|The Hebrew word 'shoshan' means 'lily'.
When you view the lilies above, you may notice that the opened blossom's shape is suggestive of the Magen David (star of David). Is it chance? Maybe it is, maybe it is not. The vernacular German name of this special kind of lily translated into English would reverentially sound 'Queen of snow' or 'Madonna lily' or 'Holy virgin lily'. According to legend, the angel Gabriel presented such a flower to Miryam (Maria), when he told her that she would become pregnant and give birth to Jesus.
The lily is spreading an almost beguiling smell. You can hardly elude its wild-romantic scent, it is simply too intensive. In the bible too, the lily has a special symbolic meaning. There are many interesting aspects showing that reflecting on the lily can be worthwhile.
|Hosea 14, 1-7
|The promise of Israel's salvation
O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have fallen by your iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD. Say to Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, that we may repay with the calves of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses. Nor shall we say any more to the work of our hands, Our gods, for in You the fatherless finds mercy. I will heal their backslidings; I will love them freely; for My anger has turned away from him. I will be as the dew to Israel; he shall grow as the lily and cast out his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive like the grain, and grow like the vine. Their scent shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
|Among the 150 'Tehilim', as the psalms are called in the Hebrew bible, four of them begin with the instruction "Concerning the Lilies" ("upon Shoshanim") refering to the musical kind of reciting these verses. Presumably, there was a common melody or a special verse form with the Hebrew name "Shoshanim" in use at that time. Perhaps there was also a defined instrumentation connected with a certain way of recitation. In the measure of the Lilies should be recited: tehilim no. 45, 60, 69 and 80. Here are two text samples quoted: the psalms 45 and 80.
|To the chief musician. Concerning the Lilies, for the sons of Korah, a contemplation; a song of loves.
My heart is overflowing with a good matter; I speak of my works to the king; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are the fairest of the sons of men; grace is poured into your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your thigh, o mighty one, with your glory and your majesty. And ride prosperously in your majesty, because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and your right hand shall teach you fearful things. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; peoples fall under you.
Your throne, o God, is forever and ever; the staff of your kingdom is a staff of righteousness. You love righteousness, and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows. All your garments smell of myrrh, and aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made you glad. Kings' daughters are among your precious ones; on your right hand stands the queen in gold of ophir.
Listen, o daughter, and look; and bow down your ear; and forget your own people and your father's house. And cause the king greatly to desire your beauty, for he is your Lord, and you shall worship him. And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the peoples shall stroke your face. The king's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is trimmed with gold. She shall be brought to the king in clothing of needlework; the virgins, her companions after her, shall be brought to you. They shall be led with joy and gladness; they shall enter into the king's palace. Your sons shall be in the place of your fathers; you will make them princes in all the land.
I will make your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise you forever and ever.
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|To the chief musician. A testimony concerning the Lilies. A psalm of Asaph.
Give ear, o shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you dwelling between the cherubs, shine forth. Stir up your strength before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, and come, save us. Turn us again, o God, and cause your face to shine, and we shall be saved! O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry against the prayer of Your people? You feed them with the bread of tears; and give them tears to drink in great measure. You make us a strife for our neighbors; and our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, o God of hosts, and cause your face to shine; and we shall be saved.
You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you have cast out the nations and planted it. You cleared before it, and caused it to take deep root; and it filled the land. The hills were covered with its shadow, and its boughs were as the great cedars. It sent out its boughs to the sea, and its branches to the river. Why have you broken down its hedges, so that all those who pass by the way pluck it? The boar out of the wood wastes it, and the wild beast of the field eats it. Return, we beg you, o God of hosts;
look down from Heaven, and behold, and visit this vine, and the vineyard which your right hand has planted, and the son that you make strong for yourself. It is burned with fire, and cut down; they perish at the rebuke of your holy face. Let your hand be on the man of your right hand, on the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself. So we will not go back from you; make us live, and we will call on your name. Turn us again, o LORD God of Hosts; cause your face to shine, and we shall be saved.
|Shir haShirim the Song of Songs, also named the Song of Solomon, describes an exceptionally pure and deep love between man and woman, between groom and bride. You should be aware while reading it that this is actually a chanted song. Besides love poetry at its very best, we find in the eight chapters of this book also text pasages with a prophetic dimension.
|Song of songs 2, 1-2.16
|I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
My beloved is mine, and I am his, that feeds among the lilies.
|Song of songs 4, 1.5-7
|Behold, you are beautiful, my love. Behold, you are beautiful!
Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, feeding among the lilies.
Until when the day blows, and the shadows flee away,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.
You are all fair, my love, and there is no blemish in you.
|Song of songs 5, 13
|His cheeks are like a bed of spices, a raised bed of aromatic herbs.
His lips are as lilies dropping flowing myrrh.
|Song of songs 6, 2-3
|My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices,
to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine; he feeds among the lilies.
|Song of songs 7, 3b
|Your navel is like a round goblet, which never lacks mixed wine;
your belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies.
|1 Kings 7, 13-22
|The two pillars of the temple at Jerusalem
And king Solomon sent and brought Hiram out of Tyre. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works in bronze. And he came to king Solomon and did all his work.
For he cast two pillars of bronze, eighteen cubits was the height of the one pillar. And a line of twelve cubits went around the second pillar. And he made two capitals of melted bronze to set on the tops of the pillars. The height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital five cubits.
He made gratings, grating work with twisted threads of chain-work, for the capitals on the top of the pillars; seven for the one capital, and seven for the other capital. And he made the pillars. And two rows were all around on the one grating, to cover the capitals on the top with the pomegranates. And so he did for the other capital. And the capitals on the top of the pillars in the porch were lily-work, four cubits.
And the capitals on the two pillars had pomegranates on the upper part, over against the belly which was by the grating; and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows all around on the other capital.
And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple. And he set up the right pillar and called its name, Jachin. And he set up the left pillar, and called its name, Boaz. And on the top of the pillars was lily-work. So the work of the pillars was finished.
|Matthew 6, 28-29
|And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, but I say to you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
|Luke 12, 27
|Consider the lilies, how they grow; they do not toil, they do not spin. And yet I say to you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
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