Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thy plants.—Some have thought the offspring of the marriage intended here; but the poet is plainly, by a new adaptation of the language of flowers, describing the charms of the person of his beloved.
Orchard.—Heb. pardes; LXX. παράδεισος; found only elsewhere in Nehemiah 2:8 (where see Note), Ecclesiastes 2:5. The pomegranate was perhaps an emblem of love, having been held sacred to the Syrian Venus. (See Tristram, Nat. Hist. of Bible, p. 389.)
Camphire.—See Note, Song of Solomon 1:14.Song of Solomon 4:13-14. Thy plants are an orchard — Believers, which are planted in thee, are like the plants or fruits of an orchard, which are pleasant to the eye, and delicious to the taste or smell, whereby he signifies the variety and excellence of the gifts and graces in the several members of the church. Spike-nard — Which he mentions here with camphire, and in the next verse with saffron, because it is mixed with both these, and, being so mixed, yields the more grateful smell. All trees of frankincense — Such trees as produce frankincense.Ecclesiastes 2:5 of "pardes" (see Nehemiah 2:8 note). The pomegranate was for the Jews a sacred fruit, and a characteristic product of the land of promise (compare Exodus 28:33-34; Numbers 20:5; Deuteronomy 8:8; 1 Kings 7:18, 1 Kings 7:20). It is frequently mentioned in the Song, and always in connection with the bride. It abounds to this day in the ravines of the Lebanon.
Camphire - Cyprus. See Sol 1:14 note.
Seven kinds of spices (some of them with Indian names, e. g. aloes, spikenard, saffron) are enumerated as found in this symbolic garden. They are for the most part pure exotics which have formed for countless ages articles of commerce in the East, and were brought at that time in Solomon's ships from southern Arabia, the great Indian Peninsula, and perhaps the islands of the Indian Archipelago. The picture here is best regarded as a purely ideal one, having no corresponding reality but in the bride herself. The beauties and attractions of both north and south - of Lebanon with its streams of sparkling water and fresh mountain air, of Engedi with its tropical climate and henna plantations, of the spice-groves of Arabia Felix, and of the rarest products of the distant mysterious Ophir - all combine to furnish one glorious representation, "Thou art all fair!"
camphire—not camphor (So 1:14), hennah, or cypress blooms.Thy plants, the plants of thy garden, believers which are planted in thee,
are an orchard; are like the plants or fruits of an orchard, which are pleasant to the eye, and delicious to the taste or smell, such as are here mentioned in the following words; whereby he signifies the variety and excellency of gifts and graces in the several members of the church.
Spikenard; which he mentions both here with camphire or cypress, and in the next verse with saffron, because it is mixed with both these, and being so mixed, yieldeth the more grateful smell. Nehemiah 2:8; but Hillerus (p) derives it from to "separate", it being a garden, separated and enclosed as before; one like Eden's garden, exceeding pleasant and delightful: and not like an orchard of any sort of trees, but of "pomegranates", of which there were plenty in Canaan, hence called a "land of pomegranates", Deuteronomy 8:8; many places in it had their names from thence, Joshua 15:32. To which believers in Christ may be compared, for the various sorts of them (q), for their largeness, fruitfulness, and uprightness; saints have gifts and grace, differing from one another as to size, but all pomegranates, trees of righteousness; some are larger, and excel others, are full of all the fruits of righteousness; but all are, more or less, fruitful and upright in heart: and so the saints of the higher class may be here designed, as those of a lower are by other trees and spices after mentioned;
with pleasant fruits; that are valuable, precious, and desirable, of which an enumeration follows:
camphire, with spikenard; or "cypresses", or "cyprusses with nards" (r); both in the plural number: the former may intend cypress trees, so called on account of their berries and fruits growing in clusters; see Sol 1:14; and the latter, because there are different sorts of them, as "nardus Italica", "Indica", and "Celtica": to these saints may be compared, because pleasant and delightful, of a sweet smell, and rare and excellent.
(n) Vid. Guisium in Misn. Sheviith, c. 2. s. 2.((o) Sept. "paradisus", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Marckius, Michaelis. (p) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 291. (q) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 19. (r) So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. Thy plants are an orchard] Better, Thy shoots make an orchard. These shoots denote all the bride’s charms. Orchard is in Heb. pardçs, which is merely a grander word for gan, and is originally Persian=‘a paradise.’ It is found elsewhere in the O.T. only in Nehemiah 2:8 and Ecclesiastes 2:5. It is usually and rightly regarded as a proof of the late origin of this book. Cp. Introduction, § 4.
pleasant fruits] Lit. fruits of excellence, R.V. precious fruits.
camphire] Properly, henna. See note on ch. Song of Solomon 1:14.
spikenard] Cp. ch. Song of Solomon 1:12. Grätz for nerâdhîm reads werâdhîm = roses. Rather than that Budde would strike out the last three words as a repetition. But either suggestion would detract from the poetical character of the passage.Verses 13, 14. - Thy shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, with precious fruits; henna with spikenard plants, spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices. Thy shoots; i.e. that which comes forth from thee, thy plants, or, as Bottcher puts it, "all the phenomena and life utterances of her personality." All the plants had their meaning in flower language. They are mostly exotics. But it is difficult now to suggest meanings, though they may have been familiar to Jewish readers at the time. The pardes, "park, or enclosure," was adorned especially with foreign and fragrant plants of great beauty. It is an Old Persian word, perhaps, as Delitzsch suggests, from pairi (περὶ) and dez (Pers. diz), "a heap." Precious fruit; literally, fructus laudam, "fruits of renown" or excellence (cf. Syriac magdo, "dried fruit"). The carcom, or saffron, a kind of crocus (Ind. safran), yields the saffron colour from its dried flower eyes, used both as a cosmetic and as a medicine (cf. Sansc. kuakuma). The calamus, simply a reed, the sweet reed, a corn indigenous to the East. Cinnamon (Quinnamon), Laurus cinnamomum, is indigenous on the east coast of Africa and Ceylon, found later in the Antibes. The inner bark peeled off and roiled together forms the cinnamon bark (see Pliny, bk. 12). There are seven spices mentioned. We need not trouble ourselves to identify them all, as they are mostly Indian, and such as Solomon would fetch from the far East in his celebrated ships. The description is highly poetical, and simply means that all sweetness and attractiveness combine in the fair one. But symbolically we may see an allusion to the spread of the Church over the world, and all the glory and honour of the nations" being introduced into it. So the graces of the individual soul expand themselves under the influence of Christian truth and fellowship.
7 Thou art altogether fair, my love,
And no blemish in thee.
Certainly he means, no blemish either of soul or body. In Sol 4:1-5 he has praised her external beauty; but in Sol 4:6 her soul has disclosed itself: the fame of her spotless beauty is there extended to her would no less than to her external appearance. And as to her longing after freedom from the tumult and bustle of court life, he thus promises to her:
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