Song of Solomon 1:16
Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
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(16) Our bed is green.—The heroine replies in similar terms of admiration, and recalls “the happy woodland places” in which they were wont to meet.

Song of Solomon 1:16-17. Behold, thou art fair — The church here again speaks, and retorts Christ’s words; thou, and thou only, art fair indeed; yea, pleasant — As thou art beautiful in thyself, so thou art amiable and pleasant in thy condescension to me. Also, our bed — This seems to denote the place where the church enjoys sweet fellowship with Christ, by his Spirit accompanying his ordinances; is green — Is pleasant, as that colour to the eye. The beams of our house are cedar — Not only strong, but also fragrant and delightful; and our rafters of fir — Or, rather, as the ancients and others render ברותים, of cypress; which also was strong and fragrant, and therefore suits well with cedar.

1:9-17 The Bridegroom gives high praises of his spouse. In the sight of Christ believers are the excellent of the earth, fitted to be instruments for promoting his glory. The spiritual gifts and graces which Christ bestows on every true believer, are described by the ornaments then in use, ver. 10,11. The graces of the saints are many, but there is dependence upon each other. He who is the Author, will be the Finisher of the good work. The grace received from Christ's fulness, springs forth into lively exercises of faith, affection, and gratitude. Yet Christ, not his gifts, is most precious to them. The word translated camphire, signifies atonement or propitiation. Christ is dear to all believers, because he is the propitiation for their sins. No pretender must have his place in the soul. They resolved to lodge him in their hearts all the night; during the continuance of the troubles of life. Christ takes delight in the good work which his grace has wrought on the souls of believers. This should engage all who are made holy, to be very thankful for that grace which has made those fair, who by nature were deformed. The spouse (the believer) has a humble, modest eye, discovering simplicity and godly sincerity; eyes enlightened and guided by the Holy Spirit, that blessed Dove. The church expresses her value for Christ. Thou art the great Original, but I am but a faint and imperfect copy. Many are fair to look at, yet their temper renders them unpleasant: but Christ is fair, yet pleasant. The believer, ver. 16, speaks with praise of those holy ordinances in which true believers have fellowship with Christ. Whether the believer is in the courts of the Lord, or in retirement; whether following his daily labours, or confined on the bed of sickness, or even in a dungeon, a sense of the Divine presence will turn the place into a paradise. Thus the soul, daily having fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enjoys a lively hope of an incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance above.Camphire - Rather, כפר kôpher," from which "cyprus" is probably derived (in the margin misspelled "cypress "),the name by which the plant called by the Arabs "henna" was known to the Greeks and Romans. It is still much esteemed throughout the East for the fragrance of its flowers and the dye extracted from its leaves. Engedi was famous for its vines, and the henna may have been cultivated with the vines in the same enclosures. 16. Reply of the Bride. She presumes to call Him beloved, because He called her so first. Thou callest me "fair"; if I am so, it is not in myself; it is all from Thee (Ps 90:17); but Thou art fair in Thyself (Ps 45:2).

pleasant—(Pr 3:17) towards Thy friends (2Sa 1:26).

bed … green—the couch of green grass on which the King and His bride sit to "rest at noon." Thus her prayer in So 1:7 is here granted; a green oasis in the desert, always found near waters in the East (Ps 23:2; Isa 41:17-19). The scene is a kiosk, or summer house. Historically, the literal resting of the Babe of Beth-lehem and his parents on the green grass provided for cattle (Lu 2:7, 12). In this verse there is an incidental allusion, in So 1:15, to the offering (Lu 2:24). So the "cedar and fir" ceiling refers to the temple (1Ki 5:6-10; 6:15-18); type of the heavenly temple (Re 21:22).

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved. The church here again speaks, and retorts Christ’s words upon himself: If I am fair, it is only by thy grace and favourable acceptation; thou, and thou only, art fair indeed, thy beauty is exquisite and perfect.

