My beloved is white and ruddy, the most chief among ten thousand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Chiefest.—Marg., a standard bearer; Heb. dagûl, participle of a word occurring in Psalm 20:5, where the Authorised Version gives “we will set up our banners.”Song of Solomon 5:10-13. My beloved is white and ruddy — The white may denote his pure and spotless innocence, and the ruddy colour, his bloody passion. His head is as the most fine gold — It shines like gold, by reason of the crown of pure gold upon his head. We need not aim at a distinct application of this and the following particulars unto some special excellences of Christ, because such things are mere conjectures, and the only design of this description is to set forth the beauty of Christ under the notion of a most amiable person, in whom there is no defect or blemish, from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet. His eyes, the eyes of doves — Lovely and pleasant, chaste and innocent. By rivers of waters — Where they delight to abide. Washed with milk — The doves, not their eyes, were of a white colour. His cheeks — His face or countenance, an eminent part whereof is the cheeks; are as a bed of spices — Of aromatic flowers, which delight both the eye with a pleasant prospect, and the smell with their fragrancy. His lips are like lilies — Beautiful and pleasant; dropping sweet-smelling myrrh — Not only grateful to the eye, as lilies are, but also fragrant to the smell.1 Samuel 16:12; Daniel 7:9. The complexion most admired in youth. Jewish interpreters remark that he who is elsewhere called "the Ancient of Days" is here described as the Ever-Young. "White in His virgin-purity," says Jerome, "and ruddy in His Passion."
white and ruddy—health and beauty. So David (equivalent to beloved), His forefather after the flesh, and type (1Sa 17:42). "The Lamb" is at once His nuptial and sacrificial name (1Pe 1:19; Re 19:7), characterized by white and red; white, His spotless manhood (Re 1:14). The Hebrew for white is properly "illuminated by the sun," white as the light" (compare Mt 17:2); red, in His blood-dyed garment as slain (Isa 63:1-3; Re 5:6; 19:13). Angels are white, not red; the blood of martyrs does not enter heaven; His alone is seen there.
chiefest—literally, "a standard bearer"; that is, as conspicuous above all others, as a standard bearer is among hosts (Ps 45:7; 89:6; Isa 11:10; 55:4; Heb 2:10; compare 2Sa 18:3; Job 33:23; Php 2:9-11; Re 1:5). The chief of sinners needs the "chiefest" of Saviours.White and ruddy; which two colours rightly mixed together make a face beautiful. Or the white may note his pure and spotless innocency, and the brightness of his glory and majesty, and the ruddy colour may intimate his bloody passion, which made him amiable both to God and men.
The chiefest, Heb. the standard-bearer; for such are usually persons of great eminency, both for stature, and courage, and dignity.
Among ten thousand; among all persons, angels or men. A certain number is put for an uncertain. There are other kings, and priests, and prophets, but none to be compared with him.
the chiefest among ten thousand; whether angels or men; he is the Creator of angels, the object of their worship; and has a more excellent name and nature than they, to whom they are subject, and are ministering spirits; he is superior to men, good and bad, high and low; Lord of all, King of kings, and Head of saints, and has the pre-eminence over all creatures. The Septuagint version is, "chosen out of" or "from ten thousand"; Christ, as man, is chosen of God, from among the myriads of the individuals of human nature, to union with the divine Word, or Son of God; see Psalm 89:19; as God-man and Mediator, to be the alone Saviour and Redeemer of his people; to be the Head of the body, the church; and to be the Judge of quick and dead; and he is chosen by sensible sinners to be the object of their love; to be their only Saviour; and to be their Ruler and Governor, whose laws, commands, and ordinances, they choose to obey; see Psalm 73:24; The words may be rendered, "the standard bearer", or "one standarded by" or "over ten thousand" (s); the church is militant, and has many enemies; in the name of the Lord, she sets up her banners against them, and the banner over her is the "love" of Christ, Sol 2:4; and he is the standard bearer, who has a multitude of angels and saints under his standard; and how stately and majestic does he look, and what a noble sight is it to see him bearing the standard before such a company! Revelation 7:9. Or the sense is, Christ is a more excellent standard bearer than all others (t); there may be ten thousand persons that carry a flag, but none to be compared with him, for comeliness, strength, and courage: or he is lifted up, as a standard, above others, angels and men; as he was upon the cross, and now, in the ministry of the word, that souls may gather unto him, and enlist themselves in his service; see Isaiah 11:10.My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. white] The Heb. tsach is an adj. derived from tsâchach, ‘to shine’ or ‘glow,’ ‘to be brightly white.’ Here, and in Lamentations 4:7, where the word is used of the colour of the skin, it means a clear, white complexion. In the latter passage the phrase is, ‘more tsach than milk’ contrasted with ‘darker than blackness.’
