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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Song of Solomon 6



Verse 1-2

The question put by the chorus, and the answer it receives from the bride, show that the loss and seeking are not to be taken too seriously.

Verses 4-9

The section might be entitled, “Renewed declaration of love after brief estrangement.”

Psalm 48:2. “Tirzah” (i. e., “Grace” or “Beauty “)was an old Canaanite royal city Joshua 12:24. It became again a royal residence during the reigns of Baasha and his three successors in the kingdom of the ten tribes, and may well therefore have been famed for its beauty in the time of Solomon.

Terrible as … - Awe-inspiring as the bannered (hosts). The warlike image, like others in the Song, serves to enhance the charm of its assured peace.

Song of Song of Solomon 6:5

Even for the king the gentle eyes of the bride have an awe-striking majesty. Such is the condescension of love. Now follows Song of Song of Solomon 6:5-7 the longest of the repetitions which abound in the Song, marking the continuance of the king‘s affection as when first solemnly proclaimed Song of Song of Solomon 4:1-6 . The two descriptions belong, according to some (Christian) expositors, to the Church of different periods, e. g. to the primitive Church in the splendor of her first vocation, and to the Church under Constantine; other (Jewish) expositors apply them to “the congregation of Israel” under the first and second temples respectively.

Song of Song of Solomon 6:9

The king contrasts the bride with the other claimants for her royal estate or favor Song of Song of Solomon 6:8 . She not only outshines them all for him, but herself has received from them disinterested blessing and praise.

This passage is invaluable as a divine witness to the principle of monogamy under the Old Testament and in the luxurious age of Solomon.

Verse 10

The chorus address the bride here only as the Shulamite, and beg her to perform for their entertainment a sacred dance (see Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 30:26.

Verse 11-12

The bride‘s words may be paraphrased: “You speak of me as a glorious beauty; I was lately but a simple maiden engaged in rustic toils. I went down one day into the walnut-garden” (the walnut abounded on the shores of Lake Gennesaret, and is still common in Northern Palestine) “to inspect the young plants of the vale” (i. e., the wady, or watercourse, with now verdant banks in the early spring after the rainy season), “and to watch the budding and blossoming of vine and pomegranate.” Compare 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 13:14, where Elijah and Elisha, as the spiritual leaders of the nation, are “the chariot and horsemen of Israel,” compare also Isaiah 22:18). This last clause is another instance of the love for military similitudes in the writer of the Song.

Ammi-nadib - literally, my people a noble one. The reference is either to Israel at large as a wealthy and dominant nation, under Solomon, or to the bride‘s people (the Shulamites) in particular, to the chief place among whom, by her union with the king, she is now exalted.

Verse 13

Return, return - About to withdraw, the bride is recalled by the chorus, desiring yet a little longer to contemplate a grace and beauty which has won all hearts.

Shulamite - Probably the same as “Shunamite,” i. e., a native of the town or district of Shunem, situated in the territory of Issachar Joshua 19:18, on the slopes of the Little Hermon, overlooking the plain of Jezreel. It is now called Salem.

See - Look or gaze at. The bride‘s modest reply, taking up their words, and wondering at their request. The chorus answer with a further petition.

As it were the company of two armies - Or, rather, the dance of Mahanaim (see the margin), a well-known sacred dance, taking its name from the locality in which it originated Genesis 32:2; Joshua 21:38. Some, taking “Mahanaim” to be an ordinary designation for “the Angels” or “Angelic Hosts,” render here “a dance as it were of angel-choirs,” i. e., one of special grace and beauty. The former of these interpretations is to be preferred.


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 6:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

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