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The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
11 I went down into the garden of nuts, to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.
12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies. (F)
[Omit in Fumily Reading.] HOW beautiful are thy feet with shoes,
O prince's daughter! the joints of thy
thighs are like jewels, the work of the navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth hands of a cunning workman. 2 Thy not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of
(F) The church, in the absence of her heavenly spouse, anticipates his speedy return: he returns, and repeats and amplifies his commendations of her.-The commendations of her beloved by the spouse, excite others to seek him with her, to whom she gives a farther description of his beauty and glory. At the same time she expresses herself confident that he was not far off; that he was only in the gardens; and as he had signified his love to her, and accepted her vows of love to him, she doubted not but that he would soon return to her. While she expresses her confidence in this, he suddenly re-appears, and again expresses his admiration and attachment to her person, partly in the same language as he had before employed, and partly in other terms, po less affectionate and beau tiful. She is compared to Tirzah and Jerusalem, the two most beautiful cities of Judea, and to their bannered turrets; or perhaps to an army in military array, with all its banners gleaming to the sun. then confesses himself enamoured with her charms, and declares that, though he had seen "threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number," she remained unrivalled in his affections and esteem. But shall it be said that the All-beautiful and Infinitely-pure, can de
light himself in sinful mortals? What saith the prophet Zephaniah, in his name, to the Jewish church? "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing." (Zephan. iii. 17; compare Isa. lxii. 5.)
In the latter verses of this chapter, the bride (the Lamb's wife) is compared, for her opening virtues, to the rising dawn; and her beauty to the moon for softness, and to the sun for splendour-and to what else? An army with banners," say our translators; but the original says nothing of an “army," and the banners, or streamers, here intended, should seem to be celestial, and related to the sky; but whether they relate to the eccentric path of a comet, the corruscations of the Northern lights, or some other splendid meteor, we presume not to decide. All the real beauty and glory which the church possesses, or its individual members, is certainly of celestial origin. Whatever moral dress she wears, or whatever spiritual beauty she exhibits, it is "the comeliness" which the Lord hath put upon" her: (Ezek. xvi. 14.) and as to her splendour and glory, we know that it arises solely from being "clothed with the Sun," even the Sun of Righteousness. (Mal. iv. 2; Rev. xii. 1.)
Ver. 12. Or ever I was aware-Heb. "I knew not." Like the chariots of Amminadib-Marg. "My soul set me on the chariots of my willing people." This has been generally taken as a proper name, but it may be applied to the mind being carried away with joy, or transport.
Ver 13 Shulamite-Williams, "Solima." "Bride of Solemon," Good, Boothroyd, and others.
Ibid. The company of two armies.-Perhaps meteors in the sky, comp. ver. Jo But it may be applied to a chorus of musicians, or dancers.
CHAP. VII.-We have abstracted this Chapter from the family reading; not because we suppose it
less sacred than the rest of the Song; but because we think it very unhappily translated, and by many improperly expounded. It has been generally understood as referring to the naked person of the spouse; and that this description is the language of the virgins, either in undressing or dressing her. It may be The latter; but we refer the doubtful passages wholly to the dress, and that for the following reasons:1. The language otherwise understood would not become the lips of virgins, much less the language of inspiration. 2. The other personal descriptions in this poem, and in the 45th Psalm, all expressly refer to dress. 3. The king was now waiting probably in the anti-chamber till the virgin attendants
wheat set about with lilies.
vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves. 13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
THAT thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mo ther! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clus-O
am my beloved's, and bis desire is toward
2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
3 His left hand should be under my
had finished the decoration of her person. 4. The Jews used to name the parts of the person for the dress of those parts, as the head, ver. 5.5 The feet are clothed, which renders it more unlikely that the other parts of the body should be naked: ladies, we presume, do not bathe in slip
Ver. 1. Thy feet with shoes-rather "sandals:" those of Judith ravished the eyes of Holofernes. Judith xvi. 9.-Joints of thy thighs-Wiliams, "Cincture of thy loins." On the most mature reflec tion, we conceive this refers to the female drawers. Lady M.W. Montague, describing her Turkish dress, mentions her drawers, which came down to her ancles, as composed of thin rose-coloured damask, embroidered with silver flowers: "this surely is "like jewellery, the work of the hands of a cunning (or ingenious) workman. Dr. Chandler also de.cribes drawers as part of the dress of the Eastern ladies, and mentions a fragment of Sappho, from which it appears they were worn in ancient Greece. See Parkhurst's Lexicon, in Hamak. 4to. 3d edit. The Lexicons of Buxtorf, Cocceius, Leigh, &c. favour this rendering.
Ver. 2. Thy navel is like a round goblet that wanteth not liquor-Marg. " mixture." Applying this as the other verses to the external form, it very naturally refers to the girdle fastened with a golden clasp set with rubies, which may be well compared to a cup or goblet filled with wine that is mixed with aromatics.-Thy belly-rather body; it is a very general term, applied either to the body of the man, or the womb of the woman. (See Judges iii. 21; Psa. xxii. 9.) Also to the region of the bosom and the heart (See Job xv. 35; Prov. xvi.i. 8-xx. 27xxii. 17.18.) As we have applied ch. v. 14 to raiment of white and blue, so here we incline to think the raiment of the bride must be intended. The original Hebrew term here used is explained by the lexicons to mean naked corn; i.e. the grains of wheat, which were heaped together after iheshing, and, as some think, strewed with lities. Lily-work we know was the favourite pattern of the Hebrews, and their tabernacle and temple were full of it; we think, therefore, it may with propriety be understood of a
ght with lilies, and fastened with the gir entioned. Still, however, we consider tical, and that her robes were thus mpliment her with the promise of ferlden tells us, it was customary at the rages, to cast a few grains of wheat or 256
barley over the new-married couple, with friend wishes of a numerous family; which was also pre bably accompanied by drinking together a glass wine, (as at the present day,) and that possibl jewellery. These things may appear more probable alluded to by the goblet of wine" wrought if we cousider that the ancient Jews were accustom ed to speak by action-(See the following Introduc tion to the Prophets,)-and were every where s rounded by types and figures.
