SCARLET LIPS AND RED CHEEKS
The book Song of Solomon is first of all God's guide to a
married couple on romance, love, and sex. The best book I have
ever read expounding the Song of Solomon is a book called
"Solomon on Sex" by Joseph C. Dillow. I highly recommend it
to all Christian married couples. It was written in 1977 and is a
publication of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville.
Some scholars say this Song of Solomon depicts the love
between Christ and the Church. Metaphorically that may be so, but
that is not what I am considering here in this study. I am
staying with the literal contents of certain verses pertaining to
our topic of the use of cosmetics or makeup for women.
We need to look at chapter 1:5 first, to get a background
perspective of a later verse I want to expound upon.
The KJV says: "I am black, but comely...." At first it may
appear Solomon's love was of the black race of peoples, but that
is not what the Hebrew and the context are showing at all.
We must also take into consideration verse 6, before we draw
any final judgment as to whether this lady was from the black
race of people.
The NKJV translates verse 5 and 6 this way: "I am DARK, but
lovely....Do not look upon me because I am dark, because the sun
has tanned me, my mother's sons were angry with me; they made me
the keeper of the vine yards...."
The Every Day Bible puts it this way: "I'm dark but
lovely.....Don't look at how dark I am, at how dark the sun has
The Bible translated by Lamsa from ancient Eastern
manuscripts, renders it:"I have dark skin, but I am comely.....Do
not look at me because I have dark skin, because the
sun has tanned me....."
The Amplified Bible gives: "I am so black, But you are
lovely and pleasant(the ladies assured her)......(please) do not
look at me, she said, for I am swarthy. I have worked out in the
sun and it has left its mark upon me......"
The New Living Translation puts it as: "I am dark and
beautiful......Don't look down on me, you fair city girls, just
because my complexion is so dark. The sun has burned my
The Tanakh, a translation by the Jews, says it as: "I am
dark, but comely......Don't stare at me because I am swarthy,
because the sun has gazed upon me......"
Fenton in his translation renders the Hebrew this way: "I am
dusky but comely.....Oh, look not on me! I am black! The sun has
The Hebrew scholar Green renders the words into English this
way: "Black(Strong's number 7838) I am, but comely(Strong's
number 5000).....do not look at me(Strong's 7200) that I (am)
black(Strong's 7840), that has on me looked(Strong's 7805)
the sun(Strong's 8121)......"
I think we can see from all this and the obvious context
that the lady in question was not from the black race of peoples
but a country gal who looked after the vineyards out in the sun
of Palestine, where she became very sun tanned and of dark
Even the natural blondes among us can become very dark skinned
from the sun if working out doors for a living, where there is
lots of hot sun shine for a climate.
Now it's time to turn to chapter 4. The praises of the
bride/wife as given in the first number of verses.
She is fair or lovely. He likens her eyes to the eyes of a
dove within her locks of,hair. Her hair is as a flock of goats.
Her teeth as a flock of sheep, none barren, well,formed and
healthily white and full.
Now notice the last part of verse 3!
Her temples(cheeks) are as the piece of a pomegranate!!
That is how Green renders it. The Tanakh is: "Thy brow behind
your veil (Gleams) like a pomegranate split, open." The New
Living Translation has it: "Your cheeks behind your veil are like
pomegranate halves - lovely and delicious." The Amplified Bible:
"Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil."
The Every Day Bible: "Your cheeks behind your veil are like
slices of a pomegranate." The NKJV is: "Your temples behind your
veil are like a piece of pomegranate."
Fenton has a slight variation: "Your cheeks are love-apples
concealed by your,veil."
If for the sake of argument we want to stick with Fenton, I
have seen yellow apples, I have seen green apples, I have seen
brown/green apples, I have certainly seen the common RED
apple(rosy red we often say), but this gal was very dark skinned
from the sun. I have not seen a dark brown or chocolate colored
apple. If we want to say her cheeks were as the pieces of or
halves of the apple, then they were very white. As her
complexion was very dark from the sun, she would have had to use
either a RED(outside) or WHITE(inside) coloring powder to
simulate the average popular red apples, either inside or
The Hebrew word for "pomegranate" is number 7416 is Strong's
Here is what the Theological Word Book of the Old
Testament(vol.2) has to say on this word: "...rimmon....This is a
term of unknown but very ancient origin, cognate to Akkadian
armannu, an aromatic tree and fruit......The pomegranate is
mentioned throughout the OT both as an actual fruit (Num. 13:23),
one of the samples brought back by the twelve spies who went into
Canaan, and also as an architectural and decorative motif
(Ex.28:34; Jer.52:11 et al.). The frequent mention of the root
rimmon in the Song of Solomon ......has led to speculation as to
its use in love potions, etc. Although this practice is widely
attested from Egypt and Mesopotamia, there is no evidence for it
among the Israelites."