the chiefest] Probably, as R.V. marg., marked out by a banner, or raised like a banner, ‘eminent,’ ‘distinguished.’ Some critics, however, connect the word with an Assyrian root meaning ‘to look,’ and explain ‘looked at,’ ‘admired,’ ‘conspicuous.’Verse 10. - My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. The mingling of colours in the countenance is a peculiar excellence. The word tsach, from the root tsahach (cf. Lamentations 4:7), means a bright, shining clearness; it is not the same as lavan, which would mean "dead white." So in Greek λαμπρὸς differs from λεῦκος. The red adhom, from the root dam, which means "to condense," is dark red (rouge puce), no doubt as betokening health and vigour. The pure, delicate white among the Caucasians denotes high rank, superior training, hereditary nobility, as among ourselves the "aristocratic paleness" (cf. Hom., 'I1,' 4:141, "ivory with purple;" Virg., 'AEn.,' 12:65; Ovid, 'Am.,' 2; ' Eleg.,' 5:39; Hor., Od., 1:13, etc.; Tibull., 'Eleg.,' ext. 4, etc.). The chiefest, that is, the distinguished one, the chosen (so the Greek versions, Syriac, Jerome, Luther). The LXX. has ἐκλελοξισμένος, e cohorte selectus. Another rendering is "bannered," furnished with a banner or pennon (דֶּגֶל) hence the word דָּגוּל as a past participle (so the Venetian σεσημαιωμένος). The numeral (revava) "ten thousand" is simply used to represent an innumerable multitude; "myriad" is so used among ourselves (cf. Ezekiel 16:7).
And my heart was moved for him.
(Note: Cf. the Arab. ghawr (ghôr), as a sinking of the earth, and khawr (khôr), as a breaking through, and, as it were, a piercing. The mouth of a river is also called khôr, because there the sea breaks into the riv.)
from the verb חוּר, in the sense of to break through (R. חר, whence also חרז, Sol 1:10, and חרם, Arab. kharam, part. broken through, e.g., of a lattice-window), signifies foramen, a hole, also caverna (whence the name of the Troglodytes, חרי, and the Haurn, חורן), here the loophole in the door above (like khawkht, the little door for the admission of individuals in the street or house-door). It does not properly mean a window, but a part of the door pierced through at the upper part of the lock of the door (the door-bolt). מן־החור is understood from the standpoint of one who is within; "by the opening from without to within," thus "through the opening;" stretching his hand through the door-opening as if to open the door, if possible, by the pressing back of the lock from within, he shows how greatly he longed after Shulamith. And she was again very deeply moved when she perceived this longing, which she had so coldly responded to: the interior of her body, with the organs which, after the bibl. idea, are the seat of the tenderest emotions, or rather, in which they reflect themselves, both such as are agreeable and such as are sorrowful, groaned within her, - an expression of deep sympathy so common, that "the sounding of the bowels," Isaiah 63:15, an expression used, and that anthropopathically of God Himself, is a direct designation of sympathy or inner participation. The phrase here wavers between עליו and עלי (thus, e.g., Nissel, 1662). Both forms are admissible. It is true we say elsewhere only naphshi 'ālai, ruhi 'ālai, libbi 'ālai, for the Ego distinguishes itself from its substance (cf. System d. bibl. Psychologie, p. 151f.); meai 'alai, instead of bi (בּקרבּ), would, however, be also explained from this, that the bowels are meant, not anatomically, but as psychical organs. But the old translators (lxx, Targ., Syr., Jerome, Venet.) rendered עליו, which rests on later MS authority (vid., Norzi, and de Rossi), and is also more appropriate: her bowels are stirred, viz., over him, i.e., on account of him (Alkabez: בעבורו). As she will now open to him, she is inwardly more ashamed, as he has come so full of love and longing to make her glad.
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