Ver. 3. Thy two breasts-See Ch. iv. 5.
Ver. 4. Tower of ivory-the tower of David, pr bably, ch. iv. 4, supposed to have been built of par white marble, polished like ivory.-Eyes like fish pools; a fine classical image.-Nose as the tower & Lebanon, which had probably an abutment like finely formed human nose.
Ver. 5. Like Carmel.-This was a mountain re markable for its beauty, and might well represent head erect, and crowned with the nuptial garland. The hair-like purple-not the colour, but the she of the porpura (or murex,) which is spiral, and much unlike the form in which English ladies of the present day roll up their tresses. (See Williams New Translation, p. 318. N.)-The king is held (Heb. bound,) or waiting in the galleries, or ant chamber. This we take to be an intimation from of the virgin attendants (or maids in waiting, which the king is immediately introduced, and " joices as a bridegroom over his bride." Isa. Ixii. 3.
Ver. 7. Thy breasts to clusters-not of grapes. our translators have supplied it,) but dates, fruit of the palm-tree here mentioned, which is to be sweeter than honey. The palm is celebrated its being straight and tali.-See Eccles. xxiv. 13, 14
Ver. 8. The smell of thy nose like apples: "The odour of thy breath like citrons," Williams.-7 best wine for my beloved, &c. Williams, "Wh is sent to those whom I love for their integrity, causeth the lips of those who are asleep to murin See the notes in the Editor's New Translation, i 320, 321.
Ver. 11. Let us go forth into the villages—i, e take a ride round the vicinity of the metropolis. The Italians call this villaging-going into Villaggie
Ver. 12. Mandrakes.-By these, some understa flowers, and others fruit. The modern mandrak of Judea are neither sweet nor fragrant-but they a used to excite-love. Dr. Good's Transl. N. p. 194.
EXPOSITION-Chap. VIII. Continued.
quin approach, enquire, as on a former occasion, "Who is this that cometh?" &c. It need not, however, be referred to the same scene: the wilderness here meant, may probably intend only one of the small wildernesses, or uncultivated spots, of which there were many in Judea, and some not far from the metropolis. These might, in the allegory, very properly represent barren and neglected spots within the boundary of the Christian church. The words "I raised thee," &c. are those of the bridegroom, reminding the spouse of her engagements to him by betrothment; and she begs (ver. 6.) to have a perpetual memorial in his heart. He then assures her, in return, (ver. 7.) that his love is as unextinguishable as it was unpurchaseable.
The spouse, in ver. 8. presents a petition on the behalf of a younger sister, not yet marriageable, which Christian commentators in general apply to the case of the Gentiles, and ground here the calling of the Gentile church; and though some have objected to this interpretation, they do not appear to have supplied a better.
The bridegroom returns a kind reply: "If she be a wall, though low, we will raise her by "turrets of silver;" that is, give her a marriage portion, that shall compensate all defects: and if she be an unprotected virgin, we will enclose and secure her from every danger.
The bride then turns his attention to herself: "I (was) a wall, and my breasts like towers:" that is, the Jewish church was, by the Spirit of prophecy, prepared for the coming of her Lord; then, says she, I was in his eyes" as one that found peace," or happiness. It was a time of love, when the bridegroom spread his skirt over her, and took her under his protection. (See Ruth iii. 9; Ezek xvi. S.)
At ver. 11. the subject again changes, and this verse is supposed to be addressed by the spouse to the virgins, as the next is to the bridegroom himself; neither of them are easy of explication. The situation of Baal-hamon is unknown and unimportant; but what was the vineyard of the bride? The sacred history informs us, that Pharaoh (her father) having previously taken Gezer from the Canaanites, and burnt it, afterwards made a present of it to his daughter, the wife of Solomon. It is very probable, that after having burnt the city, and destroyed its inhabitants, Pharaoh might have turned it into some
kind of plantation, which the Hebrew would comprehend under the general nam of vineyard, which she here speaks of hers, and from which she received a ce tain revenue. This falling into the han of Solomon, upon his marriage, so according to Reland, was called Gaz years afterwards, he rebuilt the city, whi near Joppa. Now the object of ment ing this vineyard, (as at that time it bably was) seems to be, that its rev might be transferred to her younger si but this is offered only as a conjecture
To allegorize these vineyards, wit degree of propriety, is not easy; nor ental literature of a Jones, be suffici the genius of Bunyan, united to th open all the allegories of Scripture, out a degree of local knowledge, attainable. It is therefore much be leave many passages in the obsct which time has involved them, t make them more obscure by" word out knowledge;" at least by word out that knowledge which is indisp to their proper explication. The Sc nave, perhaps, suffered more from termination of commentators to all difficulties, than from any oth whatever. There are mysteries ture as well as in nature, that tempt to penetrate only renders
The two last verses are, howe intelligible. In ver. 13, the chu dressed by her beloved as one lighted to dwell in the garde mating not only commendation for rural employment and fe more especially a pleasure in n tivation. Schools for moral an instruction, are gardens of imm and when Christians are thus with children, companions or who listen to their instruction excited to inquire, "whether be so," and the beloved him to hear. "Cause me to hear i'
But all which believers saw the Messiah, under the Old was at a distance. Like Ab saw his day afar off, and were ing, and, in the figurative at the same time, they sighed which the spouse conclude their prayers hastened his Make haste, my beloved.
like a roe, or