Song of Solomon 4:15
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Song of Solomon 4:15. A well of living waters — Though my spouse be in some sort a fountain shut up, yet that is not so to be understood as if she kept her waters to herself, for she is like a fountain of living or running water, which flows into gardens, and makes its flowers and plants to flourish. The church conveys those waters of life, which she receives from Christ, to particular believers. And streams from Lebanon — Like those sweet and refreshing rivers which flow down from mount Lebanon, of which Jordan is one.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.Orchard - This is the renderlng here and in 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.

Songs 4:13-15

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!"

15. of—This pleasure-ground is not dependent on mere reservoirs; it has a fountain sufficient to water many "gardens" (plural).

living—(Jer 17:8; Joh 4:13, 14; 7:38, 39).

from Lebanon—Though the fountain is lowly, the source is lofty; fed by the perpetual snows of Lebanon, refreshingly cool (Jer 18:14), fertilizing the gardens of Damascus. It springs upon earth; its source is heaven. It is now not "sealed," but open "streams" (Re 22:17).

These are the words either,

1. Of the bride, who returns this answer to the Bridegroom. Thou callest me a fountain, but in truth thou only art that fountain from whence I derive all my streams of comfort; or rather,

2. Of the Bridegroom, who hath hitherto been speaking to and of the church, and still continues his speech. He seems to add this by way of correction to or exposition of what he said, Song of Solomon 1:12. Though my spouse be in some sort a fountain shut up or sealed, yet that is not so to be understood as if she kept her waters to herself, for she is like a fountain or well of living or running water, which floweth into gardens, and maketh tho flowers and plants to grow and flourish. The church conveyeth those waters of life which she receiveth from Christ unto particular believers and congregations.

Streams from Lebanon; like those sweet and refreshing rivers which flow down from Mount Lebanon, of which Jordan is one. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Some (c) take these words to be the words of Christ continued, speaking still of his church, and explaining and enlarging upon what he had said of her, Sol 4:12; but they are rather the words of the church; who, upon hearing herself commended, and knowing that all her fruitfulness, and the flourishing condition she was in, were owing to the grace of Christ, breaks forth in these words, and ascribes all to him, saying, "O fountain of gardens, O well of living waters", &c. for so the words may be rendered in the vocative case (d). By the "gardens" may be meant particular distinct churches, such as were gathered in the first times of the Gospel, and since, as the churches of Asia, &c. separated from the world, and planted with trees of righteousness, such as are before described: and though there are many gardens or churches, there is but one "fountain" which supplies them all with gifts and grace, and that is Christ, and his fulness, the fountain from whence flow all grace, and the blessings of it: who also is the "well of living waters"; a well deep and large, fathomless and bottomless, dug by sovereign grace, and full of all grace; signified by "waters", for the abundance of it; and said to be "living", because by it dead sinners are quickened, and drooping saints revived; and is ever running (e), ever flowing and overflowing; so that there is always a supply for all Christ's gardens, and for all believers in all ages; who, with the bucket of faith, draw water with joy out of this well, or wells of salvation, Isaiah 12:3; and the flows of grace from hence are like "streams from Lebanon", because of the abundance of it; the constant and continued supplies of it; the rapidity and force with which it comes, bearing down all obstacles in its way, and for the pleasure it gives, the flows of it being as delightful and grateful as streams of water in hot countries. Respect seems to be had to several places called by these names; there was one, called "the Fountain of Gardens", which flowed from Lebanon, six miles from Tripoli, and watered all the gardens, whence it had its name, and all the country that lay between these two places (f); and there was another, called "the Well of living Waters", a little mile to the south of Tyre; it had four fountains, from whence were cut various aqueducts and rivulets, which watered all the plain of Tyre, and all its gardens; which fountains were little more than a bow's cast from the main sea, and in which space six mills were employed (g): and there is a rupture in Mount Lebanon, as Mr. Maundrell (h) says, which runs up it seven hours' travelling; and which, on both sides, is steep and high, and clothed with fragrant greens from top to bottom; and everywhere refreshed with "fountains", falling down from the rocks, in pleasant cascades, the ingenious work of nature; and Rauwolff (i), who was on this mountain in 1575, relates;

"we came (says he) into pleasant groves, by delightful "rivulets" that arose from "springs", that made so sweet a noise, as to be admired by King Solomon, Sol 4:15;''

and these streams gave rise to some rivers, as Jordan, Eleutherus, &c. (k) to which the allusion is here. There were two cities, one in the tribe of Judah, and the other in the tribe of Issachar, called Engannim, the fountain of gardens, Joshua 15:34.

(c) So Cocceius, Schmidt, Heunischius, Marckius, Michaelis. (d) So Ainsworth, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Marckius. (e) "Flumine vivo", Virgil. Aeneid. l. 2. v. 715, "Semper fluenti", i.e. "naturali", Servius in ibid. (f) Adrichom. Theatrum Terrae Sanctum, p. 107, 108. (g) Ibid. p. 6. (h) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 142, 143. (i) Travels, part. 2. ch. 12. p. 187, 188. Ed. Ray. (k) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 5. c. 3. s. 1.

