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[b] Ver. 2.] Here now begins a new scene or part to the church, shewing also the danger of neglect
of this pastoral song, wherein Solomon represents himself as having lost that clear sight of the Mes. [c] Ver. 3.] And then this verse agrees perfectly siah which he had in the foregoing vision, chap. with what we read in the parable, Luke, x. 7. iii. 4. (for they could not always keep up their Where the goodman of the house was unwilling minds to such a pitch of contemplation.) But fall. to bę troubled, even by his friend that came to beg ing into a trance, thought he heard his voice his assistance, when he was going to compose him(though he saw not the person) speaking to his self to rest. But I take it to be a description of spouse. Whom Solomon conceives to be in the the dulness which is sometimes apt to creep upon same condition wherein he then was himself, and the most excellent minds; who in some tempers to hear those words spoken, ver.'i. between sleep- are so listless 'as not to be much affected with the ing and waking. So the first words of this verse signi- best motions that are made to them. Of which dies, - I sleep, but my heart waketh ;" the same with infirmity Solomon, having hal many examples in those of Balaam, Num. xxiv. 4. * falling (asleep), the history of his own nation, might well conceive bụt having my eyes open." In which condition the spouse herself to be backward to entertain the the Greeks describe their Saturn, of whom they grace which was ofered to her, say, xopech vesno CAEAE rad i foryopôs exaspéro, " sleeping he There are no difficulties in the words; which signify saw, and wakiog he slept.'
plainly, that she, having composed herself to resi, She having, therefore, but an imperfect sense of his and being half asleep, was unwilling to be disturb
kindness to her, and presence with her, he awa- ed. For going into bed, she had put off her clothes kens her to attend more lively to his love, which and washed her feet, as the manner was, that no he was desirous more fully to discover, and there. filth, which they had contracted in the day.time, fore calls upon her by more names of endear- (they wearing sandals only, not shoes as we do), inent than ever. For here are four put together, might foul the sheets; and it would have been a the following rising still higher than the foregoing. trouble to do all this over again, which is the And he represents after the manner of lovers meaning of the last words, * How shall I defile what he had suffered to gain her affection ; which them?" i. e, I cannot easily persuade myself to seems to me to be the meaning of the last words, it. " My head is filled with dew, and my locks with I shall only therefore set down the pious note of Theothe drops of the night." Wherein he is represent- doret
these words : "Let us learn from hence ed as a beautiful Nazarite, having bushy hair, and what mischief, sloth, and laziness doth, and in what inany locks, (as Sampson had), who having travel- troubles and pains it engages us. For the spouse led all night to see her, was thereby very wet. For here excusing herself, and not being willing presently there were two sorts of dews; the morning-dew, to rise to the bridegroom, is compelled, a little while which was soon gone, Hos. vi. xiii. 3. and that dew after, not only to rise and run down to the door, which fell in the night, and lay long, and wet but to run through the city, and wander about the those who were in it very much. Whereby is sig- streets, and fall among the watchmen, and by them nified in scripture, hardships and great aftictions, to be wounded ; and after all could scarce find her Dan. iv, 25.
beloved ; to whom if she had presently hearkened, There are those, indeed, who by dew understand the and obeyed his heavenly call, she had avoided all
evangelical doctrine, by which innumerable these inconveniencies.” souls were begotten unto Christ, as David pro- There are those, not only among us, but also in the phesied, Psal. cx. 3. But this is not agreeable Romish church, who apply all this laziness to the to what follows; and their reason for this exposi- state of the church after the time of the
Con tion is not true, that dew is always taken in a good
For which I see no warrant, but think sense, for I have shewn the contrary; and the drop- we may rather apply it to those churches, who, preping of the prophets (a metaphor taken from dew) sently after our Saviour's departure to heaven, left is their prophesying against a place, and threatening their first love, and grew cold, as we read in the judgements to come upon it, Ezek. xxi. 2. Amos, vi. second and third chapters of the Revelation. For 16.; which makes me think that Solomon here ra- it seems probable, by the sixth chapter of the ther alludes to the last verse of the scoth psalm, book, in the beginning of it, that here he speaks of (if he had that psalm in his eye), which predicts particular societies, not of the whole body of the the troubles and afflictions of the Messiah, “ by church. drinking of the brook in the way."
