One of the main features attributed to the Lily of the Valley in the Bible is its association with humility. In Song of Solomon 2:1, it is said, “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” This verse implies that Jesus, being compared to the Lily of the Valley, embodies humility and lowliness. The flower’s location in the valleys reinforces this image of humility
The lily is frequently used to symbolize a wide range of flowers, as seen by the several locations it appears in the Bible (fields, gardens, valleys, and among thorns). This is comparable to how the English word “lily” is used. According to the definition, lilies are a broad genus of perennial plants belonging to the lily family that are cultivated from bulbs and have trumpet-shaped flowers, which can be either colorful or white.
Lilies are also the name given to a number of plants that resemble real lilies. Similarly, the biblical lily would encompass a wide variety of blooming plants that often thrived in the wild fields and filled the valleys during specific seasons of the year.
Deep Things About The Lily Of The Valley
The Bible mentions lilies 15 times in 15 different verses. Of these 15 mentions, 8 of them occur in the Song of Solomon.
Perhaps the most memorable verses are the following:
• Song of Solomon 2:1
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
• Song of Solomon 2:2
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
• Song of Solomon 6:2
My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
• Hosea 14:5
I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
• Matthew 6:28
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Here in these verses, we see several things about the lilies of the Bible. They grow in the valleys and in the field. They may even grow among thorns. Sometimes, they are cultivated to grow in planted gardens. In speaking of God’s blessing on Israel, Hosea states that “he shall grow as the lily.” This indicates that the lily grows rapidly and commonly in many places.
Most Bible students agree that the “lily of the valleys” in Song of Solomon 2:1 is a type of Jesus Christ.
Benjamin Keach, in his books on types, gives five comparisons between the lily of the valley and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here are his points summarized:
1. A lily is a sweet and flagrant flower with a strong scent. Jesus has a sweetness in His ministry, especially when He gave “himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2).
2. A lily is white and very beautiful, exceeding all other flowers for whiteness. Within it are seven grains or seeds that are the color of gold. White is a picture of purity (Revelation 3:4).
The bride of the Lamb will be clothed in white (Revelation 19:8).
What better representation of the purity of Jesus Christ, the one “who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21),
who “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22),
who was tempted “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), and
Who “in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5) than a beautiful white lily?
“For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).
3. A lily is very fruitful. One root may put forth fifty bulbs. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He brings forth much fruit (John 12:24).
It was by bearing much fruit that He glorified the Father (John 15:8).
4. A lily, according to the ancient writer Pliny, is the tallest of flowers and yet hangs its head down. This is a beautiful picture of the greatness of the Son of God, matched only by the greatness of His humility. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God? But he made himself of no reputation, took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men? And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6–8).
5. The lily has many medicinal qualities. According to ancient teaching, it could be used to restore a lost voice, help with faintness, be good for the liver, and help with dropsy. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great physician and is fully capable of curing all diseases and maladies of the soul.
Certainly, the lily of the valleys is a beautiful picture and type of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the lily of the valley (Song of Solomon 2:1)?
The Song of Solomon is an epic love poem. The woman says, “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys,” in Song of Solomon 2:1. In verse 2, the guy then declares, “My darling among the young women is like a lily among thorns.” The woman then answers in verse 3, saying, “Like an apple tree among the forest’s trees is my beloved among the young men.”
The woman describes herself as a lily of the valleys and a rose of Sharon in the opening line. Many different plants have been called a rose of Sharon, and we do not know the specific species that is referred to here. There is also some question as to how the lily of the valley is to be identified. Suggestions include wild-growing anemone, hyacinth, tulip, iris, and gladiolus. In any case, the lily of the valley was a beautiful and fragrant plant. In the context of the Song of Solomon, it may be that the woman is comparing herself to some common wildflowers that would not necessarily be considered valuable or beautiful when compared to cultivated flowers.
On the contrary, the man sees his beloved as a lily among thorns. Thorns are ugly, unattractive, and uninviting. But his beloved is a lily among the thorns—she stands out in his eyes, and her beauty outshines that of all other women. By the same token, the woman sees her bridegroom as an apple tree among the other trees in the forest—he is unique and valuable in her eyes.
The point seems to be that each lover finds the other superior to all the other options. The bride is a lily, as compared to thorns. The bridegroom is an apple tree, as compared to the other forest trees. There might be a lot of trees in the forest that are large and tall—like the mighty oak or the cedar of Lebanon. A rather small, scrubby apple tree would not seem to be very significant by comparison. However, when one considers the fruit that the apple tree gives, it is extraordinary. A person might chop down any number of trees for firewood, lumber, etc., but would most likely save an apple tree because of the fruit.
The point seems to be that comparing a beloved with others is all a matter of perspective. A lily of the valley compared to cultivated flowers might be rather insignificant, but compared to thorns that grow around it, it is beautiful. An apple tree is not the greatest tree in the forest, but when you consider the fruit that it gives, it is a wonderful tree.
When looking at each other, married individuals should have this mindset. Both partners should highlight each other’s favorable attributes. One partner may start to feel inadequate or unworthy if they start to compare themselves to others who are more attractive, successful, wealthy, powerful, skilled, capable, etc. The other spouse has the right and duty to highlight the positive aspects of the relationship and to show that “I only have eyes for you.” Things might rapidly get worse if the other spouse gets caught up in the trap of disparagingly comparing his or her spouse to others. Pornography and so much of what popular media defines as beautiful, sexy, or successful can be devastating to marriages because they set impossible, artificial standards that a spouse in real life can most likely never meet.
Every husband should see his wife as the lily of the valley and thank God for the beautiful and delightful blossom He has provided for him in the wilderness.