Song of Solomon 7

CHAPTER VII

A farther description of the bride, 1-9.

Her invitation to the bridegroom, 10-13.

NOTES ON CHAP. VII

Verse 1. How beautiful are thy feet with shoes] "How graceful is

thy walking." In the sixth chapter the bridegroom praises the

Shulamite, as we might express it, from head to foot. Here he

begins a new description, taking her from foot to head.

The shoes, sandals, or slippers of the Eastern ladies are most

beautifully formed, and richly embroidered. The majestic walk of a

beautiful woman in such shoes is peculiarly grand. And to show

that such a walk is intended, he calls her a prince's daughter.

The joints of thy thighs] Must refer to the ornaments on the

beautiful drawers, which are in general use among ladies of

quality in most parts of the East.

Verse 2. Thy navel is like a round goblet] This may also refer

to some ornamental dress about the loins. These suppositions are

rendered very probable from hundreds of the best finished and

highly decorated drawings of Asiatic ladies in my own collection,

where every thing appears in the drawings, as in nature.

A heap of wheat set about with lilies.] This is another instance

of the same kind. The richly embroidered dresses in the above

drawings may amply illustrate this also. Ainsworth supposes the

metaphor is taken from a pregnant woman; the child in the womb

being nourished by means of the umbilical cord or navel string,

till it is brought into the world. After which it is fed by means

of the mother's breasts, which are immediately mentioned. Possibly

the whole may allude to the bride's pregnancy.

Verse 3. Thy two breasts] Where the hair and breasts are fine,

they are the highest ornaments of the person of a female.

Verse 4. Thy neck-as a tower of ivory] High, white, and

ornamented with jewellery, as the tower of David was with

bucklers. See on So 4:4.

The fish-pools in Heshbon] Clear, bright, and serene. These must

have been very beautiful to have been introduced here in

comparison. These two fountains appear to have been situated at

the gate that led from Heshbon to Rabba, or Rabboth Ammon.

There is a propriety in this metaphor, because fountains are

considered to be the eyes of the earth.

Thy nose-as the tower of Lebanon] There was doubtless a

propriety in this similitude also, which cannot now be discerned.

If we are to understand the similitude as taken from the

projecting form of the nose, even here I see nothing striking in

the metaphor; for surely the tower of Lebanon did not project from

the mountain as the human nose does from the face. It is better

to acknowledge that there was undoubtedly some fit resemblances;

but in what circumstance we know not. But some commentators are

always extolling the correctness of the imagery in those very

difficult places, where no soul sees the similitude but

themselves.

Verse 5. Thine head-like Carmel] Rising majestically upon thy

neck, and above thy shoulders, as Mount Carmel does in its

district. Carmel was the name of the mountain where Elijah had his

contest with the prophets of Baal. See 1Ki 18:19, &c.

The hair of thine head like purple] Ornamented with ribbons and

jewellery of this tint.

The king is held in the galleries.] Or is detained in the

antechamber. His heart is captivated by thy person and conduct.

Some understand the ringlets of the bride's hair.

Verse 6. How fair and how pleasant] Thou art every way

beautiful, and in every respect calculated to inspire pleasure and

delight.

Verse 7. Like to a palm tree] Which is remarkably straight,

taper, and elegant.

And thy breasts to clusters of grapes.] Dates are the fruit of

the palm tree; they grow in clusters; and it is these, not grapes,

which are intended.

Verse 8. I will go up to the palm tree] I will take hold on the

boughs of this tree, and climb up by them, in order to gather the

clusters of dates at the top. The rubric here in the old MS.

interprets this of the cross of Christ.

Verse 9. The roof of thy mouth like the best wine] The voice or

conversation of the spouse is most probably what is meant.

Causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.] As good

wine has a tendency to cause the most backward to speak fluently

when taken in moderation; so a sight of thee, and hearing the

charms of thy conversation, is sufficient to excite the most

taciturn to speak, and even to become eloquent in thy praises.

Verse 10. I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.] It

is worthy of remark that the word which we translate his desire is

the very same used Ge 3:16:

Thy desire, thy ruling appetite, teshukathech, shall be

to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. This was a part of

the woman's curse. Now here it seems to be reversed; for the bride

says, I am my beloved's, and his desire or ruling appetite and

affection, teshukatho, is ali, UPON ME. The

old MS. translates this with considerable force:-I to my leef, and

to me the turnynge of him.

Verse 11. Let us go forth into the field] It has been

conjectured that the bridegroom arose early every morning, and

left the bride's apartment, and withdrew to the country; often

leaving her asleep, and commanding her companions not to disturb

her till she should awake of herself. Here the bride wishes to

accompany her spouse to the country, and spend a night at his

country house.

Verse 12. Let us get up early to the vineyards] When in the

country, we shall have the better opportunity to contemplate the

progress of the spring vegetation; and there she promises to be

peculiarly affectionate to him.

Verse 13. The mandrakes give a smell]

See Clarke on Ge 30:14,

where the mandrake is particularly described; from which this

passage will receive considerable light. The reader is requested

to consult it.

All manner of pleasant fruits] Fruits new and old; flowers and

herbs of every kind which the season could yield. The literal

sense, allowing for the concealing metaphors, is, I believe, of a

widely different nature from what is generally given. But this

must be left to the reader's sagacity and prudence.

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