|New International Version (©2011)|
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.
New Living Translation (©2007)
You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your eyes are like doves behind your veil. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
English Standard Version (©2001)
Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"How beautiful you are, my darling, How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves behind your veil; Your hair is like a flock of goats That have descended from Mount Gilead.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
M How beautiful you are, my darling. How very beautiful! Behind your veil, your eyes are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down Mount Gilead.
International Standard Version (©2012)
Look at you! You are beautiful, my darling. Look at you! You are so beautiful. Your eyes behind your veil are doves, your hair is like a flock of goats coming down from Mt. Gilead.
NET Bible (©2006)
Oh, you are beautiful, my darling! Oh, you are beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are like doves. Your hair is like a flock of female goats descending from Mount Gilead.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Look at you! You are beautiful, my true love. Look at you! You are so beautiful. Your eyes behind your veil are like doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats moving down Mount Gilead.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Behold, you are fair, my love; behold, you are fair; you have doves' eyes behind your veil: your hair is like a flock of goats, going down from mount Gilead.
American King James Version
Behold, you are fair, my love; behold, you are fair; you have doves' eyes within your locks: your hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
American Standard Version
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; Thine eyes are as doves behind thy veil. Thy hair is as a flock of goats, That lie along the side of mount Gilead.
How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou! thy eyes are doves' eyes, besides what is hid within. Thy hair is as flocks of goats, which Come up from mount Galaad.
Darby Bible Translation
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; Thine eyes are doves behind thy veil; Thy hair is as a flock of goats, On the slopes of mount Gilead.
English Revised Version
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves behind thy veil: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that lie along the side of mount Gilead.
Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
World English Bible
Behold, you are beautiful, my love. Behold, you are beautiful. Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is as a flock of goats, that descend from Mount Gilead.
Young's Literal Translation
Lo, thou art fair, my friend, lo, thou art fair, Thine eyes are doves behind thy veil, Thy hair as a row of the goats That have shone from mount Gilead,
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-7 If each of these comparisons has a meaning applicable to the graces of the church, or of the faithful Christian, they are not clearly known; and great mistakes are made by fanciful guesses. The mountain of myrrh appears to mean the mountain Moriah, on which the temple was built, where the incense was burned, and the people worshipped the Lord. This was his residence till the shadows of the law given to Moses were dispersed by the breaking of the gospel day, and the rising of the Sun of righteousness. And though, in respect of his human nature, Christ is absent from his church on earth, and will continue to be so till the heavenly day break, yet he is spiritually present in his ordinances, and with his people. How fair and comely are believers, when justified in Christ's righteousness, and adorned with spiritual graces! when their thoughts, words, and deeds, though imperfect, are pure, manifesting a heart nourished by the gospel!
Verse 1. - Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves behind thy veil; thine hair is as a flock of goats, that lie along the side of Mount Gilead. We commence, at this verse, the loving converse of the bridegroom with the bride, which we must suppose is heard as they travel together in the bridal procession. The words of adoring affection are chiefly spoken by the bridegroom, as is natural in the circumstances, and the reference to the journey, and its consummation in ver. 8, make it certain that the intention is to carry us in thought to the palanquin and the breathings of first love in bridal joy. The poetry is exquisite and truly Eastern, while yet absolutely chaste and pure. The praise of the eyes is common in all erotic poetry. Her eyes gleam, in colour, motion, and lustre, like a pair of doves from behind the veil; showing that the bride is thought of as travelling. The bride was always deeply veiled (see Genesis 24:65), as the Roman bride wore the velum flamineum. The LXX. have mistaken the meaning, rendering, ἐκτὸς τῇς σιωπήσεώς. The veil might typify silence or reserve, but the word is tsammah, which is from a root "to veil," and is righty rendered by Symmachus κάλυμμα. The hair was long and dark, and lay down the shoulders uncovered and free, which added much to the graceful attraction of the bride. In later times it was customary for the hair to be adorned with a wreath of myrtle or roses, or a golden ornament representing Jerusalem. The goats in Syria and the neighbouring countries are mostly black or dark brown, while the sheep are white. Delitzsch says, "A flock of goats encamped upon a mountain (rising up, to one looking from a distance, as in a steep slope and almost perpendicularly), and as if hanging down lengthwise on its sides, presents a lovely view adorning the landscape." It would be especially lovely amid the romantic scenery of Gilead. The, verb rendered "lie along" is otherwise taken by the LXX., ἀπεκαλύφησαν, and by the Vulgate ascenderunt. The rabbis differ from one another in their renderings. One says, "which, look, down;" another, "make bare," "quit," or "descend;" another, "are seen." The modern translators vary. Luther says, "shorn;" Houbigant, "hang down;" Kleuken and Ewald, "shows itself;" Gesenius and others, "lie down;" Ginsburg, "rolling down," "running down." Our Revised Version gives, lie along, which is a very probable meaning. The reference is to the luxuriance and rich colour of the hair. Gilead would be a recollection of the bride's native place.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair,.... The same as in Sol 1:15; here repeated by Christ, to introduce the following commendation; to express the greatness of his love to his church; and show that he had the same opinion of her, and esteem for her, notwithstanding what had passed between that time and this;
thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks; the same comparison; see Gill on Sol 1:15; only with this difference, here her eyes are said to be "within her locks": which, whether understood of the ministers of the Gospel; or of the eyes of the understanding, particularly of, the eye of faith, as has been observed on the above place; do not seem so much to design the imperfection of the sight of the one or of the other, in the present state, as eyes within or under locks and in some measure covered with them, hinder the sight of them; as the modesty of either of them; locks being decently tied up, as the word signifies (i), is a sign thereof, as the contrary is a sign of boldness and wantonness. Doves' eyes themselves are expressive of modesty and humility, and, this phrase added to them, increases the idea; such ministers, who have the largest gifts, greatest grace, light, and knowledge, are the most humble, witness the Apostle Paul; and this phrase expresses the beauty of them, not only in the eyes of Christ, but in the eyes of those to whom they publish the good tidings of salvation: and so it may denote what an exceeding modest grace faith is, which receives all from Christ, and gives him all the glory, and takes none to itself; and what a beauty there is in it, insomuch that Christ is ravished with it, Sol 4:9; and seems rather to be the sense here;
thy hair is as a flock of goats; like the hair of goats, so Ben Melech. Hair adds much to the comeliness of persons, and is therefore frequently mentioned, both with respect to the bride and bridegroom, in this song, Sol 5:1; and so in all poems of this kind (k); and one part of the comeliness of women lies in their hair;
"let a woman, says Apuleius (l), be adorned with ever such fine garments, and decked with gold and jewels, yet, without this ornament, she will not be pleasing; no, not Verus herself.''
The women (m) in Homer, are described by their beautiful hair; nor is it unusual to compare the hair of women, and represent it as superior to a fleece of the choicest flock (n). And here the church's hair is said to be like the hair of goats, for that is the sense of the expression; and which is thought to be most like to human hair, 1 Samuel 19:13; and it is compared to that, not so much for its length and sleekness, as for its colour, being yellowish; which, with women formerly, was in esteem, and reckoned graceful (o); this being the colour of the hair of some of the greatest beauties, as Helena, Philoxena, and others, whose hair was flaxen and yellow; hence great care was taken to make it look so, even as yellow as gold (p): the Jewish women used to have their perukes, or false hair, of goats' hair, and still have in some places to this day (q); and it should seem the Roman women also had, to which the poet (r) refers. And the church's hair here is said to be like the hair of a flock of goats,
that appear from Mount Gilead; or rather "on Mount Gilead", as Noldius: Gilead was a mountain in the land of Israel, beyond Jordan, famous for pasturage for cattle, where flocks of goats were fed, as was usual on mountains (s); and, being well fed, their hair was long, smooth, neat, and glistering; and so to spectators, at a distance, looked very beautiful and lovely; especially in the morning at sun rising, and, glancing on them with its bright and glittering rays, were delightful. So R. Jonah, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, which signifies the morning, interprets it, which "rise early in the morning"; and which, as Schultens (t) observes, some render,
"leading to water early in the morning;''
the Vulgate Latin version is, "that ascend from Mount Gilead", from a lower to a higher part of it; which is approved of by Bochart (u). Now the hair of the church may be interpreted either of believers, the several members of the church of Christ; the hairs of the head are numerous, grow upon the head, and have their nourishment from it; are weak in themselves, but depend upon the head, and are an ornament to it: so the saints, though few in comparison of the world, yet by themselves are a great number, which no man can number; these grow upon Christ, the Head of the church, and receive their nourishment from him; and, though weak in themselves, have strength from him, and have their dependence on him; and are an ornament and crown of glory to him; and who are cared for and numbered by him, so that no one can be lost; see Ezekiel 5:1. Or rather it may be interpreted of the outward conversation of the saints; hair is visible, is a covering, and an ornament, when taken care of, and managed aright, and has its dependence and is influenced by the head: the good conversation of the church and its members is visible to all, as the hair of the head, and as a flock of goats on Mount Gilead; and is a covering, though not from divine justice, yet from the reproaches of men; is ornamental to believers, and to the doctrine they profess; especially when their conversation is ordered aright, according to the weird of God, and is influenced by grace, communicated from Christ, the Head.
