Song of Solomon 6:13 MEANING

Song of Solomon 6:13
Verse 13a. - Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. Shulem is the same as Shunem (see 1 Kings 1:3; 2 Kings 4:8; Joshua 19:18). Shulamite will, therefore, mean "lady of Shulem." It is the first occurrence of the name. It cannot be a pure proper name, says Delitzsch, because the article is attached to it. It is a name of descent. The LXX. has ἡ Σοοναμῖτις, i.e. "she who is from Shunem." Abishag was exceedingly beautiful, and she came from the same district. It is the country in the tribe of Issachar, near to little Hermon, to the southeast of Carmel and south of Nain, southeast of Nazareth, southwest of Tabor. It is found at present under the name Sawlam, not far from the great plain of Jiszeal (now Zer'in), "which forms a convenient way of communication between Jordan and the seacoast, but is yet so hidden in the mountain range that the Talmud is silent concerning this Sulem, as it is concerning Nazareth." It is impossible to resist the impression of the fact that this part of Galilee so closely associated with our Lord and his ministry should be the native place of the bride. Delitzsch thinks that the Shulamite is on her way from the garden to the palace. That the words are addressed to her by the admiring ladies can scarcely be disputed; hence the "we" of the address. "The fourfold 'come back' (or, 'turn') entreats her earnestly, yea, with team, to return thither (that is, to the garden) with them once more, and for this purpose, that they might find delight in looking upon her." But Delitzsch is scarcely right in thinking that the garden of nuts to which the bride referred is the garden of the palace. She is, perhaps, turning to leave the company of ladies, Solomon himself beingamong them, as though she would escape from their gaze, which is too much for her in her simplicity, and the ladies, seeing her intention to leave them, call her back. Another view is that the word "return" is for "turn round;" that is, "Let us see thee dance, that we may admire the beauty of thy form and movements." This would explain the appropriateness of the bride's reply in the latter haft of the verse. Moreover, the fourfold appeal is scarcely suitable if the bride was only slightly indicating her intention to leave. She would surely not leave hastily, seeing that Solomon is present. The request is not that she may remain, but that they may look upon her. It would be quite fitting in the mouth of lady companions. The whole is doubtless a poetic artifice, as before in the case of the dream, for the purpose of introducing the lovely description of her personal attractions. Plainly she is described as dancing or as if dancing. Delitzsch, however, thinks that the dance is only referred to by the ladies as a comparison; but in that case he certainly leaves unexplained the peculiarity of the description in Song of Solomon 7:1-5, which most naturally is a description of a dancing figure. Verse 13b. - Why will ye look upon the Shulamite as upon the dance of Mahanaim? The Shulamite, in her perfect modesty and humility, not knowing how beautiful she really is, asks why it is that they wish still to gaze upon her, like those that gaze at the dance of Mahanaim, or why they wish her to dance. But at the same moment, with the complaisance of perfect amiability, begins to move - always a pleasure to a lovely maiden - thus filling them with admiration. Mahanaim came in later times to mean "angels," or the "heavenly host" (see Genesis 32:3), but here it is generally thought to be the name of a dance, perhaps one in which the inhabitants of Mahanaim excelled, or one in which angels or hosts were thought to engage. The old translators, the Syriac, Jerome, and the Venetian, render, "the dances of the camps" (choros castrarum, θίωσον στρατοπέδων), possibly a war dance or parade. The word, however, is in the dual. Delitzsch thinks the meaning is a dance as of angels, "only a step beyond the responsive song of the seraphim" (Isaiah 6.). Of course, there can be no objection to the association of angels with the bride, but there is no necessity for it. The word would be, no doubt, familiarly known in the age of Solomon. The sacred dances wore often referred to in Scripture. and there would be nothing degrading to the dignity of the bride in dancing before the ladies and her own husband. "After throwing aside her upper garment, so that she had only the light clothing of a shepherdess or vine dresser, Shulamith danced to and fro before the daughters of Jerusalem, and displayed all her attractions before them."

6:11-13 In retirement and in meditation the Christian character is formed and perfected. But not in the retirement of the idle, the self-indulgent, or the trifler. When the Christian is released from the discharge of his duties in life, the world has no attractions for him. His prayer is, that all things belonging to the Spirit may live and grow within him, and around him. Such are the interesting cares and employments of him whom the world wrongly deems unhappy, and lost to his true interests. In humility and self-abasement, the humble Christian would turn away from the sight of all; but the Lord delights to honour him. Chiefly, however, may the reference be to the ministering angels who shall be sent for the soul of the Christian. Their approach may startle, but the departing soul shall find the Lord its strength and its portion for ever. The church is called the Shulamite: the word signifies perfection and peace; not in herself, but in Christ, in whom she is complete, through his righteousness; and has peace, which he made for her through his blood, and gives unto her by his Spirit.Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return,.... By whom the church is meant, so called from her being the spouse of Christ, the true Solomon; it being common for the wife to have the same name with her husband; thus, with the Romans, if the man's name was Caius, the woman's name was Caia: is the name of Christ Solomon? the church's name is Shulamite; see Jeremiah 23:6. The word from which this is derived signifies both perfection and peace; and the church may be called the Shulamite from her perfection, not in herself, but in Christ, in whom she is complete, and perfectly comely through his righteousness; and is also denominated from the peace which she has from Christ, and he has made for her through his blood, and he gives unto her by his Spirit; and from what she does or should enjoy in her members, and from what she will be possessed of to all eternity. Now the church, the Shulamite, is very importunately desired by the daughters of Jerusalem to return; which is said no less than four times, which shows how vehemently desirous they were of her company: and perceiving she was about to go from them, most earnestly press her to return, or to "turn" (b); to turn herself, that her beauty and comeliness might be more plainly seen; for this is the end proposed by them,

that we may look upon thee; that they might still have more opportunity of viewing her, and more narrowly to examine her beauty, for which she was so much commended; and that they might enjoy more of her company and conversation, which had been, and they might hope would be, more useful and instructive to them. A question upon this follows,

What will ye see in the Shulamite? which question is put, either by the daughters among themselves; some wishing for her return, and others asking what they expected to see in her, should she return: or rather it is put by the church herself; who asks the daughters, what they expected to see in her, a poor, mean, unworthy creature, not fit to be looked on, having nothing extraordinary, nor indeed valuable or of worth, in seeing of her? Which question is thus answered,

As it were the company of two armies: either by the daughters, declaring what they expected to see in the church; either such a glorious and joyful meeting between Christ and her, as is often between great persons, attended with singing and dancing; so the word for company is rendered by the Septuagint (c) "choroi", a "company" of those that dance and sing; see Psalm 68:24; or such an appearance as an army makes at the reception of their prince, when it is divided into two bands, for the sake of greater honour and majesty. Or rather this answer is returned by the church herself; signifying that nothing was to be seen in her but two armies, flesh and Spirit, sin and grace, continually warring against each other; which surely, she thought, could be no desirable and pleasing sight to them; see Romans 7:23.

(b) Sept. "convertere", Sanctius, Marckius. (c) , Sept. "sicut chorus", Vatablus, Marckius, Michaelis, & alii.

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