I have had many conversations with Christians, who often say color doesn't matter, that the only thing that really matters is believing in Jesus. While I will agree, believing in messiah is what most certainly matters , I have to say when it comes to understanding the bible, identifying the characters are important also.
The Case Of The Shulamite Woman
The Shulamite woman in The Song of Solomon says she was blacker than the tents of Kedar.
Song of Solomon 1:1-4
I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. 6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept .
The tents of Kedar were made of black goat hair to absorb heat, keeping the tent warm. The Shulamite woman compared her skin complexion to that of the black goat hair in which the tents of Kedar were made of. So, the deep blackness of a goat's hair sets the standard of comparison of which she compared her own skin to.
She may not have been as dark as the tents of Kedar originally, but the sun had darkened her from working in the vineyard.
This means in order for the sun to turn her black she had to be dark brown already. If she started out as a white woman, or even a light skinned black woman as myself, she could not turn black.
The reason the daughters of Jerusalem would have hated her for being very black, is not because they were white, but because they themselves weren't as dark as she was. They were any where from light brown to reddish brown (ruddy) to dark brown ( Just look at the pictures of Hebrew slaves making bricks in Egypt).
This is why the Shulamite woman was explaining to them how she had become so dark in comparison to their brown coloring. Had the daughters of Jerusalem been white, explaining to them why she was any shade of brown, even a medium brown would have been a moot point!
The problem was, in Jerusalem there still dwelt many Hamites who were of a darker complexion than the Israelites, and Israelites were supposed to marry within their own tribes. And here was Solomon again with another Hamite woman, is what it would look like to the daughters of Jerusalem.
For Solomon had many strange wives and was attracted to many women, all of which were either Hebrew, or of the lineage of Ham.
Now, about Solomon, lets put to rest the lie that Solomon himself was white
Most will tell you the word in Hebrew for white is Laban , and that is true.
In the KJV, the word white was chosen to be used to describe Solomon, but the original word to describe Solomon wasn't Laban. The original word to describe Solomon was tsach, meaning - dazzling . Why the translators chose to describe Solomon as white smells of an agenda, but we also know he isn't white because later in the Song of Solomon, Solomon's body is described as being golden in color.
Greek/Hebrew Definitions Strong's #6703: tsach (pronounced tsakh) from 6705; dazzling, i.e. sunny, bright, (figuratively) evident:--clear, dry, plainly, white. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon: tsach 1) dazzling, glowing, clear, bright Part of Speech: adjective Relation: from H6705 Usage: This word is used 4 times:
Song of Solomon 5:10:
"My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand." Isaiah 18:4: "me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud"
Isaiah 32:4: "of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly."
Jeremiah 4:11: "to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter"
Solomon's mother was Bathsheba , the wife of Uriah "The Hittite" ( a Hamite).
Now I know that Uriah her husband being black doesn't automatically mean Bathsheba black, but think about it this way, King David had an affair with Bathsheba and got her pregnant, and then he tried to pass the baby off as being Uriah's baby.
He wanted Uriah to have sex with Bathsheba so he could think he had gotten her pregnant, but when he refused, David set Uriah up to be killed. Had David's plan worked, and had Uriah went ahead and had sex with Bathsheba his wife, Uriah wouldn't catch on to the affair, So here's my question... If Bathsheba were white, and David were white, how were they going to pass a white baby off as being a black man's child? Either Bathsheba would have to be black, or David would have to be black, or all of them would have to be black in order for the switch- a - roo to work. But in either case, the baby would not have been Caucasian, if at least one of his parents were black, and likewise, Solomon, being the full blood brother of the child David and Bathsheba lost, could not himself be Caucasian either.
Below are some examples of how bible translators have tried to erase blackness from the bible
KJ21 “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
ASV I am black, but comely, Oh ye daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar, As the curtains of Solomon. AMP “We will rejoice and be glad in you; We will remember and extol your love more [sweet and fragrant] than wine. Rightly do they love you.” “I am deeply tanned but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, [I am dark] like the tents of [the Bedouins of] Kedar, Like the [beautiful] curtains of Solomon.
AMPC I am so black; but [you are] lovely and pleasant [the ladies assured her]. O you daughters of Jerusalem, [I am as dark] as the tents of [the Bedouin tribe] Kedar, like the [beautiful] curtains of Solomon!
BRG I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
CSB Daughters of Jerusalem, I am dark like the tents of Kedar, yet lovely like the curtains of Solomon.
CEB Dark am I, and lovely, daughters of Jerusalem— like the black tents of the Kedar nomads, like the curtains of Solomon’s palace.
CJB I am dark tan but beautiful, you daughters of Yerushalayim, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Shlomo.
CEV Take me to your home. The Young Women Speak: We are happy for you! And we praise your love even more than wine. She Speaks: Young women of Jerusalem, it is only right that you should adore him. My skin is dark and beautiful, like a tent in the desert or like Solomon’s curtains. DARBY I am black, but comely, daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar, As the curtains of Solomon.
DRA Do not consider me that I am brown, because the sun hath altered my colour: the sons of my mother have fought against me, they have made me the keeper in the vineyards: my vineyard I have not kept.
ERV Daughters of Jerusalem, I am dark and beautiful, as black as the tents of Kedar and Salma.
ESV I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
ESVUK I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
EXB I’m dark ·but [or and] ·lovely [beautiful; C she was out in the sun because her brothers forced her to work the fields; v. 6], ·women [L daughters] of Jerusalem [C her friends whom she is instructing about love], dark like the tents of Kedar [C desert nomads; Gen. 25:13; Jer. 49:28–29], like the curtains of ·Solomon [or Salma; C south Arabian desert nomads].
Regard ye me not because I am black: for the sun hath looked upon me. The sons of my mother were angry against me: they made me the keeper of the vines: but I kept not mine own vine.
GW Young women of Jerusalem, I am dark and lovely like Kedar’s tents, like Solomon’s curtains.
GNT Women of Jerusalem, I am dark but beautiful, dark as the desert tents of Kedar, but beautiful as the draperies in Solomon's palace.
HCSB Daughters of Jerusalem, I am dark like the tents of Kedar, yet lovely like the curtains of Solomon.
ICB I’m dark but lovely, women of Jerusalem. I’m dark like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
ISV The daughters of Jerusalem, I’m dark and lovely like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
JUB I am dark, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, more desirable as the booths of Kedar, as the tents of Solomon.
KJV I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
AKJV I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
LEB I am black but beautiful, O maidens of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
TLB “I am dark but beautiful, O girls of Jerusalem, tanned as the dark tents of Kedar.” King Solomon: “But lovely as the silken tents of Solomon!”