{h} A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

(h) The Church confesses that all her glory and beauty comes from Christ who is the true fountain of all grace.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. a fountain of gardens, &c.] Some take these words as vocatives, but more probably thou art is to be understood as in R.V. Budde would read ‘my garden’ (gannî) for ‘gardens’ (gannîm), and would translate, “The fountain of my garden is a well of living waters.” This is supported by the reading of the LXX, for they, from their having πηγὴ κήπου καὶ would seem to have read not gannîm but gannô, i.e. ‘his garden,’ the Heb. letter waw being the sign for both his and and. But that would give no meaning here. The probability therefore is that the reading the Greek translators really had before them was gannî, i and o being hardly distinguishable in the writing then in use. Moreover, it would give a better arrangement of the text. In Song of Solomon 4:12 the bride is compared to a garden and a spring. Song of Solomon 4:13-14 expand and particularise the garden simile. By Budde’s reading Song of Solomon 4:15 becomes a similar expansion of the spring simile. We should then read, thou art the fountain of my garden, a well of living, i.e. flowing, waters, and rushing Lebanon streams. She is the source of all the joy and refreshment of his existence, just as a fountain is the cause of all the coolness and shade of the garden which it waters.Verse 15. - Thou art a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and flowing streams from Lebanon. Referring, of course, to the clear, cool streams coming down from the snowy heights. The sweet freshness of the country maiden suggested this. May we not see a symbol of the spiritual life in such language (cf. John 7:38)? Ethically, at least, the blending of the freshness of a mountain stream with the luxuriance and fragrance of a cultivated garden is very suggestive. To an Eastern monarch, such purity and modesty as Solomon found in his bride must have been a rare excellence which might well be made typical. All that the king calls his, she now can call hers; for she has won his heart, and with his heart himself and all that is his.

9 Thou hast taken my heart, my sister-bride;

   Thou hast taken my heart with one of thy glances,

   With a little chain of thy necklace.

The Piel לבּב may mean to make courageous, and it actually has this meaning in the Aram., wherefore the Syr. retains the word; Symm. renders it by ἐθάρσυνάς με. But is it becoming in a man who is no coward, especially in a king, to say that the love he cherishes gives him heart, i.e., courage? It might be becoming, perhaps, in a warrior who is inspired by the thought of his beloved, whose respect and admiration he seeks to gain, to dare the uttermost. But Solomon is no Antar, no wandering knight.

(Note: A specimen of Bttcher's interpretation: "What is more natural than to suppose that the keeper of a vineyard showed herself with half of her head and neck exposed at the half-opened window to her shepherd on his first attempt to set her free, when he cried, 'my dove in the clefts of the rocks,' etc., and animated him thereby to this present bold deliverance of her from the midst of robbers?" We pity the Shulamitess, that she put her trust in this moonshiny coward.)

Besides, the first effect of love is different: it influences those whom it governs, not as encouraging, in the first instance, but as disarming them; love responded to encourages, but love in its beginning, which is the subject here, overpowers. We would thus more naturally render: "thou hast unhearted me;" but "to unheart," according to the Semitic and generally the ancient conception of the heart (Psychol. p. 254), does not so much mean to captivate the heart, as rather to deprive of understanding or of judgment (cf. Hosea 4:11). Such denomin. Pi. of names of corporeal members signify not merely taking away, but also wounding, and generally any violent affection of it, as זנּב, גּרם, Ewald, 120c; accordingly the lxx, Venet., and Jerome: ἐκαρδίωσάς με, vulnerasti cor meum. The meaning is the same for "thou hast wounded my heart" equals "thou hast subdued my heart" (cf. Psalm 45:6). With one of her glances, with a little chain of her necklace, she has overcome him as with a powerful charm: veni, visa sum, vici. The Kerı̂ changes באחד into בּאחת; certainly עין is mostly fem. (e.g., Judges 16:28), but not only the non-bibl. usus loq., which e.g., prefers רעה or רע עין, of a malignant bewitching look, but also the bibl. (vid., Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10) treats the word as of double gender. ענק and צוּרנים are related to each other as a part is to the whole. With the subst. ending n, the designation of an ornament designed for the neck is formed from צוּאר, the neck; cf. שׂהרון, the "round tires like the moon" of the women's toilet, Isaiah 3:18. ענק (connected with אחד ענק, cervix) is a separate chain (Aram. עוּנקתא) of this necklace. In the words ענק אחד, אחד is used instead of אחד, occurring also out of genit. connection (Genesis 48:22; 2 Samuel 17:22), and the arrangement (vid., under Psalm 89:51) follows the analogy of the pure numerals as נשׁים שׁלשׁ; it appears to be transferred from the vulgar language to that used in books, where, besides the passage before us, it occurs only in Daniel 8:13. That a glance of the eye may pierce the heart, experience shows; but how can a little chain of a necklace do this? That also is intelligible. As beauty becomes unlike itself when the attire shows want of taste, so by means of tasteful clothing, which does not need to be splendid, but may even be of the simplest kind, it becomes mighty. Hence the charming attractive power of the impression one makes communicates itself to all that he wears, as, e.g., the woman with the issue of blood touched with joyful hope the hem of Jesus' garment; for he who loves feels the soul of that which is loved in all that stands connected therewith, all that is, as it were, consecrated and charmed by the beloved object, and operates so much the more powerfully if it adorns it, because as an ornament of that which is beautiful, it appears so much the more beautiful. In the preceding verse, Solomon has for the first time addressed Shulamith by the title "bride." Here with heightened cordiality he calls her "sister-bride." In this change in the address the progress of the story is mirrored. Why he does not say כּלּתי (my bride), has already been explained, under Sol 4:8, from the derivation of the word. Solomon's mother might call Shulamith callathi, but he gives to the relation of affinity into which Shulamith has entered a reference to himself individually, for he says ahhothi callaa (my sister-bride): she who as callaa of his mother is to her a kind of daughter, is as callaa in relation to himself, as it were, his sister.

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