“Your eyes are doves behind your veil.”
Song of Solomon, 4.1
Everything about her is so beautiful, that he hardly knows where to begin his praise. With her smile? Her eyes? Her hair?
As he glances at the contours of her body against her gown, the light from the oil lamps sensually outlines her breasts and hips like gifts wrapped in silk.
He takes a deep breath to steady himself and looks again at her face. Their eyes meet openly, deeply, connecting their hearts. And suddenly Solomon knows where to begin. “Your eyes are doves behind your veil.”
Doves are the ultimate lovebirds, first courting one another, then raising families as newlywed couples. They represent cooing affection and innocence in almost every culture in which they appear. Since many artists of that time rendered lovely eyes in the uniquely oval shape of a dove, Shulamith’s eyes are pictured here as beautiful as art could make them. But they’re most beautiful because they are windows to her heart of love for Solomon.
Perhaps the artists who pictured doves as “messengers of love” capture best what Solomon means. In one of many such drawings from their day, a goddess sends two doves fluttering to her lover, while fervently expressing her longing for him. Shulamith’s eyes are like this: dovelike messengers of love, arising from her heart, flying radiantly to her beloved.
When she later describes Solomon, the only identical praise she returns is about his eyes. They too are like doves, tenderly communicating his deep love for her. Solomon and Shulamith are embarking on one of life’s most intimate experiences, and it begins with one of life’s most intimate encounters—gazing unashamedly, lovingly, openly into each other’s eyes. Solomon’s Song of Love, p. 21.