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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Song of Solomon 6

 

 

Verse 1

Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.

Song of Solomon 6:1-13

Whither is thy beloved gone? Historically, at Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, and others, were led to openly join with His professed disciples. By speaking of Jesus Christ, the bride does good not only to her own soul, but to others (note, Song of Solomon 1:4). Compare the hypocritical use of a similar inquiry after Christ by Herod (Matthew 2:8).


Verse 2

My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

Gone down. Jerusalem was on a hill (answering to its moral elevation), and the gardens were at a little distance in the valleys below.

Beds of spices - (balsam) which He Himself calls the "mountain of myrrh" (Song of Solomon 4:6); and again (Song of Solomon 8:14), the resting-place of His body amidst spices, and of His soul in paradise, and now in heaven, where He stands an High Priest forever. Nowhere else in the Song is there mention of mountains of spices.

Feed in ... gardens - i:e., in the churches, though He may have withdrawn for a time from the individual believer.

Gather lilies. She implies an invitation to the daughters of Jerusalem to enter His spiritual Church, and become lilies, made white by His blood. He is gathering some lilies now to plant on earth, others to transplant into heaven (Song of Solomon 5:1; Genesis 5:24; Mark 4:29).


Verse 3

I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.

I (am) my beloved's ... In speaking of Jesus Christ to others, she regains her own assurance. Literally, 'I am for my beloved ... for me,' implying appropriation and dedication to. Reverse order from Song of Solomon 2:16. She now, after the season of darkness, grounds her conviction on His love toward her, more than on her's toward Him (Deuteronomy 33:3). There, it was the young believer concluding that she was His, from the sensible assurance that He was her's.


Verse 4

Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.

Tirzah - meaning pleasant, from the Hebrew raatsah (Hebrew #7521) (Hebrews 13:21). The Church is "a city set on an hill," "well-pleasing" to God (Matthew 5:14). The royal city of one of the old Canaanite kings (Joshua 12:24); and after the revolt of Israel the royal city of its kings, before Omri rounded Samaria (1 Kings 16:8; 1 Kings 16:15). No ground for assigning a later date than the time of Solomon to the Song, as Tirzah was even in his time the capital of the North (Israel), as Jerusalem was of the South (Judah).

Jerusalem - residence of the kings of Judah, as Tirzah, of Israel (Psalms 48:1). Loveliness, security, unity, and loyalty; also the union of Israel and Judah in the Church (Isaiah 11:13).

Terrible - awe-inspiring. Not only armed as a city on the defensive, but as an army on the offensive. Led on by the Church's 'Standard-bearer' (Song of Solomon 5:10, note).

Banners (Psalms 60:4; Exodus 17:14-15, margin) - Jehovah-Nissi (2 Corinthians 10:4).


Verse 5

Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.

Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me - (Song of Solomon 4:9; Genesis 32:28; Exodus 32:9-14; Hosea 12:4.) This is the way "the army" (Song of Solomon 6:4) "overcomes" not only enemies, but Jesus Christ Himself, with eyes fixed on Him (Psalms 25:15). Historically, Song of Solomon 6:3-5 represent the restoration of Jesus Christ to His Church at the resurrection; His sending her forth as an army, with new powers (Mark 16:15-18; Mark 16:20); His rehearsing the same instructions (cf. Song of Solomon 6:6, note) as when with them (Luke 24:44).

Overcome - literature (Hebrew, hirhiybuniy (Hebrew #7292) from the root, raahab (Hebrew #7292)), they proudly or strongly press upon me: they have taken me by storm (Maurer). Cocceius (cf. margin) takes it, 'they have elated me,' so that I receive consolation and glory from thy faith.


Verse 6-7

Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.

Thy teeth (are) as a flock of sheep ... Not vain repetition of Song of Solomon 4:1-2. The use of the same words shows His love unchanged, after her temporary unfaithfulness (Malachi 3:6).


Verse 8-9

There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.

Threescore - indefinite number, as Song of Solomon 3:7. These are witnesses of the espousals; rulers of the earth contrasted with the saints, who, though many, are but "one" bride (Isaiah 52:15; Luke 22:25-26; John 17:21; 1 Corinthians 10:17; notes, Psalms 45:9-15). The one bride is contrasted with the many wives whom Eastern kings had, in violation of the marriage law (1 Kings 11:1-3). The spiritual interpretation is shown herein to be the true sense of Canticles. If the literal sense were meant, the book would never have found a place in the holy Canon. But the one bride m primarily Israel. To her in due time the many queens and concubines-the Gentile peoples-become affiliated so as to form one Church with her, the bride of the Lamb.

But one. Hollow professors, like half-wives, have no part in the one bride.

