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Bible Commentaries
Song of Solomon 3

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-11

Night Thoughts and an Interlude

1-4. There is a charming lightness of touch and quickness of movement in the story she tells, and it is all the more interesting for our having to supply the prosaic connecting links. ’The Unrest of Love’ is an apt title. We can only understand it as a maiden’s dream.

2. The broad ways are what we should call the squares; wide, open spaces by the city gates and elsewhere.

4. The ’mother’s house’ is the women’s apartments, into which a strange man dare not enter.

6-11. It is possible that this is a song of the bridegroom’s companions on the morrow of the wedding, when the throne is set up for the bridal pair. But more probably it is a kind of interlude, intended to convey the sense of contrast between the simple, fearless life of the happy pair, and the luxurious but anxious state which the most magnificent of Hebrew kings had kept. The singer sees in imagination King Solomon’s procession. He makes us hear the questions and remarks of the crowd, as in the last scene of Shakespeare’s ’Henry the Fourth.’

6. One man asks, ’What is this litter (RV) that is coming out of the wilderness, the uncultivated grazing land? ’The pillars of smoke are caused by the burning of sweet perfumes. Frankincense was an aromatic gum-resin obtained from balsamic plants which grow in Arabia and Eastern Africa. The powders of the merchant are powdered perfumes. The question of Song of Solomon 3:6 is answered in Song of Solomon 3:7-8, and possibly we have a third speaker in 9, 10. In any case, another word is here used for ’litter’ (RV), a word which came afterwards to be specially employed for the litter in which the bride was carried in procession.

9. King Solomon’s palanquin (RV) is made of the costly woods of Lebanon, cedar and Cyprus.

10. The pillars supporting the canopy are of silver, the arms of gold, the seat (RV) covered with a costly purple fabric. And, as the Hebrew words for love and ’ebony’ are very similar, the closing part of the description may originally have run, ’inlaid with ebony from the daughters of Jerusalem.’

11. The women of the chorus are to fancy themselves meeting the procession and feasting their eyes with the sight of the king in all his glory. At a Jewish wedding both bride and groom wear crowns: in Syria, at the present day, the bride wears one; in Bulgaria she has a crown of alloyed silver.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 3". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/song-of-solomon-3.html. 1909.
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