The second word picture Solomon presents is from the woman to her Husband, her King. This is a threefold picture (verses 12-14). The first part is found in verse 12:
“While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.” (verse 12)
The king sitting at his table speaks of two things: first the king in his office work as king, as head, as the supreme authority, lord; secondly it speaks of feeding, he provides. He sets the table; it is his table; and there he feeds all that are invited to his table.
The spikenard (or her perfume) sends forth a smell to the king of his Love, his Bride; and of her desire to be present at his table. This excites the king; it also lets him know that she is ready for his presence; she is ready to be fed, ready to fellowship with him.
So it is in the spiritual realm. The perfume of a Child of God, desiring to be fed and to have fellowship with Christ, puts forth the smell of her desire as she prays and seeks His face. Her prayer through Christ is a sweet-smelling fragrance to God. Her prayer reveals to God she is ready; she has prepared for the supper of the Lamb of God. She is telling Him that she desires His Fellowship and His Food. This tells Him that His Presence, His Food (the Word of God), and His Fellowship means everything to her.
The second part of this word picture is in verse 13:
“A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.” (verse 13)
This verse reveals two things. First, myrrh was used as a perfume. The woman said her Beloved was a “bundle” of sweet fragrance to her. This is confirmation to her that his love is for her and her alone. She perceives that he loves her; that his love for her is full, or is all-encompassing; that his love is precious and priceless; and that he loves her as deeply as she does him.
So it is in the spiritual. Myrrh was an ingredient used in the holy anointing oil poured upon Aaron, the high priest, in the Old Testament (Exodus 30:22-32). This oil poured forth on Aaron was a sign of consecration (of being separated unto God); a sign of placement in his office by God; and a sign that he was full of the Anointing, or the Spirit, of God. This holy oil ran down Aaron’s beard onto his garments, or his body (Psalms 133:2).
So it is with the Church, the Lamb’s Wife, and her Head, Christ Jesus, the Anointed One, the Messiah. We have been made a part of His Office by the Power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration (1 John 2:20, 27). Christ received the Spirit without measure; and this anointing ran down His beard onto His Body, the Church (Acts 2:1-). The Love of God was implanted in His Bride in regeneration. Therefore, at birth, or confession of Him as Savior (Romans 10:9-10), she fully perceives that He, her Beloved, is “A bundle of myrrh” (or anointing) to her; that she is an heir of God and a joint-heir of Christ (Romans 8:17).
Secondly, this verse reveals the effect his anointing has on her, “he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.” This is in the physical; she is so assured of his love to her, that he can be in the most intimate place with her. It depicts rest, satisfaction, endearment, and unity.
In the spiritual, it speaks of complete Oneness in Christ. It speaks of the fact that she knows without any doubt, that Christ is her Husband. That Christ has a special place in her heart. That He is the only One; for there is none other.
Now we see the third part of this word picture (verse 14):
“My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.” (verse 14)
The woman is still speaking in this part of this word picture; she refers to her Beloved as “a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.”
First, we look at the physical sense: camphire is an aromatic compound, found in the vineyards of Engedi, a place west of the shore of the Dead Sea (2 Chronicles 20:2). (Engedi literally means “fountain of the kid.”)
According to the “Jewish Encyclopedia,” the following information is given on this word:
“Camphire (Hebrew, ‘kopher’; Arabic ‘ḥinna,’ whence English ‘henna’): A shrub growing to a height of between eight and ten feet, and bearing cream-colored and very fragrant flowers… In ancient times it grew very plentifully near En-gedi (Song of Solomon 1:14). Tristram (‘Natural History of the Bible,’ p. 339) reports having found it growing there. Various uses were made of camphire… it was valued for its perfume.” (Therefore, in a spiritual sense, Christ is a sweet fragrance to His Bride.)
“But it was utilized chiefly as a dye for the hair and the skin. In dyeing the skin… the powdered leaves, made into a paste by the addition of a little water, were applied, and allowed to remain overnight.”
This word “camphire” is the translation of the Hebrew word “kôpher”; which means “to cover.” Used figuratively, it means “a redemption price.” This word means “properly a cover, that is, (literally) a village (as covered in); (specifically) bitumen (as used for coating), and the henna plant (as used for dyeing); figuratively a redemption price.” The root word means, “to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel; appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge (away), put off, (make) reconciliation.”
Besides being translated here as “camphire” (also in Song of Solomon 4:13); this Hebrew word is translated elsewhere as “bribe” (1 Samuel 12:3; Amos 5:12); “pitch” (Genesis 6:14); “ransom” (Exodus 30:12; Job 33:24; 36:18; Psalms 49:7; Proverbs 6:35; 13:8; 21:18; Isaiah 43:3); “satisfaction” (Numbers 35:31, 32); “sum of money” (Exodus 21:30); and “villages” (1 Samuel 6:18).
“The vineyards of Engedi”; Engedi is “an oasis in Israel located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the caves of Qumran. The name ‘Ein Gedi’ is composed of two Hebrew words: ‘ein’ means spring and ‘gdi’ means goat-kid. ‘En Gedi’ thus means ‘Kid (goat) spring.’” Being an oasis (a water source; a spring in the desert), there would be vegetation and even, in this case, palm trees. The Bride may be alluding to these trees as the “covering” provided to those who come for water at the oasis.
Therefore, the word “camphire” comes from a root word which means (as already noted), “to cover, to expiate; then atonement, cleanse, forgive, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge (away), put off, (make) reconciliation.” This figurative sense leads us to the spiritual definition in Christ, our Beloved.
Now, we look at the spiritual sense: Christ is our Covering, because He is our Righteousness. He is the End of the Law for Righteousness (Romans 10:4); which means He satisfied the demands of God for His Broken Law, the penalty of which was spiritual death (or spiritual separation from Him and His people). (See Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 5:12.)
Christ became our Covering in time, based on the Eternal Covenant in Christ on the Cross, in making Atonement for our sin debt, as our Substitute, Sacrifice, and Savior. (See Romans 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7; Galatians 3:13-14; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17; and many more verses.) Christ became our “Covering” in His Atonement for our sins (Isaiah 53:1-12). For in His Atonement for our sins, we were Reconciled back to God; we were Redeemed out of the slave market of sin and its bondage; and we were placed in the Position in Him as Justified (or declared Righteous).
We see now that camphire was used to make perfume as well as to make a dye. Therefore, not only does the use of the word “camphire” carry the meaning of “covering,” “cleansing,” “atonement,” “forgiving,” etc.; but also, a symbol of sweet fragrance. And we know Christ is both to His Bride; He is a sweet fragrance, because she knows His Atonement covers her.
Therefore, in Song of Solomon 1:14, the bride said of her Beloved, he is my covering in the oasis; he has given me shade from the scorching heat of the sun; he is my life-giving water. So, then also Christ is for His Children.