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Before CHRIST about 1014.
The church glorieth in Christ. CHAP. III, IV.
The graces of the church. 7 Behold his bed, which is Solo- hair is as a "flock of goats, || that about 1014. mon's; threescore valiant men are pear from mount Gilead. about it, of the valiant of Israel.
2 Thy teeth are like a flock of Chap.6.5,6. 8 They all hold swords, being ex- sheep that are even shorn, which came 1 Or, that cat pert in war: every man hath his up from the washing; whereof every sword upon his thigh because of fear one bear twins, and none is barren
in the night. Or, a bed.
9 King Solomon made himself || a 3 Thy lips are like a thread of chariot of the wood of Lebanon. scarlet, and thy speech is comely :
10 He made the pillars thereof of thy temples are like a piece of a silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the pomegranate within thy locks. covering of it of purple, the midst 4 Thy neck is like the tower of thereof being paved with love, for the David builded for an armoury, wheredaughters of Jerusalem.
on there hang a thousand bucklers, ii Go forth, O ye daughters of all shields of mighty men. Zion, and behold king Solomon with 5 Thy two breasts are like two c Chap. 7. 3. the crown wherewith his mother young roes that are twins, which feed crowned him in the day of his es- among the lilies. pousals, and in the day of the glad 6 . Until the day + break, and the a Chap. 2. 17. ness of his heart.
shadows flee away, I will get me to breathe.
the mountain of myrrh, and to the CHAP. IV.
hill of frankincense.
7 e Thou art all fair, my love ; e Eph. 5. 27. 1 Christ setteth forth the graces of the church. there is no spot in thee.
8 He sheweth his love to her. 16 The 8 Come with me from Lebanon,
my spouse, with me from Lebanon :
a Chap. 1. 15. a & 5. 12.
*B , Deut. 3. 4.
love; behold, thou art fair ; thou lions' dens, from the mountains of the hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy leopards.
perfume was so rich, as to exceed in value and fragrancy point of comparison may chiefly turn on the head being all the powders of the merchant. Burder.
covered with fine flowing locks, as mount Gilead was 10. - the midst thereof &c.] The words may be ren- with the shaggy herd, reaching in an extended line from dered, “ the middle of it” (that is, the couch of the its foot to its summit. Michaelis. palanquin or litter) "spread with love by the daughters 2. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep] By this comof Jerusalem;" that is, with needlework or loomwork, parison are admirably expressed the evenness, whiteness, wrought by the daughters of Jerusalem in token of their just proportions, and unbroken series of the set of teeth. love and regard to Solomon. The Jewish women were Bp. Lowth. famous for these curious works. See Judges v. 30; 3. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet,] That is, thin Prov. xxxi. 22. 24. Parkhurst.
and slender, and of a bright red colour, giving sweetness 11. — the crown wherewith his mother crowned him] It and grace to the discourse. Bp. Lowth. was usual with many nations to put crowns or garlands thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate] on the heads of new-married people. It seems from Rather, Thy cheeks are like a piece of pomegranate this passage, that among the Jews this ceremony was within thy locks : expressing that her cheeks, partially performed by one of the parents. Among the Greeks, shaded by her hair, looked more beautiful, like the seeds the bride was crowned by her mother. With the Greeks of the pomegranate (whose colour is mixed white with and Romans, the nuptial crowns were only chaplets of red) in the midst of the divided rind. Bp. Lowth. leaves and flowers. With the Hebrews they were some 4. Thy neck is like the tower of David) Her neck, tall times also of richer materials, as gold, silver, &c. accord- and slender, erect, and moulded according to the most ing to the rank of the persons. Bp. Percy.
elegant proportions, and adorned with gold and jewels,
is happily compared with a tower of well known elegance Chap. IV. ver. 1. - thy hair is as a flock of goats,] and distinction in the citadel of Zion, adorned with every Thy hair is as fine as that of a flock of goats: it seems variety of splendid armoury. Bp. Lowth. to be a comparison with the hair of the Eastern goats, 6. — to the mountain of myrrh, &c.] Myrrh and frankwhich is of a delicate silky softness, and hears a great incense were among the most valued perfumes of the resemblance to the fine curls of a woman's hair. Bochart. East. The bridegroom therefore concludes his compliSome of them had a fleece so fine, that it was almost as ments on the bride's person, by comparing her to an soft as silk ; such as was that spun by the women for entire heap of those precious essences. Bp. Percy. the use of the tabernacle, Exod. xxxv. 26. To this hair 8. Come with memy spouse,] Here begins a new allusion seems here to be made in respect to its softness, representation, the style of the bridegroom being altered as well as length and thickness. Bp. Patrick.
towards the bride, whom he had before called by the -- that appear from mount Gilead.] The sense of name of " love," but now for the first time addresses the whole may be, "Thy hair is like a flock of ascend- under that of " spouse." Bp. Patrick. ing goats, which is seen from mount Gilead;" and the from the top of Amana,] Amana was a part of
Before CHRIST about 1014.
|| Or, laken away my heart.
