The king in a lyric song of five stanzas commends the beauty of the bride:
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.Thou hast doves' eyes ... - Thine eyes are doves behind thy veil. So also in Sol 4:3; Sol 6:7; Isaiah 47:2, "veil" is better than "locks."
That appear from ... - Or, "that couch upon Mount Gilead." The point of comparison seems to be the multitudinousness of the flocks seen browsing on the verdant slopes of the rich pasture-lands Numbers 32:1; Micah 7:14.
Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.Whereof ... - Or, "all of them are equal pairs, and none is bereft among them," i. e., none has lost her mate. The points of comparison in this simile are of course brilliant whiteness, regularity, and completeness of number.
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.Thy speech is comely - Perhaps, "thy mouth," i. e., the organ of speech.
Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.The "tower of David" may be that mentioned in Nehemiah 3:25-27; Micah 4:8. For the custom of hanging shields and other weapons in and upon buildings suited for the purpose, see Ezekiel 27:10-11.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.Section Songs 4:7-5:1: The king meeting the bride in the evening of the same day, expresses once more his love and admiration in the sweetest and tenderest terms and figures. He calls her now "bride" (spouse, Sol 4:8) for the first time, to mark it as the hour of their espousals, and "sister-bride" (spouse, Sol 4:9-10, Sol 4:12; Sol 5:1), to express the likeness of thought and disposition which henceforth unites them. At the same time he invites her to leave for his sake her birthplace and its mountain neighborhood, and live henceforth for him alone.
Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.The order and collocation of words in the Hebrew is grand and significant. With me from Lebanon, O bride, with me from Lebanon thou shalt come, shalt look around (or wander forth) from the height (literally "head") of Amana, from the height of Shenir and Hermon, from dens of lions, from mountain-haunts of leopards. It is evidently a solemn invitation from the king in the sense of Psalm 45:10-11. Four peaks in the same mountain-system are here named as a poetical periphrasis for northern Palestine, the region in which is situated the native home of the bride.
(1) Amana (or Abana, 2 Kings 5:12), that part of the Anti-libanus which overlooks Damascus.
(3) Hermon, the celebrated mountain which forms the culminating point of the Anti-libanus, on the northeastern border of the holy land.
(4) Lebanon, properly the western range overlooking the Mediterranean, but here used as a common designation for the whole mountain system.
Leopards are still not unfrequently seen there, but the lion has long since disappeared.
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.The similes employed refer to the graces of adornment, speech, and gesture, as expressions of inward character and sentiment.
With one of thine eyes - Rather, with one look of thine.
How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.Honeycomb - literally, Thy lips distill a dropping (of pure honey). Compare the marginal references.
A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.The loveliness and purity of the bride are now set forth under the image of a paradise or garden fast barred against intruders, filled with rarest plants of excellent fragrance, and watered by abundant streams. Compare Proverbs 5:15-20.
Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,Orchard - This is the renderlng here and in Ecclesiastes 2:5 of "pardes" (see Nehemiah 2:8 note). The pomegranate was for the Jews a sacred fruit, and a characteristic product of the land of promise (compare Exodus 28:33-34; Numbers 20:5; Deuteronomy 8:8; 1 Kings 7:18, 1 Kings 7:20). It is frequently mentioned in the Song, and always in connection with the bride. It abounds to this day in the ravines of the Lebanon.
Camphire - Cyprus. See Sol 1:14 note.
Seven kinds of spices (some of them with Indian names, e. g. aloes, spikenard, saffron) are enumerated as found in this symbolic garden. They are for the most part pure exotics which have formed for countless ages articles of commerce in the East, and were brought at that time in Solomon's ships from southern Arabia, the great Indian Peninsula, and perhaps the islands of the Indian Archipelago. The picture here is best regarded as a purely ideal one, having no corresponding reality but in the bride herself. The beauties and attractions of both north and south - of Lebanon with its streams of sparkling water and fresh mountain air, of Engedi with its tropical climate and henna plantations, of the spice-groves of Arabia Felix, and of the rarest products of the distant mysterious Ophir - all combine to furnish one glorious representation, "Thou art all fair!"
Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.The bride's brief reply, declaring her affection for the king and willingness to belong to him.