Rise Up, My Love (90): Crowned with a Garland

Arellano,_Juan_de_~_Garland_of_Flowers_with_Landscape,_1652,_oil_on_canvas,_Museo_del_Prado_at_MadridSong of Solomon 3:11. “Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.”

Go forth, daughters of Zion…those who claim the name of the God of Israel and dwell in his city…go forth and see the royal procession bearing the king and his bride! See the crown upon his bead, and rejoice in his rejoicing! This crown was apparently not a symbol of his power, but it was the marriage crown, a garland of flowers and greens tied together with ribbons that was always worn as part of the marriage celebration until the time of Vespusian.* The joy was in his marriage: in the public and permanent union of his bride with himself.

Notice how perfectly parallel this presentation is with our relationship to our Lord: we are united with him by the rebirth, but we are not publicly and everlastingly reigning with him until by faith we leave our “honeymoon cottage” (where he has dwelt in our hearts and prepared us for service) and abandon ourselves to him, ever after sitting at his side, attending his will. So often readers puzzle over the early chapters of the Song of Solomon, recognizing that the official marriage celebration is portrayed at the end of chapter three, but troubled by the obvious marriage relationship preceding this section. There is no conflict here when we understand the spiritual foreshadowing. We are joined to Christ the minute he takes us into his chambers…the minute we enter into him as our refuge and salvation. But, we begin to enjoy the life of victory when we abandon ourselves completely to him and join him in the royal chariot of total consecration and surrender.

“Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon…” This sounds as if the royal cavalcade has descended the mountainside and is entering the royal palace. The bride is calling out for all the women to come and see the glory of their Lord and King! What a day of celebrating.

“Come and see the glory of the Lord, come behold the Lamb. Come and see the mercies of the Lord, falling down before Him.” (Lenny LaBlanc)

But, between the marriage celebration of Solomon and the final coronation of the Lamb in Revelation, there was another presentation and crowning of the king which must never be forgotten. The “daughters of Zion…” and the “daughters of Jerusalem” are addressed as such only a handful of times in Scripture outside of the Song of Solomon. Two parallel passages strike our hearts through like darts. In Zechariah 9:9 we read, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” When the Lord Jesus presented himself as the lowly King of Salvation, Pilate robed him in purple and crowned him with thorns. “Behold your King!” he shouted, but the chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:14-15).

The “daughters of Jerusalem” were addressed as such only once outside of the Song of Solomon, and it was by Christ on his way to the crucifixion: “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children…” (Luke 23:28). Why did the daughters of Jerusalem weep? Because their Lord was being crowned with thorns and killed. Why were the daughters of Jerusalem to rejoice in the Song of Solomon? Because their Lord was being crowned with flowers and married. Giovanni Stanchi Dei Fiori - Opere - Prezzi e stimeWhat a contrast between, “Come and see the glory of the Lord!” and, “When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died…” It is only as we drink in the cup of his suffering and the crown of thorns that we are able to rejoice in the crown of flowers that will adorn him at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

O joy to grasp by faith the end from the beginning! What hope it gives us as we survey the misery of our fallen world. Jesus, who authored the Scriptures, knew that he would be crowned again as a greater than Solomon, not with thorns, but with everlasting glory. The first Adam lost all in choosing his wife before God; the second Adam gave all to redeem his wife back to God. Rejoice, O daughters of Zion, behold Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:12). Behold your King!

(* Carr, G. Lloyd. The Song of Solomon: An Introduction and Commentary. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1984, p. 551.)

(Pictures of garlands from Wikipedia)

 

 

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