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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Song of Solomon 4

 

 

Verses 1-7

Song of Solomon 4:1-7. Descriptive Poem (Wasf) Setting forth the Beauty of the Bride (cf. Song of Solomon 5:10-15, Song of Solomon 6:4-7, and see the Introduction).—On the allegorical view, Christ here commends the beauty of His Church; the eyes are the ministers of the Gospel, or the eyes of the understanding; ministers of the Gospel are to be like doves in sincerity and simplicity, and the eyes of doves are clear and sharp-sighted; that the eyes are within her locks shows the mingling of light and dark in the knowledge of ministers, and also their modesty (J. Gill). The dramatic theory places this poem in the mouth of Solomon, who, in pressing his suit upon "the Shulammite," praises her beauty. It is now admitted that such poems, with certain conventional forms, were used in connexion with ancient marriage ceremonies, and also imitated in love songs. It is in such poems that the difference between Eastern and Western taste, both as to the general idea and particular figures, strikes us most. It is well also to remember that the admiration for "the human form divine," which elsewhere has found manifestation in painting and sculpture, is here limited in its expression to words.

Song of Solomon 4:1. (cf. Song of Solomon 1:15) behind thy veil is better than within thy locks (AV); the beautiful eyes shine through the thin veil, making a striking impression. The ringlets of black hair falling down over the shoulders are likened to a flock of black goats on the mountain side.

Song of Solomon 4:2. Note the word-play in Heb. between every one and barren. The comparison seems to be meant to bring out the glistening whiteness and perfect evenness of the teeth, as is suggested by mg., which are all of them in pairs.

Song of Solomon 4:3. It is a picture of high colours and striking contrasts. The word rendered mouth is found only here in this sense; it is connected with the root "to speak," and so AV may be correct.—Thy temples, etc.: to us the figure is obscure; it is evidently based on a contrast of colours revealed by the rift in the fruit.

Song of Solomon 4:4. armoury (talpiyyôth) has caused considerable discussion; fatal things, poetic for weapons (BDB), but this is not certain. There are various suggestions, a fortress, a place of distant vision, trophies, Talfiath (a village), etc., all equally uncertain.—shields: the word may mean armour or equipment.

Song of Solomon 4:5. Which feed, etc. may be a conventional phrase that has crept in here (cf. Song of Solomon 2:16, Song of Solomon 6:3).

Song of Solomon 4:6. Part of this verse may also have come from Song of Solomon 2:17, as it breaks the connexion and is difficult to explain.

Song of Solomon 4:7 closes the song with a declaration that no further details are needed as the beloved is perfect in her form and charms.

Song of Solomon 4:8. The dramatic theory puts these words into the mouth of the present lover beseeching the Shulammite to come from Lebanon where she is detained; more likely it is a gloss by a reader or a fragment of a song on "the wooing of a mountain maiden." Instead of look we should probably read depart.


Verses 9-12

Song of Solomon 4:9-12. The Resistless Charm of the Beautiful Bride.—In the Oriental manner this enchantment is expressed in the sensuous terms of wine, honey, and delicious odours.—sister is found in old Egyptian love-songs for the bride.—ravish, steal away the heart, probably expresses the meaning of the rare Heb. form, which some translate hearten, encourage. The word glance seems to be implied after eyes—one chain of thy neck: probably a mistake for something that we cannot now conjecture; it can now only be explained as a reference to her brilliant jewellery.—love, i.e. caresses (cf. Song of Solomon 1:2).

Song of Solomon 4:10 may refer to sweet kisses or gentle speech (Proverbs 5:3); on Lebanon see Hosea 13:7.

Song of Solomon 4:12. For spring in the second clause read garden (gan for gal); her chastity and loyalty are praised.


Verses 13-16

Song of Solomon 4:13 to Song of Solomon 5:1.—The Bride as a Garden.—The charms of the bride are now described under the figure of the fruits of the garden.

Song of Solomon 4:16 gives the gracious invitation of the bride to the lover, who in such enthusiastic terms has praised her beauty.

Song of Solomon 5:1 declares his ready acceptance and his call to friends to enjoy similar delights,

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 4:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/song-of-solomon-4.html. 1919.

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