Song of Solomon 6

CHAPTER VI

The companions of the bride inquire after the bridegroom, 1-3.

A description of the bride, 4-13.

NOTES ON CHAP. VI

Verse 1. Whither is thy beloved gone] These words are supposed

to be addressed to the bride by her own companions, and are joined

to the preceding chapter by the Hebrew and all the versions.

Verse 2. My beloved is gone down into his garden] The answer of

the bride to her companions.

Verse 4. Beautiful-as Tirzah] This is supposed to be the address

of Solomon to the bride. Tirzah was a city in the tribe of

Ephraim, (Jos 12:24,) and the capital of that district. It

appears to have been beautiful in itself, and beautifully

situated, for Jeroboam made it his residence before Samaria was

built; and it seems to have been the ordinary residence of the

kings of Israel, 1Ki 14:17; 15:21; 16:6. Its

name signifies beautiful or delightful.

Comely as Jerusalem] This was called the perfection of beauty,

Ps 48:2, 3; 50:2. And thus the poet compares the bride's beauty

to the two finest places in the land of Palestine, and the

capitals of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Terrible as an army with banners.] This has been supposed to

carry an allusion to the caravans in the East, and the manner in

which they are conducted in their travels by night. The caravans

are divided into companies, called cottors, according to Thevenet;

and each company is distinguished by the form of the brazier in

which they carry their lights. After night, these braziers are

placed on the ends of long poles, and carried by a person who

walks at the head of the company. Some have ten or twelve lights,

and are of different forms; some triangular, or like an N; some

like an M, by which each pilgrim readily knows his own company,

both by night and day. A whole caravan, composed of many thousands

of hadgees or pilgrims, divided into various cottors or

companies, each having its own distinguishing brazier or light,

must necessarily produce a very splendid, if not a terrible,

appearance.

Verse 5. Turn away thine eyes] As the sight of so many fires

after night was extremely dazzling, and the eye could not bear

the sight, so the look of the bride was such as pierced the heart,

and quite overwhelmed the person who met it. Hence the bridegroom

naturally cries out, "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have

overcome me."

Thy hair is as a flock of goats] See on So 4:1.

Verse 6. Thy teeth] See on So 4:2.

Verse 7. As a piece of a pomegranate] See on So 4:3.

Verse 8. There are threescore queens] Though there be sixty

queens, and eighty concubines, or secondary wives, and virgins

innumerable, in my harem, yet thou, my dove, my undefiled, art

achath, ONE, the ONLY ONE, she in whom I delight beyond all.

Verse 9. The daughters saw her, and blessed her] Not only the

Jewish women in general spoke well of her on her arrival, but

the queens and concubines praised her as the most accomplished of

her sex.

With this verse the fourth night of the marriage week is

supposed to end.

Verse 10. Looketh forth as the morning] The bride is as lovely

as the dawn of day, the Aurora, or perhaps the morning star,

VENUS. She is even more resplendent, she is as beautiful as the

MOON. She even surpasses her, for she is as clear and bright as

the SUN; and dangerous withal to look on, for she is as formidable

as the vast collection of lights that burn by night at the head of

every company in a numerous caravan. See Clarke on So 6:4. The

comparison of a fine woman to the splendour of an unclouded full

moon is continually recurring in the writings of the Asiatic

poets.

Verse 11. I went down into the garden of nuts] I believe this

and the following verse refer at least to the preparations for a

farther consummation of the marriage, or examination of the

advancement of the bride's pregnancy. But many circumstances of

this kind are so interwoven, and often anticipated and also

postponed, that it is exceedingly difficult to arrange the whole

so as to ascertain the several parts, and who are the actors and

speakers. But other writers find no difficulty here, because they

have their system; and that explains all things.

It is probably not the hazel but the almond nut, that is

referred to here.

Verse 12. The chariots of Amminadib.] Probably for their great

speed these chariots became proverbial. The passage marks a strong

agitation of mind, and something like what we term palpitation of

the heart. As I am not aware of any spiritual meaning here, I must

be excused from commenting on that which is literal. Amminadib

signifies my noble or princely people; but it may here be a proper

name, and Amminadib might be celebrated for his skill and rapidity

in driving, as Jehu was.

Verse 13. Return, O Shulamite] This appears to be addressed to

the bride, as now the confirmed, acknowledged wife of Solomon; for

shulammith, appears to be a feminine formed from

shelomoh, or shelomon, as we form Charlotte from

Charles; Henrietta, from Henry; Janette, from John, &c.

The company of two armies.] Or the musicians of the camps. She

is as terrible as hosts of armed men, on the ground of what is

said on So 6:4, 5. The two armies may refer to the

choirs of the bride's virgins, and the bridegroom's companions;

but the similitude is not very perceptible. The Targum explains it

of "the camps of Israel and Judah:" as if the bridegroom should

say, "My beloved possesses all the perfections both of the

Israelitish and Jewish women." But how little satisfaction do the

best conjectures afford!

With this chapter the fifth night is supposed to end.

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