Song of Solomon 4:11
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
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Song of Solomon 4:11. Thy lips drop as the honey-comb — Thy speeches both to me in prayer and praises, and to men for their edification, are highly acceptable to me. Honey and milk are under thy tongue — Words more sweet and comfortable than honey or milk. The smell of thy garments — Of that righteousness wherewith I have adorned thee; is like the smell of Lebanon — Which was very sweet and grateful in regard of the great number of sweet-smelling spices and trees which grew on that mountain.

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.Honeycomb - literally, Thy lips distill a dropping (of pure honey). Compare the marginal references. 11. drop—always ready to fall, being full of honey, though not always (Pr 10:19) actually dropping (So 5:13; De 32:2; Mt 12:34).

honeycomb—(Pr 5:3; 16:24).

under thy tongue—not always on, but under, the tongue, ready to fall (Ps 55:21). Contrast her former state (Ps 140:3; Ro 3:13). "Honey and milk" were the glory of the good land. The change is illustrated in the penitent thief. Contrast Mt 27:44 with Lu 23:39, &c. It was literally with "one" eye, a sidelong glance of love "better than wine," that he refreshed Jesus Christ (So 4:9, 10). "To-day shalt thou be with Me (compare So 4:8) in Paradise" (So 4:12), is the only joyous sentence of His seven utterances on the cross.

smell of … garments—which are often perfumed in the East (Ps 45:8). The perfume comes from Him on us (Ps 133:2). We draw nigh to God in the perfumed garment of our elder brother (Ge 27:27; see Jude 23).

Lebanon—abounding in odoriferous trees (Ho 14:5-7).

Thy lips drop as the honey-comb; thy speeches both to me in prayer and praises, and to men for their edification, are highly acceptable to me.

Honey and milk; words more sweet and comfortable than honey or milk.

Under thy tongue; by which phrase he may possibly intimate that her words were not uttered in hypocrisy, or with evil design, as many fair and smooth speeches are, but proceed from her very heart, which is under her tongue, as mischief is said to be under his tongue, Psalm 10:7, who devised it in his heart. The smell of thy garments; of that righteousness wherewith I have clothed and adorned thee. Christ and the graces of the Spirit are oft, compared to garments, as Romans 13:14 Ephesians 4:24 1 Peter 5:5.

The smell of Lebanon; which is also mentioned and commended Hosea 14:6, which must needs be very sweet and grateful in regard of the great numbers of sweet-smelling spices and trees which grew in that mountain.

Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb,.... Words, for sweetness, delight, and pleasure, like that; so the speech of persons, flowing from their mouth and tongue, is said to be sweeter than the honeycomb (s); and lovers are said to be sweeter to one another than the sweet honey (t): so the lips or words of the church in prayer, as the Targum; or in praise of Christ, and thankfulness to him; or in the ministration of the doctrines of the Gospel, which are pleasant words; or in common conversation, are pleasing to Christ; when, like the honey, they drop freely and without constraint; gradually, at proper seasons and opportunities, as prudence directs; and continually, more or less, ever dropping something to the glory of divine grace, and the good of souls;

honey and milk are under thy tongue; rolled, as a sweet morsel, there: the ancients had a sort of food of this mixture, a cake made of honey and milk, called by the Greeks "meligala" (u), and sometimes "candylos" (w), which was the same composition; Galen (x) says, it was not safe to take goats' milk without honey; Jove is said (y) to be nursed with such a mixture: and this being very grateful to the taste, the speech of the church for pleasantness is compared unto it; so Pindar (z) compares his hymn or ode to honey mixed with milk, as being sweet and grateful; and in Plautus (a),

"your words are honey and milk:''

and, it may be further observed, that such a mixture of milk and honey, with poppies in it, was given to the newly married bride, and drank when brought home to her husband (b); which was now the case of the church. The doctrines of the Gospel may be meant, comparable to honey and milk; to "honey", for their sweetness and acceptableness: for their nourishing nature; and for, their being gathered out of the choice flowers of the Scriptures, by the laborious ministers of the word, who are like to bees; see Psalm 19:10; to "milk", for the purity of them and the nourishment had by them; for their being easy of digestion, when mixed with faith; and for their being of a cooling nature, to allay the heat of a fiery law in the conscience; and for the recovery and restoration of souls by them, in a declining condition; see 1 Peter 2:2; these may be said to be "under the tongue", when they have a place in the heart, are the subject of constant meditation, a sweetness is tasted in them; and they are had in readiness to speak of them upon all occasions;

and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon; the ancients formerly scented their garments; Calypso gave to Ulysses sweet smelling garments (c): such are Christ's robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, which are said to "smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia"; with which the saints being arrayed, the smell of their raiment is as "the smell of a field the Lord has blessed", and so like the smell of Lebanon, a mountain abounding with odoriferous trees and plants; see Psalm 45:8. Or the outward conversation garments of the saints may be designed, the mention of which fitly follows the lips and tongue; for when works go along with words, and practice with profession; when to lips dropping the doctrines of the Gospel, like the honeycomb, are joined the sweet smelling garments of an agreeable life and conversation; the Christian is very much ornamented, and becomes lovely and amiable.

(s) Vid. Theocrit. Idyll. 21. v. 26, 27. Homer. Iliad. 1. v. 249. (t) Plauti Asinaria, Acts 3. Sc. 3. v. 24. (u) Vid. Cohen de Lara, Ir David, p. 52. The word is used in T. Hieros. Challah, fol. 57. 4. (w) Athenaeus, l. 1. c. 8. p. 9. & l. 14. c. 13. p. 644. Suidas in voce, Aristoph. Pax, & Florent. Christian. in ibid. p. 633. (x) Lib. de Bono Sapore, c. 4. (y) Lactant. de Fals. Relig. l. 1. c. 22. See Isaiah 7.15. (z) Nemea, Ode 3. d. 10, 11. (a) Trucul. Acts 1. Sc. 2. v. 75, 76, (b) "Nec pigeat tritum niveo cum lacte papaver sumere, et expressis, mella liquata favis", Ovid. Fasti, l. 4. v. 149, 150. (c) , Homer. Odyss. 5. v. 264. & 21. v. 52.

Thy {g} lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the scent of thy garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

(g) Because of your confession and thanksgiving.

11. drop as the honeycomb] Rather, drop virgin honey. Nôpheth is honey that drops from the comb of itself. Budde understands this verse of the sweetness of kisses. Oettli and others think the ‘virgin honey’ means loving words. Analogy, both in the Scriptures and in profane poetry, is in favour of the second view. In Proverbs 5:3 we have the very same phrase as here. “The lips of the strange woman drop honey.” That kisses are not meant there, is clear from the second clause, “and her palate is smoother than oil.” Cp. Theocritus, Idyll xx. 26, quoted by Ginsburg:

“More sweet my lips than milk in luscious rills,

Lips whence the honey, as I speak, distils.”

Cp. also Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb.”

the smell of Lebanon] Owing to the aromatic shrubs of a peculiarly penetrating and pleasant odour which grow everywhere in Lebanon, anyone who has once lived there would recognise where he was, even if he had been suddenly transported thither again blindfold. This odour, and not the perfume of the cedars, is probably the ‘smell of Lebanon’ here referred to.

Song of Solomon 4:11He 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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