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Chapter 3 Verse 9
King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
church having described Christ’s bed, proceeds to give some account of his chariot, which he had made for himself and spouse. The word here translated chariot, is to be found in no other part of the scripture, and is differently rendered. Some translate it a throne, which Solomon had prepared for himself; so Junius and Tremellius: others, a stately palace or bride chamber, which he had built on purpose for the more honorable reception of his bride; so David de Pomis, R. Sol. Jarchi, and Arias Montanus: others, a bed; which is so called from the fruitfulness thereof, which in chapter 1:16. is said to be green; but then it must mean such a bed, in which the bride used to be carried, as R. David Kimchi421421In lib. shoran, rad. hrp observes. So that it seems to signify the nuptial bed, or an open chariot, or some such like thing, in which the bride was carried in pomp to the bridegroom’s house: and in this sense is the word used in the Misnah;422422Massech. Sotah, c. 9. s. 14. where mention is made of a decree “that the bride should not go out into the city, zwyrpab beappirion, the word here used, “in the nuptial bed or open chariot;” in which as R. Sol. Jarchi says, in his gloss upon the words, “they carried her from the house of her father to the house of her husband.” And so the Septuagint here renders the word by forei~on, which signifies something in which persons or things are carried, and is very much like in sound to the Hebrew word; and some423423Cocceius and Heunischius in loc. Vid. Cohen De Lara. Ir. David, p.19. have thought that it is this very Greek word which is here made use of, which might not be unknown to the Hebrews; and zwyrpa twnbl is a usual phrase with the Rabbins, to express the celebration of marriage.424424Vid Buxtorf. Epist. Hebrews 1. 2. ep. 7. P. 235, 237. It seems to be the nuptial chariot; in which according to Pausanias;425425Vid. Suidam in voce Zeugov. three only were carried; the bride, who sat in the middle, the bridegroom on one hand, and the friend of the bridegroom on the other: something of this kind is the Palki or Palanquin of the Indians; in which the bride and bridegroom are carried on the day of marriage on four men’s shoulders.426426Agreement of Customs between the East-Indians and Jews, art. 17. P. 68. By this chariot, R. Sol. Jarchi and Alshech would have the tabernacle of the congregation understood; though the Targum and R. Aben Ezra understand it of the temple, which was made of the cedars of Lebanon: but by it rather is meant, either,
First, The human nature of Christ, in which, as in a chariot, Christ made himself visible and conspicuous to men, and gave a glorious display of his greatness and majesty; “for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” it was in this he descended from and ascended up to heaven; and by which saints have access to God, and a communication of grace from him; for our way of access to God, and of acceptance with him, as well as of conveyance of all covenant-grace and blessings from him, is “consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, Christ’s flesh:” Concerning which chariot of Christ’s human nature, we may observe, 1. The author, king Solomon, Christ himself: and this serves to set forth the magnificence of it; for if at is the work of so great a person, it must needs be curiously wrought; and at the same time it shews his wonderful humility and condescension, in that one who was possessed of royal dignity, should be employed in such a work; and in nothing did he give a greater instance of it, than in the assumption of human nature, in his being found in fashion as a mall: which work is purely ascribed to himself; it was sine virili opere, Without the help of man that Christ became man; his human nature is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands,” and the tabernacle which God pitched, and not man; and because of this, it is wondrous and surprising: when it was first prophesied of, it is ushered in with a “behold a virgin shall conceive, etc.” and when the news was brought to the virgin herself, it was startling and astonishing to her, and made her say, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” but this being a work of God, with whom nothing is impossible, was effected by him: but though Christ assumed our nature, and became man without the help of man; yet not exclusive of the help and assistance of his Father, who prepared a body for him; nor of the Holy Ghost, who formed and sanctified it in the virgin’s womb. 2. The matter of it, and that is of the wood of Lebanon: Christ was conceived and born of the virgin Mary, who dwelt at Nazareth, a city of Galilee, at the foot of mount Lebanon; and the wood of that mountain, which was cedar, being of an incorruptible nature, may very well express the incorruption of Christ’s human nature; for though he died and was buried, yet he never saw corruption: moreover this being very excellent and valuable wood, may denote the excellency and glory of Christ’s human nature; whose countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars; for though, by his sorrows and sufferings, his visage was more marred than any man, and his form than the sons of men; yet he was fairer than any of the Sons of Adam. 3. The end for which this chariot was made; it wan for himself: for though all the three persons had a hand in making it, yet none but the second person appeared in it; it was the Son only, and not the Father, nor the Spirit, who was made flesh, and dwelt among us; which was done for the shewing forth of his own glory, as well as for the sake of his body, the church. Or else,
