Song of Solomon 3:9
King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
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(9) A chariot.—Marg., bed; Heb., appiryôn. A word of very doubtful etymology. Its derivation has been sought in Hebrew, Persian, Greek, and Sanskrit. The LXX. render φορεῖον; Vulg., ferculum; and it seems natural, with Gesenius, to trace the three words to the root common in parah, φέρω, fero, fahren, bear, and possibly the sign of such a common origin in the Sanskrit pargana = a saddle (Hitzig). At all events, appiryôn must be a palanquin, or litter, both from the context, which describes the approach of a royal cortége, and from the description given of it, where the word translated covering suggests the notion of a movable litter, rather than of a State bed.

Song of Solomon 3:9-10. King Solomon made a chariot — In which the royal bridegroom and bride might ride together in state. By this chariot he seems to understand the word of Christ dispensed by his ministers, wherein Christ rides triumphantly in the world, conquering his enemies and subduing the world to the obedience of the gospel. Of the wood of Lebanon — Of cedars, which wood being incorruptible, doth fitly signify the word of the gospel, which endureth for ever, 1 Peter 1:25. He made the pillars thereof — There is no necessity that either this or the following particulars should be distinctly applied to several things in the gospel; this in the general may suffice, that as all the particulars are added to show the perfection and beauty of the chariot, so they imply that Christ’s word is every way amiable and perfect. The bottom thereof of gold — The under and lower part. Whereby he may seem to intend the foundation of the word and promises, which is either God’s covenant, or Christ’s mediation, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. The covering of it — The uppermost part of it. The midst — The inward parts: being paved — Covered and adorned; with love — The love of Christ to the sons of men. For the daughters of Jerusalem — For their delight and comfort, who all bear a part in this marriage.3:6-11 A wilderness is an emblem of the world; the believer comes out of it when he is delivered from the love of its sinful pleasures and pursuits, and refuses to comply with its customs and fashions, to seek happiness in communion with the Saviour. A poor soul shall come up, at last, under the conduct of the Comforter; like a cloud of incense ascending from the altar, or the smoke of the burnt-offerings. This signifies pious and devout affections, and the mounting of the soul heaven-ward. The believer is filled with the graces of God's Spirit; his devotions now are very lively. These graces and comforts are from the heavenly Canaan. He, who is the Peace of his people, the King of the heavenly Zion, has provided for the safe conveyance of his redeemed through the wilderness of this world. The bed, or palanquin, was contrived for rest and easy conveyance, but its beauty and magnificence showed the quality of its owner. The church is well guarded; more are with her than are against her: believers, when they repose in Christ, and with him, though they have their fears in the night, are yet safe. The chariot here denotes the covenant of redemption, the way of our salvation. This is that work of Christ, which makes him loved and admired in the eyes of believers. It is framed and contrived, both for the glory of Christ, and for the comfort of believers; it is well ordered in all things and sure. The blood of the covenant, that rich purple, is the cover of this chariot, by which believers are sheltered from the wind and storms of Divine wrath, and the troubles of this world; but the midst of it is that love of Christ which passes knowledge, this is for believers to repose upon. Christ, in his gospel, manifests himself. Take special notice of his crown. Applying this to Christ, it speaks the honour put upon him, and his power and dominion.A stately bed hath king Solomon made for himself of woods (or trees) of the Lebanon. The word rendered "bed" occurs nowhere else in Scripture, and is of doubtful etymology and meaning. It may denote here

(1) the bride's car or litter; or

(2) a more magnificent vehicle provided for her reception on her entrance into the city, and in which perhaps the king goes forth to meet her.

It has been made under Solomon's own directions of the costliest woods (ceda and pine) of the Lebanon; it is furnished with "pillars of silver" supporting a "baldachin" or "canopy of gold" (not "bottom" as in the King James Version), and with "a seat (not 'covering') of purple cushions," while "its interior is paved with (mosaic work, or tapestry of) love from (not 'for') the daughters of Jerusalem;" the meaning being that this part of the adornment is a gift of love, whereby the female chorus have testified their goodwill to the bride, and their desire to gratify the king.