Pleasant; as thou art beautiful in thyself, so thou art amiable and pleasant in thy condescension to me, and converse with me, in communicating thy blessed counsels, and graces, and comforts to me. Our bed; either,

1. Upon which we sit at meat, as the manner then was, Esther 1:5,6 Eze 23:41. Or rather,

2. Upon which we lie, our nuptial bed; for the union and communion between Christ and his church is here represented under the notion of marriage. And accordingly the bed seems to denote the place or places where the church enjoyeth sweet fellowship with Christ, by his Spirit accompanying his ordinances, and imparting his merits, and graces, and comforts to her.

Is green; is pleasant, as that colour is to the eye; is prepared for us, being adorned with green garlands, or boughs and herbs, as the manner seems to have been with country brides, such as the spouse in this book is represented to be. Or, as others, both ancient and later interpreters, render it, is flourishing, i.e. fruitful. So it is a happy presage, that the church should not be barren, but bring forth many children to Christ; of which see Isaiah 54:1, &c. By these and the following words the church invites Christ to her bed and house, where she may freely and fully enjoy spiritual communion with him.

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved,.... These are the words of the church, giving back to Christ his commendation of her, and much in the same words, as more properly belonging to him than her; he calls her "my love", she calls him "my beloved": he says that she was "fair"; the same she says of him, with a like note of wonder, attention, and asseveration, he had prefixed to the commendation of her; suggesting, that his fairness and beauty were essential, original, and underived, but hers was all from him; and therefore he only ought to have the character: he, as man, is "fairer" than the children of men; as Mediator, is full of grace and truth, which makes him look lovely in the eyes of his people; and, as a divine Person, is the brightness of his Father's glory. To which she adds,

yea, pleasant; looks pleasantly, with a smiling countenance on his people, being the image of the invisible God; pleasant to behold, as the sun of righteousness, and Saviour of men; pleasant in all his offices and relations; the doctrines of his Gospel are pleasant words; his ways, his ordinances, are ways of pleasantness; and especially having his presence, and communion with him in them; and which may be designed in the next clause;

also our bed is green; the same with "his bed which is Solomon's"; his by gift and purchase; the church's, by having a right through him, and an admittance to all the privileges of it: where the word is preached, ordinances administered, souls are begotten and born again, there Christ and his church have fellowship with each other; said to be "green", in allusion to the strewing of beds with green herbs and leaves, and branches of trees (h); particularly the nuptial bed, called from thence "thalamus" (i): and it may denote the fruitfulness of the saints in grace and holiness, like green olive trees, in the house of God: or else numerous converts in the church, a large spiritual seed and offspring of Christ and the church, as were in the first times of the Gospel, and will be in the latter day: a green bed is an emblem of fruitfulness in the conjugal state; so the Targum and Jarchi interpret it.

(h) Vid. Alstorph. de Lectis Veterum, c. 1. p. 2. s. 9, 10. "Viridante toro consederat herbae", Virgil. Aeneid. 5. v. 388. "In medo torus est de mollibus ulvis impositus lecto", Ovid. Metamorph. 8. v. 685. (i) Alstorph. ibid. c. 13. p. 73, 74.

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our {u} bed is green.

(u) That is, the heart of the faithful, in which Christ dwells by his Spirit.

16. our bed is green] R.V. rightly, our couch. She recalls the green sward of the meadows, or possibly some leafy arbour where she had reclined with her beloved. Siegfried would understand the words of the marriage bed, sprinkled with sweet smelling substances; but that is incompatible with the following verse, and is moreover not supported by Psalm 92:10, where the word translated ‘green’ here is rendered by ‘fresh,’ for in all probability it ought to be translated ‘green’ there also, since the best kind of olive oil is green. Cp. Riehm’s Hdwb. 11. p. 1123.