Secondly, By this chariot, may be meant the church of Christ;427427The Cabalistic doctors interpret it of malcuth, or the bride, the congregation of Isreal, Lexic, Cabal. p. 144. where he shews himself openly to his people in his ordinances, and they behold his power and his glory in the sanctuary; here he rides in triumph over his enemies; from hence he sends forth the rod of his strength, and makes mighty conquests by his grace over the hearts of men; here his gospel is preached, his ordinances administered, his name borne up, his cause and interest carried on, and his person alone exalted. Concerning which chariot we may also observe, 1. The author of it, Christ himself; it is he that builds this temple, and bears the glory; he is the rock, the foundation and cornerstone on which, and the chief architect by whom it is built; there are indeed many workmen and under-builders whom he employs herein, but he himself is the principal; his own hands have laid the foundation, and reared up the super, structure; it is he that has knit all together; and bears, supports, and maintains the whole fabric; and will bring in the head-stone, with the joyful acclamations of grace, grace unto it. 2. The matter of the wood of Lebanon: the temple which was built by Solomon, was an eminent figure of the church of Christ; now this was built of cedars fetched from Lebanon, which, though it was upon the borders of the land of Israel, yet was not in it; for Solomon sent to Hiram king; of Tyre for them, whose servants cut them down, hewed them, and made them fit for the building: Christ’s true church is made up only of believers, such who are comparable to the cedars in Lebanon; who, though whilst in their state of nature are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and therefore are invited to come with Christ from Lebanon in chapter 4:8 yet are cut down from off their old stock, and being hewn and fitly framed for the building by the grace and spirit of God, are laid in it, and so grow up unto an holy temple in the Lord: and this wood of Lebanon being lasting and durable, may denote the final perseverance of the saints, and the continuance of the church of Christ; which being built upon him, the rock, the gates of hell cannot prevail against it; it is as immoveable as mount Zion,. and as incorruptible as the cedars. 3. The end for which it is made, and that is, for himself: Christ has made all things for himself; and more especially his church he has made for his own use; it is his house to dwell in, his garden to walk in, his bed to rest in, and his chariot to ride in; he has also made it for his own glory, and indeed much arises from it; his manifestative glory is much increased by it; this people he has formed for himself, and they shall shew forth his praise. Or else,
Thirdly, By this chariot, may be meant the gospel, and the preaching of it; which may be also represented by the white horse, in Revelation 6:2 on which Christ rides and goes forth, conquering and to conquer; the ministers also of which may be compared to chariots, as Elijah, in 2 Kings 2:12 is called “the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof:” so Theodoret interprets it of the holy apostles. In this chariot Christ shews himself in all the glory of his love and grace; here, as in a glass, saints behold the glory of the Lord, and are changed into it; in this he is carried up and down the world, and by it is conveyed to the souls of men; this is that vehicle in which he is brought home unto them, and in which he triumphs over all his enemies, and makes his ministers to do so likewise: so that this is a triumphal chariot which he has made, and in which he shews himself to the world. And, 1. He is the alone author, as well as the subject, sum and substance of it, and therefore it is called “the gospel of Christ:” It is not the contrivance of human wisdom, the device of man’s brain, nor the produce of carnal reason; it was neither projected, formed, nor delivered by man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ; it is he that has given it to men, and given men a commission to preach it, and furnished them with all necessary qualifications for it. 2. The matter of it is said to be “the wood of Lebanon;” which being incorruptible and durable, as has been before observed, as well as of a sweet-smelling savor, may very well be applied to the gospel of Christ, which is preached by his faithful ministers; who are not as some, who corrupt the word of God; but in doctrine, and also in life, shews incorruptness, gravity, and sincerity, and deliver sound speech which cannot be condemned; which will abide and continue, notwithstanding all the efforts of men and devils; and is of an exceeding grateful smell to believers, to whom it is the savor of life unto life. 3. This he has made also for himself; that is, for his own glory: which end is answered, when the riches of his grace and love are displayed, his person and offices magnified and exalted, and he declared to be the only way of salvation to lost sinners; as also when sinners are converted, and saints are edified under the ministry of the word, and the success of all ministerial labors is ascribed unto him. Or else,
Fourthly, By this chariot, may be meant the covenant of grace; in which, as in a chariot, Christ shews his royal person, and the glorious sovereignty and freeness of his love: by this, as in a chariots many poor souls are borne up and supported under, and are comfortably carried through a great many trials and exercises in this life, and in Which they are brought triumphantly to glory: the same blood of the everlasting covenant, which fetched Christ out of his grave, brings souls out of the pit wherein is no water, and introduces them into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. And, 1. Of this chariot, Christ, who is here meant by king Solomon, is the author: man is not in a capacity to make a covenant with God; he has nothing of his own, but what God, before all articles, agreements, conditions, grants, and promises, has a prior right unto; but Christ, as the representative of the elect, has made a covenant with his father on their account; his wisdom drew the plan and model of it, he then acting as the counsellor, or as the angel of the great council;428428Mega>lhv boulh~v a]gtelov. Sept. in Isaiah 9:6. his power effected it; being the mighty God, and his grace filled it as the mediator of it; he had so great a hand and concern in it, as that lie is called the surety, mediator, and messenger of it, nay, the covenant itself. 2. The matter of it, or of what it was made, is the wood of Lebanon: which may intend the durableness and inviolableness of the covenant of grace; for God will not break it, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips; it is as lasting as the wood, and as immoveable as the mountain of Lebanon itself; its promises are yea and amen, and its blessings are irreversible; it is of an everlasting nature in itself, and can never be disannulled by men or devils; and contains things in it both for time and eternity. 3. His end in making this is his own glory, as well as the good Of his people; he had both in view: the former is mentioned here, he made it for himself; the latter in the next verse, where it is also said to be for the daughters of Jerusalem. Christ’s glory and his church’s good are inseparable; his glory is great in their salvation which shews with what wisdom, and in what a beautiful and excellent order, the covenant of grace is made. It is interpreted of the everlasting covenant by some Jewish writers.429429Vid. Yalkut in loc.
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