Vineyards, fields, and palm trees. The Song of Solomon takes place in a rural setting, and the lovers describe each other using images drawn from this context. The man is a shepherd, and the woman works in her family’s vineyard.
The woman addresses the daughters of Jerusalem four times throughout this book, creating a refrain that ties her “songs” together (2:7; 3:5; 5:8; 8:4). She urges them not to “stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” In other words, they should wait until the appropriate time to enjoy romantic love.
Purple cloth was associated with royalty because the purple dye was very difficult to produce in large quantities. Most of the purple dye came from a shellfish called the murex. It took more than 8,000 murex shellfish to extract one gram of dye.
The man in this love story compared his beloved to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots (1:9). Only the best and most handsome of mares would have been chosen for important processions, and they would have been well-adorned with jewels and ornaments. This was the man’s way of saying that his beloved’s beauty is incomparable.