Song of Solomon 1:4 MEANING

Song of Solomon 1:4
(4) The king hath brought me.--The dramatic theory of the poem (see Excursus II.) has been in a great measure built up on interpretations given to this verse. We understand it as a repetition, in another form, of the protestation of love made in Song of Solomon 1:1-3. Like them, it forms a stanza of five lines. The clause, "the king hath brought," &c, is--in accordance with a common Hebrew idiom, where an hypothesis is expressed by a simple perfect or future without a particle (comp. Proverbs 22:29; Proverbs 25:16)--to be understood, "Even should the king have brought me into his chambers, yet our transport and our joys are for thee alone; even then we would recall thy caresses, those caresses which are sweeter than wine."

The upright love thee.--Marg., they love thee uprightly; Heb., meysharim, used in other places either (1) in the abstract, "righteousness," &c, Psalm 17:2; Psalm 99:4; Proverbs 8:6 (so LXX. here); or (2) adverbially, Psalm 58:2; Psalm 75:3 (and Song of Solomon 7:9 below; but there the Lamed prefixed fixes the adverbial use). The Authorised Version follows the Vulg., Recti diligunt te, and is to be preferred, as bringing the clause into parallelism with the concluding clause of Song of Solomon 1:3 : "Thou who hast won the love of all maidens by thy personal attractions, hast gained that of the sincere and upright ones by thy character and thy great name."

Verse 4. - Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will make mention of thy love more than of wine: rightly do they love thee. This is best taken as all spoken by the bride. It is the language of the purest affection and adoring admiration. "I drew them," God says (Hosea 11:4), "with cords of a man, with bands of love." "The Lord appeared of old unto me," says Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:3), "saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee." In the same sense the Greek word ἐλκυεῖν is used by our Lord himself of the Father drawing to the Son, and of the Son, uplifted on the cross, "drawing" all men unto him (cf. John 6:44; John 12:32). If the spiritual meaning of the whole poem is admitted, such language is quite natural. The king's chambers are the king's own rooms in the palace, i.e. his sleeping, rooms and sitting rooms - the penetralia regis. We may take the preterite as equivalent to the present; i.e. "The king is bringing me into closest fellowship with himself, not merely as a member of his household, but as his chosen bride." The concluding words have caused much discussion. The meaning, however, is the same whether we say, "The upright love thee," or "Thou art rightly loved." The intention is to set forth the object of love as perfect. The plural, מֵישָׁרִים, is used to signify the abstract of the word, thought, or act; i.e. "righteous," for "rightly" (cf. Psalm 58:2; Psalm 75:3); but the best critics think it could not be the abstract for the concrete plural, as in the Vulgate, Recti diligunt re. The same use of the word is seen in eh. 7:9, "The best wine that teeth down smoothly for my beloved" (cf. Proverbs 23:31). Before going further in the song, it is well to observe how chaste, pure, and delicate is the language of love; and yet, as Delitzsch has pointed out, there is a mystical, cloudy brightness. We seem to be in the region of the ideal. It is not a mere love song, though it may have been the commemoration of an actual past. The Eastern form of the words may be less suited to our taste than it would be to those who first embraced Christianity, and to the nineteenth century than to the first; but the loving rapture of the Church in fellowship with the Saviour is certainly seeking a more vivid expression in song, and there are many of the most simple-minded and devoted Christians whose joy in Christ pours itself out freely in strains not much less fervid and almost as sensuous as anything to be found in Solomon's Song. Some are beginning to remonstrate against this freedom of devotional language, but the instinct of the Church seems to justify it as the demand of the heart under the influence of the Word of God itself. Perhaps there is a state of religious feeling coming into the experience of Christians which will remove the veil from such a book as the Song of Songs, and we shall yet find that its language is needful and is not extravagant.

