Song of Solomon4:16

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Awake, north wind,

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and come, south wind!

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on my garden, that its fragrance

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may flow everywhere.

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Let the one I love come into his enclosed garden

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and taste

its choice fruits.



Bring on the times of refreshing! Bring on the times of pain and discomfort!

Let them appear unpredictably in my place of beauty, so that what my life has to offer will become evident to all.

The one I love is free to come to me, his protected place of beauty and refreshing, and enjoy

the best I have to offer.



The text does not include the word “wind” at all; it only says, “Awaken, O north, come O south.” However, because of the verb “blow” that follows, it is appropriate for a translator to assume it is talking about the north wind and the south wind.

Re: the imagery: Since the text does not mention the word “wind” it is obvious that the intent is to point to the meaning of the imagery of North and South, and nothing else. If the word “wind” were included, that would bring in another set of mental images which are not intended here. The North wind brought cool, refreshing air from the mountains of Lebanon.


The south wind brought hot, dry air off the desert land known as the Negev.

3: "Blow"

One of the characteristics of wind is that you cannot see it and you cannot predict what it will do. This phrase is highlighting the reality that sometimes the wind brings cool refreshment and sometimes it brings hardship. Through these word pictures the Shulammite is saying, “Bring it all on, no matter what it is. I won’t let the successes of life distract me from what is truly important, and I won’t let the difficulties of life discourage me. Both the good times and the hard times demonstrate what my life has to offer, what I’m made of, and I commit to standing firm in all times.” That is tough talk from a godly woman demonstrating that she is velvet-covered steel!  This is what God designed womanhood to look like. Notice where this wind will blow—“on my garden,” or “on my place of beauty.” How do the events of life, both good and bad, affect a woman’s beauty? It should make her inner beauty even more attractive; they should make her a more beautiful person.

I must add that every time the ancient Hebrews read or heard the word “blow” they thought about God’s Spirit and how He gives life. At least they asked themselves if there was any way in which the Spirit of God was connected to what was being discussed. In this case the connection is indirect and very minimal. But we could rightly say that the Hebrews of old saw God and His Spirit behind everything that happened. Sometimes God’s involvement was direct, and sometimes it was indirect, But He was seen as being behind all things. Did Pharaoh harden his heart or did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? The Jews would say, “Yes, his heart was hardened.” A quick search reveals that seven times the scriptures say that “The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,” and two times they say that “Pharaoh hardened his heart.” The Jews of old did not see this as a contradiction, for God is behind all things, either directly or indirectly and it really doesn’t matter which it is. God either does it, or He allows it, that is all we need to know. So in this limited sense the word “blow” used in this portion of The Song does refer to the Holy Spirit, if nothing else because He allows things to come our way, knowing that we can learn from them. We can learn from the good and from the bad. In fact, while many important lessons are learned from the difficult times, if you really want to see what is in someone’s heart give him wealth and power.

4: “fragrance”

This word often meant “spices, or balsam,” but sometimes it referred to the “fragrance or aroma of the spices.” I believe that here it is the aroma that is spreading to all.

The name Basemath is derived from this verb; I believe it was the name of the second daughter of Solomon and the Shulammite.

5: "flow everywhere"

The word used here means “to drip, drop, distill, or flow.” Most of these are slow but continual processes. In the case of this usage it appears that the larger, more intense idea fits best, thus I have translated it “flow” instead of something like “drip.” The word “everywhere” is not in the original, but is implied.

6: “enclosed garden”

I shouldn’t have to write this footnote, but I fear that I do. It should be obvious that the physical aspects of a woman’s beauty are to be kept exclusively for her husband’s eyes. That is the application of the idea of “protected” that is part of the word “garden.” American culture, and many others for that matter, encourage any female above the age of 12 or 13, to show off what she has to offer. There is a great deal of pressure for women to dress in culturally acceptable ways, and if one does not dress in the modern styles, she might be considered Amish. However, the modern secular standards for women’s clothing do not place an emphasis on covering or protecting certain parts of the body from the view of everyone else; to the contrary, the clothing most American women wear calls attention to certain parts of the body—“Look what I have to offer!” As followers of Jesus, you need to purposefully resist what our culture is telling you. A woman’s body should be a carefully protected garden.