and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals; alluding to a custom with the Jews (g) and other nations (h), to put nuptial crowns on the heads Of married persons, both men and women, on the marriage day: Christ is undoubtedly here meant by Solomon, who is King of Zion, King of saints; See Gill on Sol 3:7; by whose mother is meant either the church, the Jerusalem above, the mother of us all, of Christ mystical; or else every believer, who is not only his brother and sister, but his mother, Matthew 12:50; and this may refer to the time when Christ is first made known unto and held by a sensible sinner, in the glory of his person, and the fulness of his grace, as sitting and riding in the chariot of the everlasting Gospel; when such honour him, and crown him by venturing on him, and believing in him; for every act of faith on Christ is putting the crown upon his head; and every submission to his ordinances is an acknowledging him King of saints; and every ascription of salvation to him and his grace by any, is casting their crowns at his and setting one on his head; and such a time is the time of his open espousals to them, when such consent to be his for ever, and give up their whole selves to him; there was a secret espousal of all the elect to Christ, upon the Father's grant of them to him in eternity; and there is an open espousal of them to him personally, at their conversion under the ministry of the word, when they are espoused as chaste virgins to Christ; at which time there is a large breaking forth of Christ's love to them, and of theirs to him: hence it is called "the love of their espousals"; see 2 Corinthians 11:2; and here
the day of the gladness of his heart; when Christ gladly and cheerfully receives such souls into his embraces, and rejoices over them as the bridegroom over the bride: now the church would have the daughters of "Jerusalem behold", look at this glorious person with an eye of faith and love, with attention and admiration; see Zechariah 9:9; there being such astonishing, incomparable, and transcendent excellencies in him, which require such looks as these;
(g) Misnah Sotah, c. 9. s. 14. (h) Vid. Paschalium de Coronis. l. 2. c. 16. p. 126. & Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian de Raptu Proserp. l. 2. v. 148. "Magnisque coronis conjugium fit", Claudian. Laus Serenae, v. 189, 190. Bion. Idyl. 1. prope finem.
INTRODUCTION TO SONG OF SOLOMON 4
In this chapter is contained a large commendation of the church's beauty by Christ; first, more particularly, by an enumeration of several parts, as her eyes, hair, teeth, lips, temples, neck, and breasts, Sol 4:1; and more generally, Sol 4:7; And having observed where he himself was determined to go, he invites her to go with him; which he enforces, partly from the danger she was exposed unto where she was Sol 4:6; and partly from the comeliness of her person and graces in his esteem; with which he was ravished, and therefore was extremely desirous of her company, Sol 4:9; And then enters into some new descriptions of her; as a garden and orchard, as a spring and fountain, Sol 4:12; all which she makes to be owing to him, Sol 4:15; And the chapter is closed with an order from Christ to the winds to blow on his garden, and cause the spices of it to flow out; and with an invitation of the church to Christ, to come into his garden, and relax there, Sol 4:16.
thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks; the same comparison; see Gill on Sol 1:15; only with this difference, here her eyes are said to be "within her locks": which, whether understood of the ministers of the Gospel; or of the eyes of the understanding, particularly of, the eye of faith, as has been observed on the above place; do not seem so much to design the imperfection of the sight of the one or of the other, in the present state, as eyes within or under locks and in some measure covered with them, hinder the sight of them; as the modesty of either of them; locks being decently tied up, as the word signifies (i), is a sign thereof, as the contrary is a sign of boldness and wantonness. Doves' eyes themselves are expressive of modesty and humility, and, this phrase added to them, increases the idea; such ministers, who have the largest gifts, greatest grace, light, and knowledge, are the most humble, witness the Apostle Paul; and this phrase expresses the beauty of them, not only in the eyes of Christ, but in the eyes of those to whom they publish the good tidings of salvation: and so it may denote what an exceeding modest grace faith is, which receives all from Christ, and gives him all the glory, and takes none to itself; and what a beauty there is in it, insomuch that Christ is ravished with it, Sol 4:9; and seems rather to be the sense here;
thy hair is as a flock of goats; like the hair of goats, so Ben Melech. Hair adds much to the comeliness of persons, and is therefore frequently mentioned, both with respect to the bride and bridegroom, in this song, Sol 5:1; and so in all poems of this kind (k); and one part of the comeliness of women lies in their hair;
"let a woman, says Apuleius (l), be adorned with ever such fine garments, and decked with gold and jewels, yet, without this ornament, she will not be pleasing; no, not Verus herself.''
