Song of Solomon 5:4
My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
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(4) By the holei.e., through (Heb. min), as in Song of Solomon 2:9. The hole is the aperture made in the door above the lock for the insertion of the hand with the key. The ancient lock was probably like the one in use in Palestine now. It consists of a hollow bolt or bar, which passes through a staple fixed to the door and into the door-post. In the staple are a number of movable pins, which drop into corresponding holes in the bolt when it is pushed home, and the door is then locked. To unlock it, the key is slid into the hollow bolt, and the movable pins pushed back by other pins in it, corresponding in size and form, which fill up the holes, and so enable the bolt to be withdrawn. It is said that, in lieu of a proper key, the arm can be inserted into the hollow bolt and the pins be pushed up by the hand, if provided with some soft material, as lard or wax, to fill up the holes, and keep the pins from falling back again till the bolt is withdrawn. This offers one explanation of Song of Solomon 5:5. Coming to the door and having no key, the lover is supposed to make use of some myrrh, brought as a present, in trying to open the door, and, not succeeding, to go away. The sweet smelling (Marg., passing, or running about) is the myrrh that drops from the tree naturally, before any incision is made in the bark, and is considered specially fine. Others explain Song of Solomon 5:5 by comparison with the heathen custom alluded to in Lucretius iv. 1173:—

“At lacrimans exclusus amator limina sæpe

Floribus et sertis operit posteisque superbos

Unguet amaricino, et foribus miser oscula figit.”

(Comp. Tibullus, 1:2-14.) Perhaps Proverbs 7:17 makes the comparison allowable, but the first explanation is preferable.

Song of Solomon 5:4-5. By the hole — He assayed to open the door. When his word would not prevail, his Spirit, which is called the finger of God, (Luke 11:20,) wrought inwardly upon my conscience. My bowels were moved — With compassion for him and his sufferings, and with affection to him. I rose — I went forth to receive him. My hands dropped with myrrh — With oil or ointment made of myrrh, which dropped from the bridegroom’s hand upon the door in great abundance, when he put it into the hole of the door — And consequently upon her hands and fingers when she touched the door to open it. By which she signifies, that Christ, though he withdrew himself from her, yet left a sweet savour behind him. Upon the handles of the lock — Hebrew, with myrrh passing, or flowing, upon the handles of the lock, which place the bridegroom had touched when he attempted to open it.5:2-8 Churches and believers, by carelessness and security, provoke Christ to withdraw. We ought to notice our spiritual slumbers and distempers. Christ knocks to awaken us, knocks by his word and Spirit, knocks by afflictions and by our consciences; thus, Re 3:20. When we are unmindful of Christ, still he thinks of us. Christ's love to us should engage ours to him, even in the most self-denying instances; and we only can be gainers by it. Careless souls put slights on Jesus Christ. Another could not be sent to open the door. Christ calls to us, but we have no mind, or pretend we have no strength, or we have no time, and think we may be excused. Making excuses is making light of Christ. Those put contempt upon Christ, who cannot find in their hearts to bear a cold blast, or to leave a warm bed for him. See the powerful influences of Divine grace. He put in his hand to unbolt the door, as one weary of waiting. This betokens a work of the Spirit upon the soul. The believer's rising above self-indulgence, seeking by prayer for the consolations of Christ, and to remove every hinderance to communion with him; these actings of the soul are represented by the hands dropping sweet-smelling myrrh upon the handles of the locks. But the Beloved was gone! By absenting himself, Christ will teach his people to value his gracious visits more highly. Observe, the soul still calls Christ her Beloved. Every desertion is not despair. Lord, I believe, though I must say, Lord, help my unbelief. His words melted me, yet, wretch that I was, I made excuses. The smothering and stifling of convictions will be very bitter to think of, when God opens our eyes. The soul went in pursuit of him; not only prayed, but used means, sought him in the ways wherein he used to be found. The watchmen wounded me. Some refer it to those who misapply the word to awakened consciences. The charge to the daughters of Jerusalem, seems to mean the distressed believer's desire of the prayers of the feeblest Christian. Awakened souls are more sensible of Christ's withdrawings than of any other trouble.Put in his hand - Through (literally "from") the hole (of the lock), in order to raise the pins by which the bolt was fastened. The Oriental lock is a hollow piece of wood attached to the doorpost, into which a sliding-bolt is made to run. As soon as the bolt has been driven home a number of pins drop into holes prepared in it for their reception. To raise these pins, and so enable the bolt to be withdrawn, is to unfasten the lock. This is commonly done by means of the key (literally "opener"), but may often be accomplished by the fingers if dipped in paste or some other adhesive substance. For such a purpose the beloved inserts his fingers here anointed with the costly unguent, which will presently distil on those of the bride when she rises to open to him. 4. A key in the East is usually a piece of wood with pegs in it corresponding to small holes in a wooden bolt within, and is put through a hole in the door, and thus draws the bolt. So Jesus Christ "puts forth His hand (namely, His Spirit, Eze 3:14), by (Hebrew, 'from,' so in So 2:9) the hole"; in "chastening" (Ps 38:2; Re 3:14-22, singularly similar to this passage), and other unexpected ways letting Himself in (Lu 22:61, 62).

bowels … moved for him—It is His which are first troubled for us, and which cause ours to be troubled for Him (Jer 31:20; Ho 11:8).

My Beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door; he assayed to open the door. When his word would not prevail, his Spirit, which is called the finger of God, Luke 11:20, compared with Matthew 12:28, wrought inwardly upon my conscience, and affected mine heart. My bowels were moved for him, with compassion for him and his sufferings, and with affection to him; for both these ways is this phrase off used, as Job 37:1 Philippians 2:1,2, &c. My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door,.... To remove the bolt or bar which kept him from entering in. By the "door" is meant the door of her heart, which was in a great measure shut against Christ, through the prevalence of corruption; and the "hole" in it shows that it was not entirely shut up, there was a little love broke out from her to him; a little light broke in from him upon her; but her heart was much narrowed and straitened, her grace low in exercise, yet there were some faith, some love, &c. wherefore Christ takes the advantage of the little hole or crevice there was, and "put in his hand"; which is to be understood of powerful and efficacious grace, and the exertion of it on her; which is as necessary to awake a drowsy saint, and reclaim a backsliding professor, and to quicken to the exercise of grace, and performance of duty, as to the conversion of a sinner, Acts 11:22; and this is a proof of the greatness of Christ's love to his church; that notwithstanding her rude carriage to him, he does not utterly forsake her, but left something behind that wrought upon her; as well as of his mighty power, in that what calls, knocks, raps, good words, and melting language, could not do, his hand did at once;

and my bowels were moved for him; the passions of her soul; her grief and sorrow for sin, in using him in so ill a manner; her shame for being guilty of such ingratitude; her fear lest he should utterly depart from her; her love, which had been chill and cold, now began to kindle and appear in flames; her heart, and the desires of it, were in motion towards him; and a hearty concern appeared that he should be used so unfriendly by her; that his company and communion with him should be slighted, who had so greatly loved her, and endured so much for her; other effects follow.

My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
4. by the hole of the door] Lit. from the hole, i.e. the hole usually to be found in doors. This was not an opening through which the hand was inserted to unbolt the door, but one through which women could look out upon and speak with men, without being unduly exposed to observation themselves. Through this the Shulammite’s lover puts his hand, either to beckon to her, or as an expression of his longing to be near her.

my bowels were moved for him] R.V. my heart was moved for him. The heart (lçbh) was for the Hebrew the seat of the intellect. The viscera or internal organs (mç‘îm) were regarded as the seat of the affections, and were named where we should say ‘the heart.’ Cp. Psalm 40:8, “Thy law is within my mç‘îm,” i.e. within my heart. Budde proposes to add the third clause of Song of Solomon 5:6 to this verse, because he thinks it out of place there. He would read

“My love sent forth his hand, And his right hand from the hole.

And my heart was moved for him, My soul went forth when he spake.”Verse 4. - My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my heart was moved for him. The door hole is a part of the door pierced through at the upper part of the lock, or door bolt (מִן־הַחור), that is, by the opening from without to within, or through the opening, as if, i.e., to open the door by pressing back the lock or bolt from within. There was some obstacle. He tailed to open it. It had not been left so that he could easily obtain admittance. The metaphor is very apt and beautiful. How much he loved her! How he tried to come to her! As applied to the Saviour, what infinite suggestiveness! He would be with us, and not only knocks at the door, but is impatient to enter; tries the lock, and too often finds it in vain; he is repelled, he is resisted, he is coldly excluded. My heart was moved for him. מֵעַי, "my inner being" (cf. Isaiah 63:15, where the same word is used of God). It is often employed to express sympathy and affection, especially with tender regret. The later authorities, as the older translations, have "to him" (עָלָיו), i.e. over him, or on account of him, in the thought of his wounded heart. 13 What sprouts forth for thee is a park of pomegranates,

     With most excellent fruits;

     Cypress flowers with nards;

14 Nard and crocus; calamus and cinnamon,

     With all kinds of incense trees;

     Myrrh and aloes,

     With all the chief aromatics.