Christ sheweth his love to the church. SOLOMON'S SONG. He awaketh the church.
9 Thou hast || ravished my heart, into his garden, and eat his pleasant about 1014, my sister, my spouse; thou hast fruits. heart with one of thine
CHAP. V. eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
10 How fair is thy love, my sister, 1 Christ awaketh the church with his calling. 8 Chap. 1. 2. my spouse ! 6 how much better is thy 2 The church having a taste of Christ's love than wine and the smell of
love is sick of love. 9 A description of thine ointments than all spices !
Christ by his graces. 11. Thy lips, Co. my spouse
. I AM come into my garden, my
I have drunk my wine with my milk:
29 I sleep, but my heart waketh : 13 Thy plants are an orchard of it is the voice of my beloved that
pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; knocketh, saying, Open to me, my | Or, cypress. Il camphire, with spikenard,
sister, my love, my dove, my unde-
3 I have put off my coat; how
4 My beloved put in his hand by
+ Heb. barred.
drunken with loves,
Or, (as some read) in
mount Libanus; Shenir and Hermon were parts of the 14. — calamus] Sweet-scented cane. Parkhurst. same ridge of mountains. Bp. Patrick. This invitation and aloes,] By “aloes” here seems plainly meant of the bridegroom is not to be taken literally, but the the lign-aloes or wood-aloes, the finest sort of which is words are to be understood in a figurative sense. He the most resinous of all the woods, with which we are invites the bride to his arms, as to a place of safety, and acquainted. Its scent, while in the mass, is very fragrant encourages her to look down in security amidst any and agreeable. The smell of the common aloe wood is dangers with which she was threatened. Lebanon, also pleasant, but not so strongly perfumed as the Amana, Shenir, and Hermon, were all places where former. Parkhurst. some dangers were to be apprehended; and it is an usual beauty in poetry, to represent a general idea by Chap. V. ver. 1. I am come into my garden, &c.] The particulars that largely partake of it. Bp. Percy. bridegroom here returns an answer to the invitation of
9. my sister, my spouse ;] Or, perhaps, more lite- the bride in the latter part of the foregoing chapter; rally," my sister spouse."
seems here used and testifies his acceptance by coming to taste and feast as a term of endearment. Bp. Percy.
upon the fruit of his garden; and, after the manner of with one of thine eyes,] The words may be trans- those countries, he calls his friends and companions to lated, “ with one glance of thine eyes.”. Bp. Percy. be partakers of it with him. His receiving fruit from
- with one chain of thy neck.] The Latin translation the garden is expressed by these words, “I have gathered is not inelegant, "with one curl or ringlet of thy neck.” my myrrh,” &c. Then follows the feast, (which they Bp. Percy.
always made when they gathered the fruits of the earth,) 11. Thy lips,—drop as the honeycomb:] Expressing in these words ; “I have eaten my honeycomb with my her sweet and melting words; a metaphor common to honey," &c. Honey is mentioned in preference to other Greek and Oriental writers. Bp. Percy.
things, because in Eastern countries it was a principal like the smell of Lebanon.] The trees which grew and favourite food, as appears from its having been upon mount Lebanon produced many aromatick gums among the presents sent to Joseph, when governour of and spices, and frankincense among others. Bp. Patrick. Egypt, Gen. xliii. 11, and among those brought to 12.
- a fountain sealed.] This alludes no doubt to David by the great men of his country, 2 Sam. xvii. 29. what was sometimes practised in the East, in order As honey comprehends all the royal dainties which to secure the water of fountains to the proper owners. were to be eaten, so the wine and milk mentioned Parkhurst.
comprehend all the liquors given at the feast. Bp. Pa13. Thy plants are &c.] The bridegroom, having in trick. the foregoing sentence called the bride an "inclosed gar 2. — my undefiled :] Rather, “My perfect one;" so den,” here carries on the metaphor, and compares her the Hebrew word properly signifies, one possessed of virtues and accomplishments to all the choicest produc- all accomplishments, both of mind and body. Bp. tions of an Eastern orchard. Bp. Percy.
Before CHRIST about 1014.
A description of Christ
by his graces. and my fingers with t sweet smelling like lilies, dropping sweet swelling about 1014, myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. myrrh.