The women (m) in Homer, are described by their beautiful hair; nor is it unusual to compare the hair of women, and represent it as superior to a fleece of the choicest flock (n). And here the church's hair is said to be like the hair of goats, for that is the sense of the expression; and which is thought to be most like to human hair, 1 Samuel 19:13; and it is compared to that, not so much for its length and sleekness, as for its colour, being yellowish; which, with women formerly, was in esteem, and reckoned graceful (o); this being the colour of the hair of some of the greatest beauties, as Helena, Philoxena, and others, whose hair was flaxen and yellow; hence great care was taken to make it look so, even as yellow as gold (p): the Jewish women used to have their perukes, or false hair, of goats' hair, and still have in some places to this day (q); and it should seem the Roman women also had, to which the poet (r) refers. And the church's hair here is said to be like the hair of a flock of goats,
that appear from Mount Gilead; or rather "on Mount Gilead", as Noldius: Gilead was a mountain in the land of Israel, beyond Jordan, famous for pasturage for cattle, where flocks of goats were fed, as was usual on mountains (s); and, being well fed, their hair was long, smooth, neat, and glistering; and so to spectators, at a distance, looked very beautiful and lovely; especially in the morning at sun rising, and, glancing on them with its bright and glittering rays, were delightful. So R. Jonah, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, which signifies the morning, interprets it, which "rise early in the morning"; and which, as Schultens (t) observes, some render,
"leading to water early in the morning;''
the Vulgate Latin version is, "that ascend from Mount Gilead", from a lower to a higher part of it; which is approved of by Bochart (u). Now the hair of the church may be interpreted either of believers, the several members of the church of Christ; the hairs of the head are numerous, grow upon the head, and have their nourishment from it; are weak in themselves, but depend upon the head, and are an ornament to it: so the saints, though few in comparison of the world, yet by themselves are a great number, which no man can number; these grow upon Christ, the Head of the church, and receive their nourishment from him; and, though weak in themselves, have strength from him, and have their dependence on him; and are an ornament and crown of glory to him; and who are cared for and numbered by him, so that no one can be lost; see Ezekiel 5:1. Or rather it may be interpreted of the outward conversation of the saints; hair is visible, is a covering, and an ornament, when taken care of, and managed aright, and has its dependence and is influenced by the head: the good conversation of the church and its members is visible to all, as the hair of the head, and as a flock of goats on Mount Gilead; and is a covering, though not from divine justice, yet from the reproaches of men; is ornamental to believers, and to the doctrine they profess; especially when their conversation is ordered aright, according to the weird of God, and is influenced by grace, communicated from Christ, the Head.
(i) "intra ligamina tua", some in Vatablus; "vittam suam", Cocceius; "constrictam comam tuam", Michaelis, so Jarchi. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 2. Ode 11. v. 23, 24. (k) Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. Nupt. Honor. Ode 1. v. 12. (l) Metamorph. l. 2.((m) Juno, Iliad. 10. v. 5. Diana, Odyss. 20. v. 80. Minerva, Iliad. 6. v. 92. Latona, Iliad. 1. v. 36. & 19. v. 413. Circe, Odyss. 10. v. 136, 220, 310. Calypso, Odyss. 5. v. 30. Helena, Iliad. 3. v. 329. & passim; Thetis, Iliad. 18. v. 407. & 20. v. 207. Ceres, Odyss. 5. v. 125. Nymphs and others, Odyss. 6. v. 222, 238. & 12. v. 132. & 19. v. 542. So Venus is described by Claudian. de Nupt. Honor. v. 99. "Casariem tunc forte Venus subnixa corusco fingebat solio". (n) "Quae crine vincit Boetici gregis vellus", Martial. l. 5. Ephesians 38. (o) "Nondum illi flavum", &c. Virgil. Aeneid. 4. prope finem. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 5. v. 4. Martial. Epigr. l. 5. Ephesians 65. (p) "Aurea Caesaries", Virgil. Aeneid. 8. v. 659. Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. de Rapt. Proserp. l. 3. v. 86. (q) Vid. Braunium de Vest. Sacerdot. l. 1. c. 9. p. 201. (r) "Hoedina tibi pelle", &c. Martial. Epigr. l. 12. Ephesians 38. (s) Theocrit. Idyll. 3. v. 1, 2.((t) Animadv. in loc. (u) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 5. col. 628.