The common subject to all down to Sol 4:15 inclusive is שׁלחיך ("what sprouts for thee" equals "thy plants"), as a figurative designation, borrowed from plants, of all the "phenomena and life utterances" (Bttch.) of her personality. "If I only knew here," says Rocke, "how to disclose the meaning, certainly all these flowers and fruits, in the figurative language of the Orient, in the flower-language of love, had their beautiful interpretation." In the old German poetry, also, the phrase bluomen brechen to break flowers was equivalent to: to enjoy love; the flowers and fruits named are figures of all that the amata offers to the amator. Most of the plants here named are exotics; פּרדּס (heaping around, circumvallation, enclosing) is a garden or park, especially with foreign ornamental and fragrant plants - an old Persian word, the explanation of which, after Spiegel, first given in our exposition of the Song, 1851 (from pairi equals περί, and dêz, R. diz, a heap), has now become common property (Justi's Handb. der Zendsprache, p. 180). מגדים פּרי (from מגד, which corresponds to The Arab. mejd, praise, honour, excellence; vid., Volck under Deuteronomy 33:13) are fructus laudum, or lautitiarum, excellent precious fruits, which in the more modern language are simply called מגדים (Shabbath 127b, מיני מגדים, all kinds of fine fruits); cf. Syr. magdo, dried fruit. Regarding כּפר, vid., under Sol 1:14; regarding מר, under Sol 1:13; also regarding נרדּ, under Sol 1:12. The long vowel of נרדּ corresponds to the Pers. form nârd, but near to which is also nard, Indian nalada (fragrance-giving); the ē is thus only the long accent, and can therefore disappear in the plur. For נרדים, Grtz reads ירדים, roses, because the poet would not have named nard twice. The conjecture is beautiful, but for us, who believe the poem to be Solomonic, is inconsistent with the history of roses (vid., under Sol 2:1), and also unnecessary. The description moves forward by steps rhythmically.

כּרוכם is the crocus stativus, the genuine Indian safran, the dried flower-eyes of which yield the safran used as a colour, as an aromatic, and also as medicine; safran is an Arab. word, and means yellow root and yellow colouring matter. The name כּרוכם, Pers. karkam, Arab. karkum, is radically Indian, Sanscr. kunkuma. קנה, a reed (from קנה, R. qn, to rise up, viewed intrans.),

(Note: In this general sense of "reed" (Syn. arundo) the word is also found in the Gr. and Lat.: κάνναι (κάναι), reed-mats, κάνεον κάναστρον, a wicker basket, canna, canistrum, without any reference to an Indo-Germ. verbal stem, and without acquiring the specific signification of an aromatic plant.)

viz., sweet reed, acorus calamus, which with us now grows wild in marshes, but is indigenous to the Orient.

קנּמנן is the laurus cinnamomum, a tree indigenous to the east coast of Africa and Ceylon, and found later also on the Antilles. It is of the family of the laurineae, the inner bark of which, peeled off and rolled together, is the cinnamon-bark (cannella, French cannelle); Aram. קוּנמא, as also the Greek κιννάμοομον and κίνναμον, Lat. (e.g., in the 12th book of Pliny) cinnamomum and cinnamum, are interchanged, from קנם, probably a secondary formation from קנה (like בּם, whence בּמה, from בּא), to which also Syr. qenûmā', ὑπόστασις, and the Talm.-Targ. קנּוּם קונם, an oath (cf. קים), go back, so that thus the name which was brought to the west by the Phoenicians denoted not the tree, but the reed-like form of the rolled dried bark. As "nards" refer to varieties of the nard, perhaps to the Indian and the Jamanic spoken of by Strabo and others, so "all kinds of incense trees" refers definitely to Indo-Arab. varieties of the incense tree and its fragrant resin; it has its name fro the white and transparent seeds of this its resin (cf. Arab. lubân, incense and benzoin, the resin of the storax tree, לבנה); the Greek λίβανος, λιβανωτός (Lat. thus, frankincense, from θύω), is a word derived from the Pheonicians.

אהלות or אהלים (which already in a remarkable way was used by Balaam, Numbers 24:6, elsewhere only since the time of Solomon) is the Semitized old Indian name of the aloe, agaru or aguru; that which is aromatic is the wood of the aloe-tree (aloxylon agallochum), particularly its dried root (agallochum or lignum alos, ξυλαλόη, according to which the Targ. here: אלואין אכסיל, after the phrase in Aruch) mouldered in the earth, which chiefly came from farther India.

(Note: Vid., Lassen's Ind. Alterthumsk. I 334f. Furrer, in Schenkel's Bib. Lex., understands אהלות of the liliaceae, indigenous to Palestine as to Arabia, which is also called alo. But the drastic purgative which the succulent leaves of this plant yield is not aromatic, and the verb אחל "to glisten," whence he seeks to derive the name of this aloe, is not proved. Cf. besides, the Petersburg Lex. under aguru ("not difficult"), according to which is this name of the amyris agallocha, and the aquilaria agallocha, but of no liliaceae. The name Adlerholz ("eagle-wood") rests on a misunderstanding of the name of the Agila tree. It is called "Paradiesholz," because it must have been one of the paradise trees (vid., Bereshith rabba under Genesis 2:8). Dioskorides says of this wood: θυμιᾶται ἀντὶ λιβανωτοῦ; the Song therefore places it along with myrrh and frankincense. That which is common to the lily-aloe and the wood-aloe, is the bitter taste of the juice of the former and of the resinous wood of the latter. The Arab. name of the aloe, ṣabir, is also given to the lily-aloe. The proverbs: amarru min eṣ-ṣabir, bitterer than the aloe, and es-sabr sabir, patience is the aloe, refer to the aloe-juice.)


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