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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Song of Solomon 3

 

 

Verse 1

III.

(1) A reminiscence (elaborated in Song of Solomon 5:2 seq.) of the intensity of their love before their union, put by the poet into his lady’s mouth. She “arises from dreams” of him, and goes to find him.


Verse 3

(3) The watchmen that go about the city.—“Henceforward until morning the streets are deserted and silent, with only here and there a company returning from a visit, with a servant bearing a lantern before them. The city-guard creeps softly about in utter darkness, and apprehends all found walking in the streets without a light” (Thomson, Land and Book, p. 32—in description of Beirût).


Verse 4

(4) I held him . . .—Bossuet, following Bede, regards this as prophetic of Mary Magdalen (type of the Church) on the morning of the Resurrection.


Verse 6

(6) Who is this that cometh.—The dramatic feeling is decidedly shown in the passage introduced by this verse, but we still regard it as a scene passing only in the theatre of the fancy, introduced by the poet in his Epithalamium, partly from his sympathy with all newly-wedded people, partly (as Song of Solomon 8:11) to contrast the simplicity of his own espousals, of which all the joy centred in true love, with the pomp and magnificence of a royal marriage, which was a State ceremony.

Wilderness.—Heb., midbar. The idea is that of a wide open space, with or without pasture: the country of nomads, as distinguished from that of a settled population. With the article (as here) generally of the desert of Arabia, but also of the tracts of country on the frontiers of Palestine (Joshua 8:16; Judges 1:16; comp. Matthew 3:1, &c). Here = the country.

Like pillars of smoke.—The custom of heading a cortege with incense is both very ancient and very general in the East: probably a relic of religious ceremonials where gods were carried in processions. For Frankincense, see Exodus 30:34.


Verse 7

(7) Bed.—Heb., mitta. Probably, from context, a litter.


Verse 8

(8) Because of fear—i.e., because of the alarms common at night. For fear in the sense of object of fear, comp. Psalms 91:5; Proverbs 3:25.


Verse 9

(9) A chariot.—Marg., bed; Heb., appiryôn. A word of very doubtful etymology. Its derivation has been sought in Hebrew, Persian, Greek, and Sanskrit. The LXX. render φορεῖον; Vulg., ferculum; and it seems natural, with Gesenius, to trace the three words to the root common in parah, φέρω, fero, fahren, bear, and possibly the sign of such a common origin in the Sanskrit pargana = a saddle (Hitzig). At all events, appiryôn must be a palanquin, or litter, both from the context, which describes the approach of a royal cortége, and from the description given of it, where the word translated covering suggests the notion of a movable litter, rather than of a State bed.


Verse 10

(10) Bottom.—Heb., rephidah = supports. Probably the back of the litter on which the occupant leaned.

The midst thereof . . .—Literally, its interior paved love from the daughters of Jerusalem. There are three possible renderings. (1) Its interior made bright by a lovely girl of, &c; and (2) its interior paved in a lovely way by, &c; (3) its interior tesselated as a mark of love by, &c. The last of these does the least violence to the text as it stands, but very possibly some words have dropped out between ratzuph, paved, and ahabah, love.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 3:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/song-of-solomon-3.html. 1905.

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