|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:6-11 A wilderness is an emblem of the world; the believer comes out of it when he is delivered from the love of its sinful pleasures and pursuits, and refuses to comply with its customs and fashions, to seek happiness in communion with the Saviour. A poor soul shall come up, at last, under the conduct of the Comforter; like a cloud of incense ascending from the altar, or the smoke of the burnt-offerings. This signifies pious and devout affections, and the mounting of the soul heaven-ward. The believer is filled with the graces of God's Spirit; his devotions now are very lively. These graces and comforts are from the heavenly Canaan. He, who is the Peace of his people, the King of the heavenly Zion, has provided for the safe conveyance of his redeemed through the wilderness of this world. The bed, or palanquin, was contrived for rest and easy conveyance, but its beauty and magnificence showed the quality of its owner. The church is well guarded; more are with her than are against her: believers, when they repose in Christ, and with him, though they have their fears in the night, are yet safe. The chariot here denotes the covenant of redemption, the way of our salvation. This is that work of Christ, which makes him loved and admired in the eyes of believers. It is framed and contrived, both for the glory of Christ, and for the comfort of believers; it is well ordered in all things and sure. The blood of the covenant, that rich purple, is the cover of this chariot, by which believers are sheltered from the wind and storms of Divine wrath, and the troubles of this world; but the midst of it is that love of Christ which passes knowledge, this is for believers to repose upon. Christ, in his gospel, manifests himself. Take special notice of his crown. Applying this to Christ, it speaks the honour put upon him, and his power and dominion.
Verses 9, 10. - King Solomon made himself a palanquin of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the seats of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, from the daughters of Jerusalem. The palanquin is described, that the attention may be kept fixed awhile on the bridal procession, which, of course, forms the kernel of the whole poem, as representing the perfect union of the bride and bridegroom. The Greek versions translate φορεῖον: the Vulgate, ferculum. We read in Athenaeus (5:13) that the philosopher and tyrant Athemon showed himself on "a silver-legged φορεῖον with purple coverlet." There probably is some connection between the Hebrew appiryon and the Greek phoreion, but it is exceedingly doubtful if the Hebrew is merely a lengthened form of the Greek. Delitzsch derives the Hebrew from a root parah, "to cut or carve" anything of wood. The Greek would seem to be connected with the verb φερω, "to bear," "carry." The resemblance may be a mere coincidence. The rabbinical tradition is that the Hebrew word means "couch, or litter." Hitzig connects it with the Sanscrit paryana, meaning "saddle," "riding saddle," with which we may compare the Indian paryang. "bed." Others find a Chaldee root for the word, פָרָא, "to run," as currus in Latin, or from a root גָּאַר, "to shine," i.e." to be adorned." At all events, it would not be safe to argue the late date of the book from such a word as appiryon, on account of its resemblance to a Greek word. The "wood of Lebanon" is, of course, the cedar or cypress (1 Kings 5:10, etc.). There may be a covert allusion intended to the decoration of the temple as the place where the honour of the Lord dwelleth, and where he meets his people. The frame of the palanquin was of wood, the ornaments of silver. The references to the high value set upon silver, while gold is spoken of as though it was abundant, are indications of the age in which the poem was composed, which must have been nearly contemporaneous with the Homeric poems, in which gold is spoken of similarly. Recent discoveries of the tomb of Agamemnon, etc., confirm the literary argument. The palanquins of India are also highly decorated. The daughters of Jerusalem, i.e. the ladies of the court, in their affection for King Solomon, have procured a costly tapestry, or several such, which they have spread over the purple cushion. Thus it is paved, or covered over, with the tokens of love - while all love is but a preparation for this supreme love. (For the purple coverings of the seat, see Judges 5:10; Amos 3:12; Proverbs 7:16.) The preposition מִן in the last clause is rendered differently by some, but there can be no doubt that the meaning is "on the part of," that is, coming from. The typical interpreter certainly finds a firm ground here. Whether we think of the individual believer or of the Church of God, the metaphor is very apt and beautiful - we are borne along towards the perfection of our peace and blessedness in a chariot of love. All that surrounds us speaks to us of the Saviour's love and of his royal magnificence, as he is adored by all the pure and lovely spirits in whose companionship he delights.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. The word translated chariot is only used in this place; some render it a bride chamber (u); others a nuptial bed (w), such as is carried from place to place; it is used in the Misnah (x) for the nuptial, bed, or open chariot, in which the bride was carried from her father's house to her husband's. The Septuagint render it by a word near in sound to that in the Hebrew text, and was the "lectica" of the ancients, somewhat like our "sedan"; some of which were adorned with gold and precious stones, and had silver feet (y), or pillars, as follows: it seems upon the whole to be the nuptial chariot in which, according to Pausanias (z), three only were carried, the bride, who sat in the middle, then the bridegroom, and then the friend of the bridegroom: 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 (a): and by this "chariot" may be meant either the human nature of Christ, in which he descended and ascended to heaven; or his church, in which he shows himself to his people in his ordinances, where he rides in triumph, conquering and to conquer, by his Spirit and grace, in his word; or the covenant of grace, in which Christ shows the freeness and sovereignty of his love in being the Mediator, surety, and messenger of it; and in which his people are bore up and supported under and carried through many trials and exercises in this life, and are brought triumphantly to heaven; or rather the Gospel, and the ministration of it, in which Christ shows himself as in a chariot, in the glory of his person, offices, grace, and love; in this he is carried up and down in the world, Acts 9:15; and by it is conveyed to the souls of men; and in it he triumphs over his enemies, and causes his ministers to triumph also: and he is the subject, sum, and substance of it, and the alone author of it; for he is the Solomon here spoken of that made it; it is not a device of men's, but a revelation of his, and therefore called "the Gospel of Christ"; and which he gives to men to preach, a commission to preach it, and qualifications for it: and this he does "for himself", to set forth the glories of his person and office, to display the riches of his grace, and to show himself to be the only way of salvation to host sinners: and this chariot being said to be "of the wood of Lebanon", cedar, which is both incorruptible and of a good smell; may denote the uncorruptness of the Gospel, as dispensed by faithful ministers, and the continuance and duration of it, notwithstanding the efforts of men and devils to the contrary; and the acceptableness of it to the saints, to whom is the savour of life unto life; and it being a nuptial chariot that seems designed, it agrees with the Gospel, in the ministry of which souls are brought to Christ, and espoused as a chaste virgin to him, 2 Corinthians 11:2.
(u) "thalamum sponsarum", Montanus. (w) So Schmidt, Marckius, David de Pomis, Kimchi in Sopher Shorash. rad. & Ben Melech in loc. (x) Sotah, c. 9. s. 14. & Jarchi in ibid. (y) Vid. Alstorph. de Lecticis Veter. c. 3.((z) Vid. Suidam in voce (a) Agreement of Customs between the East Indians and Jews, artic. 17. p. 68.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. chariot—more elaborately made than the "bed" or travelling litter (So 3:7), from a Hebrew root, "to elaborate" [Ewald]. So the temple of "cedar of Lebanon," as compared with the temporary tabernacle of shittim wood (2Sa 7:2, 6, 7; 1Ki 5:14; 6:15-18), Jesus Christ's body is the antitype, "made" by the Father for Him (1Co 1:30; Heb 10:5), the wood answering to His human nature, the gold, His divine; the two being but one Christ.
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