« PreviousContinue »
disposed all things, (like the walls and beds in a And as she had commended him before, not only for garden), and kept themselves also in the purity of his beauty, but majesty, so he doth here, in the his religion.
last place, call her « terrible as an army standing [c] Ver. 3.] Now she seems to have so perfectly in battalias, striking an awe, that is, into beholders.
recovered herself out of the slumber wherein she So I think it is to be expounded as referring still had been, as to have regained her former sense to the goodliness of her aspect, and not to her being of him, and of her interest in him ; repeating invincible, inexpugnable, and striking terror into those words which we met withal before, ch. ii. 16. her enemies, as some interpret the whole verse. Of the latter part of which (“ he feedeth among Every part of which seems to me to be a new the lilies") I think fit here farther to note, that proof, that Solomon speaks not in this book of to feed may relate either unto himself, or unto one single person, (whom some fancy the Shuothers; for there are examples of both. Of the lamite, others Pharaoh's daughter, whom others former, Gen. xli. 2. Job, i. 14. Of the latter, take for one and the same), under the name of the Gen. xxix. 7. 9. xxxvii. I 2. I take it here rather spouse, but of a body or society of men; for none in this latter sense, and suppose it signifies his do else can be fitly compared to cities, nay, to great ing the office of a shepherd; and that he is said " to armies drawn up under their banners. Which last feed among the lilies," as in the Revelation, “to part of this verse may be applied to the comcly walk in the midst of the seven candlesticks," i. e. order which Christ appointed in his church, which, there to have his conversation, to take up his abode while it was preserved, made the church very vewith them, &c. as he often says in the gospel of St nerable in the world. So Theodoret, itthúflotuen gång, John, (xiv. 23.), that he would with those who &c. “ For they are astonished' who behold thg love him, and keep his commandments.
order, there being nothing disorderly, nothing unAnd such persons are here compared to lilies, which certain or undetermined, nothing confused and in
being a name given by Christ to himself, Greg. distinct; but all titafuéve xai xongileivx, orderly apNyssen and Theodoret hereby, not unfitly, under. pointed, and judiciously determined. stand such as are conformed to Christ their Head, Some refer this terribleness, as we translate it, to the and have his image wrought in their souls, in gravity, or rather severity of her countenance, which righteousness and true holiness. For, saith the forbade all wanton reproaches to so great a beauty. former of them, öre dantñ, &c. “ whatsoever things [e] Ver. 5.] In this and the following verses, he are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever seems to descend to a particular description of the ' things are just," &c. (see Phil. iv. 8.) Taūra isTI TOS several parts of her beauty ; as he had done be
regira, “ these are the lilies in which Christ delights.” fore, chap. iv. 1. 2. &c. And he doth it in the [u] Ver. 4.] And now we must conceive, either very same words, for the most part ; to assure her,
that they went to the garden together, and there that he had still the same esteem of her, and kinda found him, or that he, hearing this hearty profes ness for her; and that, notwithstanding what had sion of unmoveable love to him, meets them; and, happened, it had not altered her so much as to abate to revive her drooping spirits, falls again into a any thing of his affection, or to make her appear new commendation of the spouse, in the
otherwise in his eyes than she had done. This terms as before, and in some higher.
seems toʻme to be the true reason of this repetition; And first, he compares her to Tirzah, which was a others are given by Theodoret and other authors.
beautiful situation in the country of Ephraim, and And first he begins with the commendation of her therefore made choice of after these times by Jero eyes, as he had done, iv. 1. (though in other words). boam, for the seat of his kingdom ; and so con For so the first clause of this verse may be transtinued till the building of Samaria, as we read, lated," turn thine eyes towards me ;' ihe Hebrew 1 Kings, xiv. 17. xv. 21. 23. and several other phrase signifying not only to turn one's self from places; to which add Josh. xii. 24. The very ori. another, but sometimes to turn towards them, as ginal of the word signifies as much as urbs amabi 1 Chron. xii. 23. And then we are to conceive lis, or a city that please th one ; and therefore cho that he speaks to her, as one ashamed to look upon sen by one of the ancient kings of Canaan, for the him, whom she had so much disobliged ; aud bid place of his residence.
