Song of Solomon 4:6
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
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(6) Until the day break.—See Note, Song of Solomon 2:17. Until the day breathe = when evening is come. Commentators have tried to identify the mountain of myrrh and hill of frankincense, but these only carry on the thought of Song of Solomon 4:5 under another figure. We have come to another break in the poem, the end of another day, and, as before, though the metaphor is changed, the curtain falls on the complete union of the bridegroom with his bride.

Song of Solomon 4:6. Until the day break, &c. — These words are uttered by the bride, (chap. 2:17,) and here returned by the bridegroom as an answer to that request. And this place may be understood of the day of glory, when all shadows and ordinances shall cease; I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, &c. — To my church upon earth, which was typified by the mountain of Moriah and the temple upon it. This, in prophetic writings, is called a mountain, and may well be called a mountain of myrrh and frankincense, both for the acceptable services which were there offered to God, and for the precious gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, which are of a sweet-smelling savour to God and men. Thus Christ directs believers where they may find him, namely, in his church and ordinances.

4:1-7 If each of these comparisons has a meaning applicable to the graces of the church, or of the faithful Christian, they are not clearly known; and great mistakes are made by fanciful guesses. The mountain of myrrh appears to mean the mountain Moriah, on which the temple was built, where the incense was burned, and the people worshipped the Lord. This was his residence till the shadows of the law given to Moses were dispersed by the breaking of the gospel day, and the rising of the Sun of righteousness. And though, in respect of his human nature, Christ is absent from his church on earth, and will continue to be so till the heavenly day break, yet he is spiritually present in his ordinances, and with his people. How fair and comely are believers, when justified in Christ's righteousness, and adorned with spiritual graces! when their thoughts, words, and deeds, though imperfect, are pure, manifesting a heart nourished by the gospel!The "tower of David" may be that mentioned in Nehemiah 3:25-27; Micah 4:8. For the custom of hanging shields and other weapons in and upon buildings suited for the purpose, see Ezekiel 27:10-11. 6. Historically, the hill of frankincense is Calvary, where, "through the eternal Spirit He offered Himself"; the mountain of myrrh is His embalmment (Joh 19:39) till the resurrection "daybreak." The third Canticle occupies the one cloudless day of His presence on earth, beginning from the night (So 2:17) and ending with the night of His departure (So 4:6). His promise is almost exactly in the words of her prayer (So 2:17), (the same Holy Ghost breathing in Jesus Christ and His praying people), with the difference that she then looked for His visible coming. He now tells her that when He shall have gone from sight, He still is to be met with spiritually in prayer (Ps 68:16; Mt 28:20), until the everlasting day break, when we shall see face to face (1Co 13:10, 12). Until the day break, and the shadows flee away: these words are uttered by the bride, Song of Solomon 2:17, and here returned by the Bridegroom, as an answer to that request. And this place may be understood either,

1. Of the day of the gospel, when all legal shadows shall vanish; or,

2. Of the day of glory, or of the general resurrection, when all manner of shadows and ordinances shall cease; till which time either the spouse feeds among lilies, as was now said, Song of Solomon 2:5, or the Bridegroom gets him to the mountains, &c., as it follows. For the words are by most joined with the foregoing, and by some with the following clause.

To the mountain of myrrh, and to the kill of frankincense; either,

1. To the temple at Jerusalem, which is oft and fitly expressed by the name of a mountain or hill, because it was built upon a mountain, and which may be called a mountain of myrrh and frankincense, because of the abundance of myrrh and frankincense which was there used and offered; in which place the church was to feed, and Christ would continue his presence, until the dawning of the gospel day. Or,

2. To my church upon earth, which was typified by the mountain of Moriah, and the temple upon it, and which in prophetical writings is called a mountain, as Isaiah 2:2,3 Mic 4:1,2, and elsewhere; and which may well be called

a mountain of myrrh and frankincense, both for the acceptable services which are there offered to God, and for the precious gifts, and graces, and comforts of the Holy Spirit, which are of a sweet-smelling savour to God and men, and which there, and there only, are poured forth. Thus Christ directs his bride, to wit, particular believers, where they may find and enjoy him, namely, in his church and ordinances.