Verse 16-ch. 2:1. - Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant; also our couch is green. The beams of our house are cedars, and our rafters are firs. I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley. We take these three verses together as being, in all probability, the address of the bride to her royal husband. This was the view taken by the Masoretic editors and preserved in our present pointing of the Hebrew, as we see in the masculine form of the first word, הִגֶּך, which replies to the feminine form in ver. 15, הִגָּך. The seventeenth verse is apparently abrupt. Why should the bride pass so suddenly from the general address of affection, "Thou art fair, thou art pleasant," to a particular description of a rural scene? The explanation suggested by some of the critics is not farfetched, that Solomon whispers to her that she shall go back with him to her country life if she pleases, or she reminds him of his promise made at some other time. Undoubtedly the point of Shulamith's response lies in ch. 2:1, "I am not at ease in this palatial splendour; I am by nature a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley. Take me to the green couch, and let me lie under the cedars and the firs." The couch is the divan (cf. Amos 6:4), from a root "to cover over" (like "canopy" in Greek, κωνωπεῖον, so called from its protecting the person under it from the κώνεπες, or "gnats). It is not that the nuptial bed is particularly intended, or even the bridal bower, but the home itself as a bowery resting place. "Our home is a sweet country home; take me, there, beloved one." The word "green" is very suggestive in the Hebrew. It is said to "combine in itself the ideas of softness and juicy freshness, perhaps of bending and elasticity, of looseness and thus of overhanging ramification, like weeping willow." Beams, from a root "to meet," "to lay crosswise," "to hold together." But the meaning depends upon the idea of the whole description. Some would render "fretted ceilings," or "galleries;" but Dr. Ginsburg gives it, "our bower is of cedar arches," which excludes the idea of a formal structure made of cedar beams. The same meaning is conveyed in the last clause, "our rafters are firs." The word rendered "rafters" (יָחִיט) literally signifies "a place upon which one runs" (like שׁוּק, a "street"), i.e. a charming or pleasant spot. The beroth is the cypress tree, an Aramaic word, or one used in the north of Palestine. The meaning is, "our pleasant retreat is cypresses" - is beautiful and fragrant with the cypress tree. Delitzsch, however, and others would take it differently as describing the panels or hollows of a wainscoted ceiling, like φατναί, lacunae, lacunaria, and the LXX., φατνωμάτα: Symmachus, φατνωσεῖς: Jerome, laquearii (cf. Isaiah 60:13). But the concluding words would then be unfitting. The bride is not describing a splendid palace, but a country home. "I am a tender maiden," she says, "who has been brought up in retirement; take me to a forest palace and to the green, fragrant surroundings, where the meadow flower, the valley lily will be happy." We are so accustomed to the rendering of Song of Solomon 2:1, which our Revised Version has adopted from the Authorized, that it would be wrong to destroy the effect which it borrows from long familiarity unless it were absolutely necessary. The word chavatseleth, however, has been differently translated; it is literally any wild flower - rose, saffron crocus (Colchieum autumnale), tulip, narcissus, lily. The crocus is, perhaps, nearest . to the meaning, as the name is probably derived from a root "to form bulbs" or bulbous knolls. It occurs only once again, in Isaiah 35:1, where it is rendered "rose" in the Authorized Version; LXX., ἄνθος: Vulgate, flos. Some derive it from the root chavaz, "to be bright," with ל as termination. Sharon may be here a general denomination of the open field or plain, from יָרַשׁ, "to be straight, plain." There was a district called Sharon on the coast from Joppa to Caesarea. There was another Sharon beyond the Jordan (see 1 Chronicles 5:16). According to Eusebius and Jerome, there was yet another, between Tabor and Tiberias, and this, as being in the north, may be referred to. Aquila renders "a rosebud of Sharon." The lily (shoshannah) is only found as here in the feminine form in the Apocrypha. The red and white lily were both known. Some would derive the word from the numeral (shesh) "six," because the liliaceae are six-leaved, while the rosaceae are five-leaved; but it is probably akin to shesh, "byssus," shayish, "white marbles" (cf. Hosea 14:5, "He shall bloom as a lily"). Our Lord's reference to "the lilies of the field" reminds us that they were in Palestine both very beautiful and very abundant. Zockler thinks it is not the strongly scented white lily (Lilium candidam) to which reference is made, but the red lily (Lilium rubens); but either will convey the same idea of a flower of the field which is meant. "My beauty is the beauty of nature - artless and pure."