that are even shorn; on which no wool is left, sticking out here and there; which is another good property of teeth, that are of equal size and bigness, do not stand out, nor rise up one above another; and are as if they had been "cut and planed, and made alike" (y), as some render the word: which may denote the equality of Gospel ministers in power and authority; one having no superiority over another; all having the same mission and commission, employed in the same work, preaching the same Gospel; and though their gifts are different, yet there is a harmony and agreement in the doctrines they preach;
which came up from the washing; white and clean, which is another property of good teeth; as the teeth of sheep be, and they themselves are, when just come up out of the washing pit: this may signify the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which are necessary to ministers of the word, in order to preach it; and more especially the purity of their lives and conversations, in which they should be examples to the flock;
whereof everyone bear twins, and none is barren among them; the figures are just and beautiful; it is common with sheep to bear twins, or more, in the eastern countries, as the philosopher observes (z); frequent mention is made of goats bearing twins (a): these may answer to the two rows of teeth, and the word for "teeth" is in the dual number; and when these are white and clean, and equal, are well set, and not one wanting, none rotten, nor shed, nor fallen out, look very beautiful. This may express the fruitfulness and success of Gospel ministers, in bringing many souls to Christ; and was particularly true of the apostles, and first ministers of the Gospel, who were instrumental in the conversion of many; and who bore twins to Christ, Jews and Gentiles; and none were without their usefulness. Likewise all this may be understood of believers in general, and of meditation and faith in them; by meditation they feed upon Christ, his Gospel, doctrines, and promises; they chew the end, and ruminate on the word of God; and are equal, alike partakers of the same grace, and blessings of it; and are sanctified, and, in some measure, cleansed, from the pollution of their minds and actions; ascend heavenwards in their thoughts, desires, and affections; and are not "barren" and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ and his Gospel; and generally, through meditation, bring forth the "twins" of prayer and praise: by faith also they feed on Christ and his grace; and which is "alike", precious faith in all, as to nature and quality; is "pure", sincere, and unfeigned; is always fruitful, and bears the "twins" of love to Christ, and of love to his saints; and is not "barren", but attended with the fruits of righteousness.
(w) In Salazar apud Marckium in loc. (x) Theocrit. Idyll. 6. v. 37, 38. (y) "caesae vel dedolatae", Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. I. 2. c. 45. col. 493. "aequarum", Junius & Tremellius; "statura aequalium", Cocceius. (z) Aristot. de Animal. Hist. l. 6. c. 19. (a) Theocrit. Idyll. 1. v. 25. & 3. v. 34. & 5. v. 54. & 8. v. 44.
and thy speech is comely; which explains the preceding clause; and shows, that by her lips her speech is meant, which is "comely", that is, graceful and amiable; as it is when believers speak of Christ, of his person, offices, and grace; and for him, in vindication of his truths and ordinances; when they speak to him, in prayer or in praise; and when, in common conversation, their speech is with grace;
thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks; not like a piece of the tree, but of the fruit, when the shell of it bursts of itself, through the abundance of liquor in it; such the Israelites found at one of their stations, and therefore called it "Rimmonparez", the pomegranate of rupture, or the bursted pomegranate; and in the tribe of Zebulun was a city called Remmonmethoar, the beautiful pomegranate, Joshua 19:13; now the rind being broken (d) it appears full of grains or kernels, of a white colour, interspersed with a reddish purple juice, like blood, as Pausanias remarks (e), and looks very beautiful; and is aptly used to set forth the church's beauty, who, like her beloved, is "white and ruddy", Sol 5:10, by which may be meant ecclesiastical officers, placed on an eminence in the church; to take care, among other things, of the discipline of it, according to the laws of Christ, 1 Timothy 5:17; The temples, in the Hebrew tongue (f), have their name from the thinness and tenderness of them, having but little flesh on them, and covered with a thin skin; and, in the Greek tongue (g), from the evident beating of the pulse in them; and their situation is between the ear and the eye: all which denote, that such officers should be spiritual men, and have as little carnality in them as may be; that they should use great tenderness in the administrations of their office, particularly in giving admonitions and reproofs: and, as by the beating of the pulse the state of a constitution is discerned, whether healthy or not; so the state of the church may be judged of by the discipline of it; if that is neglected, it is in a bad state, and in a declining condition; but if strictly observed, it is in a healthful and flourishing one: and the temples being between the eye and the ear may teach, that, in the management of church affairs, the officers are to make use of both; their ears are to be open to all; and they are not to shut their eyes against clear and plain evidence: and being said to be "within her locks", may be expressive of the meekness and humility of such officers, who are not to lord it over God's heritage; and of the private manner in which admonitions are to be given, in case of private offences; and of the affairs and concertos of a church being kept private, and not blazed abroad. And these may be compared to "a piece of a pomegranate", because of their being full of gifts, and grace, and good works, visible to men; and for their harmony and union among themselves, and with the church and its members; and the strict regard that, in all things, is had to the rules and laws of Christ; all which make the officers of the church, and the discipline of it, acceptable to him. It may be further observed, that the temples, taken largely, include the "cheeks" also; and so some render the word (h) here; and the purple juice of the pomegranate well expresses the colour of them; hence we read of purple cheeks (i): and this may denote the beauty and modesty of the church; whose blushing looks, and ruddy cheeks, made her extremely beautiful in the eye of Christ.
