Proverbs 7:17
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
7:6-27 Here is an affecting example of the danger of youthful lusts. It is a history or a parable of the most instructive kind. Will any one dare to venture on temptations that lead to impurity, after Solomon has set before his eyes in so lively and plain a manner, the danger of even going near them? Then is he as the man who would dance on the edge of a lofty rock, when he has just seen another fall headlong from the same place. The misery of self-ruined sinners began in disregard to God's blessed commands. We ought daily to pray that we may be kept from running into temptation, else we invite the enemies of our souls to spread snares for us. Ever avoid the neighbourhood of vice. Beware of sins which are said to be pleasant sins. They are the more dangerous, because they most easily gain the heart, and close it against repentance. Do nothing till thou hast well considered the end of it. Were a man to live as long as Methuselah, and to spend all his days in the highest delights sin can offer, one hour of the anguish and tribulation that must follow, would far outweigh them.The love of perfumes is here, as in Isaiah 3:24, a sign of luxurious vice.

Cinnamon - The Hebrew word is identical with the English. The spice imported by the Phoenician traders from the further East, probably from Ceylon, has kept its name through all changes of language.

17. bed—a place for sleeping. No text from Poole on this verse.

I have perfumed my bed,.... As she had made it entertaining to the senses of seeing and feeling, it being showy and gaudy, soft and easy; so to the sense of smelling; and all to provoke lust, and draw into her embraces; by censing it with incense, as Donesh in Jarchi; or by sprinkling (s) a liquor, made of the following spices, on the head, posts, and sides of the bed, to remove all ill scents, and make it more acceptable; so the Targum, Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, and all the Oriental versions, render it, "I sprinkled my bed": or, it may be, by suffumigation, which women are said to use with their garments and bed clothes (t). Even this the harlot did,

with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon; all odorous, and of a sweet smell: Horace (u) speaks of the anointed beds of such persons; and of the above spices ointments were made, with which the harlot's bed might be perfumed. Cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, are reckoned among the wares of Babylon, or the church of Rome, Revelation 18:13.

(s) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 1.((t) Clemens Alex. Paedagog. l. 2. c. 8. p. 177. (u) "Uctis cubilibus pellicum", Epod. Ode. 5. v. 69, 70.

I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. perfumed] or sprinkled, R.V. marg.; διέῤῥαγκα, LXX.; aspersi, Vulg. No sensual gratification shall be wanting. For a similar perfuming of garments see Psalm 45:8; Song of Solomon 3:6; Song of Solomon 4:14.

Verse 17. - I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. The substances mentioned were dissolved in or mixed with water, and then sprinkled on the couch. The love of such things is reckoned as a sign of luxury and vice (Isaiah 3:20, etc.). The three perfumes are mentioned together in Song of Solomon 4:14; "myrrh, aloes, and cassia," in Psalm 45:8. Septuagint, "I have sprinkled my couch with saffron, and my house with cinnamon." Myrrh is nowadays imported chiefly from Bombay, but it seems to be found in Arabia and on the coasts of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. It is a gummy substance exuding from the bark of the balsamodendron when wounded, and possessing an aromatic odour not particularly agreeable to modern tastes. It was one of the ingredients of the holy oil (Exodus 30:28), and was used in the purification of women (Esther 2:12), as well as in perfuming persons and things, and, mixed with aloes, in embalming dead bodies (John 19:39). Aloes is the inspissated juice of the leaves of the aloe, a leguminous plant growing in India, Cochin China, Abyssinia, and Socotra. The ancients used the dried root for aromatic purposes. It is mentioned by Balaam (Numbers 24:6). Cinnamon, which is the same word in Hebrew and Greek, is the fragrant bark of a tree growing in Ceylon and India and the east coast of Africa. Proverbs 7:17These verses remind us of expressions in the Canticles. There, at Proverbs 4:14, are found the three names for spicery as here, and one sees that מר אהלים are not to be connected genitively: there are three things, accented as in the title-verse Proverbs 1:3. The myrrh, מר (Balsamodendron myrrha), belongs, like the frankincense, to the species of the Amyris, which is an exotic in Palestine not less than with us; the aromatic quality in them does not arise from the flowers or leaves, so that Sol 1:13 leads us to think of a bunch of myrrh, but from the resin oozing through the bark (Gummi myrrhae or merely myrrha), consisting of bright glossy red or golden-yellow grains more or less transparent. אהלים (used by Balaam, Numbers 24:6) is the Semitic Old-Indian name of the alo, agaru or aguru; the aromatic quality is in the wood of the Aquilaria agallocha, especially its root (agallochum or lignum aloes) dried in the earth - in more modern use and commerce the inspissated juice of its leaves. קנּמון is κιννάμωμον (like מר, a Semitic word

(Note: Myrrh has its name מר from the bitterness of its taste, and קנם appears to be a secondary formation from קנה, whence קנה, reed; cf. the names of the cinnamon, cannella, Fr. cannelle. Cinnamum (κίνναμον) is only a shorter form for cinnamomum. Pliny, Hist. Nat. xii. 19 (42), uses both forms indiscriminately.)

that had come to the Greeks through the Phoenicians), the cinnamon, i.e., the inner rind of the Laurus cinnamomum. The myrrh is native to Arabia; the alo, as its name denotes, is Indian; the cinnamon in like manner came through Indian travellers from the east coast of Africa and Ceylon (Taprobane). All these three spices are drugs, i.e., are dry apothecaries' wares; but we are not on that account to conclude that she perfumed (Hitzig) her bed with spices, viz., burnt in a censer, an operation which, according to Sol 3:6, would rather be designated קטּרתּי. The verb נוּף (only here as Kal) signifies to lift oneself up (vid., under Psalm 48:13), and transitively to raise and swing hither and thither ( equals חניף); here with a double accusative, to besprinkle anything out of a vessel moved hither and thither. According to this sense, we must think of the three aromas as essences in the state of solution; cf. Exodus 30:22-33; Esther 2:12. Hitzig's question, "Who would sprinkle bed-sheets with perfumed and thus impure water?" betrays little knowledge of the means by which even at the present day clean linen is made fragrant. The expression רוה דּודים sounds like שׁכר דודים, Sol 5:1, although there דודים is probably the voc., and not, as here, the accus.; רוה is the Kal of רוּה, Proverbs 5:19, and signifies to drink something copiously in full draughts. The verbal form עלס for עלץ is found besides only in Job 20:18; Job 39:13; the Hithpa. signifies to enjoy oneself greatly, perhaps (since the Hithpa. is sometimes used reciprocally, vid., under Genesis 2:25) with the idea of reciprocity (Targ. חר לצד). We read boohabim with Chateph-Kametz after Ben-Asher (vid., Kimchi's Lex.); the punctuation בּאהבים is that of Ben-Naphtali.

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