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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Song of Solomon 2



Verse 1

The division of the chapters is unfortunate; Isaiah 35:1) “rose.” The etymology is in favor of its being a bulbous plant (the white narcissus, Conder). “Sharon” is usually the proper name of the celebrated plain from Joppa to Caesarea, between the hill-country and the sea, and travelers have remarked the abundance of flowers with which this plain is still carpeted in spring. But in the time of Eusebius and Jerome there was a smaller plain of Sharon (Saron) situated between Mount Tabor and the sea of Tiberias, which would be very near the bride‘s native home if that were Shunem.

Verse 2

The king resumes, taking up the bride‘s comparison: “As the lily excels in beauty the thorny shrubs among which it grows, so my friend excels her companions.”

Verses 3-7

The bride‘s answer: “As the ‹tappuach‘ with its fragrant fruit excels the barren trees of the wild wood, so my beloved his associates and friends etc.” תפוח tappûach may in early Hebrew have been a generic name for apple, quince, citron, orange etc.

Exodus 17:15 note).

2 Samuel 6:19 note; 1 Chronicles 16:3; Hosea 3:1). For an instance of the reviving power of dried fruit, see 1 Samuel 30:12.

Deuteronomy 33:27; Proverbs 4:8.

Song of Song of Solomon 2:7

Render: “I adjure you … by the gazelles, or by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up nor awaken love until it please.” The King James Version, “my love,” is misleading. The affection or passion in itself, not its object, is here meant. This adjuration, three times significantly introduced as a concluding formula (marginal references), expresses one of the main thoughts of the poem; namely, that genuine love is a shy and gentle affection which dreads intrusion and scrutiny; hence the allusion to the gazelles and hinds, shy and timid creatures.

The complementary thought is that of Song of Song of Solomon 8:6-7 , where love is again described, and by the bride, as a fiery principle.

Verses 8-17

The bride relates to the chorus a visit which the beloved had paid her some time previously in her native home. He on a fair spring morning solicits her company. The bride, immersed in rustic toils, refuses for the present, but confessing her love, bids him return at the cool of day. It is a spring-time of affection which is here described, still earlier than that of the former chapter, a day of pure first-love, in which, on either side, all royal state and circumstance is forgotten or concealed. Hence, perhaps, the annual recitation of the Song of Songs by the synagogue with each return of spring, at the Feast of Passover, and special interpretations of this passage by Hebrew doctors, as referring to the paschal call of Israel out of Egypt, and by Christian fathers, as foreshadowing the evangelic mysteries of Easter - Resurrection and Regeneration. The whole scene has also been thought to represent the communion of a newly-awakened soul with Christ, lie gradually revealing Himself to her, and bidding her come forth into fuller communion.

Isaiah 13:4).

Proverbs 5:19 note). The points of comparison here are beauty of form, grace, and speed of movement. In 2 Samuel 2:18; 1 Chronicles 12:8, princes are compared to “gazelles.”

Wall - The clay-built wall of the house or vineyard of the bride‘s family, different from the strong wall of a city or fortress Joel 2:23, i. e., Nisan or Abib, corresponding to the latter part of March and early part of April. Cyril interpreted Ezekiel 13:4).

Genesis 3:8 “the cool” or breathing time of the day.

And the shadows flee - i. e., Lengthen out, and finally lose their outlines with the sinking and departure of the sun (compare Jeremiah 6:4). As the visit of the beloved is most naturally conceived of as taking place in the early morning, and the bride is evidently dismissing him until a later time of day, it seems almost certain that this interpretation is the correct one which makes that time to be evening after sunset. The phrase recurs in 2 Samuel 2:29, not far from Mahanaim (Song of Song of Solomon 6:13 margin). If used in a symbolic sense, mountains of “separation,” dividing for a time the beloved from the bride. This interpretation seems to be the better, though the local reference need not be abandoned.


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

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