[d] Ver. 4.] Yet such is the infinite goodness of the If this exposition of this difficult verse be not allow. divine nature, he immediately represents the Mesed, it may be supposed that the Messiah is here
siah as not provoked by tbis neglect wholly to cast represented as coming in the person and condition off his spouse, but rather stretching forth his hand of a poor man to beg entertainment, and having to awaken her out of this security. For so is folnot any where to lay his head, as our Lord lows, “ He put in his haud by the hole," i. e. at speaks), was thereby exposed to the cold air, &c. the window or case ment, as if he would draw her Which will make this a commendation of charity out of her bed ; or as it may be interpreted, in a
threatening manr.er, to punis!: her fer her stotis. in Athenæus, l. xv. C. II. And accordingly the For so a patting forth the hard” signifies, to do Chaldee and Aquila translate ober in this place, some execution, 1 Sam. xxvi. 9.11. 23. Which choice myrrh; Symmachus a parlésey, the prime, agrees with what follows, that presently she was from whom the Vulgar, the most approved myrrh. mightily moved thereby, and more than awaker.. [f] Ver. 6.) But rol withstanding her repentance, ed, being full of solicitude, and fear, and grief, and she was thus far punished for her sloth, that her trouble. Which shows, indeed, that she did not in- beloved absented himself from her for a time, and tend to deny, but only to delay him; and yet he she could not hear the least tidings from hirr., or took this so ill, as to put her in great fear of some notice of lim. Which cast her into such an es. danger from it, (as our Saviour doth in his letters cess of grief and fear, that she swooned away, to the churches, Rer. ii. 5. 16. 22. 23. &c.) For and was like a dead body, (so tliat phrase, “my the word bowels signifies the affections and pas- soul went forth,” signifies to die, Gen. xxxv. 18. sions, and the Hebrew word bamu, which we tran- xlii. 28. and cther places.) And recovering herslate was moved, significs made a noise, or was self again, was extremely troubled by the reflectumultuous, and therefore denotes the passion of tions she made upon his kindness, and her insensitrouble and grief, and of fear also, nay, of great bleness of it. For which she asked his pardon, fear and perplexity. For so St Hierom here renders and sought his favour, but could receive no tokers it, “ My belly trembled," as he doth in Ezek. vii.
of it. 16. where it is applied to doves, (to whom the  Ver. 7.) I take watchmen here in a good sense, spouse was here compared, ver. 2.), and we translate as before, (iii. 3.), unto which I refur the reader. it mourning, but it should rather be, trembling like And only observe, that to find a person, significs doves. For that is their nature, Hos. xi. 11. all au- sometimes in scripture-phrase, as inuch as to fall upthors observing them to be exceeding timorous; on him, as we speak, and that on a sudden, Judges, and therefore so it inay be translated here, “I was i. Psal. xxi. 8. cxix. 143. Isa. X. 10. And so I
so full of trouble, that I quivered like a dove." have expounded it here, and referred the siniting Others, by “putting forth the hand,” understand the and wouncing her, to the reproaches they cast upon
touches he gives by his Holy Spirit; which doth her. For there is a smiting with the tongue, as not contradict what I have said, threatenings being well as with the hand, and that not only by enemies employed by him for that purpose.
unjustly, Jer. xviii. 18. but by friends, out of lore [e] Ver. 5.) And having had this glance of hin, and charity, Psal. cxli. s. For there is not a
(whose voice only she heard before, ver. 2.), she greater kindness, than sometimes even to upbraid us starts up immediately, and endeavours to correct with our faults. Which is farther expressed by her error. And is here represented as making “ taking away her veil” from her; as much as to such haste to open the door, that she broke the ves- say, exposing her to shame, a veil being thrown over sel of myrrh, which she snatched up when she women's faces for modesty-sake, as well as in rose, intending therewith to anoint and refresh his
