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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Song of Solomon 7

Verse 1

1. In the Hebrew Bible this chapter begins with the last verse of the preceding, and such seems to be the better arrangement. If the first and last periods of that verse were spoken by the Chorus, still the speaker now must be the King. In the compliments of these following verses nothing is noticed more than it has always been allowed to painters and sculptors to portray. The King, as is most fitting to his well-known character, takes greater license in his praises, and this goes to prove the naturalness of the Song. It is far from necessary to suppose that all the parts of the person here described were exposed to view. The modesty of the maiden, unaffected by the warm and amorous language of the King, is seen to recoil from all these blandishments as being distasteful. They have the same effect on her as on any pure and highminded girl in any land or age. It is a masterstroke on the part of the writer of the Song to show thus delicately the amorousness which was the king’s undoing here failing to win its object, and appearing odious in the light of truth and virtue, however artfully disguised in poetic flatteries.

Shoes Better, sandals. The sandals of Eastern ladies are often highly ornamented, and are much noticed.

O prince’s daughter Hebrew, noble girl. There is no allusion to her pedigree, but to her character.

Like jewels That is, delicately wrought and highly finished.

Verse 2

2. Which wanteth not liquor Hebrew, Spiced wine should not be lacking. Set about, etc. Grain threshed in the fields and left in a heap was “set about” with thorn bushes, to protect it from animals. From that usage this figure is taken, lilies, fair and white, being substituted for thorns. Plumpness and corpulency have always been reckoned in the East as elements of beauty in the feminine person. There can be no doubt that the writer here represents the King’s fatal disregard of the moral sentiment stated by our Lord, Matthew 5:28.

Verse 3

3. Thy two breasts, etc. This figure has already been explained, as used by another speaker, in Song of Solomon 4:5.

Verse 4

4. Thy neck, etc. Not that any tower was ever known to be built of ivory. The translation might be “thy neck, which is like a tower, is ivory;” that is, like a tower for symmetry and stateliness and as ivory for whiteness. Poets, from Anacreon until now, have used the complimentary phrase, “ivory neck.” Heshbon was twenty miles east of the mouth of the Jordan, and was in the possession, sometimes of the Jews and sometimes of the Moabites. Its pools, receiving their waters from living springs, were clear and sparkling, and the vegetation around, fed by them, was luxuriant, making the city and its environs “the pride of Moab.”

The gate of Bath-rabbim That is, the gate where many are passing. What gate of Heshbon this may have been is unknown.

The tower of Lebanon No “tower” of this description is known. The suggestion is agreeable; a “tower” or, the noble “Lebanon,” looking down the course of the Abana and Pharpar, “rivers of Damascus,” upon the plain which their waters render green and charming. So the nose is a graceful watchtower, commanding a view of a lovely face and a sweet and queenly form.

Verse 5

5. Like Carmel This beautiful promontory, jutting boldly into the sea, seems to have received its name from “the crimson fringes of the evening” lingering so long upon its summit. The fish found near it, which yields colouring matter, may take its name from the mountain.

Like purple Pliny says, that the ancient purple was glossy, and inclining to black. The curious linguist will find in all ancient tongues the Greek as well as the Hebrew a singular poverty and obscurity of words to express colours, and here “Carmel” may mean “purple,” which the following clause only makes more emphatic. The king, etc. Hebrew, The king is charmed with thy flowing ringlets.

Verse 6

6. O love That is, O lovely one. Admiration is expressed for the general effect of the special qualities now enumerated. The aggregate of the whole is most fascinating.

Verse 7

7. Palm tree The palm, rising majestically to a lofty height, and wearing its crown of verdure visible from a distance, is the most striking in its appearance of all the trees of the East. An Indian prince, visiting London, came upon a palm in a royal greenhouse, and clasping it as a dear fellow-stranger and countryman, burst into tears. So in the medals representing Judea captured by Titus, the country is represented by a female sitting mournfully beneath a palm tree.

Clusters The word may mean clusters of any kind, but here evidently clusters of dates, which are a well-known fruit, bright, fragrant, and delicious.

Verse 8

8. Again we notice the King using a boldness of speech too great for that feeling of reverence which true love holds toward its object. “He comes too near, who needs to be denied.”

I said That is, “I said” in thought; equivalent to purposed. The past tense, however, implies the present continuance of the purpose, as the connexion shows.

The smell of thy nose Better, the fragrance of thy breath. It is compared to the sweet perfume of ripe apples.

Verse 9

9. The roof of thy mouth Hebrew, thy palate; that is, thy speech.

For my beloved That is, Such wine as I would offer to a dear friend. Causing the lips, etc. It so quickens the blood that even silent lips grow talkative under its influence.

Into these few verses is thrown a faithful display of the character of Solomon, confirmed by his other Scriptural portraitures. We have seen the splendour of his pavilion and his train, the gorgeousness of his palace, the throngs of beautiful women that, like stars, adorn his court. We see the proud owner of all this, arrayed in all his glory and with arts of address, compress temptation to its intensest form by declaring his passionate attachment and preference for this Shulamite. But her bearing is firm, independent, and something more. She has placed her affection on one whose love is to her a vital need.

“The mind has a thousand eyes,

And the heart but one,

And the light of a whole life dies

When love is done.”

Verse 10

10. Her reply is modest but decisive.

His desire is toward me Hebrew, Desire of him is for me, that is, “I ought to desire him.” This is a definite refusal of the proposals of the King, who, baffled and mortified, disappears from view. The Beloved reappears. At this point the Song clearly treats of presence after espousal. After the trial which she has endured so well, and the conflicting emotions which must have heaved her bosom under the words of the King, the feelings of the Enamoured sink to natural calm and quietude.

“So beautiful comes on The stilly hour when storms are gone.”

Verse 11

11. Let us go… into the field Hebrew, country. She longs to return to the country,

“To its glow of summer gladness,

To its hush of golden silence.”

Let us lodge Better, Let us abide.

Verse 12

12. Let us get up, etc. Better, Early, will we stroll in the vineyards; we will see, etc.

My loves My affections. She speaks as a queen.

“With a regal grace In her sun-kissed face,

And a light in her beaming eye.”

she assures him that he shall have what she refused to the King.

Verse 13

13. The mandrakes give a smell Mandrakes are a bright, ruddy, and fragrant fruit, like a small apple, agreeable and exhilarating.

At our gates “In the garden near our door.” All these pleasures are described in lively anticipation. Her love has pruned and cherished many a plant that he might share its fruit.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/song-of-solomon-7.html. 1874-1909.