Song of Solomon 6:8 MEANING

Song of Solomon 6:8
(8) There are threescore queens.--Presumably a description of Solomon's harem (from comp. with Song of Solomon 8:11-12), though the numbers are far more sober than in 1 Kings 11:3. Probably the latter marks a later form of the traditions of the grand scale on which everything at the court of the monarch was conducted, and this, though a poetic, is a truer version of the story of his loves. The conjunction of alamoth with concubines, pilageshim (comp. ???????, pellex), decides for translating it puell? rather than virgines.

Verses 8, 9. - There are three score queens, and four score concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and called her blessed; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. The account given us of Solomon's harem in 1 Kings 11:3 represents the number as much larger. Is not that because the time referred to in the poem was early in the reign? The words are an echo of what we read in Proverbs 31:28 and Genesis 30:13. Perhaps the general meaning is merely to celebrate the surpassing beauty of the new bride. But there certainly is a special stress laid on her purity and innocence. There is no necessity to seek for any exact interpretation of the queens and concubines. They represent female beauty in its variety. The true Church is in closer relation to the Bridegroom than all the rest of the world. Even in the heathen and unconverted world there is a revelation of the Word, or, as the ancient Fathers of the Church said, a Λόγος σπερματὶκος. He was then as light, though the darkness comprehended him not. The perfection of the true bride of the Lamb will be acknowledged even by those who are not professedly Christian.

6:4-10 All the real excellence and holiness on earth centre in the church. Christ goes forth subduing his enemies, while his followers gain victories over the world, the flesh, and the devil. He shows the tenderness of a Redeemer, the delight he takes in his redeemed people, and the workings of his own grace in them. True believers alone can possess the beauty of holiness. And when their real character is known, it will be commended. Both the church and believers, at their first conversion, look forth as the morning, their light being small, but increasing. As to their sanctification, they are fair as the moon, deriving all their light, grace, and holiness from Christ; and as to justification, clear as the sun, clothed with Christ, the Sun of righteousness, and fighting the good fight of faith, under the banners of Christ, against all spiritual enemies.There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. In this verse and Sol 6:9 the church is commended as she stood related to others; and is compared with them, and preferred to them. The words may be considered either as an assertion, "there are", &c. or as a supposition, "though there be", &c. yet Christ's church is but one, and excels them all. "Queens" are principal and lawful wives of kings; "concubines", secondary or half wives, as the word (i) signifies; who were admitted to the bed, but their children did not inherit: "virgins", unmarried persons, maids of honour, who waited on the queen. The allusion is to the custom of kings and great personages, who had many wives, and more concubines, and a large number of virgins to wait on them; see 1 Kings 11:3; or to a nuptial solemnity, and the ceremony of introducing the bride to the bridegroom, attended with a large number of persons of distinction; and so Theocritus (k) speaks of four times sixty virgins attending the nuptials of Menelaus and Helena; see Psalm 45:9. By all which may be meant either the kingdoms and nations of the world; by "queens", the more large, rich and flourishing kingdoms; by "concubines", inferior states; and by "virgins without number", the vast multitudes of inhabitants that fill them; but all, put together, are not equal to the church; see Sol 2:2; or else false churches; by "queens", such who boast of their riches and number, as the church of Rome, Revelation 18:7; by "concubines", such as are inferior in those things, but equally corrupt, as Arians, Socinians, &c. and by "virgins without number", the multitudes of poor, weak, ignorant people, seduced by them; and what figure soever these make, or pretensions to be the true churches of Christ, they are none of his, his spouse is preferred to them all. Or rather true believers in Christ, of different degrees, are here meant; queens, those that have the greatest share of gifts grace, most nearness to Christ, and communion with him; by "concubines", believers of a lower class, and of a more servile spirit, and yet sometimes are favoured with, fellowship with Christ; and by "virgins", young converts, who have not so large an experience as the former; and this distribution agrees with 1 John 2:13; and the rather this may be the sense, since each of these are said to praise the church in Sol 6:9, who is preferable to them, and includes them all.

(i) "secundariae uxores", Michaelis. (k) Idyll. 18. v. 24.

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