Song of Solomon 1:1616 Behold, thou art comely, my beloved; yea charming;

     Yea, our couch is luxuriously green.

17 The beams of our house are cedars,

     Our wainscot of cypresses.

If Sol 1:16 were not the echo of her heart to Solomon, but if she therewith meant some other one, then the poet should at least not have used הנּך, but הנּה. Hitzig remarks, that up to "my beloved" the words appear as those of mutual politeness - that therefore נעים (charming) is added at once to distinguish her beloved from the king, who is to her insufferable. But if a man and a woman are together, and he says הנּכך and she says הנּך, that is as certainly an interchange of address as that one and one are two and not three. He praises her beauty; but in her eyes it is rather he who is beautiful, yea charming: she rejoices beforehand in that which is assigned to her. Where else would her conjugal happiness find its home but among her own rural scenes? The city with its noisy display does not please her; and she knows, indeed, that her beloved is a king, but she thinks of him as a shepherd. Therefore she praises the fresh green of their future homestead; cedar tops will form the roof of the house in which they dwell, and cypresses its wainscot. The bed, and particularly the bridal-bower (D. M. Z. xxii. 153), - but not merely the bed in which one sleeps, but also the cushion for rest, the divan (Amos 6:4), - has the name ערשׂ, from ערשׂ, to cover over; cf. the "network of goats' hair" (1 Samuel 19:13) and the κωνωπεῖον of Holofernes (Judith 10:21; 13:9), (whence our kanapee equals canopy), a bed covered over for protection against the κώνωπες, the gnats. רענן, whence here the fem. adj. accented on the ult., is not a word of colour, but signifies to be extensible, and to extend far and wide, as lentus in lenti salices; we have no word such as this which combines in itself the ideas of softness and juicy freshness, of bending and elasticity, of looseness, and thus of overhanging ramification (as in the case of the weeping willow). The beams are called קרות, from קרה, to meet, to lay crosswise, to hold together (cf. congingere and contignare). רחיטנוּ (after another reading, רח, from רחיט, with Kametz immutable, or a virtual Dag.) is North Palest. equals רה equals .tse (Kerı̂), for in place of רהטים, troughs (Exodus 2:16), the Samarit. has רחטים (cf. sahar and sahhar, circumire, zahar and zahhar, whence the Syr. name of scarlet); here the word, if it is not defect. plur. (Heiligst.), is used as collect. sing. of the hollows or panels of a wainscoted ceiling, like φάτναι, whence the lxx φατνώματα (Symm. φατνώσεις), and like lacunae, whence lacunaria, for which Jerome has here laquearia, which equally denotes the wainscot ceiling. Abulwald glosses the word rightly by מרזבים, gutters (from רהט, to run); only this and οἱ διάδρομοι of the Gr. Venet. is not an architectural expression, like רהיטים, which is still found in the Talm. (vid., Buxtorf's Lex.). To suppose a transposition from חריטנו, from חרט, to turn, to carve (Ew., Heiligst., Hitz.), is accordingly not necessary. As the ת in בּרותים belongs to the North Palest. (Galilean) form of speech,

(Note: Pliny, H. N. xxiv. 102, ed. Jan., notes brathy as the name of the savin-tree Juniperus sabina. Wetstein is inclined to derive the name of Beirut from ברות, as the name of the sweet pine, the tree peculiar to the Syrian landscape, and which, growing on the sandy hills, prevents the town from being filled with flying sand. The cypress is now called (Arab.) sanawbar; regarding its old names, and their signification in the figurative language of love, vid., under Isaiah 41:19.)

so also ח for ה in this word: an exchange of the gutturals was characteristic of the Galilean idiom (vid., Talm. citations by Frankel, Einl. in d. jerus. Talm. 1870, 7b). Well knowing that a mere hut was not suitable for the king, Shulamith's fancy converts one of the magnificent nature-temples of the North Palest. forest-solitudes into a house where, once together, they will live each for the other. Because it is a large house, although not large by art, she styles it by the poet. plur. bāattenu. The mystical interpretation here finds in Isaiah 60:13 a favourable support.

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