Song of Solomon 4:9
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Ravished.—Marg., taken away, whereas many (including Herder, Ewald, &c) give an exactly opposite sense: “thou hast given me heart, emboldened me.” The literal, “thou hast hearted (libabtinî) me,” if we can so say, may mean either; the language of love would approve either stolen my heart or given me thine. But the reference to “chain”—anak (a form occurring also in Judges 8:26; Proverbs 1:9) seems to confirm the rendering of the Authorised Version. His heart has been caught, the poet playfully says, by the neck-chain. Tennyson’s

“Thy rose lips and full-blown eyes

Take the heart from out my breast,”

gives the feeling of the passage.

Song of Solomon 4:9-10. My sister, my spouse — So he calls her to show the greatness of his love, which could not sufficiently be expressed by any one relation. With one of thine eyes — With one glance. One chain of thy neck — With one of those other graces and perfections wherewith thou art adorned. How fair is thy love — How amiable and acceptable to me. The smell of thine ointments — Of the gifts and graces of God’s Spirit, wherewith thou art anointed.

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.The similes employed refer to the graces of adornment, speech, and gesture, as expressions of inward character and sentiment.

Songs 4:9

With one of thine eyes - Rather, with one look of thine.

9. sister … spouse—This title is here first used, as He is soon about to institute the Supper, the pledge of the nuptial union. By the term "sister," carnal ideas are excluded; the ardor of a spouse's love is combined with the purity of a sister's (Isa 54:5; compare Mr 3:35).

one—Even one look is enough to secure His love (Zec 12:10; Lu 23:40-43). Not merely the Church collectively, but each one member of it (Mt 18:10, 14; Lu 15:7, 24, 32).

chain—necklace (Isa 62:3; Mal 3:17), answering to the "shields" hanging in the tower of David (So 4:4). Compare the "ornament" (1Pe 3:4); "chains" (Pr 1:9; 3:22).

Thou hast ravished my heart; I am overcome with thy beauty, and therefore am so desirous of thy company.

My sister; so he calls her, partly because both he and she had one and the same father, to wit, God, yea, and mother too, being both at this time born in and of the commonwealth and church of Israel; and partly to show the greatness of his love to her, which is such, as cannot be sufficiently expressed by any one relation, but must borrow the perfections and affections of all to describe it.

With one of thine eyes; with one glance of one of thine eyes: by which phrase he intimates the modesty and humility of the church, which was ashamed or afraid to look fully and directly upon the Bridegroom with both her eyes; and withal alludes to the ancient custom of virgins, who used to cover their faces with a veil, and to look out only with one of their eyes for the direction of their steps. By this one eye he seems to mean that fundamental grace of faith, by which Christians look upon Christ, and discern his beauty, and which is precious in the sight of God and of Christ.

With one chain of thy neck; with one of those other graces and perfections wherewith thou art adorned. How then should I be ravished if thou didst discover both thine eyes, and thy whole countenance, and all thy excellent gifts and graces!

Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse,.... Here another new title is given to the church, "my sister", with the repetition of the former, my "spouse": for one and the same person, with the Hebrews, might be sister and spouse; see 1 Corinthians 9:5. And this may be used in a love strain, and so not improper in a love poem, as this was (g); see Sol 8:8; likewise the church may be called Christ's sister, because of his incarnation, in virtue of which he is not ashamed to call his people his brethren, and so his sisters, Hebrews 2:11; and on account of their adoption; in which respect, he that is Christ's Father is theirs; and which is evidenced in regeneration; when they, through grace, do the will of his Father, and so are his brother, and sister, and mother, Matthew 12:50. And, upon the whole, it is used to express the great affection of Christ for the church, and his high esteem of her; and which appears by his saying, "thou hast ravished my heart"; which is but one word in the Hebrew text, and nowhere else used, and is variously rendered: the Vulgate Latin version is, "thou hast wounded my heart" (h): with one of love's darts, Sol 2:5; "thou hast drawn my heart unto thee", so some Jewish writers (i); which is surprising, since no love nor loveliness are in her of herself; this shows how free and unmerited the love of Christ is; according to the use of the word with the Talmudists (k), the sense is, "thou hast coupled mine heart with thine"; the heart of Christ and his church are so closely knit and joined together in love, that they are but one heart, and can never be separated: others, "thou hast seized my heart"; or, "claimed it for thyself" (l); thou art master over it; it is no more mine, but thine The Septuagint version is, "thou hast unhearted us"; Father, Son, and Spirit; particularly the second Person: or thou hast stolen away my heart; I have no heart left in me; which, as it is the case through fear, is sometimes through love: this sense is approved by Aben Ezra. Some render it just the reverse, "thou hast heartened me" (m); put heart into me, animated me, made me of good cheer; so the word is used in the Syriac version of Matthew 9:2. The sense may be, that such was the love of Christ to his church, and so much was he charmed by her, that the thought of his having her company in heaven to all eternity animated him to endure all sufferings he did for her sake, Hebrews 12:2; The Targum is,

