The Song of Songs, by Watchman Nee


Verse 5 says, "I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon." Who are the "daughters of Jerusalem"? This is a poem. Therefore, the Jerusalem mentioned here does not refer to the earthly Jerusalem, but to the heavenly Jerusalem. Since these daughters are within the realm of the heavenly Jerusalem, they must be saved ones. Calling them "daughters" means that they are begotten of God. However, they are not very seeking; they are a cold, ignorant, and careless group of people. Mr. Hudson Taylor said, "They appear to be the saved ones, but are perhaps barely saved."

"I am black, but comely." The first result of being in the chambers is to discover one’s own blackness. Without the experience of pursuit, there is no possibility of seeing. Now the maiden sees the kind of person she is. This may be the first time she has seen her own blackness. She did not become black. This blackness was already present; it speaks of everything that is in Adam. However, at the same time, she sees that she is accepted in the Son of His love. Hence, she says, "I am black, but comely." Comeliness refers to her acceptance in the Son of His love.

"As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon." "Kedar" means a dark chamber. Being as the tents of Kedar means being outwardly dark and uncomely. If "the curtains of Solomon" are made of fine linen, they must refer to Christ’s righteousness. The righteousnesses mentioned in Revelation 19:8 refers to the saints’ righteousnesses which come from the work of the Holy Spirit. But this is the Old Testament, and cannot refer to the saints’ righteousnesses. These curtains should be in the temple. "As the curtains of Solomon" refers to inward beauty, that is, one’s beauty before God.

Verse 6 says, "Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept."

"Sun" in the original language has a definite article with it. Through God’s enlightening in the chambers, she realizes that she is black. Therefore, she does not want anyone to look at her. This is her mental state at the moment. Before the Holy Spirit completes His deep work in a man, he may still want to cover himself before others. But after the Holy Spirit has done a deep enough work, a man will no longer try to hide anything from others. At this point, the maiden’s appearance before men is the same as it is before God. As a result, she is willing to confess, "I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me."

"My mother’s children were angry with me." The verse does not say "my father’s children," but "my mother’s children," because mother signifies the principle of promise, which is the principle of God’s grace. Galatians 4:26-28 says that the Jerusalem above is our mother and that we, like Isaac, are children of promise. "My mother’s children" are those who have become God’s children according to the principle of God’s grace.

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