Right from the beginning, Dodi regards the Bride as the most beautiful ( yapheh ) among women. She is beautiful like Sarai, Rachel, Abigail, David’s daughter Tamar, David’s son Absalom (!), Esther.

Dodi or others praise her beauty over and over in the Song (1:8; 1:15 [2x]; 2:10, 13; 4:1 [2x], 7; 5:9; 6:1, 4, 10). That’s a total of twelve times. She is beautiful to the twelfth degree, she possesses an Israel degree of beauty like the city of Jerusalem (Psalm 48:2). Once Dodi calls her “most beautiful of women” (1:8), and the daughters of Jerusalem describe her this way twice (5:9; 6:1).

There’s a thirteenth use of the word in the Song, but it’s the Bride’s description of Dodi, who is “fair” and pleasant (1:16). He too is singularly beautiful, a fitting Bridegroom for the twelvefold beautifullest bride.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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