Song of Solomon 4:10
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!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
4:8-15 Observe the gracious call Christ gives to the church. It is, 1. A precept; so this is Christ's call to his church to come off from the world. These hills seem pleasant, but there are in them lions' dens; they are mountains of the leopards. 2. As a promise; many shall be brought as members of the church, from every point. The church shall be delivered from her persecutors in due time, though now she dwells among lions, Ps 57:4. Christ's heart is upon his church; his treasure is therein; and he delights in the affection she has for him; its working in the heart, and its works in the life. The odours wherewith the spouse is perfumed, are as the gifts and graces of the Spirit. Love and obedience to God are more pleasing to Christ than sacrifice or incense. Christ having put upon his spouse the white raiment of his own righteousness, and the righteousness of saints, and perfumed it with holy joy and comfort, he is well pleased with it. And Christ walks in his garden unseen. A hedge of protection is made around, which all the powers of darkness cannot break through. The souls of believers are as gardens enclosed, where is a well of living water, Joh 4:14; 7:38, the influences of the Holy Spirit. The world knows not these wells of salvation, nor can any opposer corrupt this fountain. Saints in the church, and graces in the saints, are fitly compared to fruits and spices. They are planted, and do not grow of themselves. They are precious; they are the blessings of this earth. They will be kept to good purpose when flowers are withered. Grace, when ended in glory, will last for ever. Christ is the source which makes these gardens fruitful; even a well of living waters.The similes employed refer to the graces of adornment, speech, and gesture, as expressions of inward character and sentiment.

Songs 4:9

With one of thine eyes - Rather, with one look of thine.

10. love—Hebrew, "loves"; manifold tokens of thy love.

much better—answering to her "better" (So 1:2), but with increased force. An Amoebean pastoral character pervades the Song, like the classic Amoebean idylls and eclogues.

wine—The love of His saints is a more reviving cordial to Him than wine; for example, at the feast in Simon's house (Lu 7:36, 47; Joh 4:32; compare Zec 10:7).

smell of … ointments than all spices—answering to her praise (So 1:3) with increased force. Fragrant, as being fruits of His Spirit in us (Ga 5:22).

How fair, how amiable and acceptable to me, is thy love! I do not disdain thy love, as I might do, but take it kindly, and prize it highly.

How much better is thy love than wine! of which See Poole "Song of Solomon 1:2", See Poole "Song of Solomon 1:4".

Of thine ointments; of the gifts and graces of God’s Spirit, wherewith thou art anointed. Compare Isaiah 61:1 1Jo 2:20,27.

How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse!.... Of these titles; see Gill on Sol 4:8; See Gill on Sol 4:9; and of the love of the church to Christ; see Gill on Sol 1:3; here said to be "fair", lovely and delightful, grateful and acceptable; as it is to Christ, in the several acts and effects of it, and therefore the word is plural, "thy loves" (r); being exceeding beautiful in his eye, and extremely well pleasing to him; therefore says, "how fair!" as admiring it, it being hard to say how fair it was; and this appears from the large manifestations of Christ's love to those that love him; and from his causing all things to work together for the good of such; and from his preparing and laying up things, unseen and unheard of, for them;

how much better is thy love than wine! which is saying the same thing of her love to him she says of his to her, Sol 1:2; her love to Christ is more pleasant, more cheering, and more acceptable to him, than the wine of legal sacrifices, or than all burnt offerings; or than any duty whatever, unless that is the principle from whence it flows, Mark 12:33;

and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! the same with Christ's ointments, commended Sol 1:3; namely, the graces of the Spirit, which are in Christ without measure, and from him communicated to his people; and when exercised by them, are very delightful to him, and preferred by him to "all spices": even to all those used in the holy anointing oil, typical of them, Exodus 30:23.

(r) "amores tui", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

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!
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. How fair is thy love] How sweet are thy caresses. In the next clause also, love should be caresses.

spices] Better, perfumes.

Verses 10, 11. - How fair is thy love, my sister, my bride! How much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all manner of spices! Thy lips, O my bride, drop as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. The expression of thy love, that is, the endearments, the embraces, are delightful. The allusion to the lips may be a mere amplification of the word "love," but it may also refer to speech, and we think of the nineteenth psalm and the description of the words and testimony of the Lord, "more to be desired than gold, and sweeter than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb" (cf. Genesis 27:27; Hosea 4:7; Psalm 45:9). The words of pure, inward joy flowing forth from the lips may be so described. So the Lord has said, in Isaiah 62:5, that he rejoiceth over his people as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride. Song of Solomon 4:10He proceeds still further to praise her attractions.

10 How fair is thy love, my sister-bride!

     How much better thy love than wine!

     And the fragrance of thy unguents than all spices!

11 Thy lips drop honey, my bride;

     Honey and milk are under thy tongue;

     And the fragrance of thy garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

Regarding the connection of the pluralet. דּודים with the plur. of the pred., vid., at Sol 1:2. The pred. יפוּ praises her love in its manifestations according to its impression on the sight; טבוּ, according to its experience on nearer intercourse. As in Sol 4:9 the same power of impression is attributed to the eyes and to the necklace, so here is intermingled praise of the beauty of her person with praise of the fragrance, the odour of the clothing of the bride; for her soul speaks out not only by her lips, she breathes forth odours also for him in her spices, which he deems more fragrant than all other odours, because he inhales, as it were, her soul along with them. נפת, from נפת, ebullire (vid., under Proverbs 5:3, also Schultens), is virgin honey, ἄκοιτον (acetum, Pliny, xi. 15), i.e., that which of itself flows from the combs (צוּפים). Honey drops from the lips which he kisses; milk and honey are under the tongue which whispers to him words of pure and inward joy; cf. the contrary, Psalm 140:4. The last line is an echo of Genesis 27:27. שׂלמה is שׂמלה (from שׂמל, complicare, complecti) transposed (cf. עלנה from עולה, כּשׂבּה from כּבשׂה). As Jacob's raiment had for his old father the fragrance of a field which God had blessed, so for Solomon the garments of the faultless and pure one, fresh from the woods and mountains of the north, gave forth a heart-strengthening savour like the fragrance of Lebanon (Hosea 4:7), viz., of its fragrant herbs and trees, chiefly of the balsamic odour of the apples of the cedar.

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