Song of Solomon 1:15 MEANING

Song of Solomon 1:15
(15) Behold, thou art fair.--The song is now transferred to a male speaker--the advocates for the dramatic theory cannot agree whether Solomon or the shepherd; and no wonder, since the poem gives no indication.

My love.--Marg., companion, LXX. ???????, in Heb. rayati, is used for the female, dodi being her usual term for her lover. Beyond this the terms of endearment used cannot safely be pressed for any theory.

Thou hast doves' eyes.--Literally, thine eyes are doves'. The same image is repeated (Song of Solomon 4:1), and adopted in return by the heroine (Song of Solomon 5:12). The point of the comparison is either quickness of glance or generally tenderness and grace. The dove, a favourite with all poets as an emblem of love, is especially dear to this bard. Out of about fifty mentions of the bird in Scripture, seven occur in the short compass of this book. For general account of the dove in Palestine, see Psalm 55:6, and for particular allusions Notes below to Song of Solomon 2:11-12; Song of Solomon 2:14. (Comp. Shakespeare's Coriolanus, v. 3:--

"Or those doves' eyes

That can make gods forsworn."

Tennyson's Maud:--

"Do I hear her sing as of old,

My bird with the shining head,

My own dove, with her tender eye?")

Verse 15. - Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves; literally, thine eyes are doves. The king receives the worship of his bride and delights in her. She is very sweet and fair to him. The dove is a natural symbol of love; hence it was attached by the classical nations to the garden of love, together with the myrtle, rose, and apple, all of which we find introduced in this Hebrew poem. Hence the Arabic name for a dove, Jemima, as we see in the Book of Job, was the name of a woman (cf. Columbina). The language of the king is that of ecstasy; hence the interjection and repetition. The enraptured monarch gazes into the eyes of his beloved bride, and sees there only purity, constancy, and affection. In Song of Solomon 7:4 the eyes are compared to fish ponds, no doubt for their clear, liquid depth and serenity. Some have thought that the allusion is to the very lovely eyes of the doves; but there is no need of the limitation.

1:9-17 The Bridegroom gives high praises of his spouse. In the sight of Christ believers are the excellent of the earth, fitted to be instruments for promoting his glory. The spiritual gifts and graces which Christ bestows on every true believer, are described by the ornaments then in use, ver. 10,11. The graces of the saints are many, but there is dependence upon each other. He who is the Author, will be the Finisher of the good work. The grace received from Christ's fulness, springs forth into lively exercises of faith, affection, and gratitude. Yet Christ, not his gifts, is most precious to them. The word translated camphire, signifies atonement or propitiation. Christ is dear to all believers, because he is the propitiation for their sins. No pretender must have his place in the soul. They resolved to lodge him in their hearts all the night; during the continuance of the troubles of life. Christ takes delight in the good work which his grace has wrought on the souls of believers. This should engage all who are made holy, to be very thankful for that grace which has made those fair, who by nature were deformed. The spouse (the believer) has a humble, modest eye, discovering simplicity and godly sincerity; eyes enlightened and guided by the Holy Spirit, that blessed Dove. The church expresses her value for Christ. Thou art the great Original, but I am but a faint and imperfect copy. Many are fair to look at, yet their temper renders them unpleasant: but Christ is fair, yet pleasant. The believer, ver. 16, speaks with praise of those holy ordinances in which true believers have fellowship with Christ. Whether the believer is in the courts of the Lord, or in retirement; whether following his daily labours, or confined on the bed of sickness, or even in a dungeon, a sense of the Divine presence will turn the place into a paradise. Thus the soul, daily having fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enjoys a lively hope of an incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance above.Behold, thou art fair, my love,.... These are the words of Christ, commending the beauty and comeliness of the church, expressing his great affection for her, and his high esteem of her; of her fairness and beauty; see Gill on Sol 1:5; see Gill on Sol 1:8; of the title of Christ's love, as given her by him; see Gill on Sol 1:9; a "behold" is prefixed to this account her, as a note of attention, to consider her complete comeliness in Christ, and not pore on her own blackness; and as a note of admiration, that she who was so black and uncomely in herself should be so fair and beautiful in his eyes, through his blood, righteousness, and grace; and as a note of asseveration, assuring her of the truth of it, which she might be apt to call in question; and, to prevent which, it is also repeated,

behold, thou art fair; exceeding fair, really so, both inwardly and outwardly; both with respect to justification and sanctification;

thou hast doves' eyes; or "eyes like doves" (d); these are taken notice because much beauty lies in the eyes, either in the size or colour of them (e); similes taken from doves are frequently used in this sacred poem, both with respect to the bride and bridegroom; see Sol 2:14; and it may easily be observed, that this creature furnishes much matter for poets (f), which they apply to lovers: and here the eyes of the bride are compared to the eyes of doves; meaning either the ministers of the Gospel, who are to the church what eyes are to the body; are set in the more eminent part in the church, to order, guide, and direct the members of it; to watch over them, lest any hurt come to them, and give warning of danger; to hold forth the word of light to them, and instruct them how to behave in the church and in the world: and they may be compared to the eyes of doves, for their clearness and perspicuity in discerning Gospel truths; and for their sincerity and simplicity, uprightness and faithfulness, in preaching them; and for the dove like gifts of the Spirit, whereby they are qualified for it; and for, their meekness and humility; or rather the eyes of her understanding are meant, being spiritually enlightened; and particularly the eye of faith by which believers take a view of Christ, of his glory, fulness, and suitableness, and look to him alone for life and salvation. And it may be compared to the eyes of doves for the clearness and quickness, of it, being the evidence of things not seen; and, for its singleness and chastity, the dove looks only to its mate, and destroys those that look with lustful eyes on others (g); believers, being espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ, look only to him as their beloved, to him only for acceptance, righteousness, pardon, and eternal life; and for its modesty and humility, excluding all boasting in the creature, and giving all glory to Christ; and for its beautifulness in the sight of Christ, so that he is even ravished with it, Sol 4:9.

(d) "oculi tui veluti columbarum", Pagninus, Munster, so Ben Melech. (e) So Juno is called "the large-eyed Juno", and Minerva "the blue-eyed goddess", and Chryseus "the black-eyed maid", Homer. Iliad. 1. v. 99, 206, 551. (f) Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. in Nupt. Honor. Ode 4. v. 21. (g) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 34. Aelian. Hist. Animal. l. 3. c. 5. p. 44.

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