(b) Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 12. c. 1.((c) , Theocrit. Idyll. 15. "Purpureis labellis", Ovid. Amor. l. 3. Eleg. 13. (d) , Sept. "sicut fragmen", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius; "pars vel frustum", Michaelis. (e) Boeotica, sive l. 9. p. 578. (f) "tenuis faciei pars", Marckius; "tenuior", Michaelis. Vid. Kimchii Sepher Shorash. rad. (g) . (h) , Sept. "genae tuae", Pagninus, Cocceius. (i) "Purpureas genas", Ovid. Amor. l. 1. Eleg. 4. Statii Thebaid. l. 1. v. 538. Ausonii Parental. 23. v. 16. "Purpurissatae buccae", Plauti Trucul. Acts 2. Sc. 2. v. 35. "genre", Apulei Apolog. p. 239.
whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men: no other armour is mentioned, as in this armoury, but shields; they being a principal part of armour, and are especially (o) so called, as in the Septuagint version of 1 Kings 14:26; these shields are armour of mighty men; mighty, through God and his grace, to perform mighty actions, and do great exploits; being furnished from the spiritual armoury with the whole armour of God, to repel Satan's temptations, to defend the Gospel, and refute error; particularly the ministers of the word are those mighty men; though it is applicable to all saints.
(k) Travels, p. 139. Vid. Adrichom. Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 168. (l) Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. in Rufin. l. 1. v. 53. & l. 2. v. 294. (m) Vid. Castell. Lexic. col. 3904. so Pagninus and Tigurine version. (n) Psellus in ioc. (o) Vid. Cuperi Observ. l. 1. c. 7. p. 42. & Gutberleth. de Saliis, c. 12. p. 69.
which feed among the lilies; and are fat and plump: the allusion may be to the putting of lilies in the bosom, between the breasts, as other flowers; lilies are reckoned among the decorations of women, in the Apocryha:
"And pulled off the sackcloth which she had on, and put off the garments of her widowhood, and washed her body all over with water, and anointed herself with precious ointment, and braided the hair of her head, and put on a tire upon it, and put on her garments of gladness, wherewith she was clad during the life of Manasses her husband.'' (Judith 10:3)
or rather to the creatures mentioned, the roes and hinds, which feed among lilies, in fields where lilies grow; for these grow in fields as well as in gardens, and are called the "lilies of the field", Matthew 6:28; and we read (r) sometimes of harts and hinds among lilies. By "breasts" may be meant, either the ministers of the word, who impart "the sincere milk of the word", and who deliver out the nourishing doctrines of grace, like milk out of the breast, 1 Corinthians 3:2; and may be like to "roes" for their affection to those who are under their ministry; and pleasant to them, to whom they are made useful; and for their sharp sightedness and penetration into the mysteries of grace; and for their quick dispatch in doing their work, though through many difficulties, which, like young roes, they leap and skip over: and "two" of them show a sufficient number of them Christ provides for his church; and being "twins" express their equal authority, and harmony of doctrine; and feeding "among lilies" is where Christ himself feeds, Sol 2:16; where Christ feeds they feed, and where they feed Christ feeds, even among his saints, comparable to lilies, Sol 2:2; or these "breasts" may design the two Testaments, the Old and New, which contain the whole sincere milk of the word; are like "young roes", pleasant and delightful to believers; and, as "twins", are alike, agree in their doctrines concerning Christ, and the blessings of grace through him; the types, figures, prophecies, and promises of the one, have their completion in the other; and both abound with the lilies of Gospel doctrines and promises: though rather these "breasts" may point at the two ordinances of the Gospel, baptism, and the Lord's supper; which are breasts of consolation to believers, out of which they suck, and are satisfied; and through feeding on Christ in both, they receive much nourishment and strength; and are very amiable and lovely to the saints, when they enjoy the presence of Christ in them, and have the discoveries of his love to them; and may be said to be "twins", being both instituted by Christ, and both lead unto him, and require the same subjects; and are received and submitted to by saints, comparable to lilies, as before.
