« PreviousContinue »
tain beautiful figures of Howers and animals; and (from ver. 4. to the 11th), in such words as shewed in variety of colours. The girdle, moreover, is or- that his kindness remained unalterable, and that he dered to be made of a work called rokem, which delighted in none but her; as incomparably more we translate nedle-work, ver. 39. because it is amiable, even by their own confession, than all thought not to have differed from the former, save those beauties whom the world most admires. With only in this, that the other things were only woven
which kindness she is so ravished, that it snatches curiously, but this also curiously wrought with the her away from the dearest friends she had, though needle. The Jews give another difference, that this very desirous of her company, ver. 13. was wrought so that the figures appeared on both sides, the other only on one. About which I shall COMPANIONS, OR DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM. not trouble myself, but only take notice that Jo- Ver. 1. WHITHER is tby beloved gone, Otkou fairsephus (in his 3d book of Antiquities, chap. viii.)
est among women.? whither is thy beloexplains this work thus: “ Flowers were woven in ved turned aside, that we may seek him with thee?] this girdle, with scarlet, purple, blue," &c.
These are high commendations, indeed, which thou And if flowers, (as others say animals), then, in all givest to thy beloved, which make us in love with him,
probability, trees also were wrought in these priestly, as before we were, (iv. 9.), and still are with thee, O vestures ; which made the fuller representation of thou most lovely of all other women ; whither dost a forest. Among which that of Lebanon was the thou think he hath betaken himself ? He is not quite principal, and indeed the most beautiful place in gone away, sure, but only diverted into some retireall those countries, which made the prophet
express ment. Which
way did he go? and where dost thou the glory of the church in these words, “ The glo- guess he hath hidden himself, that we may go along, ry of Lebanon shall be given to it,” Isa. xxxv. 2. see and inquire him out, with thee? See Annot. [a] also Hos. xiv. 5. 6. 7.
SPOUSE. Some think that hereby only the tallness of his sta- Ver. 2. My beloved is gone down into bis garden, to
ture is denoted, which was always looked upon as a the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather princely thing, as it was in Saul.
lilies.] I heard my beloved say, that he was gone As for mystical applications of these two verses, there down into that garden which he himself hath plant
are none to be sought for, if I have given the true ed, (v. 1.); there he delights to be, among those pious sense of them, but such as relate to the excellency persons, whose virtues make them like to the gardencf Christ's everlasting priesthood, and its pre-emi. beds, that are full of spices; he is always present in nence above the other, as much as the cedar ex. every part of this happy company, and hath fellow. cels all the trees of the forest.
ship with them, and is daily adding more and more  Ver. 16.] There is little difficulty here. For pure and sincere souls, who are without all guile, unto
mouth (Hebrew palate, which is within the mouth) their society. See Annot. [b] can signify nothing but either his words, which Ver 3. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine come thence, or his breath. And words being be feedeth among the lilies.] Of which I being a memmentioned before, ver. 13. the latter is probably ber, hope I may still say, that he hath not cast me here intended. Which is said to be sweetness, nay,
out of his favour, but still retains a kindness for me ; sweetnesses ; denoting the perfect soundness of the because I am stedfast and faithful in my love to him, internal parts, as the foregoing description sets forth who takes a constant care of such as study to rethe excellent shape and stately vesture of the out- semble him. See Annot. [c] ward. It is applied by interpreters, to the purity of
BRIDEGROOM. Christ's affections and passions ; but may be as well Ver. 4. Tbou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, to his breathing upon his apostles, when he bid them comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army witb banners, receive the Holy Ghost. Which concluded in a
Which concluded in a | It is true, O my beloved friend, who art still dear manner what he did upon earth, as it doth his de- unto me, and mosc amiable in my eyes, I have not scription in this place. For she, finding his praises lost my esteem of thee, for I see thou hast not lost to exceed all her thoughts, sums up all in a breath, thy affection to me; nor that lovely, that decent and and comprehends his whole character in this; that comely order, which makes thee not only beautiful, he is all over lovely, attracting all men's affections, but venerable, nay, amazes all beholders, or at least 110t only those that saw him, but those that heard strikes them with great admiration of thee. See Ana of him too.
tbine eyes from me, for they have C H A P. VI.
overcome me; thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear
from Gilead.] Thou needst not look so earnestly, and The ARGUMENT:- In the foregoing description, the with such care and solicitude, upon me, as if I had
sponse expressed such an unfeigned affection to him, forgotten thee ; for I see the same sparkling beauty (which he again confidently asserts in this sixth part in thy eyes, which I did before, (iv. 1.), and it no less of the song, ver. 3.), that it not only mightily mov- affects my heart, (iv. 9.), thou wantest none of those ed her companions to join with her in the search of ornaments which I formerly commended, but retain. him, but invited the return of the bridegroom again. est them all, notwithstanding the discomposure in Who graciously declares the like affection unto her, which thou hast been. See Annot. [e] VOL. III.
