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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Song of Solomon 5



Verse 1

Verse 2

Verse 3

(3) Coat.—Heb. cutoneth=cetoneth; Gr. χίτων, tunic.

Verse 4

Verse 6

(6) When he spake.—We can suppose an ejaculation of disappointment uttered by the lover as he goes away, which catches the ear of the heroine as she wakes.

Verse 7

(7) The watchmen.—See Note on Song of Solomon 3:3.

Veil.—Heb. redîd; LXX. θέριστρόν. Probably a light summer dress for throwing over the person on going out in a hurry, like the tsaiph put on by Rebecca (Genesis 24:65). Only elsewhere in Isaiah 3:23.

Verse 9

(9) What is thy beloved?—This question, introducing the description of the bridegroom’s person, raises almost into certainty the conjecture that the poem was actually sung, or presented as an epithalamium, by alternate choirs (or single voices) of maidens and young men, as in the Carmen Nuptiale of Catullus, vying the one in praise of the bridegroom, the other of the bride. Mere love-poems contain descriptions of the charms of the fair one to whom they are addressed, but not of the poet himself.

Verse 10

(10) Chiefest.—Marg., a standard bearer; Heb. dagûl, participle of a word occurring in Psalms 20:5, where the Authorised Version gives “we will set up our banners.”

Verse 11

(11) Bushy.—Marg., curled; Heb., taltallîm=flowing in curls, or heaped up, i.e., thick, bushy, according as we derive from talah or tel. The LXX. (followed by the Vulg.) take taltallîm for another form of zalzallîm (Isaiah 18:5, sprigs of the vine), and render palm-leaves.

Verse 12

Verse 13

(13) His cheeks are as a bed of spices—Probably with allusion to the beard perfumed (Marg., towers of perfumes), as in Psalms 133:2.

Lilies.—Comp. “He pressed the blossom of his lips to mine “(Tennyson, (Enone).

Verse 14

(14) His hands . . .—Galil, translated ring, is more probably a cylinder (from galal, to roll), referring to the rounded arm, ending in a well-shaped hand with beautiful nails.

Beryl.—Heb. tarshish; LXX. θαρσις. Possibly “stones of Tarshish,” and if so, either chrysolite or topaz, both said to have been first found in Tartessus, an ancient city of Spain, between the two mouths of the Bœtis (Guadalquiver). Mentioned as one of the precious stones in the breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28:20; Exodus 39:13). The LXX. adopt the various renderings χρυσολίθο = ς, ἄνθραξ, λίθος ἄνθρακος, or, as here, keep the original word.

Bright ivory.—Literally, a work of ivory, i.e., a chef-d’œuvre in ivory.

Sapphires.—It is doubtful whether the sapphire of Scripture is the stone so called now, or the lapis-lazuli. The former best suits Exodus 28:18 and Job 28:6, because lapis-lazuli is too soft for engraving. The comparison in the text either alludes to the blue veins showing through the white skin or to the colour of some portion of dress.

Verse 15

(15) Marble.—Heb. shesh. Here and in Esther 1:6.

Verse 16

(16) His mouth is most sweet.—Literally, his palate (see Margin) sweetnesses, i.e., his voice is exquisitely sweet. The features have already been described, and chek, palate, is used of the organ of speech and speech itself (Job 6:30; Proverbs 5:3).


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 5:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

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