"thy love is fixed upon the table of my heart;''

where the church herself was fixed, Sol 8:6;

thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes; the allusion may be to the custom of the eastern women; who, when they walked abroad or spoke to any, showed but one eye, the other, with the rest of the face, being covered with a veil (n): the eyes of women are ensnaring to lovers (o); the church has more eyes than one. Mention is made of the eyes of the understanding, Ephesians 1:18; faith is one of them, and may he here chiefly intended; by which a soul looks on Christ, the glories of his person, and the fulness of his grace; and looks so him for the blessings of grace now, and eternal glory hereafter: and with this Christ's heart is ravished; even with "one look" from it, or "glance" of it, as some (p) render it;

with one chain of thy neck; with the several graces of the Spirit, linked together as in a chain; which were about the neck of the church, and as ornamental to her as a pearl necklace, Sol 1:10; and with every link in this chain Christ's heart is ravished and delighted. The Vulgate Latin version is, "with one lock of hair of thy neck": which hung down in it, and looked very beautiful; and with which lovers are sometimes taken (q).

(g) "Sive tibi conjux, sive futura soror", Tibullus. (h) "vulnerasti cor meum", V. L. so Ben Melech; and Kimchi Sepher Shorash. rad. (i) Jarchi, David de Pomis, Lexic fol. 69. 3.((k) "Cor copulasti mihi", Buxtorf. Hottinger. Smegma, p. 164. Vid. Misn. Sabbat, c. 5. s. 2.((l) "Occupasti", Lutherus, Marckius; "vendicasti", Tigurine version. (m) "Animasti me", Cocceius, Schmidt. (n) Tertuilian. de. Virg. Veland. c. 17. Le Bruyn's Voyage to the Levant, ch. 40. p. 157. (o) See Prov. vi. 25. So the poet says of Helena, ' , Theocrit. Idyll. 18. "Perque tuos oculos qui rapuere meos", Ovid. Amor. l. 3, Eleg. 10. Vid. Barthii ad Claudian. Nupt. Honor. v. 6. (p) "uno aspecto oculorum tuorum", Junius & Tremellius, so Ainsworth. (q) ' ' , Theocrit. Idyll. 5.

Thou hast ravished my heart, my {e} sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thy {f} eyes, with one chain of thy neck.

(e) Christ calls his Church sister in respect that he had taken the flesh of man.

(f) In that he made his Church beautiful and rich, he loved his gifts in her.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. Thou hast ravished my heart] This clause is represented by one word in Heb., a denom. Piel verb, formed from the noun lçbhâbh = ‘heart.’ According to usage this might mean either ‘thou hast heartened me,’ i.e. as R.V. marg., given me courage, or ‘thou hast disheartened me,’ or stolen my heart away. The latter is the view of the A.V. and the preferable view. The translation, ravish, with its primary meaning ‘to carry off by violence,’ and its secondary one ‘to enchant’ or ‘charm,’ exactly corresponds to the Heb.

my sister, my spouse] R.V. my bride. The double name, as Budde remarks, can hardly have any other signification than an increase of tenderness, cp. Song of Solomon 8:1, “O that thou wert my brother.” My sister bride occurs only in this chap. and in ch. Song of Solomon 5:1, but, as Budde observes, in the ancient Egyptian love-songs, edited by Maspéro and Spiegelberg, ‘my sister’ and ‘my brother’ are the standing names for the lovers.

with one of thine eyes] From the use of the prep. min=‘from,’ with eyes here, and from the fact that in the text achaih, the masculine form of the numeral, stands, it is probable that some word such as ‘glance’ should be understood. Then we should translate, with one glance of thine eyes.

with one chain of thy neck] Chain here means a part of the necklace, but whether it means a single chain of the necklace, or a pearl or pendant is uncertain. Usage, in the only passages where the word occurs again, Jdg 8:26, and Proverbs 1:9, certainly is in favour of chain.

Verse 9. - Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. The bridegroom still continues his address of love, which we must not, of course, press too closely, though it is noticeable that the language becomes somewhat more sober in tone, as though the writer were conscious of the higher application to which it would be put. Some translators take the first clause as though the word "ravished" should be rendered "emboldened." Symmachus, ἐθαρσύνας με. The Hebrew word לִבֵּב, literally, "heartened," may mean, as in Aramaic, "make courageous." Love in the beginning overpowers, unhearts, but the general idea must be that of "smitten" or "captured." So the LXX., Venetian, and Jerome, ἐκαρδίωσας με, vulnerasti cor meum (cf. Psalm 45:6). My sister, my bride, is, of course, the same as "my sisterly bride," a step beyond "my betrothed." Gesenius thinks that "one of thine eyes" should be "one look of thine;" but may it not refer to the eye appearing through the veil, as again one chain of the neck may glitter and attract all the more that the whole ornamentation did not appear in view? If but a portion of her beauty so overpowers, what will be the effect of the whole blaze of her perfection? As the Church advances in her likeness to her Lord, she becomes more and more the object of his delight, and as the soul receives more and more grace, so is her fellowship with Christ more and more assured and joyful. Song of Solomon 4:9All 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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