What does “Lily of the Valley” mean in Song of Solomon?


In Song of Solomon, a beautiful love poem in the Old Testament of the Bible, we find rich imagery and symbolism that has fascinated readers for centuries. The author’s use of poetic language to depict the love between the bride and the bridegroom is both captivating and inspiring. One of the most intriguing symbols in this book is the “Lily of the Valley.” This delicate flower appears several times throughout the text, and its meaning has been the subject of much speculation and analysis. In this blog post, we will explore the meaning of the “Lily of the Valley” in Song of Solomon and its significance to the message of love and devotion that pervades the book.

The “Lily of the Valley” is mentioned explicitly in Song of Solomon 2:1 (NKJV): “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” In the context of the poem, the speaker is the Shulamite woman, who is expressing her love for her beloved, Solomon. The lily is used as a metaphor to describe her beauty and purity, as well as her deep love for her bridegroom. But the symbol of the lily goes beyond its simple appearance in the text, as its presence can be felt throughout the book and in the hearts of the two lovers.

To fully understand the meaning of the “Lily of the Valley” in Song of Solomon, it is essential to delve deeper into the symbolism of the lily in biblical and historical contexts, as well as the structure of the poem itself. By doing so, we can gain a more profound appreciation for the beauty and depth of the love story depicted in this ancient text and find inspiration for our own spiritual journeys.

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lily of the valley

The Lily in Biblical and Historical Context

The lily is a symbol with deep roots in both the biblical and historical contexts. It is mentioned numerous times throughout the Old and New Testaments, often symbolizing purity, beauty, and godly love. In ancient Israel, the lily was a common flower that grew in the valleys, and its delicate beauty made it a natural choice for a symbol of divine love and purity.

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the lilies of the field in Matthew 6:28-29 (NKJV): “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Here, Jesus uses the lily as a symbol of God’s providential care and the beauty of a life lived in simplicity and trust in the Lord.

Furthermore, in early Christian art and literature, the lily often symbolized the Virgin Mary, who is herself a symbol of purity and spiritual beauty. The connection between the lily and the Virgin Mary further reinforces the theme of divine love and purity found in the Song of Solomon.

The Lily of the Valley in the Structure of Song of Solomon

The structure of Song of Solomon is essential for understanding the meaning of the “Lily of the Valley” in the text. The book is composed of a series of poetic dialogues between the Shulamite woman and her beloved, with occasional interjections from the “daughters of Jerusalem,” a chorus of women who serve as witnesses to the love story. The poem is cyclical in nature, with the lovers’ expressions of love and longing repeating and intensifying as the story progresses.

In this cyclical structure, the “Lily of the Valley” appears as a recurring motif, reminding the reader of the central themes of love, devotion, and purity that run through the poem. For example, in Song of Solomon 2:16 (NKJV), the Shulamite woman says, “My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies.” This imagery of the beloved feeding among the lilies highlights the theme of divine love and care that is woven throughout the book.

Similarly, in Song of Solomon 4:5 (NKJV), Solomon praises the beauty of his bride, saying, “Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies.” Once again, the lily serves as a symbol of the pure and tender love that the couple shares.

Significance of the Lily of the Valley for Christians Today

The “Lily of the Valley” in Song of Solomon holds deep significance for Christians today, as it can serve as a powerful reminder of the beauty and purity of God’s love for His people. Just as the lily grows in the valleys, a symbol of humility and lowliness, so too does God’s love reach us in the depths of our own lives, offering hope, comfort, and grace.

Moreover, the lily serves as a reminder of our call to live lives of purity and devotion to the Lord, just as the Shulamite woman and Solomon are devoted to one another in the poem. In this way, the “Lily of the Valley” can inspire us to cultivate a deeper and more profound love for God and for one another, as we strive to live out the beauty and purity symbolized by the lily.


In conclusion, the “Lily of the Valley” in Song of Solomon is a rich and multifaceted symbol that speaks to the themes of love, purity, and devotion at the heart of the poem. By examining the biblical and historical context of the lily, as well as the structure of Song of Solomon, we can gain a greater understanding of the meaning of this delicate flower and its significance in the text.

As Christians, we can find inspiration in the “Lily of the Valley” as a symbol of the beauty and purity of God’s love for us, and as a reminder of our call to live lives of devotion and holiness. In this way, the “Lily of the Valley” serves not only as a powerful image in the Song of Solomon but also as a profound and enduring symbol for the Christian life.

May the “Lily of the Valley” inspire us to grow in our love for God and for one another, as we seek to live out the beauty and purity that it represents in our own lives. And may the love story of the Shulamite woman and Solomon remind us of the deep and abiding love that God has for each of us, a love that is as beautiful and pure as the lily itself.

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