Only one of her mother - namely, "Jerusalem above" (Galatians 4:26). The "little sister" (Song of Solomon 8:8) is not inconsistent with her being "the only one;" for that sister is one with herself (John 10:16).

Choice - (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13) As she exalted Him above all others (Song of Solomon 5:10), so he now her.

Daughters ... blessed her - (Isaiah 61:9.) So at the Church's, appearance after Pentecost.


Verse 10

Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

Who is she that looketh forth - expressing the admiration of the daughters. Historically, Acts 5:24-39.

As the morning - as yet she is not come to the fullness of her light (Proverbs 4:18).

Moon - shining in the night, by light borrowed from the sun: so the bride, in the darkness of this world, reflects the light of the Sun of righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Sun. Her light of justification is perfect for it is His (1 John 4:17). The moon has less light, and has only one half illuminated: so the bride's sanctification is as yet imperfect. Her future glory (Matthew 13:43): she "shall shine forth as the sun."

Terrible as an army. The climax requires this to be applied to the starry and angelic hosts, from which God is called Lord of Sabaoth. Her final glory (Daniel 12:3; Revelation 12:1). The Church Patriarchal answers to "the morning;" the Levitical to "the moon;" the Evangelical to "the sun;" the Church Triumphant to "the bannered army."


Verse 11

I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.

Garden of nuts. The bride's words; for she everywhere is the narrator, and often soliloquises, which He never does. The first garden (Song of Solomon 2:11-13) was that of spring, full of flowers, green figs, and tender grapes not yet ripe. The second garden was that of autumn, with spices (which are always connected with the person of Jesus Christ), and nothing unripe, (Song of Solomon 4:13, etc.) The third here is that of "nuts," from the previous autumn; the end of winter, and verge of spring: the Church in the upper room (Acts 1:13, etc.), when one dispensation was just closed, the other not yet begun; the hard shell of the old needing to be broken, and its inner sweet kernel extracted (Origen) (Luke 24:27; Luke 24:32); waiting for the Holy Spirit to usher in spiritual spring. The walnut is meant, with a bitter outer husk, a hard shell, and sweet kernel. So the Word is distasteful to the careless; when awakened, the sinner finds the letter hard, until the Holy Spirit reveals the sweet inner spirit.

Fruits of the valley. Maurer translates 'the blooming products of the river' (Hebrew, naachal (Hebrew #5158)) - i:e., the plants growing on the margin of the river flowing through the garden. She goes to watch the first sproutings of the various plants.


Verse 12

Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.

Or ever I was aware. Sudden outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:2), while the Church was using the means, "all with one accord (praying: Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1) in one place" answering to "the garden" (Song of Solomon 6:11; John 3:8).

Ammi-nadib - supposed to be one proverbial for swift driving (Numbers 1:7). Similarly, Song of Solomon 1:9. Rather, my willing people (Psalms 110:3). A willing chariot bore a "willing people." Or Ammi-nadib is the Prince of my people, Jesus Christ. His chariots are His glorious angel-escort, which moves with the rapidity of the winds and the flame. She is borne in a moment into His presence (Ephesians 2:6).


Verse 13

Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.

Return, O Shulamite - entreaty of the daughters of Jerusalem to her, in her chariot-like flight from them (cf. 2 Samuel 19:14).

Shulamite - new name applied to her now first. Feminine of Solomon, Prince of Peace: His bride, daughter of peace, accepting and proclaiming it (Isaiah 52:7; Ephesians 2:17). Historically, this name answers to the time when, not without a divine design in it, the young Church met in Solomon's porch, the symbol of peace (Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12). The entreaty, "return, O Shulamite," answers to the people's desire to keep Peter and John, after the lame man was healed, when they were about to enter the temple. Their reply attributing the glory not to themselves, but to Jesus Christ, answers to the bride's reply here.

What will ye see in the Shulamite? ... She accepts the name Shulamite, as truly describing her. But adds, that though "one" (Song of Solomon 6:9), she is nevertheless "two." Her glories are her Lord's, beaming through her (Ephesians 5:31-32). The two armies are the family of Jesus Christ in heaven, and that on earth, joined and one with Him; the one militant the other triumphant. Or Jesus Christ and His ministering angels are one army, the Church the other, both being one (John 17:21-22). Allusion is made to Mahanaim (meaning, two hosts), the scene of Jacob's victorious conflict by prayer. Though she is peace, yet she has warfare here; the conflict between flesh and spirit within, and that with foes without. Her strength, as Jacob's at Mahanaim, is Jesus Christ and His host, enlisted on her side by prayer: whence she obtains those graces which raise the admiration of the daughters of Jerusalem.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 6:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/song-of-solomon-6.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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