Song of Solomon 4:13 MEANING

Song of Solomon 4:13
(13) Thy plants.--Some have thought the offspring of the marriage intended here; but the poet is plainly, by a new adaptation of the language of flowers, describing the charms of the person of his beloved.

Orchard.--Heb. pardes; LXX. ??????????; found only elsewhere in Nehemiah 2:8 (where see Note), Ecclesiastes 2:5. The pomegranate was perhaps an emblem of love, having been held sacred to the Syrian Venus. (See Tristram, Nat. Hist. of Bible, p. 389.)

Camphire.--See Note, Song of Solomon 1:14.

Verses 13, 14. - Thy shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, with precious fruits; henna with spikenard plants, spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices. Thy shoots; i.e. that which comes forth from thee, thy plants, or, as Bottcher puts it, "all the phenomena and life utterances of her personality." All the plants had their meaning in flower language. They are mostly exotics. But it is difficult now to suggest meanings, though they may have been familiar to Jewish readers at the time. The pardes, "park, or enclosure," was adorned especially with foreign and fragrant plants of great beauty. It is an Old Persian word, perhaps, as Delitzsch suggests, from pairi (περὶ) and dez (Pers. diz), "a heap." Precious fruit; literally, fructus laudam, "fruits of renown" or excellence (cf. Syriac magdo, "dried fruit"). The carcom, or saffron, a kind of crocus (Ind. safran), yields the saffron colour from its dried flower eyes, used both as a cosmetic and as a medicine (cf. Sansc. kuakuma). The calamus, simply a reed, the sweet reed, a corn indigenous to the East. Cinnamon (Quinnamon), Laurus cinnamomum, is indigenous on the east coast of Africa and Ceylon, found later in the Antibes. The inner bark peeled off and roiled together forms the cinnamon bark (see Pliny, bk. 12). There are seven spices mentioned. We need not trouble ourselves to identify them all, as they are mostly Indian, and such as Solomon would fetch from the far East in his celebrated ships. The description is highly poetical, and simply means that all sweetness and attractiveness combine in the fair one. But symbolically we may see an allusion to the spread of the Church over the world, and all the glory and honour of the nations" being introduced into it. So the graces of the individual soul expand themselves under the influence of Christian truth and fellowship.

4:8-15 Observe the gracious call Christ gives to the church. It is, 1. A precept; so this is Christ's call to his church to come off from the world. These hills seem pleasant, but there are in them lions' dens; they are mountains of the leopards. 2. As a promise; many shall be brought as members of the church, from every point. The church shall be delivered from her persecutors in due time, though now she dwells among lions, Ps 57:4. Christ's heart is upon his church; his treasure is therein; and he delights in the affection she has for him; its working in the heart, and its works in the life. The odours wherewith the spouse is perfumed, are as the gifts and graces of the Spirit. Love and obedience to God are more pleasing to Christ than sacrifice or incense. Christ having put upon his spouse the white raiment of his own righteousness, and the righteousness of saints, and perfumed it with holy joy and comfort, he is well pleased with it. And Christ walks in his garden unseen. A hedge of protection is made around, which all the powers of darkness cannot break through. The souls of believers are as gardens enclosed, where is a well of living water, Joh 4:14; 7:38, the influences of the Holy Spirit. The world knows not these wells of salvation, nor can any opposer corrupt this fountain. Saints in the church, and graces in the saints, are fitly compared to fruits and spices. They are planted, and do not grow of themselves. They are precious; they are the blessings of this earth. They will be kept to good purpose when flowers are withered. Grace, when ended in glory, will last for ever. Christ is the source which makes these gardens fruitful; even a well of living waters.Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates,.... These plants are the members of the church, true converts, believers in Christ; pleasant plants, plants of renown, planted in the church by Christ's heavenly Father, and shall never be plucked up; or, thy gardens, as it may be rendered (n); particular churches, well taken care of and watered; these make an orchard, or are like one, even a paradise, as the word (o) signifies: it is generally thought to be a Persic word; see Nehemiah 2:8; but Hillerus (p) derives it from to "separate", it being a garden, separated and enclosed as before; one like Eden's garden, exceeding pleasant and delightful: and not like an orchard of any sort of trees, but of "pomegranates", of which there were plenty in Canaan, hence called a "land of pomegranates", Deuteronomy 8:8; many places in it had their names from thence, Joshua 15:32. To which believers in Christ may be compared, for the various sorts of them (q), for their largeness, fruitfulness, and uprightness; saints have gifts and grace, differing from one another as to size, but all pomegranates, trees of righteousness; some are larger, and excel others, are full of all the fruits of righteousness; but all are, more or less, fruitful and upright in heart: and so the saints of the higher class may be here designed, as those of a lower are by other trees and spices after mentioned;

with pleasant fruits; that are valuable, precious, and desirable, of which an enumeration follows:

camphire, with spikenard; or "cypresses", or "cyprusses with nards" (r); both in the plural number: the former may intend cypress trees, so called on account of their berries and fruits growing in clusters; see Sol 1:14; and the latter, because there are different sorts of them, as "nardus Italica", "Indica", and "Celtica": to these saints may be compared, because pleasant and delightful, of a sweet smell, and rare and excellent.

(n) Vid. Guisium in Misn. Sheviith, c. 2. s. 2.((o) Sept. "paradisus", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Marckius, Michaelis. (p) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 291. (q) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 19. (r) So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

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