token of subjection, Gen. xx. 16. And so St head, which was wet with dew. Or rather, her Hierom, in his epistle to Læta, takes this veil, or hands shaked in that panic fear wherein she was, pallium, as he calls it, to be pudicitia signum, a and so she spilt some of the myrrh, and it rau a- sign of chastity ; and therefore to take it away, bout her fingers. By which is denoted the great was to represent her as an impudent whorish speed she made to shake off her sloth, now she woman. Greg. Nyssen adds, that it was rigeßór.cler saw her danger, and the fear that came upon her, rope Ponès, (Hom. xii. upon this book), the nuprial veil, lest she should lose her beloved, to whom she now which, together with the face, covered the whole resolved to express the greatest affection imaginable. body; and therefore, to be disrobed of it was the For it was not barely myrrh, (which was one of greater reproach, because it was to disown her to be the most excellent spices, John, xix. 39.), but the his spouse, as she professed herself. most precious myrrh, which she took up to carry to [h] Ver. 8.] This verse is very plain, expressing the him. So mur ober signifies, which we well traoslate admirable temper of a true penitent, who leaves sweet-smelling myrrb, but word for word is current nothing unattempted to recover the favour of her myrrh. Either in that sense wherein money is Lord, (for, finding no comfort from the watchmen, called current, Gen. xxiii. 16. as some fancy, or she implores the help of all good people), and yet as Rasi thinks, because the spirit, that is, the odour doth not complain of what she suffered, nor of the of it, diffused itself round about the place where it hardness of those who should have helped to rewas, that is, was exceeding fragrant ; or, as Bo- store her, and not dealt so severely with her, (acchart will have it, was that which wept, (as they cording to that of the apostle, Gal. vi. 1.); but speak), and dropt from the tree of itself, which only bewails the loss of his presence, and represents as it was the most unctuous, so was the richest and that, notwithstanding, she had not lost her love to best for all manner of uses. See his Phaleg, l. ii. him, but rather that it was so great, she could not C. 22. And besides this, Theophrastus observes, live without him. that out of myrrh, being beaten, there flowed an oil, It must be confessed, that there is no necessity of called stæxli, which was very precious; as I find reading those words which we translate, “that ye tell
him," by an interrogation, What will you tell him ? pure gold. In the Hebrew of Paz, which Bo. as the Hebrew seem to import, (for the particle chartus (both in his Phaleg. 1. ii. c. 27. and in his mah doth not always denote that); but it adds Canaan, 1. i. c. 46.) shen's was the island ancientmuch to the life of the speech, and represents her ly called Taprobana, in which the footsteps of this passion to the height, if we so translate it, as I have word Paz remained in Ptolemy's time. Who mentaken it in the paraphrase.
tions in that island the river Phasis, and the creek, [i] Ver. 9.] In this verse the daughters of Jerusalem
or bay, Pasis. reply to her, and being touched with a pitiful con- The same excellent person, in his book of Sacred cern for her, (whose admirable beauty discovered Animals, (par. 2. I. ii. c. 10.), shews, that in the itself to them in this wretched condition wherein latter part of this verse, we are to understand by they saw her), they desire to have a character of kevjzoth (locks), the foretop, or the hair coming her beloved, that they might be the better able to down the forehead, which is expressed in the next know him if they inet him, and be the more ex. word, tultalim, hanging down. And this foretop is cited to help her to seek for him when they under- only mentioned because little else appeared when stood his deserts.
the head had the crown on it. [k] Ver. 10.] In this part of the character which This hair is said to be as black as a raven, because
now follows of him, Solomon seems to me to have such shining black hair was accounted majestic, had his eye upon the person of his father David, and much aifected in those countries, insomuch 1 Sam. xvi. 12. whose very aspect promised much, that they endeavoured by art to make their hair and shewed that he was born to rule. And whe- of this colour; as Pliny informs us, employed the ther we translate the first words, “white and ruddy," eggs, the blood, and the brain of ravens for that as in our Bible, or as Bochartus, white and shining, or purpose. They looked upon this colour of hair gliszering, (making adom not to signify ruber, but also 'as a token of courage and fortitude; and rutilus, and the whole to be as much as sumnè candi. with a pure clear complexion it was very lovedus, exceeding fair, and of a pure complexion), it ly. matters not. For it only significs, in my opinion, There are several mystical applications made of the majestic beauty of his aspect, which David this, which I had rather the reader, who hath himself had also described in those famous words, a mind to them, should seek in others, than find Psal. xlv. 2. “ Thou art fairer than the children of here.
[m] Ver. 12.] The plainest meaning of this verse And then, in the latter part of this verse, he hath is that of the LXX. and Vulgar Latin, which is to
respect, as I take it, both to what they sang of his the same effect with that I have set down in the father David, after he came from his victory over paraphrase. For washed and sitting do not refer Goliath, 1 Sam. xviii. 7. and to what David him.
