Song of Solomon 6: The Maiden’s Beauty

City of Tirzah
Tirzah (Hebrew: תִּרְצָה‬) was a town in the Samarian highlands NE of Shechem; it is generally identified with Tell el-Far’ah (North), northeast of current-day Nablus, in the immediate vicinity of the Palestinian village of Wadi al-Far’a and the Far’a refugee camp, although Conder and Kitchener suggested that the ancient city may have actually been where Tayasir (Teiâsīr) is now located, based on its phonemes. The present identification is located in a valley named Wadi Far’a in Arabic and Tirzah Valley or Nahal Tirza in Hebrew.

In the Bible
The town of Tirzah is first mentioned in the Bible in Joshua 12:24 as having had a king whom the Israelites smote; it is not mentioned again until after the period of the United Monarchy.

During the time of King Jeroboam, Tirzah is mentioned as the place where Abijah, son of Jeroboam, died as a result of illness (1 Kings 14:17). Later Tirzah is described as a capital of the northern kingdom of Israel during the reigns of Baasha, Elah, Zimri and Omri (1 Kings 15:33, 1 Kings 16:8, 1 Kings 16:23). The royal palace at Tirzah was set on fire by Zimri when he was faced with having to surrender to Omri. Omri reigned from Tirzah for six years after which he moved Israel’s capital to Samaria.

Tirzah is mentioned in 2 Kings 15:14, when Menahem went from Tirzah to Samaria, assassinated King Shallum and became King of Israel.

Tirzah is mentioned in Song of Songs 6:4, where the lover compares his beloved’s beauty to that of Tirzah. If the authorship of Song of Songs can be attributed to Solomon, then this is a reference to the city during the United Monarchy. However, Song of Songs provides no definite historical context to allow it to be dated on that basis.

1 Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither is thy beloved turned aside? That we may seek him with thee.

2 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

3 I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.

4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.

5 Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.

6 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.

7 As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.

8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.

9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.

12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.

13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.