Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
¶Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which He hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
I just spent quite a bit of time trying to find a good explanation for verse 8: “Let thy garment be always white. . . ” One thing I’ve heard before is that in a very hot climate white clothing is much cooler than dark. Another source talked about white representing cleanliness and purity. Rev. 6:11 describes the saints as being clothed in robes of white.
There is, in practical terms, a feeling of freshness in white clothing. Perhaps it had some reference to the type of fabric, as well. I’m really not convinced that this is anything more than, in my own words, “Dress up a little when you go out and about; wear clothes that are clean and beautiful. And put a little (scented) oil on your head, in your hair, sprinkled over your head and neck so you smell nice.”
Verse 9 is probably the more important of these two, because it describes something Solomon apparently did not enjoy. He had too many women to be able to live joyfully with the ONE he loves. He offers the same advice in both Proverbs and the Song of Solomon. In living joyfully, lovingly, with the one you love, you can at least make your vain life a little better, he tells us.
Terry and I celebrated our 50th anniversary in June. That’s 18,250 days. Most of those days have been joyful, and have indeed added pleasure to “the days of our vanity (emptiness).” Some of those days have been terribly difficult, filled with sorrow, anger, fear, and doubt. We’ve had to work very hard. Our marriage has not been a walk in the park. But we have always been faithful to God and to each other, and in these later years of our marriage we are both finding reasons every single day to rejoice in each other. Life has not been vain; it has not been empty. I feel sorry for Solomon that he did not get to look back on his life with the same contentment that Terry and I have found in each other.