Ecclesiastes 2:5
I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Orchards.—Rather, parks. The word, which occurs also in Song of Solomon 4:3, Nehemiah 2:8, is originally Persian, and passed into the Greek and into modern languages in the form of “paradise” (Luke 23:43; 2Corinthians 12:4; and in LXX., Genesis 2:10; Genesis 13:10; Numbers 24:6; Isaiah 1:30; Ecclesiasticus 24:30; Susan. 5:4). Parks and trees giving, not only fruit, but shade from the hot Eastern sun, were an almost necessary part of kingly luxury. The king’s garden is spoken of in 1Kings 21:2; 2Kings 21:18; 2Kings 25:4; Nehemiah 3:15.

2:1-11 Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men's hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.Orchards - literally, "paradises," i. e., parks or pleasure-grounds (compare Nehemiah 2:8 note). Indications of at least three of these have been pointed out; one at Jerusalem near the pool of Siloam, called "the king's garden" Nehemiah 3:15; Jeremiah 52:7; a second near Bethlehem (compare Ecclesiastes 2:6); and a third in the remote north, on the heights of Hermon Sol 4:8; Sol 8:11. 5. gardens—Hebrew, "paradises," a foreign word; Sanskrit, "a place enclosed with a wall"; Armenian and Arabic, "a pleasure ground with flowers and shrubs near the king's house, or castle." An earthly paradise can never make up for the want of the heavenly (Re 2:7). I made me gardens, Heb. paradises, or gardens of pleasure.

I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits, mixing pleasure and profit together.

I made me gardens and orchards,.... Of the king's garden, we read Jeremiah 39:4. Adrichomius (b) makes mention of a royal garden in the suburbs of Jerusalem, fenced with walls; and was a paradise of fruit trees, herbs, spices, and flowers; abounded with all kind of fruit, exceeding pleasant and delightful to the senses: and, as Solomon was so great a botanist, and knew the nature and use of all kinds of trees and herbs, 1 Kings 4:33; no doubt but he has a herbal garden, well stocked with everything of that kind, curious and useful; see 1 Kings 21:2. Gardens are made for pleasure as well as profit; Adam, as soon as created, was put into a garden, to add to his natural pleasure and felicity, as well as for his employment, Genesis 2:8; and the pleasure of walking in a garden, and partaking of the fruits of it, are alluded to by Solomon, Sol 4:12;

and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits; which, as before observed, he had thorough knowledge of, and many of which were brought him from foreign parts; and all served to make his gardens, orchards, parks, forests, and enclosures, very pleasant and delectable. The Targum adds,

"some for food, others for drink, and others for medicine.''

(b) Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 170.

I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. I made me gardens and orchards] The latter word, originally Persian, and found only in the O. T. in this book, in Song Song of Solomon 4:13, and Nehemiah 2:8, is the “paradise” of Xenophon, of later Rabbinic writings and of the New Testament (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4). It indicates what we call a park, with flowing streams and shady groves and fruit trees, and deer feeding on the fresh green grass, and doves flitting through the trees, such as seemed to the Eastern imagination the fittest type of the highest blessedness. The whole scenery of the Song of Solomon is such a garden, planted with pomegranates and pleasant fruits, spikenards and camphire, calamus and cinnamon, and trees of frankincense, and lilies (Song Song of Solomon 4:13-15; Song of Solomon 6:2). The pools of Solomon at Etam, on the south-west of Bethlehem, described by Josephus (Ant. viii. 7. 3) still preserve the memory of such a “paradise.” Other traces of these surroundings of the palaces of Jewish kings are found in the history of Naboth’s vineyard, where the “garden of herbs” can hardly be thought of as merely a “kitchen garden” (1 Kings 21:2) and in the garden of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 52:7).

all kind of fruits] The horticulture of Palestine included the apple, the fig, the pomegranate, the date, the caper-tree, nuts, almonds, raisins and mandrakes. The account is in strict keeping with the character of the king who spake of trees “from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop on the wall” (1 Kings 4:33).

