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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Song of Solomon 1



Verse 1

The “Song of songs,” i. e., the best or most excellent of songs.

Which is Solomon‘s - literally, “to” or “for Solomon,” i. e., belonging to Solomon as its author or concerning him as its subject. In a title or inscription, the former interpretation is to be preferred.

Verses 2-4

the prologue. - The Song commences with two stanzas in praise of the king (now absent) by a chorus of virgins belonging to the royal household. Expositors, Jewish and Christian, interpret the whole as spoken by the Church of the heavenly Bridegroom.

Psalm 23:5; Luke 7:46; John 12:3).

Thy name … poured forth - As unguents are the sweeter for diffusion, so the king‘s name the wider it is known.

Psalm 58:1; Proverbs 23:31.

Verses 5-8

This section is made by the Targumist and other Jewish interpreters to adumbrate the condition of Israel in the wilderness; by some Christian expositors, that of the Gentile Church on her first conversion.

Genesis 25:13; Psalm 120:5. The word itself signifies “dark” or “black.” Possibly “tents of Kedar” stand here poetically for shepherds‘ tents in general Isaiah 60:7.

Job 20:9; Job 28:7, and indicates in the latter place the piercing glance of a bird of prey.

My mother‘s children, - Or, sons; a more affectionate designation than “brothers,” and implying the most intimate relationship.

Angry - This anger was perhaps but a form of jealous care for their sister‘s safety (compare Psalm 23:1.

Rest - Or, lie down; a term properly used of the couching of four-footed animals: “thy flock” is here therefore easily understood. Compare Ezekiel 34:14-15; Psalm 23:2; Jeremiah 50:6.

As one that turneth aside - Or, goeth astray like an outcast.

Song of Song of Solomon 1:8

The chorus, and not the king, are the speakers here. Their meaning seems to be: If thy beloved be indeed a shepherd, then seek him yonder among other shepherds, but if a king, thou wilt find him here in his royal dwelling.

Verses 9-14

This and the next Jeremiah 2:2 between the Holy One and His Church, first in the wilderness of the Exodus, and then in the wilderness of the world Ezekiel 20:35-36.

1 Kings 10:28-29. As applied to the bride it expresses the stately and imposing character of her beauty.

Proverbs 25:12), or substitute for the strung beads of the bride‘s necklace.

John 12:3, with her most precious unguents.

Spikenard - An unguent of great esteem in the ancient world, retaining its Indian name in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. It is obtained from an Indian plant now called “jatamansi.”

Song of Song of Solomon 1:13

Render: A bag of myrrh is my beloved to me, which lodgeth in my bosom.

Song of Song of Solomon 1:14

Camphire - Rather, כפר kôpher from which “cyprus” is probably derived (in the margin misspelled “cypress “),the name by which the plant called by the Arabs “henna” was known to the Greeks and Romans. It is still much esteemed throughout the East for the fragrance of its flowers and the dye extracted from its leaves. Engedi was famous for its vines, and the henna may have been cultivated with the vines in the same enclosures.


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 1:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

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