8th Song: 6:10-13
The Bride – Victorious Over Her Enemies

Interested enquirers6:10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
Bride6:11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.
6:12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
Interested enquirers6:13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee.
Bride6:13 What will ye see in the Shulamite?
Interested enquirers6:13 As it were the company of two armies.

This eighth song commences in a similar fashion to the fifth and the 11th songs. It is very brief and the two phrases; “the chariots of Ammi-nadib” and “the company of two armies” provide the keys to a fuller understanding of what is being portrayed. It is, in fact, a song which depicts the rejoicing that follows the destruction of the nations by the Prince and the saints.

It opens with a question: “who is (this) who is as beautiful as the moon, pure as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” And the bride answers, “my soul made me like the chariots of Ammi-nadib”.

This is a similar question to that which was presented by Isaiah: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah… glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?” (63:1). The prophet answers the question by describing the destruction of the nations by the hand of our Lord and the saints and the punishment wrought against Israel because of their sins. The vision concludes with a repentant Israel beseeching Yahweh to “return” to them. It is likely that the group who asks the question represents the astonished world as it traces the movement of Christ and the saints from obscurity to open victory.

Before the battle of Armageddon is wrought, all the responsible appear before the Judgement Seat of our Lord and the multitudinous bride is identified, and gloriously arrayed as the moon reflecting the pureness of the sun. The redeemed bride goes firstly into “the garden”; which is the “orchard” or paradise of 4:13 where she inspects “the fruits of the valley”. The Hebrew word for valley is nachal, which describes a river or a brook; implying that there was a stream running through the midst of the garden with nuts, vines and pomegranates growing on either side. She goes “to see the fruits; whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded”. This is the same scene as John saw — “a pure river of water of life…on either side of the river, was there the tree(s) of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month” (Rev 22:1-2).

She finds herself riding into battle “terrible as an army with banners… like the chariots of Amminadib”. The words, ammi – my people, and nadib – prince, point in symbol to the redeemed who are “the people of the Prince”.

She is addressed for the first and only time here as “the Shulamite” (6:13). This is the feminine form of Solomon and an indication that she takes upon herself the name of her beloved in marriage (Rev 14:1). The name means “peaceful” from a root word meaning “to be safe, to be complete”. It is a wonderful description of the unity that exists between herself and her husband. Despite this unity, however, the bride is then rather incongruously referred to as “the company of two armies!”

We are not helped here by the translation. The words “company of two armies” is the Hebrew word mahanaim – “two camps”, and the word for “company” is in every other occurrence translated as danc(ing). The request is for her to perform the “dance of Mahanaim” or “a dance before two armies”. We have a reference here to the practice of the women in Israel who greeted their menfolk returning after the victory of battle with timbrels and dances. Miriam and all the women danced when the Egyptian army was destroyed in the Red Sea. The women greeted Saul and David with singing and dancing when they returned from defeating the enemy. When this dance is performed by the bride it will celebrate Yahweh’s judgements over all nations. What a wonderful way to conclude this song.

(to be continued)