Verse 5. - I made me gardens and orchards. Solomon's love of gardens appears throughout the Canticles (Song of Solomon 6:2, etc.). He had a king's garden on the slope of the hills south of the city (2 Kings 25:4); and Beth-hacchemm, "the House of the Vine," at Ain Karim, about six miles east of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 6:1); and at Baal-hamon another extensive vineyard (Song of Solomon 8:11). The word rendered "orchard" (parder) occurs also in Song of Solomon 4:13 and Nehemiah 2:8. It is a Persian word, and passed into the Greek form παράδειος (Xenophon, 'Anab.,' 1:2.7), meaning "a park" planted with forest and fruit trees, and containing herds of animals. It is probably derived from the Zend oairidaeza," an enclosure." (For the trees in such parks, see Song of Solomon 4:13, 14; and for an estimate of Solomon's works, Josephus, 'Ant.,' 8:07. 3.) Ecclesiastes 2:5"I undertook great works, built me houses, planted me vineyards. I made me gardens and parks, and planted therein all kinds of fruit-trees. I made me water-pools to water therewith a forest bringing forth trees." The expression, "I made great my works," is like Ecclesiastes 1:16; the verb contains the adj. as its obj. The love of wisdom, a sense of the beautiful in nature and art, a striving after splendour and dignity, are fundamental traits in Solomon's character. His reign was a period of undisturbed and assured peace. The nations far and near stood in manifold friendly relations with him. Solomon was "the man of rest," 1 Chronicles 22:9; his whole appearance was as it were the embodied glory itself that had blossomed from out of the evils and wars of the reign of David. The Israelitish commonwealth hovered on a pinnacle of worldly glory till then unattained, but with the danger of falling and being lost in the world. The whole tendency of the time followed, as it were, a secular course, and it was Solomon first of all whom the danger of the love of the world, and of worldly conformity to which he was exposed, brought to ruin, and who, like so many of the O.T. worthies, began in the spirit and ended in the flesh. Regarding his buildings, - the house of the forest of Lebanon, the pillared hall (porch), the hall of judgment, the palace intended for himself and the daughter of Pharaoh, - vid. the description in 1 Kings 7:1-12, gathered from the annals of the kingdom; 1 Kings 9:15-22 equals 2 Chronicles 8:3-6, gives an account of Solomon's separate buildings (to which also the city of Millo belongs), and of the cities which he built; the temple, store-cities, treasure-cities, etc., are naturally not in view in the passage before us, where it is not so much useful buildings, as rather buildings for pleasure (1 Kings 9:19), that are referred to. Vineyards, according to 1 Chronicles 27:27, belonged to David's royal domain; a vineyard in Baal-hamon which Solomon possessed, but appears at a later period to have given up, is mentioned at the close of the Song. That he was fond of gardening, appears from manifold expressions in the Song; delight in the life and movements of the natural world, and particularly in plants, is a prominent feature in Solomon's character, in which he agrees with Shulamith. The Song; Sol 6:2, represents him in the garden at the palace. We have spoken under the Song; Sol 6:11., of the gardens and parks at Etam, on the south-west of Bethlehem. Regarding the originally Persian word pardēs (plur. pardesim, Mishnic pardesoth), vid., under Sol 4:13; regarding the primary meaning of berēchah (plur. const. berēchoth, in contradistinction to birchoth, blessings), the necessary information is found under Sol 7:5. These Solomonic pools are at the present day to be seen near old Etam, and the clause here denoting a purpose, "to water from them a forest which sprouted trees, i.e., brought forth sprouting trees," is suitable to these; for verbs of flowing and swarming, also verbs of growing, thought of transitively, may be connected with obj. - accus., Ewald, 281b; cf. under Isaiah 5:6. Thus, as he gave himself to the building of houses, the care of gardens, and the erection of pools, so also to the cultivation of forests, with the raising of new trees.

Another means, wisely considered as productive of happiness, was a large household and great flocks of cattle, which he procured for himself.

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