Ver. 6. Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go make all the haste I can likewise to attain them ; and up from the wasbing, whereof every one beareth twins, therefore I must, for the present, take leave of you, and there is not one barren among ehem.] The same I O my friends, who have kindly assisted me in the say also of thy teeth, which are still white and clean, search of my beloved. See Annot. [m] even set both above and below ; firm and sound also,
breach, or want of so much as one of Ver. 13. Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, them. See Annot. [f]
that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shu. Ver. 7. As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples lamite? As it were the company of two armies.] Let within thy locks.) And, to be short, (and not to re- us have thy company again, Ó thou fairest and most peat every thing again), I see the same fresh colour accomplished of all the daughters of Jerusalem. Come in thy cheeks, which makes thee look as lovely, now back again, come back, that we may behold thy thy veil is off
, (v. 7.), as thou didst in the first wondrous perfections. And if any ask, Whar is that blooming of thy beauty. See Annot. [g]
you would see? what would you enjoy in her hapVer. 8. There are threescore queens, and jourscore con- py society? Our answer is, such a divine presence cubines, and virgins without number.] Wherefore, as appeared to Jacob, when he saw the angelical choirs, though other kings and princes of these countries which made him cry out, “ This is God's host,” and have a great many queens, and more wives of an in- call the name of that place, Mahonain. See Annut. ferior rank, and virgins that attend them without num. [n] bers, whose beauty they highly adrnire ; See Annot. 
ANNOTATIONS. Ver. 9. My dove, my undefiled, is but one ; she is the only one of ber mother, she is the cloice one of ber that [a] Ver. 1.] The daughters of Jerusalem (mentionbare ber : the daughters saw her, and blessed ber; pea,
the tioned ver. 8.) here justify what the spouse had queens and the concubines, and they praised her.] I have said in the conclusion of the former chapter ; and one only, and none other, whom I entirely love, and declaring Hemselves in love with him whom she that is thyself alone; who preservest an inviolable faith had described, are desirous to join themselves to her and affectioa to me, and therefore art dearer to me, company, and go in quest, of him. In order to than an only daughter and she the most accomplish- which they would know, whither she thought he ed person and perfect beauty is to her mother; whom
was gone, when he went from her. all other persons at last shall admire, the queens them. [b] Ver. 2.] Unto which she replies in this verse, and selves before named, calling thee blessed, and wishing seems to tell them, in his own words, what she had all prosperity to thee ; and they or the next degree heard him say about that matter, v. I. And it sigshall praise thy excellencies, and conless their own nifies that he was still in his church, and ia every imperfections. See Annot. [i]
part of it, though sometimes they were not seniVer. 10. | Who is she that looketh forth as the sible of it. For so Theodoret well observes, here is morning, fair as the moon, clear as the suil
, and tir. distinct mention made of a garden, and of gardens, rible as an army with banners?] [ Saying, What an i e. of the Catholic church, which is but one, and astonishing beauty is this, that appears like a clear of the several parts thereof. For sometimes St Paul morning after a dark night, and increaseth in lustre mentions only the church in the singular number, more and more, looking as bright as the moon when and sonetimes the several churches even in the it is at full, nay, as splendid as the sun when it shi- same nation, (as in the epistle to the Galatians, rreth in its strength ; and no less dazzles our eyes, and i. 1.), and in the same province or city, 1 Cor. amazes our thoughts, than a glorious host of heaven, or an army here on earth, when it stands in battalias He is said here to go down into his garden, with rewith all their colours displayed? See Annot. [k] spect to the mountains mentioned, iv. 8. And to
Ver. 11. I went down into the garden of nuts, to see feed in the Hebrew, is either to do the office of a the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine shepherd to his flock, or relates to his communion fouriskeil, and the pomegranates budded.] Only this I with his people, mentioned chap. iv. 16. v. I. expect from thee, that thou bring forth fruit propor- Which may be the meaning also of gathering lilies; tionable to my care of thee, and kindness to thee ; or, as Theodoret will have it, by this last clause is for to that end I went down before, (v. 1. vi. 2.), and to be understood, his gathering holy and pure souls now go again, into my garden, (which I have not ne- tha: are like to him, and joining them unto his glected to dress, and prune, and water), to take a view church. And so the Arabic translation is, “ to in what condition it is, and in what forwardness the gather together the lilies," following the Septuagint, several sorts of fruit are, which I justly look to re- who translate it, Curréseiv. And indeed I find the Hea ceive in their due seasons. See Annot. 
brew word lakat, signifies to collect things into an SPOUSE.
heap or bundle ; as stones, Gen. xxxi. 46. manna, Ver. 12. Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like Exod. xvi. 27. fruit, Lev. xix. 9. silver, Gen, xlvi. the chariots of Ammi-nadib.] Alas! what am I, that 14. I should receive such praises, who am not worthy of The whole denotes, that communion with him is only thy care? But they have put such motions into my to be sought in his church ; especially in that part soul, as make me aim at the highest perfections, and of it which preserves the order wherein he hath
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 Sulamitb, as much as to say Jerusalamith; for the night of ignorance; and then the light of Christian name of that place formerly was Salem, 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 siguvespav, 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 bannacbal, (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 xogod, choirs. And Mfabanaim 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 "the armies in heaven," Rev. xix. 14. and arms 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