Song of Songs 5:11

11 His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.

Song of Solomon 5:11 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
English Standard Version (ESV)
11 His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven.
New Living Translation (NLT)
11 His head is finest gold, his wavy hair is black as a raven.
The Message Bible (MSG)
11 My golden one, pure and untarnished, with raven black curls tumbling across his shoulders.
American Standard Version (ASV)
11 His head is [as] the most fine gold; His locks are bushy, [and] black as a raven.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
11 His head is the finest gold. His hair is wavy, black as a raven.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
11 His head is like the purest gold. His hair is wavy and as black as a raven.

Song of Songs 5:11 Meaning and Commentary

Song of Solomon 5:11

His head [is as] the most fine gold
Here the church enters into a particular description and commendation of her beloved, which continues to the end of the chapter; and she begins with his "head", which she compares to the most fine gold. Some think that some ornament of the head is meant, as a diadem or crown of gold; or else the hair of the head, which, though afterwards said to be black, yet being powdered with gold dust, looked of the colour of gold, especially in the rays of the sun upon it; as did the hair of Solomon's youths that attended him, being thus decorated, as Josephus F21 relates; and which custom of powdering the hair with gold dust was used by some of the Roman emperors F23. The gold here is called "gold of Phaz", or "Uphaz", as in ( Daniel 10:5 ) . "Fez", with the Arabs, signifies gold; the city of Fez had its name from hence; in a place where it was built, a quantity of gold was found in it, which gave it its name F24: according to Schultens F25, gold is called "phaz", from its leaping as it were out of the clods of the earth, and shining forth and glistering after a shower of rain falling on the earth, where there is a mine of it, by which means it is discovered; and of such gold, as the finest and purest, Diodorus Siculus F26 speaks, as found in Arabia; and which, from the purity of it, was called "apyron", because it needed no purifying by fire: and this being the best and finest, is used to express the superlative excellence of Christ; for it may be rendered, "the gold of gold" F1, there is none like it. By Christ's "head" some understand the Father of Christ, said to be the Head of Christ, ( 1 Corinthians 11:3 ) not as Christ is a divine Person, but as man and Mediator; who, as such, was subject to his Father, supported and upheld by him; and who, for his excellent glory, is compared to the most fine gold, there being no glory like his. Or else the divine nature in Christ may be meant, which is the head, the chief and principal nature in him; which puts a glory on him, and an efficacy in all he did and suffered; and which is like pure, fine, shining gold, in which all the perfections of deity shine resplendently. Or rather the headship of Christ over his church is meant; as Nebuchadnezzar's monarchy is represented by a head of gold, ( Daniel 2:32 Daniel 2:37 Daniel 2:38 ) ; so Christ's, because his kingdom is great and glorious, pure and spiritual, solid and substantial, lasting and durable, yea, everlasting;

his locks [are] bushy, [and] black as a raven;
which figures are used to set forth the beauty and comeliness of Christ: thick, bushy, well set hair, or "pendulous" F2, as some render the word, hanging down upon the forehead and cheeks in a beautiful manner, makes very comely; and black hair was reckoned comely F3; and the blackness of a raven is accounted a very fine black: and naturalists F4 say, that the eggs, brains, and blood of ravens, have been used to make the hair black. By these "bushy [and] black locks" of Christ some understand the thoughts and purposes of God, the Head of Christ; which, like hair, and like black bushy hair, are intricate, dark, and obscure, unsearchable and incomprehensible; and yet, so far as known, are beautiful and delightful; especially as they appear in the scheme of salvation, drawn in the eternal mind: or rather, as by others, believers in Christ are meant, for their numbers, dependence on Christ, and nourishment from him; (See Gill on Song of Solomon 4:1); and, being like "locks" of hair beautifully set, as when congregated and united together in Gospel order, are an ornament to Christ the Head, and afford a delightful sight to spectators, ( Colossians 2:5 ) ; and these being like "crisped" or "curled" hair {e}, as some render the word, may denote the hardiness and strength of believers, to perform duty, withstand enemies, and endure hardness, as good soldiers of Christ; curled hair being the hardest and strongest {f}. But it seems best to understand by them the administrations of Christ's kingly office; which are executed with the utmost prudence, vigour, and strength; for curled hair is a sign of a dry brain F7, which produces acuteness and sharpness of wit, as well as of vigour, strength, and courage; and which, how dark and obscure they may seem to be, and to carry in them severity to enemies; yet being managed with wisdom, as before observed, and also according to the rules of justice and equity, look very beautiful when made manifest, and are admired by the saints, ( Revelation 15:3 Revelation 15:4 ) .


F21 Antiqu. l. 8. c. 7. s. 3.
F23 Vid. Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 9. col. 154.
F24 Leo African. Descript. Africae, l. 3. p. 273.
F25 Comment. in Prov. viii. 19. & xxi. 5.
F26 Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 133. & l. 3. p. 179.
F1 (zp Mtk) "aurum auri", Mercerus.
F2 (Myltlt) "penduli", Arabic, Bochart, so Jarchi.
F3 "Spectandum----nigroque capillo", Horat. de Arte Poet. v. 37, "nigroque crine decorum", ib. Sermon. l. 1. Ode 32. v. 11.
F4 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 29. c. 6. Aelian de Animal. l. 1. c. 48.
F5 "Crispi", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius; "crispaturae", Buxtorf. Marckius.
F6 Aristot. de Gen. Animal. l. 5. c. 3.
F7 Ibid.

Song of Songs 5:11 In-Context

9 How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women? How is your beloved better than others, that you so charge us?
10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.
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