(p) De Liberis Educand. vol. 2. p. 3.((q) Aristot. de Animal. l. 6. c. 29. (r) "En aspicis ilium, candida qui medius cubat inter lilia, cervum?" Calphurnius apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 24. col. 924.
I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense: the allusion may be to the mountains and hills where these odoriferous plants grew. It is said of Pompey the great, that when he passed over Lebanon (later mentioned, Sol 4:8) and by Damascus, he went through sweet smelling groves and woods of frankincense and balsam (s); and Lebanon is thought, by some (t), to have its name from the frankincense that grew upon it; though rather from the whiteness of the snow continually on it. By this "mountain" and "hill" may be meant the church of Christ, gathered together in Gospel order, so called for its visibility and immovableness, Isaiah 2:2; and for the trees of righteousness which are planted and flourish there, the saints; and for the fragrancy of their graces; and for the sweet smelling odour of their sacrifices of prayer and praise; and because of the delight and pleasure Christ takes in his people, and they in him here; where they have mutual communion, so that it is to them both a mountain of myrrh and a hill of frankincense: particularly, here Christ delights to be, and here he resolves to dwell until his second coming.
(s) Florus de Gest. Roman. l. 3. c. 5. (t) Vid. Gabr. Sionita de Orient. Urb. c. 6. p. 14.
there is no spot in thee; not that the saints have no sin in them; nor any committed by them; nor that their sins are not sins; nor that they have no spots in them, with respect to sanctification, which is imperfect; but with respect to their justification, as having the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and covered with that spotless robe, they are considered as having no spot in them; God sees no sin in them, so as to reckon it to them, and condemn them for it; and they stand unblamable and unreproveable in his sight; and will be presented by Christ, both to himself and to his father, and in the view of men and angels, "not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing", Ephesians 5:27, upon them.
look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards; Amana is thought by some to be the mountain which divided Cilicia from Syria, taken notice of by several writers (w); but it seems too distant from Lebanon; perhaps it is the same with Abana, from whence was a river of that name, 2 Kings 5:12; where, in the "Keri" or margin, it is read Amana; so the Targum here explains it of the people that dwelt by the river Amana, which washed the country of Damascus: Jarchi takes it to be the same with Hor, a mountain on the northern border of Israel; and indeed, wherever mention is made of this mountain, the Targum has it, Taurus Umanus; and, according to Ptolemy (x), Amanus was a part of Mount Taurus, with which it is joined by Josephus (y); and with that and Lebanon, and Carmel, by Aelianus (z), Shenir and Hermon were one and the same mountain, called by different names; Hermon might be the common name to the whole; and that part of it which belonged to the Sidonians was called by them Sirion; and that which the Amorites possessed Shenir, Deuteronomy 3:9; Now all these mountains might be called "dens of lions", and "mountains of leopards"; both because inhabited by such beasts of prey; hence we read of the lions of Syria (a), and of leopards (b) in those parts; in the land of Moab, and in the tribe of Gad, were places called Bethnimrah, and the waters of Nimrim, which seem to have their names from leopards that formerly haunted those places, Numbers 32:36; or because inhabited by cruel, savage, and tyrannical persons; particularly Amana, in Cilicia or Syria, as appears from Strabo (c), Lucan (d), and Cicero (e); and Shenir and Hermon were formerly, as Jarchi observes, the dens of those lions, Og king of Bashan, and Sihon king of the Amorites: unless rather these were the names of some places near Lebanon; for Adrichomius (f) says,
"the mountain of the leopards, which was round and high, was two miles from Tripoli northward, three from Arce southward, and one from Lebanon.''
