World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Expressions of Praise
How graceful are your feet in sandals,
O queenly maiden!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the work of a master hand.
Your navel is a rounded bowl
that never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of wheat,
encircled with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
Your head crowns you like Carmel,
and your flowing locks are like purple;
a king is held captive in the tresses.
How fair and pleasant you are,
O loved one, delectable maiden!
You are stately as a palm tree,
and your breasts are like its clusters.
I say I will climb the palm tree
and lay hold of its branches.
O may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
and the scent of your breath like apples,
and your kisses like the best wine
that goes down smoothly,
gliding over lips and teeth.
I am my beloved’s,
and his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved,
let us go forth into the fields,
and lodge in the villages;
let us go out early to the vineyards,
and see whether the vines have budded,
whether the grape blossoms have opened
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
and over our doors are all choice fruits,
new as well as old,
which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.
shoes—Sandals are richly jewelled in the East (Lu 15:22; Eph 6:15). She is evidently "on the mountains," whither she was wafted (So 6:12), above the daughters of Jerusalem, who therefore portray her feet first.
joints—rather, "the rounding"; the full graceful curve of the hips in the female figure; like the rounding of a necklace (as the Hebrew for "jewels" means). Compare with the English Version, Eph 4:13-16; Col 2:19. Or, applying it to the girdle binding together the robes round the hips (Eph 6:14).
2. navel—rather, "girdle-clasp," called from the part of the person underneath. The "shoes" (So 7:1) prove that dress is throughout presupposed on all parts where it is usually worn. She is "a bride adorned for her husband"; the "uncomely parts," being most adorned (1Co 12:23). The girdle-clasp was adorned with red rubies resembling the "round goblet" (crater or mixer) of spice-mixed wine (not "liquor," So 8:2; Isa 5:22). The wine of the "New Testament in His blood" (Lu 22:20). The spiritual exhilaration by it was mistaken for that caused by new wine (Ac 2:13-17; Eph 5:18).
belly—that is, the vesture on it. As in Ps 45:13, 14, gold and needlework compose the bride's attire, so golden-colored "wheat" and white "lilies" here. The ripe grain, in token of harvest joy, used to be decorated with lilies; so the accumulated spiritual food (Joh 6:35; 12:24), free from chaff, not fenced with thorns, but made attractive by lilies ("believers," So 2:2; Ac 2:46, 47; 5:13, 14, in common partaking of it). Associated with the exhilarating wine cup (Zec 9:17), as here.
3. The daughters of Jerusalem describe her in the same terms as Jesus Christ in So 4:5. The testimonies of heaven and earth coincide.
twins—faith and love.
4. tower of ivory—In So 4:4, Jesus Christ saith, "a tower of David builded for an armory." Strength and conquest are the main thought in His description; here, beauty and polished whiteness; contrast So 1:5.
Heshbon—east of Jordan, residence of the Amorite king, Sihon (Nu 21:25, &c.), afterwards held by Gad.
Bath-rabbim—"daughter of a multitude"; a crowded thoroughfare. Her eyes (So 4:1) are called by Jesus Christ, "doves' eyes," waiting on Him. But here, looked on by the daughters or Jerusalem, they are compared to a placid lake. She is calm even amidst the crowd (Pr 8:2; Joh 16:33).
tower of Lebanon—a border-fortress, watching the hostile Damascus. Towards Jesus Christ her face was full of holy shame (see on So 4:1; So 4:3); towards spiritual foes, like a watchtower (Hab 2:1; Mr 13:37; Ac 4:13), elevated, so that she looks not up from earth to heaven, but down from heaven to earth. If we retain "nose," discernment of spiritual fragrance is meant.
5. upon thee—the headdress "upon" her.
Carmel—signifying a well-cultivated field (Isa 35:2). In So 5:15 He is compared to majestic Lebanon; she here, to fruitful Carmel. Her headdress, or crown (2Ti 4:8; 1Pe 5:4). Also the souls won by her (1Th 2:19, 20), a token of her fruitfulness.
purple—royalty (Re 1:6). As applied to hair, it expresses the glossy splendor of black hair (literally, "pendulous hair") so much admired in the East (So 4:1). While the King compares her hair to the flowering hair of goats (the token of her subjection), the daughters of Jerusalem compare it to royal purple.
galleries—(so So 1:17, Margin; Re 21:3). But Maurer translates here, "flowing ringlets"; with these, as with "thongs" (so Lee, from the Arabic translates it) "the King is held" bound (So 6:5; Pr 6:25). Her purple crowns of martyrdom especially captivated the King, appearing from His galleries (Ac 7:55, 56). As Samson's strength was in his locks (Jud 16:17). Here first the daughters see the King themselves.
clusters—not of dates, as Moody Stuart thinks. The parallelism (So 7:8), "clusters of the vine," shows it is here clusters of grapes. Vines were often trained (termed "wedded") on other trees.
8. The daughters are no longer content to admire, but resolve to lay hold of her fruits, high though these be. The palm stem is bare for a great height, and has its crown of fruit-laden boughs at the summit. It is the symbol of triumphant joy (Joh 12:13); so hereafter (Re 7:9).
nose—that is, breath; the Holy Ghost breathed into her nostrils by Him, whose "mouth is most sweet" (So 5:16).
apples—citrons, off the tree to which He is likened (So 2:3).
9. roof of thy mouth—thy voice (Pr 15:23).
for my beloved—(So 4:10). Here first the daughters call Him theirs, and become one with the bride. The steps successively are (So 1:5) where they misjudge her (So 3:11); So 5:8, where the possibility of their finding Him, before she regained Him, is expressed; So 5:9 (So 6:1; 7:6, 9; Joh 4:42).
causing … asleep to speak—(Isa 35:6; Mr 5:19, 20; Ac 2:47; Eph 5:14). Jesus Christ's first miracle turned water into "good wine kept until now" (Joh 2:10); just as the Gospel revives those asleep and dying under the law (Pr 31:6; Ro 7:9, 10, 24, 25; 8:1).
10. Words of the daughters of Jerusalem and the bride, now united into one (Ac 4:32). They are mentioned again distinctly (So 8:4), as fresh converts were being added from among enquirers, and these needed to be charged not to grieve the Spirit.
11. field—the country. "The tender grape (Maurer translates, flowers) and vines" occurred before (So 2:13). But here she prepares for Him all kinds of fruit old and new; also, she anticipates, in going forth to seek them, communion with Him in "loves." "Early" implies immediate earnestness. "The villages" imply distance from Jerusalem. At Stephen's death the disciples were scattered from it through Judea and Samaria, preaching the word (Ac 8:4-25). Jesus Christ was with them, confirming the word with miracles. They gathered the old fruits, of which Jesus Christ had sown the seed (Joh 4:39-42), as well as new fruits.
lodge—forsaking home for Jesus Christ's sake (Mt 19:29).
13. mandrakes—Hebrew, dudaim, from a root meaning "to love"; love apples, supposed to exhilarate the spirits and excite love. Only here and Ge 30:14-16. Atropa mandragora of Linnæus; its leaves like lettuce, but dark green, flowers purple, root forked, fruit of the size of an apple, ruddy and sweet-smelling, gathered in wheat harvest, that is, in May (Mariti, ii. 195).
gates—the entrance to the kiosk or summer house. Love "lays up" the best of everything for the person beloved (1Co 10:31; Php 3:8; 1Pe 4:11), thereby really, though unconsciously, laying up for itself (1Ti 6:18, 19).