her take more confidence, for he was still in love And lest this should not be high enough, he next with her.
compares her to Jerusalem, which was the most If we follow the common translation, 1 take the sense Jovely place in the territories of Judah, and indeed still to be the same ; that she need not trouble herof the whole country. For which cause, as it had self any farther, for she had prevailed in her suit been the seat of one of the kings of Canaan, so the to be restored to his favour. The looking of the royal palace of David, nay the house of God him eyes towards one, is as much as intreating and self, was afterward there built ; and is called by petitioning ; which he tells her she might cease, by Jeremiah, in his Lamentations, “ the perfection of bidding her turn away her eyes from him. beauty, the joy of the whole earth,” ii. 15. It is It is most ordinarily taken for an amorous expression ; mentioned by Pliny likewise, I. v. c. 14. as the as if he had said, her eyes were so bright and dazmost famous city in the East.
zling, he could not bear the passion they excited.
Of the latter part of the verse, see an account upon Ishmael, and Esau), " yet I have chosen (saith God) chap. iv. 1.
my people Israel, whom I have espoused to my. [f] Ver. 6.] There is no difference between this self, by circumcision, and by the law, and by sacri. verse and that in iv. 2. bat only in one word, which fices,' &c. alters not the sense. And as barecholim, sheep, was [i] Ver. 9.] This verse needs not much explication : to be fetched from hence to supply the ser: se there, wherein the spouse is opposed to all the fore-named so another word, bakketzubotb, even shorn, is to be beauties, who are constrained to confess her pre-emifetched from thence to supply it here.
nence. The Hebrew word for one signifies also only ; [g] Ver. 7.) This is also exactly the same with the and an only child is as much as a beloved child ; as latter end of the third verse of the 4th chapter. appears by this, that yovaryeras, only-begatten, and catan. The LXX. have also the first part ; but they might sòs, well-beloved, are words of the same import in the as well have added all that there follows; which is New Testament. And if such an only daughter here omitted.
be also barab, (choice we translate it, or), pure, as [h] Ver. 8.] Here, most think, Solomon alludes to the word originally imports, free from all blemish,
the number of his own wives, who were fewer, (that is, a perfect beauty), it makes her still more they suppose, in the beginning of his reign, (as dearly beloved. Bochartus himself gathers from these words, in It is in vain to inquire here, who is the mother intend. his epistle to the now bishop of Winchester, f. ed in this place; for his love is only compared to 1 26.); and that then he composed this song, before the love of a mother toward such an only daughter, he let the reins of his lust so prodigiously loose, as who hath ingrossed, as we speak, all the excellent afterwards we read he did, i Kings, xi. 1. &c. qualities that are in any other person. Which But it is not at all likely that he had so many as are forced the daugliters to admire her, (so saw her sigthere mentioned, while his mind was filled with nisies, they looked upon her with admiration), and such divine raptures as these ; and therefore I sup the queens to bless her, and the concubines to propose he alludes to the custom of other princes in claim her praises. Thus it is most likely the latter the east, who, besides their principal wires that part of this verse should be interpreted, " the were solemnly espoused and endowed, had also an daughters saw her, and the queens blessed her, and other sort who were neither, and yet were wivescalled the concubines, they praised her." For though the by the Hebrews pbilagsbim, concubines. And such Jews now have otherwise distinguished the words a difference the Romans anciently made between by their accents, yet Maimonides, I observe, disher whom they called matrona, who was only ta tanguishes them, as I have done, in his preface to ken in marriage, and her whom they called mater Seder Zeraim. familias, who was taken also to order and govern St Cyprian, from this and such like places of this book, the family, and whose children inherited. As may (iv: 8.12.V. 1.), proves there is but one only holy cabe seen in Aulus Gellius, lxviij. c. 8. wherein tholic church, making this observation, (epist. 73.e. he confutes Ælius Melissus, a conceited gramma dit. Oson.), “ We see one person every where menrian, who had started other ungrounded notions of tioned, and no more, because the spouse also is one,” these words.