Now these words may be considered as a call of Christ to his people, to come out from among wicked men, comparable to such creatures; and he makes use of two arguments to enforce it: the one is taken from the nature of such men, and the danger of being with them; who are like to lions, for their cruel and persecuting temper; and to leopards, for their being full of the spots of sin; and for their craftiness and malice, exercised towards those who are quiet in the land; and for their swiftness and readiness to do mischief; wherefore it must be both uncomfortable and unsafe to be with such persons: the other argument is taken from their enjoyment of Christ's company and presence, which must be preferable to theirs, for pleasure, profit, and safety, and therefore most eligible. Besides, Christ chose not to go without his church; she was so fair, as before described, and so amiable and lovely in his sight, as follows.
(u) "venies", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius. (w) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 22. Mela de Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 12. Solin. Polyhistor. c. 51. (x) Geograph. l. 5. c. 8. (y) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 6. s. 1.((z) De Animal. l. 5. c. 56. (a) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 3, Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 16. (b) Vid. Ignatii Epist. ad Roman. p. 58. Brocard. in Cocceii Lexic. p. 123. (c) Geograph. l. 14. p. 465. & l. 16. p. 517. (d) Pharsalia, l. 3. v. 244. "vencre feroces, et cultor", Amana. (e) Ad Attic. l. 5. Ephesians 20. (f) Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 186.
"thy love is fixed upon the table of my heart;''
where the church herself was fixed, Sol 8:6;
thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes; the allusion may be to the custom of the eastern women; who, when they walked abroad or spoke to any, showed but one eye, the other, with the rest of the face, being covered with a veil (n): the eyes of women are ensnaring to lovers (o); the church has more eyes than one. Mention is made of the eyes of the understanding, Ephesians 1:18; faith is one of them, and may he here chiefly intended; by which a soul looks on Christ, the glories of his person, and the fulness of his grace; and looks so him for the blessings of grace now, and eternal glory hereafter: and with this Christ's heart is ravished; even with "one look" from it, or "glance" of it, as some (p) render it;
with one chain of thy neck; with the several graces of the Spirit, linked together as in a chain; which were about the neck of the church, and as ornamental to her as a pearl necklace, Sol 1:10; and with every link in this chain Christ's heart is ravished and delighted. The Vulgate Latin version is, "with one lock of hair of thy neck": which hung down in it, and looked very beautiful; and with which lovers are sometimes taken (q).
(g) "Sive tibi conjux, sive futura soror", Tibullus. (h) "vulnerasti cor meum", V. L. so Ben Melech; and Kimchi Sepher Shorash. rad. (i) Jarchi, David de Pomis, Lexic fol. 69. 3.((k) "Cor copulasti mihi", Buxtorf. Hottinger. Smegma, p. 164. Vid. Misn. Sabbat, c. 5. s. 2.((l) "Occupasti", Lutherus, Marckius; "vendicasti", Tigurine version. (m) "Animasti me", Cocceius, Schmidt. (n) Tertuilian. de. Virg. Veland. c. 17. Le Bruyn's Voyage to the Levant, ch. 40. p. 157. (o) See Prov. vi. 25. So the poet says of Helena, ' , Theocrit. Idyll. 18. "Perque tuos oculos qui rapuere meos", Ovid. Amor. l. 3, Eleg. 10. Vid. Barthii ad Claudian. Nupt. Honor. v. 6. (p) "uno aspecto oculorum tuorum", Junius & Tremellius, so Ainsworth. (q) ' ' , Theocrit. Idyll. 5.
how much better is thy love than wine! which is saying the same thing of her love to him she says of his to her, Sol 1:2; her love to Christ is more pleasant, more cheering, and more acceptable to him, than the wine of legal sacrifices, or than all burnt offerings; or than any duty whatever, unless that is the principle from whence it flows, Mark 12:33;
and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! the same with Christ's ointments, commended Sol 1:3; namely, the graces of the Spirit, which are in Christ without measure, and from him communicated to his people; and when exercised by them, are very delightful to him, and preferred by him to "all spices": even to all those used in the holy anointing oil, typical of them, Exodus 30:23.