9. chariot—more elaborately made than the "bed" or travelling litter (So 3:7), from a Hebrew root, "to elaborate" [Ewald]. So the temple of "cedar of Lebanon," as compared with the temporary tabernacle of shittim wood (2Sa 7:2, 6, 7; 1Ki 5:14; 6:15-18), Jesus Christ's body is the antitype, "made" by the Father for Him (1Co 1:30; Heb 10:5), the wood answering to His human nature, the gold, His divine; the two being but one Christ. A chariot, in which the royal Bridegroom and bride might ride together in state, as the manner was in the nuptial solemnities of such persons. By this chariot he seems to understand the word of Christ dispensed by his ministers in the church, whereby both Christ is exalted and rides triumphantly in the world, conquering his enemies, and subduing the world to the obedience of the gospel, and all believers are carried with safety and comfort through this present evil world, into those blessed mansions of heavenly glory.

Of the wood of Lebanon, i.e. of cedars, for which Lebanon was famous; which wood, being incorruptible, doth fitly signify the word of the gospel, which endureth forever, 1 Peter 1:25, and is called the everlasting gospel, Revelation 14:6, in opposition to the legal institutions, which were to continue only until the time of reformation, as we read Hebrews 9:10. King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. The word translated chariot is only used in this place; some render it a bride chamber (u); others a nuptial bed (w), such as is carried from place to place; it is used in the Misnah (x) for the nuptial, bed, or open chariot, in which the bride was carried from her father's house to her husband's. The Septuagint render it by a word near in sound to that in the Hebrew text, and was the "lectica" of the ancients, somewhat like our "sedan"; some of which were adorned with gold and precious stones, and had silver feet (y), or pillars, as follows: it seems upon the whole to be the nuptial chariot in which, according to Pausanias (z), three only were carried, the bride, who sat in the middle, then the bridegroom, and then the friend of the bridegroom: something of this kind is the "palki" or "palanquin" of the Indians, in which the bride and bridegroom are carried on the day of marriage on four men's shoulders (a): and by this "chariot" may be meant either the human nature of Christ, in which he descended and ascended to heaven; or his church, in which he shows himself to his people in his ordinances, where he rides in triumph, conquering and to conquer, by his Spirit and grace, in his word; or the covenant of grace, in which Christ shows the freeness and sovereignty of his love in being the Mediator, surety, and messenger of it; and in which his people are bore up and supported under and carried through many trials and exercises in this life, and are brought triumphantly to heaven; or rather the Gospel, and the ministration of it, in which Christ shows himself as in a chariot, in the glory of his person, offices, grace, and love; in this he is carried up and down in the world, Acts 9:15; and by it is conveyed to the souls of men; and in it he triumphs over his enemies, and causes his ministers to triumph also: and he is the subject, sum, and substance of it, and the alone author of it; for he is the Solomon here spoken of that made it; it is not a device of men's, but a revelation of his, and therefore called "the Gospel of Christ"; and which he gives to men to preach, a commission to preach it, and qualifications for it: and this he does "for himself", to set forth the glories of his person and office, to display the riches of his grace, and to show himself to be the only way of salvation to host sinners: and this chariot being said to be "of the wood of Lebanon", cedar, which is both incorruptible and of a good smell; may denote the uncorruptness of the Gospel, as dispensed by faithful ministers, and the continuance and duration of it, notwithstanding the efforts of men and devils to the contrary; and the acceptableness of it to the saints, to whom is the savour of life unto life; and it being a nuptial chariot that seems designed, it agrees with the Gospel, in the ministry of which souls are brought to Christ, and espoused as a chaste virgin to him, 2 Corinthians 11:2.

(u) "thalamum sponsarum", Montanus. (w) So Schmidt, Marckius, David de Pomis, Kimchi in Sopher Shorash. rad. & Ben Melech in loc. (x) Sotah, c. 9. s. 14. & Jarchi in ibid. (y) Vid. Alstorph. de Lecticis Veter. c. 3.((z) Vid. Suidam in voce (a) Agreement of Customs between the East Indians and Jews, artic. 17. p. 68.

