How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is your love than wine! and the smell of your ointments than all spices!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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 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.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.
Built in terraces;
Thereon a thousand shields hang,
All the armour of heroes.
The tower of David, is, as it appears, "the tower of the flock," Micah 4:4, from which David surveyed the flock of his people. In Nehemiah 3:25. it is called the "tower which lieth out from the king's high house," i.e., not the palace, but a government house built on Zion, which served as a court of justice. But what is the meaning of the ἁπ. λεγ. תּלפּיּות? Grtz translates: for a prospect; but the Greek τηλωπός, of which he regards תל as the Heb. abstr., is a word so rare that its introduction into the Semitic language is on that account improbable. Hengst. translates: built for hanging swords; and he sees in the word a compound of תּל (from תּלה, with which forms such as יד equals jadj, שׁד equals shadj, שׁל, 2 Samuel 6:7, are compared) and פּיּות; but this latter word signifies, not swords, but edges of the (double-edged) sword; wherefore Kimchi (interpreting תּל as the constr. of תל, as אל, in בּצלאל, is of צל) explains: an erection of sharp-cornered stones; and, moreover, the Heb. language knows no such nmm. comp. appellativa: the names of the frog, צפרדּע, and the bat, עטלּף (cf. the Beth in [Arab.] sa'lab, fox, with the added Pe), are not such; and also tsalmāveth, the shadow of death, is at a later period, for the first time, restamped
(Note: Cf. regarding such double words belonging to the more modern Semitic language, Jesurun, pp. 232-236.)
as such from the original tsalmuth (cf. Arab. zalumat equals tenebrae). Gesen. obtains the same meanings; for he explains לתל by exitialibus (sc.,, armis), from an adj. תּלפּי, from תּלף equals Arab. talifa, to perish, the inf. of which, talaf, is at the present day a word synon. with halak (to perish); (Arab.) matlaf (place of going down) is, like ישׁמון, a poetic name of the wilderness. The explanation is acceptable but hazardous, since neither the Heb. nor the Aram. shows a trace of this verb; and it is thus to be given up, if תלף can be referred to a verbal stem to be found in the Heb. and Aram. This is done in Ewald's explanation, to which also Bttcher and Rdig. give the preference: built for close (crowded) troops (so, viz., that many hundreds or thousands find room therein); the (Arab.) verb aff, to wrap together (opp. nashar, to unfold), is used of the packing together of multitudes of troops (liff, plur. lufuf), and also of warlike hand-to-hand conflicts; תלף would be traced to a verb לפה synon. therewith, after the form תּאניּה. But if תלף were meant of troops, then they would be denoted as the garrison found therein, and it would not be merely said that the tower was built for such; for the point of comparison would then be, the imposing look of the neck, overpowering by the force of the impression proceeding from within. But now, in the Aram., and relatively in the Talm. Heb., not only לפף and לוּף occur, but also לפי (Af. אלפי), and that in the sense of enclosure, i.e., of joining together, the one working into the other, - e.g., in the Targ.: of the curtain of the tabernacle (בּית לופי, place of the joining together equals חברת or מחבּרת of the Heb. text); and in the Talm.: of the roofs of two houses (Bathra 6a, לוּפתּא, the joining)
(Note: The Arab. lafa, vi., proceeding from the same root-idea, signifies to bring in something again, to bring in again, to seek to make good again.).
Accordingly לתלף, if we interpret the Lamed not of the definition, but of the norm, may signify, "in ranks together." The Lamed has already been thus rendered by Dderl.: "in turns" (cf. לפת, to turn, to wind); and by Meier, Mr.: "in gradation;" and Aq. and Jerome also suppose that תלף refers to component parts of the building itself, for they understand
(Note: Vid., also Lagarde's Onomastica, p. 202: Θαλπιὼθ ἐπάλξη (read εἰς) ἤ ὑψηλά.)
pinnacles or parapets (ἐπάλξεις, propugnacula); as also the Venet.: εἰς ἐπάλξεις χιλίας. But the name for pinnacles is פּנּהּ, and their points, שׁמשׁות; while, on the contrary, תלף is the more appropriate name for terraces which, connected together, rise the one above the other. Thus to build towers like terraces, and to place the one, as it were, above the other, was a Babylonian custom.
(Note: Vid., Oppert's Grundzge der Assyr. Kunst (1872), p. 11.)
The comparison lies in this, that Shulamith's neck was surrounded with ornaments so that it did not appear as a uniform whole, but as composed of terraces. That the neck is represented as hung round with ornaments, the remaining portion of the description shows.
מגן signifies a shield, as that which protects, like clupeus (clypeus), perhaps connected with καλύπτειν and שׁלט, from שׁלט equals (Arab.) shalita, as a hard impenetrable armour. The latter is here the more common word, which comprehends, with מגן, the round shield; also צנּה, the oval shield, which covers the whole body; and other forms of shields. המּגן אלף, "the thousand shields," has the indicative, if not (vid., under Sol 1:11) the generic article. The appositional כּל שׁלטי הגּ is not intended to mean: all shields of (von) heroes, which it would if the article were prefixed to col and omitted before gibborim, or if כּלם, Sol 3:8, were used; but it means: all the shields of heroes, as the accentuation also indicates. The article is also here significant. Solomon made, according to 1 Kings 10:16., 200 golden targets and 300 golden shields, which he put in the house of the forest of Lebanon. These golden shields Pharaoh Shishak took away with him, and Rehoboam replaced them by "shields of brass," which the guards bore when they accompanied the king on his going into the temple (1 Kings 14:26-28; cf. 2 Chronicles 12:9-11); these "shields of David," i.e., shields belonging to the king's house, were given to the captains of the guard on the occasion of the raising of Joash to the throne, 2 Kings 11:10; cf. 2 Chronicles 23:9. Of these brazen shields, as well as of those of gold, it is expressly said how and where they were kept, nowhere that they were hung up outside on a tower, the tower of David. Such a display of the golden shields is also very improbable. We will perhaps have to suppose that 4b describes the tower of David, not as it actually was, but as one has to represent it to himself, that it might be a figure of Shulamith's neck. This is compared to the terraced tower of David, if one thinks of it as hung round by a thousand shields which the heroes bore, those heroes, namely, who formed the king's body-guard. Thus it is not strange that to the 200 + 300 golden shields are here added yet 500 more; the body-guard, reckoned in companies of 100 each, 2 Kings 11:4, is estimated as consisting of 1000 men. The description, moreover, corresponds with ancient custom. The words are עליו תּלוּי, not בּו תּלוּי; the outer wall of the tower is thought of as decorated with shields hung upon it. That shields were thus hung round on tower-walls, Ezekiel shows in his prophecy regarding Tyre, Ezekiel 27:11; cf. 1 Macc. 4:57, and supra foris Capitolinae aedis, Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxv. 3; and although we express the presumption that Solomon's imagination represented David's tower as more gorgeous than it actually was, yet we must confess that we are not sufficiently acquainted with Solomon's buildings to be able to pass judgment on this. These manifold inexplicable references of the Song to the unfolded splendour of Solomon's reign, are favourable to the Solomonic authorship of the book. This grandiose picture of the distinguished beauty of the neck, and the heightening of this beauty by the ornament of chains, is now followed by a beautiful figure, which again goes back to the use of the language of shepherds, and terminates the description:
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