(r) "amores tui", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.
honey and milk are under thy tongue; rolled, as a sweet morsel, there: the ancients had a sort of food of this mixture, a cake made of honey and milk, called by the Greeks "meligala" (u), and sometimes "candylos" (w), which was the same composition; Galen (x) says, it was not safe to take goats' milk without honey; Jove is said (y) to be nursed with such a mixture: and this being very grateful to the taste, the speech of the church for pleasantness is compared unto it; so Pindar (z) compares his hymn or ode to honey mixed with milk, as being sweet and grateful; and in Plautus (a),
"your words are honey and milk:''
and, it may be further observed, that such a mixture of milk and honey, with poppies in it, was given to the newly married bride, and drank when brought home to her husband (b); which was now the case of the church. The doctrines of the Gospel may be meant, comparable to honey and milk; to "honey", for their sweetness and acceptableness: for their nourishing nature; and for, their being gathered out of the choice flowers of the Scriptures, by the laborious ministers of the word, who are like to bees; see Psalm 19:10; to "milk", for the purity of them and the nourishment had by them; for their being easy of digestion, when mixed with faith; and for their being of a cooling nature, to allay the heat of a fiery law in the conscience; and for the recovery and restoration of souls by them, in a declining condition; see 1 Peter 2:2; these may be said to be "under the tongue", when they have a place in the heart, are the subject of constant meditation, a sweetness is tasted in them; and they are had in readiness to speak of them upon all occasions;
and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon; the ancients formerly scented their garments; Calypso gave to Ulysses sweet smelling garments (c): such are Christ's robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, which are said to "smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia"; with which the saints being arrayed, the smell of their raiment is as "the smell of a field the Lord has blessed", and so like the smell of Lebanon, a mountain abounding with odoriferous trees and plants; see Psalm 45:8. Or the outward conversation garments of the saints may be designed, the mention of which fitly follows the lips and tongue; for when works go along with words, and practice with profession; when to lips dropping the doctrines of the Gospel, like the honeycomb, are joined the sweet smelling garments of an agreeable life and conversation; the Christian is very much ornamented, and becomes lovely and amiable.
(s) Vid. Theocrit. Idyll. 21. v. 26, 27. Homer. Iliad. 1. v. 249. (t) Plauti Asinaria, Acts 3. Sc. 3. v. 24. (u) Vid. Cohen de Lara, Ir David, p. 52. The word is used in T. Hieros. Challah, fol. 57. 4. (w) Athenaeus, l. 1. c. 8. p. 9. & l. 14. c. 13. p. 644. Suidas in voce, Aristoph. Pax, & Florent. Christian. in ibid. p. 633. (x) Lib. de Bono Sapore, c. 4. (y) Lactant. de Fals. Relig. l. 1. c. 22. See Isaiah 7.15. (z) Nemea, Ode 3. d. 10, 11. (a) Trucul. Acts 1. Sc. 2. v. 75, 76, (b) "Nec pigeat tritum niveo cum lacte papaver sumere, et expressis, mella liquata favis", Ovid. Fasti, l. 4. v. 149, 150. (c) , Homer. Odyss. 5. v. 264. & 21. v. 52.
a spring shut up, a fountain sealed; the allusion may be to the sealed fountains great personages reserved for their own use; such as the kings of Persia had, of which the king and his eldest son only might drink (f); and King Solomon might have such a spring and fountain in his garden, either at Jerusalem or at Ethan, where he had pleasant gardens, in which he took great delight, as Josephus (g) relates: and near the pools, at some distance from Bethlehem, supposed to be his, is a fountain, which the friars will have to be the sealed fountain here alluded to; and, to confirm which, they pretend a tradition, that Solomon shut up these springs, and kept the door of them sealed with his signet, to preserve the waters for his own drinking; and Mr. Maundrell (h), who saw them, says it was not difficult so to secure them, they rising underground, and having no avenue to them, but by a little hole, like to the mouth of a narrow well. Now the church may be thus compared, because of the abundance of grace in her, and in each of her members, which is as a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life, John 4:14; and because of the doctrines of the Gospel, called a fountain, Joel 3:18; with which Gospel ministers water the plants in Christ's garden, the members of the church; whereby they are revived, refreshed, and flourish; and their souls become as a watered garden, whose springs fail not. Though some read this clause in connection with the former; "a garden enclosed art thou, with a spring" or flow of water "shut up, and with a fountain sealed" (i); meaning Christ and his fulness; from whence all grace is received by the church and its members; and with which they are supplied, and their souls are watered: and the phrases, "shut up" and "sealed", which, whether applied to the doctrines of grace and truth, in and from Christ, may denote the secrecy and safety of them from the men of the world; or to the grace of Christ, communicated by him to the saints, may denote the security of it, the invisible operations of it, and the sole exercise of it on him: for these phrases denote the inviolable chastity of the church to Christ, in her faith, love, service, and worship; see Proverbs 5:15; and are used in the Jewish writings (k), to express the chastity of the bride. Ambrose affirms (l), that what Plato (m) says concerning Jove's garden, elsewhere called by him the garden of the mind, is taken out of Solomon's Song.