&c. And then threescore and fourscore are only a certain [k] Ver. 20.] This some take to be the beginning of a
number for an uncertain, not the precise number of new part of this song; and Theodoret in particular these wives and concubines. Theodoret thinks by here begins his fourth book of commentaries upon these are mystically intended several ranks of Chris it; but I look upon these words as the praises and tians in the church ; some more, some less perfect ; commendations which the queens and concubines but they discourse better, in my opinion, who ra before mentioned bestow upon the spouse, with adther accommodate those to the several sorts of he. miration and astonishment at her transcendent retical and schismatical churches; some of which beauty. gloried in the multitude of their followers, and in They need no explication, being of known significatheir wealth and splendour ; but Christ hath only rion; only it is fit to note, that to make the eulogy one Catholic church, more glorious than them all more magnificent, the speech grows and increases. put together, as it follows here in the next verses. For though the morning be very beautiful and And that in effect, R. Solomon Jarchi, and some agreeable to every eye, yet the moon is still more other Hebrew expositors, understand these words bright, and the sun far brighter than that; but all with application to themselves. Abraham and his the host of heaven (which I take to be meant in posterity, say they, till the descendants from Is. the last words) still more wonderful and amazing, rael, were threescore in number, (compared here For there being a gradation in this place, and all to queens). The sons of Noah, and their descend. the other expressions relating to the heavens, it is ants unto Abraham, were fourscore, (compared to reasonable to think that this doth so too ; and that concubines). The rest who came from Cham, Ish we are to understand by it the armies or host of mael, and Esau, could not be comprehended under heaven, (as the scripture calls the stars), rather a certain number. And so the meaning is, Whatso than armies upon earth. However, I have put ever kindness God had for the rest of Abraham's both into the paraphrase, but have not meddled posterity, or of Noah's, (not to mention Cham, with mystical applications; they that desire them,
may look into the commentaries of three Fathers, the other reply in the last words," as iť were the where this verse is applied to the four degrees of company," &c. Christians that are in the church. Oihers, with more The repetition of the word return, four times over, reason, apply it to the progress which the church ber
expresseth their vehement affection to her, and their self made in splendour and greatness; being at first desire to have her company again, whom they call like the morning when the day breaks, after a long Sulamith, as much as to say Yerusalamith; for the night of ignorance; and then the light of Christian
name of that place formerly was Salen, which carknowledge advanced, till the church appeared like ries peace in its signification, or, as others will the moon, (whose paleness may serve for an emblem have it, perfection, for Sholam, in the second conjuof the terrors which persecution struck into their gation, signifies to finish, or perfect. And is a fit hearts), till in the issue it dispersed all mists, and, name here for the church, the New Jerusalem, built conquering all opposition, shone like the sun ; and by Christ himself. This seems to me a great deal then was settled in Constantine's time, like a well more probable than the conjecture of Menochus, ordered army, which beat down all idolatry.
(1. ii. de Repub. Hebr. c, xxi. n. 14.), who, beThey that would see more of these applications, may cause wives, when they were married, took the
look into Commenius's book De Bono Unitatis ; in pame of their husbands, thinks the spouse from the beginning whereof there are applications of Solomon had the name of Sulamith, which Aquila these things, both unto the church in general, and translates agmivkruv, pacific, i. e. Solomonidem. The unto particular churches.
reader may follow which he likes best. Solomon  Ver. 11.] This seems to be the voice of the seems to me not to have had respect to his own bridegroom, declaring what returns he expected to his spouse in this song. love. The word agoz, which we translate nuts, (of To see, or look upon her, signifies to enjoy her happy which there were several kinds, some very rich, as society, and the benefit of her excellent virtues the pistic), is found only here; and by some is and perfections. Whom, in the two last words, he translated sborn or cut, which I have not omitted in secms to me to compare unto the choirs of the heamy paraphrase. And beibe bannachal, (fruits of venly hosts. For the word meahola doth not signify the valley), the LXX. translate sboots by the brook, any kind of company, but of such as dance or sing ; or river, where plants are apt to grow best ; which as may be seen in Exod. xv. 20. xxxii. 1g. Judg. xi. is very agreeable to the original. The rest of the 34. Jer. xxxi. 4. Lam. v. 15. and many other places. words are common; and the whole verse signifies Which shew that it signifies both chorea, a dance, that he went to look after the fruits of all sorts. and chorus, the company that dances; and so the The mystical applications may be found in all in LXX. here translate it xogol, choirs. And Alabanaim terpreters.