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away,.... Until the day of grace breaks on every elect sinner, and the shadows of darkness, ignorance, and unbelief, are in a great measure fled and gone; or until the everlasting day breaks, and there will be no more night, nor any darkness of affliction, nor any more desertion, doubts, and fears; see Sol 2:17. They are the words of Christ, declaring whither he would go till that time came, as follows:

I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense: the allusion may be to the mountains and hills where these odoriferous plants grew. It is said of Pompey the great, that when he passed over Lebanon (later mentioned, Sol 4:8) and by Damascus, he went through sweet smelling groves and woods of frankincense and balsam (s); and Lebanon is thought, by some (t), to have its name from the frankincense that grew upon it; though rather from the whiteness of the snow continually on it. By this "mountain" and "hill" may be meant the church of Christ, gathered together in Gospel order, so called for its visibility and immovableness, Isaiah 2:2; and for the trees of righteousness which are planted and flourish there, the saints; and for the fragrancy of their graces; and for the sweet smelling odour of their sacrifices of prayer and praise; and because of the delight and pleasure Christ takes in his people, and they in him here; where they have mutual communion, so that it is to them both a mountain of myrrh and a hill of frankincense: particularly, here Christ delights to be, and here he resolves to dwell until his second coming.

(s) Florus de Gest. Roman. l. 3. c. 5. (t) Vid. Gabr. Sionita de Orient. Urb. c. 6. p. 14.

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
6. Until the day break] As in Song of Solomon 3:7 we must translate, Until the day cool and the shadows have fled, i.e. until the evening. This verse, by its transition to action on the part of one of the chief speakers, a thing that does not occur in the bridal wasf, shews that we have not here a regular wasf. Budde and Bickell would consequently omit it.

to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense] This is taken by Oettli to mean, ‘I will get me into a garden of spices in hilly ground.’ He supposes that Solomon, thinking he has triumphed, says he will go away to a garden where he has planted exotic plants, and will return in the evening. This seems much preferable to the interpretations which find in these words allegorical references to the person of the bride. Cheyne would read Hermon for ‘myrrh’ (Heb. mor) and Lebanon for ‘frankincense’ (Heb. lebhônâh). But no one could say that he was going on one afternoon to both Lebanon and Hermon, which is the highest peak of Anti-Libanus. The emendation would be feasible only if the whole complex of mountains were included in the name Lebanon.

Verse 6. - Until the day be cool, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. If this be the language of the bride, which most modern interpreters think, the meaning is to check the ardour of her lover, in the modesty of her fresh and maidenly feeling - Let me retire from such praises. They are too ardent for me. It is only a moment's interruption, which is followed by still more loving words from the bridegroom. We must naturally connect the words with Song of Solomon 2:17, where the bride certainly speaks. Louis de Leon thinks that the meaning is general, "shady and fragrant places." Anton (1773) suggests that she is desiring to escape and be free. It cannot be included as a description of the neighbourhood of the royal palace. She might, however, mean merely - Let me walk alone in the lovely gardens of the palace until the shades of night shall hide my blushes. It is unlikely that the words are in the mouth of Solomon; for then it would be impossible to explain their use by Shulamith previously. She is not referring to Lebanon and its neighbourhoed, and there can be no idea of looking back to a lover from whom she is torn. The interpretation which connects it with maidenly feeling is certainly the most in harmony with what has preceded. Perhaps the typical meaning is underlying the words - Let me find a place of devout meditation to feed my thoughts on the sweetness of this Divine love into which I have entered. Song of Solomon 4:6Shulamith replies to these words of praise:

6 Until the day cools and the shadows flee,

   I will go forth to the mountain of myrrh

   And to the hill of frankincense.

