life she must still care for those believers who are younger than she is, and she must fulfill her duty this way. While we are pursuing, we must not give up our daily duties.

B. The King’s Praise and Promise (1:9-11)

Verses 9 to 11 say, "I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots. Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver."

The words "my love" may be translated "my beloved friend." The word "horses" means "good horses" in the original language. All the horses at Solomon’s time came from Egypt (1 Kings 10:28-29). Verses 9 and 10 describe the beauty the maiden possesses in her natural constitution. Verse 11 describes God’s work and the beauty that comes from God.

These three verses speak of six things: (1) horses, (2) cheeks, (3) rows of jewels, (4) the neck, (5) borders of gold, and (6) studs of silver. Let us consider these items one by one:

1. The Horses

The Bible characterizes horses by one thing: their swiftness. Psalm 147:10 mentions "the strength of horses." The "horses in Pharaoh’s chariots" signifies the best among all the horses. Spiritually speaking, it denotes swiftness. A horse is a symbol of natural swiftness. It is swift because it is strong. The swiftness in this verse can be compared to the running in 1:4. The maiden is swift, but her swiftness is only a swiftness that is from the world.

2. The Cheeks

The beauty of a person is determined by the cheeks. This means that the cheeks signify the most beautiful part.

3. Rows of Jewels

The cheeks are made beautiful by rows of jewels. The "rows of jewels" are the braidings of the hair. Hair refers to natural strength. This shows that the maiden’s beauty is derived from her natural strength, which implies her goodness in the natural realm.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 23: The Song of Songs & Hymns, Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)