(which we translate two armies) may as well be [m] Ver. 12.) The meaning of this verse seems to be, a proper name, as Ammi-nadib in the verse forego
that the spouse, hearing such high commendations ing; and relates to the appearance of angels to Ja. of herself, both from him, and from the persons cob, Gen. xxxii. 2. as a token of God's special prementioned, ver. 10. with great humility saith, that sence with him, and most lively sets forth ille far she was not conscious to herself of such perfections, more glorious presence of God, now in the Chris(for so the first words sound in the Hebrew, I did tian church. Or if we interpret it armies or hosts, not know it, or I did not think so), but is excited there. as we do, still it may signify the armies above in by to make the greatest speed to endeavour to pre the heavens, either the stars or the angels, called serve this character he had given her, and to go or the armies in heaven," Rev. xix. 14. and “ army along with him into his garden, (which she had of heaven," Dan, iv. 35. neglected before, v. 2.), there to give a good account of her proficiency. For which end she seems
CH A P. VII. on a sudden to take leave of her friends, (who had been so charitable as to go along with her to seek THE ARGUMENT. —Here begins, as I take it, a new him), that she might for some time enjoy his part (which is the 7th) of this song, and reaches company alone ; which is the ground of their to verse the rith. In which the spouse is recalling upon her to return, in the next verse. presented returning again, as they desired in the This is the best account I can give of these two last end of the foregoing chapter ; and appearing verses.
in greater lustre than before, the company of It is supposed, Ammi-nadib was some great captain, friends who attended her, praise her beautiful per
who pursued his victories, or advantages, very in fections, in such a description as was made of them, dustriously, with very swift chariots.
chap. iv. though varying from it in several things, [n] Ver. 13.) This verse is the voice of her com (which is the sum of the first nine verses). Of
panions or friends ; some of which wish for brer which perfections she modestly acknowledging her coming back, that they might enjoy her company Lord to be the author, and assuming nothing to again, and see how she was improved ; and the rest herself, (ver. 10.), is excited thereby only to do the asked what they expected to see in her ? to which more good, and to labour to extend his empire
over more hearts, who were not yet subject to thee! for what beauty is like to that, or what pleahim, ver. 11. &c, where the 8th part of this song sure comparable to those which thou impartest to them begins, and continues to the fifth verse of the next that are in love with thy delights. See Annot. [f] chapter.
Ver. 7. This thy stature is like to a palm-tree, and
thy breasts to clusters of grapes.] Whose tall and upCOMPANIONS, OR DAUGHTERS OF JERUSAL: M. right stature adds much to all this beauty! and makes !are: iby feet with shoes, Othee resemble the goodly palm-tree ; within whose
prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs boughs, those clusters hang, to which we may comare like jewels, the work of ibe hands of a cunning work- pare thy breasts between thy arms. See Annot. [g] man.) And now that she appears again, like the Ver. 8. I said, I will go up to the palm-tree, I will take daughter of the great King, in all royal apparel, bolil of the boughs thertof : now also thy breasts shall be (Psal. xlv. 13.), who can choose but admire the beau as ilustres of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apty of the meanest thing belonging to her! The very ples;] Which seem to be stretched out to receive us shoes of her feet are most lovely, and so are all the into thy embraces, and invite me and all my company ornaments of her thighs, which were made by no with a joint resolution to say, We will take hold of common or careless artist, but by one that hath here- the boughs of this tree; we will get up into i:, and in shewn the best of his skill. See Annot. [-] taste of its fruit : and now shall be happy indeed, and
Ver. 2. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which enjoy those sweet delights which flow from thy wanteth not liquor ; thy belly is like an beap of wbeat, breasts, and from the breath of thy mouth ; far more set about with lilies.] Which other excellent artisis refreshing and comfortable than the choicest fruit that have equalled in that part of thy vesture, which covers this good land affords. See Annot. [h] the middle of thy body ; in the very centre of which Ver. 9. And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine is a fountain, within a curious work rising up like a for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips heap of wheat, encompassed round about with lilies. of those that are asleep to speak.] : For the richest and See Annot. [b]