but unto doves, who love to sit, nay, self sang of this great prince in that 45th psalm, to tarry (as the word imports) by river-sides, and 3. 4. &c. and more largely, Psal. cx. 2. 3. 5. 6. other places which abound with water, and are then which all relate to the conquest of the world unto so pleased, that their eyes appear very quick and him; and is signified in his expression of his being lively. And such piercing eyes, adding much to “chief (or listing up the standard) over ten thou- majesty, they are here made a part of this glorious sand,” that is, over great multitudes or armies, person's character. Psal. iii. 6. The LXX. translate it, closen out of Washed with milk] signifies doves as white as milk; ten chosen ; unto which I have had respect also in which most lovely, and when they have the paraphrase. As for mystical significations, some washed themselves, look as if they had been in think by " white and ruddy” is meant his divine
milk. and human nature, others only his humanity, &c. As for the common sense which the Hebrews give of (as may be found in interpreters), but I have not this verse, and which most modern interpreters fol. dased to meddle with them. And shall but just low, Bochartus, in the beginning of the second mention the fancy of the Cabbalists, who under- part of Sacred Animals, seems to me to have evin. stand hereby the effects he works in us. For some- ced, that the Hebrew word will not bear it. But times he dispenseth himself in mercy and kindness, it is fit to mention it ; and it amounts to this, that and then, say they, he is white ; sometimes in the his eyes were “clear and white, and full set,” (or zeal of justice, and with anger, and then he is set in perfection, as Aben-Ezra here interprets the red,
word milleth), like a diamond or precious stone in  Ver. 11.] Now, being thus represented as a king, a ring, neither too much depressed, nor too promi. he is next described as having a crown upon his nent, but handsomely filling the sockets. And as head. So I understand cethem, (which we tran- if this were the natural interpretation of the last slate gold), as Rasi dotb, who takes it for a diadem, phrase, joschebath al milleth, sitting or dwelling and indeed in other places of scripture it signifies by fulness or fillings, I should think there might be some precious ornament, as Prov. xxv. 12. Now, an allusion to the precious stones in the pectoral of this crown upon the head is said to be such an one the High Priest, which are said to be s set in their as David bad mentioned befors, Psal. xxi. 3. of fillings,” Exod. xxviii. 17. 20. But this phrase doth
not refer, as I said, to the eyes, but to doves, that and there. And besides, it is not only against the sit by places abounding with water; or, as Avena- rules of decency, but against the very scope of this rius will have it, ad vas plerum lacte, by a vessel discourse, to fancy that any of those naked parts full of milk.
of the body are here described, which are not comThe mystical application of these eyes to the doctors monly exposed to every body's view. For the
of the church seems impertinent, because they spouse is desired to tell, by what marks this perare described before in the eyes of the spouse; iv. son might be discovered, ver. 9. Now, he could 1. Rather, therefore, his exact care and providence not be known by any of those parts which lie conover the church, which nothing can escape, may
cealed and hidden from all men's eges, being inbe hereby represented; for he sees into the very dustriously covered. And therefore no such hidden heart and reins, as he himself affirms, Rev. ii. 18. parts are here represented, because he could not 23.
thereby be known and distinguished.  Ver. 13.] This verse is so difficult, that it is a I conclude, therefore, that now she proceeds to de
hard matter to give an account of it. The plain- scribe the habit of this great person. And Solcest seems to be this, that by cheeks we are not to mon having in his mind the idea which his father understand those that are smooth, but wherein the had given him of the Messiah, in the victh psalm, hair begins to grow; which added much in those (where he is said to be a priest as well as a prince), days to the goodliness of any man, and was looked represents him in the habit of the high-priest. upon as a token of vigour, strength, and courage. Who, among other noble vestments, had an emAnd it may aptly be compared to the flowers, or broidered coat, the sleeves of which, the Hebrews the sproutings and buddings of plants and trees. tell us, came down to his very wrists, nay, as So I understand migdaloth (which we translate Maimonides saith, as far as to the hollow of his flowers) to signify buds, putting forth like little hand. Which I take to be here meant by his hands, towers.
(which comprehend the arms and shoulders), that The lips may seem unfitly compared to lilies; be- is, the cloathing of those parts. And these sleeves,
cause white lips are not beautiful. But Almonazir as well as the whole coat, were embroidered, hath observed out of Dioscorides, Theophrastus, (as you read, Exod. xxviii. 4.), to make the highand Pliny, that there were lilies of a purple co- priest appear the more glorious. And if you ask lour. And besides, I find in Pliny, (1. xxi. c. 5.), what his embroidery was, the Hebrews tell us, that mention made of a lily, (which he calls rubens li- part of it consisted in a kind of oilet holes, finely lium ; which was much esteemed, he saith, in Sy. wrought. And R. Solomon Jarchi expressly saith ria). He shews there also a way how to make upon that text, that "they were holes made in gold purple lilies.
rings, in which were fixed precious stones,”' &c. There are those who think Solomon compares the (as is afterward said of the stones of the ephod, ver.
lips to lilies, only in regard of their fineness, and 11.). Which so fully explains these words, “ His delicate softness; thick blubber-lips being very hands are as gold rings, set with the beryl,” that I unhandsome, and a sign also, they say, of dulness, need seek no farther. Though I have sometimes and making the speech less graceful. And indeed thought that the ephod itself might be here intendeloquence is sometimes described by lilies, and may ed; which being fastened upon the shoulders, be here meant.
