Song of Solomon 3:9“King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.” Most commentators feel that this verse is not describing a different vehicle but rather is continuing to describe the same movable palanquin as is mentioned in verse seven. Although it fires the imagination to picture Solomon driving at the head of the processional in a royal chariot while bringing a bed for his beloved to ride in behind him, that seems inconsistent with the text for several reasons. First, were Solomon riding ahead in a chariot, it seems unimaginable that he would not have been noticed and described first instead of second. On the other hand, it would have been unthinkable and dishonoring to the king’s position to have had him riding behind the showcased royal bed with all the honor guard attending it. The royal bodyguard was to protect the king above all else. That the bride would also be protected was an indication of her privilege as the king’s wife. Apart from him, she was nothing…just as apart from Christ, we are nothing. Finally, verse ten describes the chariot as having a covering of purple cloth…which would be perfectly appropriate for a boudoir, but hardly an asset on a chariot!
No, rather than describing two separate conveyances, this vignette seems to be developing the picture like a telephoto camera zooming in on the scene. In verse six, we see the clouds of smoke and incense ascending in the distance and wonder what is coming. In verses seven and eight we recognize the troop of magnificent soldiers bearing aloft a royal palanquin, but it is the noble warriors who capture our attention. Coming closer, we marvel at the beauty of the palanquin itself in verses nine and ten. And, finally, in verse eleven, we will rejoice with the daughters of Zion as we behold the king himself!
“King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.” There is a precious thought here that captures our attention: the king made the chariot himself. It did not come out of the imagination and creative genius of another man; this chariot was designed and ordered by the king to meet his exact specifications. He personally planned and oversaw its construction. It is a great consolation to remember that the Creator of the ends of the earth also personally designed every detail of the conveyance that will bring us to the gates of the celestial city. Every circumstance of our lives has been hand crafted by his love to bring about all things for good in our lives (Romans 8:28)!
Being a monarch of untold riches and wisdom, the chariot was doubtless a masterpiece of exquisite beauty and design. The bride must have watched in breathless wonder as the palanquin approached. What was that glittering and gleaming in the sunshine? See the deep purple tapestries covering it…the flowing curtains swaying in the breeze! Did it actually take all sixty of the valiant men to carry it, or were some carrying and others simply attending? The Scripture says that all sixty were holding swords, so possibly all sixty were also involved in the physical work of transporting it. Imagine the size of such a magnificent structure, which may have required sixty of Solomon’s strongest men to lift and carry!
All this for his beloved! What wife would not stand in awe and amazement to consider the love that energized such a lavish display? Husbands, do you take creative energy, time, and money to surprise your wife with expressions of your love? A woman will never forget a man who truly loves her, nor will she ever forget the sacrifices he made to express that love. If ever her thoughts begin to drift, do you want your wife’s daydreams to be about you? Then make her feel loved…make her know she’s loved. By lavish displays? Sure, sometimes! Maybe a special anniversary trip or a second honeymoon to a favored place. If you can’t afford two tickets on a shining jet, at least polish your car. (Wasn’t it shiny on the day of your wedding?)
But, day by day you can also make your wife feel cherished by all your little acts of love and kindness. A wife does not especially sense your love when you are successful in your career, because it is not always clear to her whether it is your love for the Lord and her—or your own personal ambitions—that are driving you at work. What makes her feel cherished are the little things you do for her quietly…things that serve her needs without bringing any attention to you from those outside your home…things like helping her with her work when she’s tired, taking a sincere interest in nurturing your children, and helping keep up the home. She works hard all day while you are working hard all day. In her eyes, it is unloving for you to relax all night while she works through until bedtime (and all night too sometimes). If you are the type of husband who takes all evening off from responsibilities while your wife is toiling over child and house care, expect her to be too tired and stressed to enjoy love making when you go to bed. If you want your wife to have any hope of being relaxed and happy when she goes to bed, you’re going to have to help her finish her responsibilities in time to relax with you for a while! Make the “chariot” of your home a comfortable place in which your wife may journey through life with you!
(I don’t suppose a carriage like King Solomon’s exists on earth today, but these two are from the royal carriage house in St. Petersburg, Russia.)