most generous wine, which when we have tasted, we Ver. 3. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that say, Let it be sent to the best of friends, is not more are twins.] Above which, thy-two breasts rise up so comfortable to the bodily spiriis, though it be so purely white, and exactly round, and every where of powerful as to make old men brisk, nay, to enliven such just proportions, that two young kids which were those that are at the point of death, than thy words formed together, and brought forth at the same time, are to raise and restore the souls of those who imbibe are not more like one another, or more lovely than the sense of them into their minds. See Annot. [i] they. Sée Annot. [c]
SP: USE Ver. 4. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory ; thine eyes Ver. 10. Ian my beloved's, and his desire is towards like the fish-pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath.rabbim; me ] | If there be any thing in me that is pleasing to thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon, which looketb 10 you, and deserves such ses, ascribe it all to him ward Damascus :] Thy neck also lifts up itself, with from whom I received it; for, as I have often said, the same or greater beauty, wherein we before beheld I am his entirely, and he is pleased to be entirely it, (iv. 4 ), being no less sinooth and purely white, mine, having espoused himself unto me with great than it is straight and well shaped. And the same desire, Psal. xlv. 11.
See Annot. [k] famous pools at the great gate of Heshbon, also, are Ver. 11. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the not more quiet and clear than thy eģést; which are as field ; let us lodge in the villages.] And O that he, pure and free from all perturbation, as they are fair (without whom I can do nothing), would accompany and large; between which thy well-proportioned nose me in the charitable design 1 have, to go and visit rising up, adds as much beauty and majesty to thy other people, besides you, o ye daughters of Jeru face, as the tower of Lebanon (whose top shows it- salem! Let us go, my beloved, unto those poor despiself above the trees) doth to that noble forest. See sed people that live in the fields and country-villages; Annot. [d]
let us not only go to them, but dwell among tvem. Ver. 5: Thine head upon thee is like Carniel, and the See Annot.  hair of thine head like purple : the King is held in the Ver. 12. Let us get up early to tbe vineyards ; let us galleries.] And now that we take a view of thy head, see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, we seem to be come to the top of Mount Carmel, and the pornegranates bud forth : there will I give ibee which is not more richly adorned by nature, than its my loves.] Lettis diligently visit the vineyards, that excellent form is by art; which hath contrived the have been newly planted there, and bestow our ulmost royal ornaments for it, and made thee an object most care upon them; let us see if they give any hope fit for the king's affection; who be holding, thee from of good fruit, in promoting which, I will give thee a his palace, is fixed in contemplation of thy beauty. proof of my extraordinary love. See Annot. [m] Ste Annot. [e]
Ver. 13. The mandrakes give a smell, and at our Ver. 6. How fair and bow pleasant art'thcu, O love, gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, for delights!] Which cannot be described, but only wbich I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.] And admired, and constrains all to say, O how happy art behold the happy success of such care and diligence ! thou! and how happy are they who are acquainted with the most excellent fruit is already ripe, and meets us
with its refreshing smell; there is nothing so choice be applied to Christians going chearfully to worship
to have had in their eyes, that apparel of wrought
gold, mentioned Psal. xlv. 13. and represent that ANNOTATIONS.
part of it which covered the billy to be of raised or
embossed work, resembling an heap of wheat; by [a] Ver. 1.] They who carnestly solicited the re which it is possible may be meant, many sheaves of
turn of the spouse, in the conclusion of the former wbeat embroidered rouiid about (as the king's daugh-
conjecture, for anciently nothing was more honour.
seems to incline the sense.
all reason we ought not to expound the next words LXX. translate it, a great bowl or bason, is used
like the moon. And the Chaldee paraphrast underWhich agrees with what follows, “ The work of the stood it to be of this figure, when he applies it “ to
hands of a cunoing workman.” Where workman also the head of their school, who stood in the knowledge
ture, (as it may be called), is very hard to say.
going up three times a year to the public feasts ; as church administers to her children, the font in bap-