King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
9. In this verse we have a continuation of the spectator’s or warder’s call to those who are looking out at the royal cavalcade from the house or palace where the Shulammite is. The speaker must be conceived as uttering an aside to those about him, giving a description of the miṭṭâh from his previous knowledge. Here he calls it an appiryôn, which the LXX translate by phǒreion, which means a litter in which one is borne. This is undoubtedly the correct meaning, but the derivation of the word is uncertain. It may be, as Cheyne says, Encycl. Bibl., art. ‘Canticles,’ a mere corruption.

the wood of Lebanon] Lit. the woods, i.e. the cedar and the cypress.Verses 9, 10. - King Solomon made himself a palanquin of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the seats of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, from the daughters of Jerusalem. The palanquin is described, that the attention may be kept fixed awhile on the bridal procession, which, of course, forms the kernel of the whole poem, as representing the perfect union of the bride and bridegroom. The Greek versions translate φορεῖον: the Vulgate, ferculum. We read in Athenaeus (5:13) that the philosopher and tyrant Athemon showed himself on "a silver-legged φορεῖον with purple coverlet." There probably is some connection between the Hebrew appiryon and the Greek phoreion, but it is exceedingly doubtful if the Hebrew is merely a lengthened form of the Greek. Delitzsch derives the Hebrew from a root parah, "to cut or carve" anything of wood. The Greek would seem to be connected with the verb φερω, "to bear," "carry." The resemblance may be a mere coincidence. The rabbinical tradition is that the Hebrew word means "couch, or litter." Hitzig connects it with the Sanscrit paryana, meaning "saddle," "riding saddle," with which we may compare the Indian paryang. "bed." Others find a Chaldee root for the word, פָרָא, "to run," as currus in Latin, or from a root גָּאַר, "to shine," i.e." to be adorned." At all events, it would not be safe to argue the late date of the book from such a word as appiryon, on account of its resemblance to a Greek word. The "wood of Lebanon" is, of course, the cedar or cypress (1 Kings 5:10, etc.). There may be a covert allusion intended to the decoration of the temple as the place where the honour of the Lord dwelleth, and where he meets his people. The frame of the palanquin was of wood, the ornaments of silver. The references to the high value set upon silver, while gold is spoken of as though it was abundant, are indications of the age in which the poem was composed, which must have been nearly contemporaneous with the Homeric poems, in which gold is spoken of similarly. Recent discoveries of the tomb of Agamemnon, etc., confirm the literary argument. The palanquins of India are also highly decorated. The daughters of Jerusalem, i.e. the ladies of the court, in their affection for King Solomon, have procured a costly tapestry, or several such, which they have spread over the purple cushion. Thus it is paved, or covered over, with the tokens of love - while all love is but a preparation for this supreme love. (For the purple coverings of the seat, see Judges 5:10; Amos 3:12; Proverbs 7:16.) The preposition מִן in the last clause is rendered differently by some, but there can be no doubt that the meaning is "on the part of," that is, coming from. The typical interpreter certainly finds a firm ground here. Whether we think of the individual believer or of the Church of God, the metaphor is very apt and beautiful - we are borne along towards the perfection of our peace and blessedness in a chariot of love. All that surrounds us speaks to us of the Saviour's love and of his royal magnificence, as he is adored by all the pure and lovely spirits in whose companionship he delights. Shulamith now relates what she further experienced when, impelled by love-sorrow, she wandered through the city:

3 The watchmen who go about in the city found me:

   "Have ye seen him whom my soul loveth?"

Here also (as in Sol 3:2) there is wanting before the question such a phrase as, "and I asked them, saying:" the monologue relates dramatically. If she described an outward experience, then the question would be a foolish one; for how could she suppose that the watchmen, who make their rounds in the city (Epstein, against Grtz, points for the antiquity of the order to Psalm 127:1; Isaiah 62:6; cf. Isaiah 21:11), could have any knowledge of her beloved! But if she relates a dream, it is to be remembered that feeling and imagination rise higher than reflection. It is in the very nature of a dream, also, that things thus quickly follow one another without fixed lineaments. This also, that having gone out by night, she found in the streets him whom she sought, is a happy combination of circumstances formed in the dreaming soul; an occurrence without probable external reality, although not without deep inner truth:

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