“Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair…Behold, thou art fair…” (Song 1:15-16)
As the Bride continues to praise her King, she does a most curious thing in verses 15 & 16. She addresses the one she loves with the statement, “thou art fair,” and she does so three times. Why?
One of the great mistakes common to the poetical books of the scripture is to dismiss oddities like this as mere “poetic beauty.” The assumption is that poetic scripture has a different set of rules from the rest of the Bible and that not everything written can be expected to be taken as literally as elsewhere. Like fancy curves in calligraphy, the poetic books are full of word flourishes that do not actually have any meaning. Our study of Christ in the Song of Solomon will dispel with this misnomer. “Every word of God is pure” (Prov. 30:5) and “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4) All of the words in God’s word are there for a reason!
So why does the Bride note the beauty and fairness of her Beloved three times? “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (I John 5:7) Scripture is full of references to God in the plural. While making it abundantly clear that there is only one true Lord and God (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10-11), the Bible then goes on to point out that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each that one true Lord and God. The Bible term for this three in one aspect of God is “the Godhead.” (Col. 2:9) To this end, the Bible records God (singular) speaking in the plural on many occasions. Consider Gen. 1:26 which says, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….”
Several variations of this same phenomenon are found throughout the Song of Solomon. Sometimes the King will refer to himself with plural pronouns where he is clearly not including the Bride, but speaking of himself and these unidentified others who will act as one with him on the Bride’s behalf (see 1:11). On other occasions the Bride refers to her Beloved (singular) with terms that denote plurality. For example, in 1:13-14 the King is said to be like a cluster or a bundle. To help us understand that the King is indeed a doctrinal reference to Jesus Christ, it is only natural that the Holy Spirit would highlight such an important attribute of God in the Song of Solomon. Jesus, our Beloved, is indeed fair…fair…fair!