6 I opened to my beloved ; but my '14 His hands are as gold rings set
, and with the beryl : his belly is as bright
his countenance is as Lebanon, ex-
veil from me. my beloved, and this is my friend, O 8 I charge you, o daughters of daughters of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, + Heb. what. † that ye tell him, that I am sick of
CH A P. VI. love.
1 The church professeth her faith in Christ.
10 and his love towards her.
women? whither is thy beloved turn10 My beloved is white and ruddy, ed aside ? that we may seek him with + the chiefest among ten thousand. thee.
11 His head is as the most fine 2 My beloved is gone down into i Chap. 1. 15. gold, his locks are || bushy, and black his garden, to the beds of spices, to + Heb. sitting as a raven.
feed in the gardens, and to gather 12 a His eyes are as the eyes of lilies. placed, and doves by the rivers of waters, washed 3 a I beloved's, and
be- a Chap. 2. 16. cious stone in with milk, and + fitly set.
loved is mine: he feedeth among the 13 His cheeks are as a bed of lilies. of perfumes. spices, as || sweet flowers: his lips 4 9 Thou art beautiful, O my love,
+ Heb. a
in fulness, that is, filly
set as a pre
& 7. 10.
the foil of a
11. His head is as the most fine gold,] Though the colour, which, he says, were much esteemed in Syria; ancients prized golden or flaxen locks, yet this cannot and to this perhaps allusion is made; or perhaps the be the sense here, as his hair is said to be black. The comparison may be not to the colour, but to the odoriexpression probably alludes to the custom which then ferous sweetness of the lily. “Dropping sweet smellprevailed of using a powder of a golden colour, as also ing myrrh ;" that is, from which words How, more pregolden ornaments in the hair. Dr. Durell. Allusion cious and more pleasant than the richest and most may perhaps be made to the Eastern custom of tinging fragrant myrrh. Bp. Patrick, Parkhurst. Allusion seems the hair and face with a vegetable substance called to be made to honeydrops, observable in invertedhenna, which gives them a yellowish or golden tinc- flowered lilies, similar to the standing sweet dew on ture. Michaelis. Or it is only a metaphorical expres- the crown imperial, now common among us.
Sir T. sion to denote consummate excellence and beauty. Brown. Sanctius.
14. His hands are as gold rings] His hands are as 12. His eyes are as the eyes of doves &c.] In the origi- gold finely turned, beset with a chrysolite. Bp. Percy. nal, “his eyes are like doves.” The most common Or the meaning may be, that "he had on his fingers pigeon in the East is of a deep blue colour; and the golden rings, set with a chrysolite.” Bp. Patrick. meaning here seems to be," his eyes are like blue bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.] Perhaps, pigeons by the foam of waters;" by which the blue iris “is as an ivory plate, enclosed with sapphire,” meaning of the eye, surrounded by the white, is compared to a to express the white skin covered with a purple robe. pigeon amidst the white foam of waters. But, as if the Michaelis. foam of water was not sufficient to satisfy the poet, it is 15. His legs are as pillars of marble,] Alluding peradded, “washed in milk," " dipping themselves in haps to the strength and firmness of his stature; or milk,” thus further contrasting the blue centre of the else to the colour of the garments. Bp. Patrick. eye with the surrounding white. Fragments to Calmet. his countenance is as Lebanon,] Of the two cele13. His cheeks are as a bed of spices,] The word brated mountains in Judea, Lebanon and Carmel
, the translated spices,” sometimes signifies odoriferous former was celebrated for its height, ruggedness, and plants and flowers of the garden. Perhaps then it may the abundance of its vast and towering cedars; the latter bere mean,
roses ;” and the words may convey a for its richness and fertility, abounding with vineyards, comparison of the pleasing ruddiness which health olive grounds, and corn fields. Hence the former is diffused over his cheeks to the colour of a bed of roses. here employed to express masculine dignity, as the latHarmer.
ter is (chap. vii. 5,) to convey an idea of female beauty. - his lips like lilies,] According to some, this com- Bp. Lowth. parison is made from the fineness and delicate softness of his lips; but Pliny mentions lilies of a deep red Chap. VI. ver. 4. - beautiful,- as Tirzah,] Tirzah VOL. II.
y Chap. 4. 1, from Gilead.
The graces of the church. SOLOMON'S SONG.
Christ's love towards her. as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, ter- and to see whether the vine flourish
CHRIST about 1014, rible as an army with banners. ed, and the pomegranates budded. about 1014.