All those interpreters who suppose these to be a continuation of Solomon's words, lose themselves in absurdities. Most of them understand the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense of Shulamith's attractions, praised in Sol 4:5, or of her beauty as a whole; but the figures would be grotesque (cf. on the other hand Sol 5:13), and אל לי אלך prosaic, wherefore it comes that the idea of betaking oneself away connects itself with לו הלך (Genesis 12:1; Exodus 18:27), or that it yet preponderates therein (Genesis 22:2; Jeremiah 5:5), and that, for לי אלך in the passage before us in reference to Sol 2:10-11, the supposition holds that it will correspond with the French j m'en irai. With right Louis de Leon sees in the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense names of shady and fragrant places; but he supposes that Solomon says he wishes to go thither to enjoy a siesta, and that he invites Shulamith thither. But we read nothing of this invitation; and that a bridegroom should sleep a part of his marriage-day is yet more unnatural than that, e.g., Wilh. Budus, the French philologist, spent a part of the same at work in his study. That not Solomon but Shulamith speaks here is manifest in the beginning, "until the day," etc., which at Sol 2:17 are also Shulamith's words. Anton (1773) rightly remarks, "Shulamith says this to set herself free." But why does she seek to make herself free? It is answered, that she longs to be forth from Solomon's too ardent eulogies; she says that, as soon as it is dark, she will escape to the blooming aromatic fields of her native home, where she hopes to meet with her beloved shepherd. Thus, e.g., Ginsburg (1868). But do myrrh and frankincense grow in North Palestine? Ginsburg rests on Florus' Epitome Rerum Romans 3.6, where Pompey the Great is said to have passed over Lebanon and by Damascus "per nemora illa odorata, per thuris et balsami sylvas." But by these thuris et balsami sylvae could be meant only the gardens of Damascus; for neither myrrh nor frankincense is indigenous to North Palestine, or generally to any part of Palestine. Friedrich (1866) therefore places Shulamith's home at Engedi, and supposes that she here once more looks from the window and dotes on the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense, "where, at the approach of twilight, she was wont to look out for her betrothed shepherd." But Shulamith, as her name already denotes, is not from the south, but is a Galilean, and her betrothed shepherd is from Utopia! That myrrh and frankincense were planted in the gardens of Engedi is possible, although (Sol 1:14) mention is made only of the Al-henna there. But here places in the neighbourhood of the royal palace must be meant; for the myrrh tree, the gum of which, prized as an aroma, is the Arab. Balsamodendron Myrrha, and the frankincense tree, the resin of which is used for incense, is, like the myrrh tree, an Arab. amyrid. The Boswellia serrata,

(Note: Lassen's Ind. Alterthumskunde, I334.)

indigenous to the East Indies, furnishes the best frankincense; the Israelites bought it from Sheba (Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20). The myrrh tree as well as the frankincense tree were thus exotics in Palestine, as they are in our own country; but Solomon, who had intercourse with Arabia and India by his own mercantile fleet, procured them for his own garden (Ecclesiastes 2:5). The modest Shulamith shuns the loving words of praise; for she requests that she may be permitted to betake herself to the lonely places planted with myrrh and frankincense near the king's palace, where she thinks to tarry in a frame of mind befitting this day till the approaching darkness calls her back to the king. It is the importance of the day which suggests to her this לי אלך, a day in which she enters into the covenant of her God with Solomon (Proverbs 2:17). Without wishing to allegorize, we may yet not omit to observe, that the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense put us in mind of the temple, where incense, composed of myrrh, frankincense, and other spices, ascended up before God every morning and evening (Exodus 30:34.). המּור הר is perhaps a not unintentional accord to הר המּוריּה (2 Chronicles 3:1), the mountain where God appeared; at all events, "mountain of myrrh" and "hill of frankincense" are appropriate names for places of devout meditation, where one holds fellowship with God.

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