(i) "intra ligamina tua", some in Vatablus; "vittam suam", Cocceius; "constrictam comam tuam", Michaelis, so Jarchi. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 2. Ode 11. v. 23, 24. (k) Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. Nupt. Honor. Ode 1. v. 12. (l) Metamorph. l. 2.((m) Juno, Iliad. 10. v. 5. Diana, Odyss. 20. v. 80. Minerva, Iliad. 6. v. 92. Latona, Iliad. 1. v. 36. & 19. v. 413. Circe, Odyss. 10. v. 136, 220, 310. Calypso, Odyss. 5. v. 30. Helena, Iliad. 3. v. 329. & passim; Thetis, Iliad. 18. v. 407. & 20. v. 207. Ceres, Odyss. 5. v. 125. Nymphs and others, Odyss. 6. v. 222, 238. & 12. v. 132. & 19. v. 542. So Venus is described by Claudian. de Nupt. Honor. v. 99. "Casariem tunc forte Venus subnixa corusco fingebat solio". (n) "Quae crine vincit Boetici gregis vellus", Martial. l. 5. Ephesians 38. (o) "Nondum illi flavum", &c. Virgil. Aeneid. 4. prope finem. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 5. v. 4. Martial. Epigr. l. 5. Ephesians 65. (p) "Aurea Caesaries", Virgil. Aeneid. 8. v. 659. Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. de Rapt. Proserp. l. 3. v. 86. (q) Vid. Braunium de Vest. Sacerdot. l. 1. c. 9. p. 201. (r) "Hoedina tibi pelle", &c. Martial. Epigr. l. 12. Ephesians 38. (s) Theocrit. Idyll. 3. v. 1, 2.((t) Animadv. in loc. (u) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 5. col. 628.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1. Contrast with the bride's state by nature (Isa 1:6) her state by grace (So 4:1-7), "perfect through His comeliness put upon her" (Eze 16:14; Joh 15:3). The praise of Jesus Christ, unlike that of the world, hurts not, but edifies; as His, not ours, is the glory (Joh 5:44; Re 4:10, 11). Seven features of beauty are specified (So 4:1-5) ("lips" and "speech" are but one feature, So 4:3), the number for perfection. To each of these is attached a comparison from nature: the resemblances consist not so much in outward likeness, as in the combined sensations of delight produced by contemplating these natural objects.
doves'—the large melting eye of the Syrian dove appears especially beautiful amid the foliage of its native groves: so the bride's "eyes within her locks" (Lu 7:44). Maurer for "locks," has "veil"; but locks suit the connection better: so the Hebrew is translated (Isa 47:2). The dove was the only bird counted "clean" for sacrifice. Once the heart was "the cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Grace makes the change.
eyes—(Mt 6:22; Eph 1:18; contrast Mt 5:28; Eph 4:18; 1Jo 2:16). Chaste and guileless ("harmless," Mt 10:16, Margin; Joh 1:47). John the Baptist, historically, was the "turtledove" (So 2:12), with eye directed to the coming Bridegroom: his Nazarite unshorn hair answers to "locks" (Joh 1:29, 36).
hair … goats—The hair of goats in the East is fine like silk. As long hair is her glory, and marks her subjection to man (1Co 11:6-15), so the Nazarite's hair marked his subjection and separation unto God. (Compare Jud 16:17, with 2Co 6:17; Tit 2:14; 1Pe 2:9). Jesus Christ cares for the minutest concerns of His saints (Mt 10:30).
appear from—literally, "that lie down from"; lying along the hillside, they seem to hang from it: a picture of the bride's hanging tresses.
Gilead—beyond Jordan: there stood "the heap of witness" (Ge 31:48).
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