5 Turn away thine eyes from me, 12 + Or ever I was aware, my soul || Or, they hare puffed for || they have overcome me: thy || made me like the chariots of Ammi- I knew not.
I OT, set me hair is bas a flock of goats that appear nadib.
on the chariots
13 Return, return, O Shulamite ; people willing 6 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep return, return, that we may look upon which go up from the washing, where thee. What will ye see in the Shuof every one beareth twins, and there lamite? As it were the company is not one barren among them. || of two armies.
1 Or, of
Mahanaim. 7 As a piece of a pomegranate are
CHAP. VII. thy temples within thy locks.
1 A further description of the church's graces. 8 There are threescore queens, 10 The church professeth her faith and and fourscore concubines, and virgins
desire. without number.
OW beautiful are thy feet with 9 My dove, my undefiled is but shoes, O prince's daughter ! the one; she is the only one of her mother, joints of thy thighs are like jewels, she is the choice one of her that bare the work of the hands of a cunning her. The daughters saw her, and workman. blessed her; yea, the queens and the 2 Thy navel is like a round goblet, concubines, and they praised her. which wanteth not + liquor : thy belly + Heb.
10 4 Who is she that looketh forth is like an heap of wheat set about
young roes that are twins.
was a beautiful situation in the tribe of Judah, chosen ritably accompanied her to seek him,) that she might by Jeroboam for the seat of his kingdom. The name for some time enjoy his society alone ; which is the implies " a delightful city." Bp. Patrick.
ground of their calling upon her to return, in the next comely as Jerusalem,] Jerusalem was esteemed verse. This is the best account I can give of these two the most charming place in all Palestine, and is called last verses. It is supposed that Ammi-nadib was some by Jeremiah, “the perfection of beauty,” Lam. ii. 15. great captain, who industriously pursued his victories or Bp. Percy.
advantages with very swift chariots. Bp. Patrick. -terrible
as an army with banners.] These words may be rendered, “dazzling as bannered hosts.” The Chap. VII. ver. 1. thy feet with shoes,] Rather perword translated "terrible,” properly signifies “amazing,” haps, - thy feet within thy sandals.” The Hebrew exciting awe and consternation. Bp. Percy. Some refer women were remarkably nice in adorning their sandals, the expression to the gravity, or rather severity, of her and in having them fit so neatly as to display the fine countenance, which forbade all near approaches to so shape of the foot. Thus Judith's sandals are mengreat a beauty. Bp. Patrick.
tioned, together with the bracelets and other ornaments 8. There are threescore queens, &c.] It is the common of jewels, with which she set off her beauty when she opinion that Solomon here alludes to the number of his went to captivate the heart of Holofernes, (Judith x. 4,) own wives, and that he composed this song before he and it is expressly said, that “her sandals ravished his multiplied his wives to the prodigious extent related at eyes,” chap. xvi. 9. Bp. Percy. 1 Kings xi. 1, &c. But it is more probable that he the joints] The Greek translators render this alludes generally to the custom of other princes in the word, “the whole proportion,” or “model.” The exEast, who, besides their principal wives that were pression here seems to refer to the clothing which the solemnly espoused and endowed, had also others who bride wore; which agrees with the words which follow, were called concubines. The terms “threescore” and “the work of the hands of a cunning workman.” Bp. “fourscore” are probably used for an uncertain num- Patrick. ber. Bp. Patrick.
2. - an heap of wheat set about with lilies.] It was 12. – ever I was aware,] The meaning of this verse usual with the Jews, when their wheat had been threshed seems to be, that the spouse, hearing such high com out and fanned, to lay it in heaps, (Ruth iii. 7; Hagg. mendations of herself, both from the bridegroom, and ii. 16,) and, as their threshing-floors were in the open from the persons mentioned at ver. 10, says with great air, in order to keep off the cattle, they stuck them round humility, that she was not conscious to herself of such with thorns, (Hos. ii. 5, 6.) These, in compliment to perfections, (for so the first words appear to signify in the spouse, are here converted into a fence of lilies. the Hebrew, “ I did not know it,” or “ I did not think Or we may suppose that Solomon here alludes to a cusso,”') but is incited thereby to make the greatest speed, tom, which they might have in Palestine, of strewing so as to preserve the character which he had given her; flowers round the heaps of corn after it was winnowed, and to go along with him into his garden, (which she Bp. Percy. had neglected before, ver. 2,) there to give a good ac 4. — thine eyes like the fishpools] “Thine eyes are count of her proficiency. For which purpose she seems clear and serene as the pools in Heshbon by the on a sudden to take leave of her friends, (who had cha- gate of Bath-rabbim,” (which was one of the gates of
Gen. 30. 14.
