Myrrh . . . cassia.--These spices formed part of the sacred oil described Exodus 30:23-24. On the other hand, for the custom of perfuming clothes, beds, &c, comp. Song of Solomon 5:5; Proverbs 7:17.
For myrrh see Genesis 37:25.
Aloes.--Heb. ah?loth (sometimes ah?lim), a word formed from the native name aghil (Cochin China and Siam are its homes), which also appears in eagle-wood (Aquilaria agallochum). The lign aloes of Numbers 24:6, was most probably a different tree from that whose resin forms the precious perfume here mentioned. (See Bib. Ed. i. 243.)
Cassia.--See Note Exodus 30:24.
The Oriental's love for these mixtures of many fragrant spices has been finely caught in some modern lines.
"Heap cassia, sandal-buds, and stripes
Of labdanum, and aloe-balls,
Smeared with dull nard an Indian wipes
From out her hair, such balsam falls
From seaside mountain pedestals,
From tree-tops where tired winds are fain--
Spent with the vast and howling main--
To treasure half their island gain."
R. BROWNING: Paracelsus.
Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.--Rather, out of the ivory palaces music (literally, strings) has made thee glad.
Of the many conjectured explanations this, though somewhat grammatically doubtful, is in all other respects preferable. Indeed, it would have been strange if a nuptial ode, giving a picture of the splendour and pomp accompanying the marriage, had missed the mention of music, and at this verse we may imagine the doors of the palace thrown open for the issue of the bridal train (comp. the procession immediately after the bath in the weddings in the Arabian Nights), not only allowing the strains of music to float out, but also giving a glimpse into the interior, where, surrounded by her train of ladies, the queen-bride stands.
The word rendered "palace" (generally "temple,") may from its derivation be only a spacious place, and so a receptacle. On the other hand, Amos 3:15 shows that ivory was frequently used as an ornament of the houses of the rich, and Ahab's "ivory house" (1 Kings 22:39) is familiar.
out of the ivory palaces; see Sol 7:4; meaning the places from whence these garments were taken, the wardrobe; or from whence Christ came, and where he appears; as heaven, the palace of the great King, from whence he came down, whither he is gone, and from whence he is expected again; and the human nature of Christ, in which he tabernacled on earth, and was pure and clear from sin; and his churches, which are his temples and palaces, where he grants his presence. Or it may be rendered, "more than the ivory palaces" (i), and so be expressive of the excellency of Christ's garments above them; and denote the purity of his human nature, the spotlessness of his righteousness, and the comeliness of his people;
whereby they have made thee glad; or, "wherein" or "from whence" (k); in which palaces, the churches, the saints make Christ glad, by speaking of his glory; by ascribing glory to him; and by the exercise of grace upon him, with which his heart is ravished, Sol 4:9. Or "for which" (l); garments of salvation, and robe of righteousness; they being clothed with them, and rejoicing in them, cause joy and gladness in Christ: or "more than they", or "theirs that make thee glad" (m); meaning his fellows and their garments, his being more odorous than theirs.
(i) "prae palatiis eburneis", Cocceius, Gejerus. (k) "unde", Montanus, Musculus, Muis, Noldius, p. 629, No. 1664. (l) "Propter quod", Muis. (m) "Prae iis", Junius & Tremellius; "magis quam eorum", Piscator; so Ainsworth.