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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Song of Solomon 8

 

 

Verses 1-4

Song of Solomon 6:13 to Song of Solomon 8:4. The Dancing Bride and the Rapture of Love.—This section also is probably composed of different lyrics, though it is difficult to separate them; we have first the description of the loved one or bride in the act of dancing, then the comparison of her figure to a date palm, and finally a song of love and spring, concluding with the repetition of Song of Solomon 2:6 f. In Song of Solomon 7:1-6 it is possible that we have a descriptive poem setting forth the charms of the bride and sung by a chorus of women at the wedding dance.

Song of Solomon 6:13. A very similar word would give turn (instead of return) i.e. in the dance.—Shulammite: on the dramatic theory "the maiden of Shunem who is the heroine of the story." More likely a traditional name for a very beautiful woman, based on the narrative of 1 Kings 1:3*. Shunem (now Solam or Sulam), a village a little N. of Jezreel.—dance of Mahanaim: another riddle with several possible answers: (a) Mahanaim (Genesis 32:2) was a sacred place famous for its dances (cf. Judges 21:21); (b) adopt mg., of two companies, explaining company of a country dance or bridal sword-dance; circling dance of the armed company (LXX). The feet were enclosed in jewelled sandals and the dancer moved with glittering graceful steps (mg.).

Song of Solomon 7:1. prince's daughter is not taken literally on either theory; it is supposed to rest on a reminiscence of 2 Kings 4:8.—The curved lines of thy thighs (cf. mg.). The swaying movement of the dance brings out the beauty of the figure and suppleness of the limbs. The Orientals delighted in these sensuous descriptions, as may be seen from the quotations in the commentaries. It is exceedingly difficult, in many cases impossible, to settle the precise point involved in these comparisons of various parts of the body to different natural objects, such as the decorated body of the dancer and the heap of brown wheat adorned with scarlet flowers.

Song of Solomon 7:3. See Song of Solomon 4:5.

Song of Solomon 7:4. We can understand eyes that are like pools, on which the light is reflected, but undue prominence of the nose to us seems to border on the grotesque.—Bath-rabbim (daughter of many) is uncertain, whether another name for Heshbon, or of a village near by. She holds her head proudly, and her dark hair has an almost purple hue.

Song of Solomon 7:5. hair: the Heb. word is very rare; in Isaiah 38:12 it seems to be used of the threads of the loom. The word rendered tresses (AV galleries) means elsewhere water-troughs (Genesis 30:38; Genesis 30:41; Exodus 2:16); how it comes to mean tresses is not clear; the idea of flowing is supposed to make the connexion.

Song of Solomon 7:6. May be an interpolation or an interlude. How supremely beautiful and gracious is love among all the delights of life, or "How beautiful art thou, how gracious, my loved one, in the delights of love."

Song of Solomon 7:7. stature from verb to rise, because graceful height is the feature made prominent (cf. Tamar, "palm," as name of a woman). Perhaps the words of grapes should be dropped as the reference may be to dates (cf. Song of Solomon 1:14).

Song of Solomon 7:9. The lover decides on bold action and asks for favourable reception.—Nose (mg.) same word as in Song of Solomon 6:5; here, however, breath (RV) is probably a correct interpretation.

Song of Solomon 7:9 b is difficult to translate. Neither AV nor RV is satisfactory. By conjecture and comparison with VSS a plausible translation is secured: "That goes down pleasantly for my palate, gliding over my lips and teeth."

Song of Solomon 7:10. A repetition from Song 3:16, Song of Solomon 6:3, or a formal opening of a new song. On the dramatic view "uttered with an almost triumphant gesture of rejection towards Solomon."

Song of Solomon 7:11-13. Cordial invitation of the bride to the lover to enjoy, at the same time, the beauties of nature in the glory of spring, and the delight of friendly companionship.—in the villages may mean among the henna-flowers (Song of Solomon 4:13).—mandrakes or love-plants: perhaps the reference here is rather to the pleasant taste, peculiar smell, and stimulating qualities than to the magical virtues ascribed to it (Genesis 30:14*).—The transition to thrifty housekeeping in the reference to fruits new and old stored up over the door is rather prosaic; if we could eliminate new and old, the statement would harmonise better with the spirit of the song, but even then stored up would be troublesome. Some interpret the fruit symbolically of maidenly charms (cf. Song of Solomon 4:12 ff.), and take new and old to mean all kinds (Matthew 13:52).

Song of Solomon 8:1-4. It is difficult to say whether this is a continuation of the foregoing or a separate piece; Song of Solomon 6:3 f. is a repetition from Song of Solomon 2:6 f., Song of Solomon 3:5, probably by an editor. She expresses a longing for closest intimacy. If he were a near relative she could lavish tenderness without shame or fear of rebuke.

Song of Solomon 8:2. Probably the first two lines should be, I would lead thee into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that bare me (cf. LXX and Song of Solomon 3:4).


Verses 5-7

Song of Solomon 8:5-7. The Power of Love.—The verses from Song of Solomon 8:5 to the end of the book are difficult to weave into a connected whole, and perhaps we have here a series of lyrical fragments. It is possible to draw an imaginary picture, and assign the parts to the villagers, peasants, the Shulammite quoting from her brothers and speaking in her own person, but the result is not convincing. The song consists of introductory question, the reminder by the lover of the time and place when he first called forth love (Song of Solomon 2:3; Song of Solomon 2:10, Song of Solomon 7:8) and the beloved's noble hymn of love.

Song of Solomon 8:5. thee is masculine in Heb., but as mother in the book is always mentioned in connexion with the woman it should probably be feminine.

Song of Solomon 8:6. seal (see Genesis 38:18, Jeremiah 22:24, Haggai 2:23).—jealousy: or the zeal, the ardour and passion of love, is resistless, its flames are the flames of Yahweh, i.e. the lightning.


Verses 8-12

Song of Solomon 8:8-12. The Song of the Little Sister.—Whether part of the story or as a fragment of a song, Song of Solomon 8:8-10 introduces the brothers of a young woman speaking, as her guardians, and telling of their anxiety about her when she was still too young to marry, and the precautions they would take for her welfare. They would reward her modesty with adornments that might serve as part of her marriage dowry, and they would give strong protection in the case of any signs of weakness. The bride replies that she, in her maturity has the strength of chastity and the attraction of beauty.

Song of Solomon 8:10. one that found peace: a peculiar expression; we would rather expect "that bringeth peace" or prosperity. But it seems far-fetched to make it mean one to whom the oppressor (Solomon) gave peace because he could not conquer her.

Song of Solomon 8:11-13. There is probably a change of person here; the bridegroom boasts that his new-found possession is prized more than Solomon's famous highly-cultivated vineyard with all its rich revenues. He desires to share in the joy of her companions who listen to the sweet music of her voice.

Song of Solomon 8:11. Repeated from Song of Solomon 2:17; it is difficult to form a connexion here. It may be that an editor has given to both parties a farewell cry at the end of the collection of songs (Song of Solomon 8:13 f.).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 8:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/song-of-solomon-8.html. 1919.

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Saturday, January 18th, 2020
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