+ Heb. bound.
She professeth her faith and desire. CHAP. VII, VIII. The love of the church to Christ. Before
bon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim : thy 13 The mandrakes give a smell, about 1014. nose is as the tower of Lebanon which and at our gates are all manner about 1014, looketh toward Damascus.
of pleasant fruits, new and old, 5 Thine head upon thee is like which I have laid up for thee, O my | Or, crimson. ( Carmel, and the hair of thine head beloved.
like purple; the king is + held in the
vehemency of love. 8 The calling of the
Christ's coming. grapes.
as my bro8 I ,
ther, that sucked the breasts of tree, I will take hold of the boughs my mother! when I should find thee thereof: now also thy breasts shall be without, I would kiss thee; yea, + I Heb, they as clusters of the vine, and the smell should not be despised. of thy nose like apples;
2 I would lead thee, and bring 9 And the roof of thy mouth like thee into my mother's house, who
the best wine for my beloved, that would instruct me: I would cause + Heb. goeth down + sweetly, causing the thee to drink of a spiced wine of the a Proy. 9, 2. 1 01, of the lips || of those that are asleep to juice of my pomegranate. speak.
3 His left hand should be under b Chap. 2. 6. 10 q. I am my beloved's, and his my head, and his right hand should desire is toward me.
embrace me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go 4 °I charge you, O daughters of Chap. 2. 7. forth into the field; let us lodge in Jerusalem, + that ye stir not up, nor Heb why: the villages.
awake my love, until he please.
d Chap. 3. 6. vineyards; let us see if the vine the wilderness, leaning upon her be
flourish, whether the tender grape loved ? I raised thee up under the + Heb. open. t appear, and the pomegranates apple tree: there thy mother brought
bud forth : there will I give thee my thee forth : there she brought thee
forth that bare thee.
should not despise me.
b Chap. 2. 16. & 6. 3.
should ye stir up, or, why,
Heshbon :) "thy nose is finely formed as the tower signifies, “thy palate," which is here figuratively put of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.” Bp. for “thy speech,” which issues thence. Bp. Percy. Percy.
13. The mandrakes give a smell,] The Hebrew word, 5. — the hair of thine head like purple ;] Meaning translated "mandrakes,” occurs only here and at Gen. perhaps the colour which we call auburn. Dr. Hodgson. xxx. 14. Conjectures about its meaning have been most The meaning of the word translated “hair" is not cer- various. tain: it may admit the sense “hair lace," "a fillet or - at our gates] It has been supposed that this bandage." Bp. Patrick, Dr. Durell.
passage relates to the custom of decking the gates of 7. — thy stature is like to a palm tree,] The palm tree new-married persons with festoons of fruits and Howers. is remarkable for its slenderness and height. At present Or perhaps the meaning may be,“ in our hoards.". As there are but few palms to be seen in Judea ; but for the gates in Judea were usually large buildings, it is merly, it is probable, they were very abundant, as they not improbable that the repositories for fruit were either are stamped on the Roman coins which belonged to over them, or near them. Bp. Percy. this country, and are much spoken of by Roman writers, when they treat of this country. Harmer.
Chap. VIII. ver. 2. — to drink of spiced wine] This is 8. I said, I will go up to the palm tree,] The compa- thought to allude to a custom of the parties drinking rison is made to the palm tree, because that tree rises wine from the same cup in one part of the marriage straight as well as high, and therefore sets forth that ceremony. We know that spiced wine was a great part of comeliness which consists in stature. Sir T. delicacy in the East. It was not peculiar to the Jews ; Brown has ingeniously observed, that the expression the Romans lined their vessels with odoriferous gums,
I will go up, and take hold of the boughs,” is pecu- to give the wine a warm bitter flavour; and it is said, liarly appropriate, since the palm tree bears its boughs that the Poles and Spaniards have a similar method of only at the upper part. Some understand by the words giving their wines a favourite relish. The word renwhich we translate "clusters of grapes,” dates, which dered juice” by our translators, is properly new wine are the fruit of the palm. Bp. Patrick. The word for or must; and “the juice of the pomegranate” is either “ boughs" is rendered in the Latin translation "fruits,” new wine made acid with the juice of pomegranates, and, in the Greek, to the same sense, “tops,” since the which the Turks about Aleppo still mix with their dishes clusters or fruit in the palm tree really grow on the top for this purpose; or rather wine made of the juice of of the stalk. Parkhurst.
pomegranates, of which Sir J. Chardin says, they still 9. — the roof of thy mouth &c.] The word literally make considerable quantities in the East. Harmer.