As the Hebrew for "cleave" (number 6400 in Strong's) is in
the OT text in chapter 4:3(rendered "piece" or "halves" in
different translations), this fruit, the pomegranate, is
the INSIDE of the fruit, the rosy ruby red of the fruit. Our
lady of the book was DARK of complexion, a country gal, who
worked out of doors, not the white skinned lady of the
refined indoor city groups at all. But here the man in praising
her beauty, likens her cheeks to the glowing bright red of the
inside of the pomegranate fruit.
I submit to you that could not be possible given the
aforementioned sun tanned skin she claimed to have. No amount of
soap will give a dark sun tanned complexion a rosy red color. You
may liken such a girls tanned face to say "Cadbury's milk
chocolate" or golden peanut butter cookies, but to the halves of
a red pomegranate......well that is stretching things to the
point of not only ridiculousness but also to the point of the
No, our lady in this Song of Solomon, had with all logic,
painted her cheeks with red rouge, pure and simple!!
Now let's move back up to the first half of this verse 3.
Here it is as in the KJV.
" Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet......" Thread of
Scarlet!! I HAVE SEEN THOUSANDS of ladies lips over my nearly
55 years of life(to this year of 1997) and NEVER have I seen any
that I would classify as "scarlet red" unless they had been
painted with scarlet red lip coloring. The natural color of a
white skinned ladies lips is certainly not "scarlet" - maybe
"pink" and usually a light pink at that, but "scarlet" - no
way, without a large imagination, from some blood shot male
eyes(who had been up all night or had one to many to drink,
alcohol drinks that is - maybe "Bloody Mary").
Look at the translations. All the ones I've used above plus
whichever other ones you may have. The Every Day Bible: "Your
lips are like red silk thread....." Lamsa: "...like a thread of
scarlet...." Amplified Bible as the Lamsa. The New Living
Translation: "....like a ribbon of scarlet...." The Tanakh:
"....like a crimson thread....." The NKJV: "....like a
strand of scarlet....." Fenton: "Your ruby lips are like a
cord...." And Green FROM THE HEBREW: "As a cord of scarlet your
The Hebrew word for "scarlet" is number 8144 in Strong's
Concordance. You can also find every place it is used on page
1309 in the Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the
Old Testament by George Wigram. The word is "shahnee."
As you research the places you will discover that BLOOD RED,
SCARLET RED, was used by the Lord in the Priesthood and
Tabernacle of ancient Israel. It is not only used for the Whore
woman of the book of Revelation.
One famous passage of the OT is: "....though your sins be as
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow...."(Isaiah 1:18). Yes
they will be covered by the scarlet blood of the Lamb of God -
Jesus Christ. Our sins are blotted out by the red scarlet blood
of Jesus, who died to save sinners.
Here is what the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament
says regards this word "shahnee," page 942, vol.2.
" (shnh) Assumed root of the following. (shani)
scarlet......used forty-two times.
Ugaritic has a cognate, tn. The word refers to the dye (or
sometimes the dyed material) obtained from the eggs of the female
kermes or cochineal scale insects which attach themselves to the
kermes oak. It occurs most often in Exodus in combination with
tolea 'kermes insect,' 'scarlet.' ........Scarlet material was
used in the making of such things as the curtains(Ex.26:1), the
veil(26:31), the ephod(28:5-8), and the robe of the
riest(28:33). thus the best possible materials were used. But it
also seems to have acquired a symbolic significance in that it
was used in such purification ceremonies as in the cleansing of
the leper (Lev.14:4,6) and the leprous house (Lev.14;49,52), and
for general ceremonial uncleanness (Num.19:6). SINCE 'SHANI' WAS
THE COLOR OF BLOOD IT WOULD BE ITS NATURAL SYMBOL IN SUCH A
CEREMONY. The word occurs again in Isa.1:18. Having told Israel
that their worship is unacceptable to Him because of the
stains of blood-guiltiness on their hands (v.15), God tells them
that they must be cleansed and then cease from evil. Verse 18 is
His invitation to come for cleansing.He will remove even
blood-guiltiness, symbolized by a garment dyed in scarlet. As
impossible as it would otherwise be, God makes the garment pure,
shining, white, representing an unsullied righteousness(cf.Ps
51:7(H 9); Rev 7:14). "
There is no way around it for the honest researcher of the
word of the Lord. The lady loved in this God given book for the
Christian husband and wife, a book designed for the teaching and
expression of romance, love, and sex, in marriage, shows among
many other physical things, that this sun tanned(it's not wrong
to have a sun tan either, but be careful today as we have put
holes in the protective ozone that shields out the harmful rays
from the sun) lady, not only painted her cheeks with red rouge,
but painted her lips red, so the man of the book said her lips
were as a thread of scarlet.
Still more to come which add yet more proof from the Bible
that God does not condemn the use of cosmetics for the Christian