(which in order, after the head, eyes, cheeks, and Concerning “sweet-smelling myrrh," see ver. 5. lips, come to be here described, and are coin preAnd thus far we have only the description of an a- hended, as I said before, under the name of his
miable, gracious majesty, which is much advanced kand), hung down before and behind to the bottom by a sweet voice and elegant speech. The men- of the back; and had two gold rings, unto which tion of which may well put us in mind of what is the breast-plate was fastened, as we read, Exod. said of our Saviour, Luke, iv. 22. compared with xxviii. 27. 28. Maimonides saith it had four rings; Psal. xlv. 2.
two above, at the jewel-butions; and two below, [o] Ver. 14.] If we understand the first part of this about the girdle of the ephod. Which was one
verse to be meant of the hands, it is thus to be in- of the principal ornaments of the high-priest, terpreted, “ He hath golden rings on his fingers, when he ministered; the other, and the greatest (as before he is said, ver. 11. to have a golden of all, was the breast-plate hereunto annexed, and, . head, i. e. a crown of gold upon it), set with the as they say, was to be inseparable from the ephod. chrysolith,” as tarsis (which the LXX. here do Now, this breast-plate is meant, as I take it, in the not translate) it is most probable signifies. And
of this verse.
Where, under the word then the latter part of the verse sounds thus, word which we translate belly, and properly signifies for word, " his belly is of polished ivory, covered bawels, is comprehended the breast, and all; which with sapphire ;” i.e. is purely white, streaked with this Coschen, as the Hebrews call it, covered ; blue veins. But who sees not, that though this be and as it covered those parts, so it was itself coveringenious, yet it is not true? for the body is no ed, or overlaid with twelve precious stones. The where covered (as the word here is) with veins; sapphire, which was the tenth, is only here mentionwhich must needs signify more than streaked here ed; but it is usual in scripture, to touch only upon
one thing in a history, when the whole is intended. of which authors, in his Eliaca, mentions this a-
fine gold are his sandals, bound upon his feet with Nor need it seem strange that the belly, upon which golden ribbands, or something of that nature, The
this covering was, is said to be of polished ivory, reader may chase which he thinks most probable,
usual majesty'; the riches of these restments being The LXX. seem to think it was the breast-plate it. not easily to be valued. Aad'so his countenance,
self, (which indeed was very shining), før they or rather bis aspect, his whole appearance, (as the translate it wiktov ; which shows they meant some Hebrew word may signify), was as stately as Lebacovering of the belly which was hollow, as the
Which was one of the goodliest sites in those breast-plate was. Which I doubt not is the cover- countries, both for cedars and many other things, ing of sapphires here mentioned ; it being set, as especially after Solomon had made his garden there, you read, with twelve large precious stones, where. of which we read in the foregoing chapter, rer. in were engraven the names of the twelve children of Israel. And was the most precious part of all Unto which-lovely forest and garden, the appearance of the high-priest's habit; and therefore more com- the high-priest may be the better compared, because monly called by the Jews an ornament than a gar. there were flowers, as well as pomegranates, if we ment, or any part of his vesture; the whole of
may believe Philo, (in his third book of the Life which was contrived “ for glory and for beauty," of Moses), wrought in the bottom of the holy Exod. sxviii. 40. i. e. that God might be served robe. Which the LXX. also affirm in express most magnificently.
words, that there was a velvo, a “flowery work," as [p] Ver 5.) Next in order follows the description well as pomegranates and bells, in the hem of the
of the thighs; that is, of the garments upon the meil, Exod. xxviii. 34. And indeed the pomegrathighs; which were the very first that the high- nates being made of wool of divers colours, they priest put on, when he went about to clothie him- themselves might look like divers sorts of flowers. self for his ministry. And are here said to be And, besides this, it is to be observed, that sevemade of schesch, which is a word common to fine ral other parts of the high-priest's habit are peculinen, and to pure wliite marble, (so the LXX. liarly commended to be made of a work called twice translate it Parian marble, Est. i. 6. 2 Chron, chescheb, which we translate cunning work. Thus xxix. 2.), which the breeches of the priest re- ephod is ordered to be wrought, Exod. xxviii. 6. and sembled, being made of byssus, or pure fine li. the girdle of it, ver. 8. and the breast-plate, ver. nen; a thing of great price in those countries, as 15. Whick some translate artificial, others ingeappears both by Pliny and Pausanias. The latter nious work; and all agree 15 have consisted in cer