1:2-6 The church, or rather the believer, speaks here in the character of the spouse of the King, the Messiah. The kisses of his mouth mean those assurances of pardon with which believers are favoured, filling them with peace and joy in believing, and causing them to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost. Gracious souls take most pleasure in loving Christ, and being loved of him. Christ's love is more valuable and desirable than the best this world can give. The name of Christ is not now like ointment sealed up, but like ointment poured forth; which denotes the freeness and fulness of the setting forth of his grace by the gospel. Those whom he has redeemed and sanctified, are here the virgins that love Jesus Christ, and follow him whithersoever he goes, Re 14:4. They entreat him to draw them by the quickening influences of his Spirit. The more clearly we discern Christ's glory, the more sensible shall we be that we are unable to follow him suitably, and at the same time be more desirous of doing it. Observe the speedy answer given to this prayer. Those who wait at Wisdom's gate, shall be led into truth and comfort. And being brought into this chamber, our griefs will vanish. We have no joy but in Christ, and for this we are indebted to him. We will remember to give thanks for thy love; it shall make more lasting impressions upon us than any thing in this world. Nor is any love acceptable to Christ but love in sincerity, Eph 6:24. The daughters of Jerusalem may mean professors not yet established in the faith. The spouse was black as the tents of the wandering Arabs, but comely as the magnificent curtains in the palaces of Solomon. The believer is black, as being defiled and sinful by nature, but comely, as renewed by Divine grace to the holy image of God. He is still deformed with remains of sin, but comely as accepted in Christ. He is often base and contemptible in the esteem of men, but excellent in the sight of God. The blackness was owing to the hard usage that had been suffered. The children of the church, her mother, but not of God, her Father, were angry with her. They had made her suffer hardships, which caused her to neglect the care of her soul. Thus, under the emblem of a poor female, made the chosen partner of a prince, we are led to consider the circumstances in which the love of Christ is accustomed to find its objects. They were wretched slaves of sin, in toil, or in sorrow, weary and heavy laden, but how great the change when the love of Christ is manifested to their souls!Draw me,.... With the cords of love, for what draw lovers to each other more strongly? under the influence of that they cannot bear to be without each other's company. Aben Ezra takes these words to be spoken by the virgins, who everyone of them said this, promising upon it to follow after the drawer; but they are rather the request of the church, desirous of nearer and more intimate communion with Christ; for this is not to be understood of drawing at first conversion, as the fruit of love, and under the influence of grace, Jeremiah 31:3; but of being brought nearer to Christ, and to enjoy more of him;

we will run after thee; the church and the virgins, she and her companions, or particular believers; everyone of them in their respective stations would act with more rigour upon such drawings; would run in a way of duty, follow Christ, and walk in his steps; and as they had him for an example, and according to his word, and in the ways of his commandments: or "that we may run after thee" (s); intimating that there is no running without drawing; no following Christ, at least no running after him with alacrity and cheerfulness, without being drawn by his love, and influenced by his grace;

the King hath brought me into his chambers: the blessing she sought after, and was so solicitous for in the preceding verses; namely, to have the marriage consummated, to be owned by Christ as his spouse and bride, by taking her home, and introducing her into the nuptial chamber; by putting her into the enjoyment of himself, and the possession of his substance: and this being done by him as King of saints, yea, of the world, showed great condescension on his part, and great honour bestowed on her; since by this act, as he was King, she was declared queen!

we will be glad and rejoice in thee: she and her bridesmaids, the virgins that attended her; that is, "when he should introduce" her into his chambers, as some (t) render the words; then they should express their joy and gladness on that occasion; and that in the greatness, glory, and fitness of his person; in the fulness of grace in him; in the blessings of grace from him; in what he has done for, and is to his church and people; in the offices he bears, and in the relations he stands in to them; and particularly that of a husband, now declared;

we will remember thy love more than wine: which, upon the introduction of the bride to the bridegroom, might be plentifully drank; of the preferableness of Christ's love to wine; see Gill on Sol 1:2; it may design more particularly the love of Christ, expressed at this time of solemnizing the marriage between him and his church in an open manner, Hosea 2:19; and which would never be forgotten: Christ's love is remembered when thought of and meditated upon; when faith is exercised on it, and the desires of the soul are drawn after it, and the affections set upon it; and when it is often spoken of to others, being uppermost in the mind; saints under the Gospel dispensation have an ordinance for this purpose, to, commemorate the love of Christ;

the upright love thee; or "uprightnesses" (u); men of upright hearts and conversations, who have right spirits renewed in them; or Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile; who have the truth of grace in them, walk uprightly according to the rule of God's word, and the Gospel of Christ; and do all they do sincerely, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God; such love Christ superlatively, sincerely, fervently, and constantly; and "love him rightly", or "most uprightly", as some (w) render the phrase.

(s) "ut carramus", so some in Marekius. (t) "Quum introduxerit me", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, so Schmidt. (u) Sept. "rectitudines", Montanus, Vatablus, Marekius, Michaeilis, so some in Vatablus. (w) Junius & Tremellius; so Cocceius and Jarchi.

Courtesy of Open Bible