(d) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 89. Edit. 7. (e) Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 170. (f) Theatrum Deipnosoph. l. 12. c. 2. p. 515. (g) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 7. s. 3. Vid. Adrichom. p. 170. (h) Journey from Aleppo &c. p. 88, 89. (i) "Cum fluctu obserato, cum fonte obsignato", Marckius, so some in Michaelis. (k) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 75. Apud Wagenseil. Sota, p. 240. Seder Tephillot, fol. 203. 1. Ed. Basil. vid. Targum, Jarchi & Aben Ezra in loc. (l) De Bono Mortis, c. 5. (m) In Sympos. p. 1194.
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.
calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; "calamus" is the sweet cane in Isaiah 43:24; "cinnamon" is the rind or bark of a tree; both grow in India (w) and in Arabia (x); as also trees of "frankincense", which are only in Arabia; hence one of the Arabias is called "thurifera" (y), for they do not grow in all Arabia: the two first were ingredients in the holy anointing oil, and the latter in the holy perfume, Exodus 30:23;
myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices; Solomon's gardens might be furnished with all these; and with the above trees, plants, and spices, from Arabia Felix, where, as Appianus (z) says, "cassia" grew in marshy places; myrrh and frankincense were gathered from trees, cinnamon from shrubs, and their meadows naturally produced nard; hence called "aromatifera", the spicy country (a): myrrh was also an ingredient in the anointing oil; and aloes, according to the Targum, is the same with lign aloes; see Numbers 24:6; not the herb which has a very bitter juice, but the tree of a sweet odour, which Isidore (b) distinguishes, and is what is meant in Psalm 45:8; and were both of a very fragrant smell. Now all these trees, plants, and spices, signify truly precious souls, possessed of the graces of the Spirit; comparable to them for their valuableness and excellency, their sweet smell, and the reviving and refreshing nature of them; which make the subjects of these graces very agreeable to Christ, and to one another. What a garden is the church thus planted!
(s) Lexic. Pentaglott. col. 910. (t) "Corycii pressura croci", Lucan. Pharsal. l. 9. v. 809. (u) Ovid. Fast. l. 1. v. 76. in Ibin, v. 200. Propert. l. 4. Eleg. 6. v. 74. (w) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 19, 22. Strabo, l. 15. p. 478. (x) Herodot. Thalia, c. 107. "Cinnamoni et multi pastor odoris Araba", Propert. l. 3. Eleg. 13. v. 8, 9. (y) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 14. (z) Apud Schindler. Lexic. col. 1192. (a) Strabo. Geograph. l. 16. p. 538. Vid. p. 535. (b) Origin. l. 17. c. 8, 9.
"we came (says he) into pleasant groves, by delightful "rivulets" that arose from "springs", that made so sweet a noise, as to be admired by King Solomon, Sol 4:15;''
and these streams gave rise to some rivers, as Jordan, Eleutherus, &c. (k) to which the allusion is here. There were two cities, one in the tribe of Judah, and the other in the tribe of Issachar, called Engannim, the fountain of gardens, Joshua 15:34.
(c) So Cocceius, Schmidt, Heunischius, Marckius, Michaelis. (d) So Ainsworth, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Marckius. (e) "Flumine vivo", Virgil. Aeneid. l. 2. v. 715, "Semper fluenti", i.e. "naturali", Servius in ibid. (f) Adrichom. Theatrum Terrae Sanctum, p. 107, 108. (g) Ibid. p. 6. (h) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 142, 143. (i) Travels, part. 2. ch. 12. p. 187, 188. Ed. Ray. (k) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 5. c. 3. s. 1.