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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Song of Solomon 7



Verses 1-13

1-6. The wasf begins with a eulogy of her dancing: her steps in sandals (RV) are lovely, and the circling movements of her body are graceful as ornamental chains. In Eastern dancing the twisting and vibration of the body are of more consequence than the rapid movement of the feet. The title 'noble's daughter' may be merely a conventional compliment, or it may point to the dignity of her character: cp. 'a daughter of Belial,' 1 Samuel 1:16.

2. The Talmud states that the proportions for mixed wine (RV) were two-thirds water, one-third wine. In Syria the colour of wheat is considered to be the most beautiful for a human body.

4. Her neck is like a tower of ivory, long, and dazzling white. But what about the swarthiness of Song of Solomon 1:5-6? The answer is that the exactness and consistency of prose are not to be expected in an epithalamium. Heshbon lies five and a half hours E. of the N. point of the Dead Sea, in a fertile, well-watered region: there are several deep wells cut in the rock, and a large reservoir.

5. Carmel was regarded as the 'Park' of the land; there alone were rocky dells, with deep jungles of copse. A 'king is held captive in the tresses' (RV) of the bride's hair: cp. the Arab song:

'Oh, thy thick hair hangs down;

Seven plaits of it take us captive.'

6-10. The bridegroom begins with a general assertion of the delightfulness of his beloved: then, in like manner as the Greek poet Theocritus compares Helen to the straight Cyprustree, our poet likens the bride to the tall, straight palm, the loveliest of all trees in his eyes,' man's sister,' as the Arabs call it. Something of the same feeling appears in the English poem:

'A daughter of the gods, divinely tall,

And most divinely fair.'

One or two slight changes in the text, partly supported by the ancient versions, make of Song of Solomon 7:9 an expression of desire that her mouth may be like the best wine for her beloved, 'gliding over his lips and teeth.' Syrian women cried out to an English lady: 'Go on! when you speak Arabic, your words drop out of your mouth like sugar.'

10-14. Again she declares her affection. An intense delight in rural life breathes through these lines.

13. For the effect ascribed to the mandrake see Genesis 30:14-16. It is not a very common plant in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, but grows freely in Galilee; its reddish-golden apples, about an inch and a half in diameter, emit a somewhat sweet odour. On a shelf over the inner door (RV) of the house she has laid up some of the old fruits for him.

Song of Solomon 8:1 f. Obviously this is supposed to be spoken in the days of their first love, before others were aware of it. Amongst the Bedouin, brothers and cousins on the father's side are the only male relatives who may kiss a maiden. In place of the very difficult expression, who would instruct me, two ancient versions have a clause parallel to the preceding one, 'and to the chamber of her who conceived me.' In Persia wineis obtained from pomegranates.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 7:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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