Song of Solomon 5:5
I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
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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.Sweet smelling myrrh - Or (as in the margin) "running myrrh," that which first and spontaneously exudes, i. e., the freshest, finest myrrh. Even in withdrawing he has left this token of his unchanged love. 5. dropped with myrrh—The best proof a bride could give her lover of welcome was to anoint herself (the back of the hands especially, as being the coolest part of the body) profusely with the best perfumes (Ex 30:23; Es 2:12; Pr 7:17); "sweet-smelling" is in the Hebrew rather, "spontaneously exuding" from the tree, and therefore the best. She designed also to anoint Him, whose "head was filled with the drops of night" (Lu 24:1). The myrrh typifies bitter repentance, the fruit of the Spirit's unction (2Co 1:21, 22).

handles of the lock—sins which closed the heart against Him.

I rose up to open to my Beloved; I repented of my former drowsiness and neglect, and went forth to receive him.

My hands dropped with myrrh, i.e. with oil or ointment made of myrrh, which either,

1. She had taken out of her own stock to prepare herself for the entertainment of the Bridegroom; or rather,

2. Dropped from the Bridegroom’s hand upon the door in great abundance, when he put it into the hole of the door, Song of Solomon 5:4, 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, infusing into her, and stirring up in her, the graces of the Spirit, such as repentance, which is bitter as myrrh, earnest desire after Christ, &c.

With sweet-smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock, Heb. with myrrh passing or flowing upon the handles of the lock, which place the Bridegroom had touched when he attempted to open it.

I rose up to open to my beloved,.... As soon as touched by the hand of mighty grace, she not only resolved to rise, but actually rose, and that directly, not being easy to lie any longer on her bed of carnal security; being now made heartily and thoroughly willing to let in her beloved, who she supposed was still at the door; but in that she was mistaken; however she met with a rich experience of his grace and goodness;

and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock; when she put her hand upon it to draw it back, and let her beloved in; the myrrh, which he had gathered, Sol 5:1, and left there when he put in his hand at the hole of the door: the allusion seems to be to lovers shut out, who used to cover the threshold of the door with flowers, and anoint the door posts with sweet smelling ointment (f): as by the "door" is meant the heart of the church, so by the "lock", which fastened and kept it shut, unbelief may be designed; and by the "handles" of it lukewarmness and sluggishness, which strengthen unbelief, and keep the heart closer shut against Christ; and by her "hands" and "fingers", faith in exercise, attended with the fruits of it, attempting to draw back the lock of unbelief; which while the church was trying to do, she met with some fresh experience of the grace of Christ: her "hands and fingers dropped with sweet smelling myrrh, passing" or "current" (g); such as weeps and drops from the tree of itself, and, being liquid, runs upon and overflows the hands and fingers; and being excellent and valuable, is passing or current as money; and the odour of it diffusive, it passes afar off: now this is either to be understood of myrrh brought by the church, a pot of ointment of it to anoint her beloved with, who had been long waiting at her door in the night season, to refresh him with it; and this pot being broke unawares, or designedly, or being in a panic her hands shook, the myrrh run over her hands and fingers as she was drawing back the lock; which may denote that her grace was now in exercise and on the flow, in great abundance; which put her on her duty, and which became odorous and acceptable to Christ: or it may signify myrrh brought and left there by Christ; and may express the abundance of grace from him, communicated by him, to draw and allure her to him, to supple and soften her hard heart, to take off the stiffness of her will, and the rustiness of her affections, and make the lock of unbelief draw back easier, and so open a way for himself into her heart; and to excite grace in her, her faith and love, and cause her to come forth in exercise on him: and her hands and fingers "dropping" herewith shows that all the grace a believer has is from Christ, from whom, in the way of his duty, he receives a large measure of it: while the church was on her bed of sloth there was no flow of sweet smelling myrrh; but, now she is up and doing her duty, her hands and fingers are overflowed with it.

(f) "At lachrymans exclusus amator,----posteisque superbos unguit amaracino", Lucret. l. 4. prope finem. (g) "myrrham transeuntem", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. "probam", Tigurine version; "lachrymantem", Bochart; "quam Dioscorides vocat Myrrham Galiraeam".

I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands flowed with myrrh, and my {e} fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

(e) The spouse who should be anointed by Christ will not find him if she thinks to anoint him with her good works.

5. and my hands dropped &c.] Rather, while my hands dropped myrrh. sweet smelling myrrh] Heb. môr ‘ôbhçr, lit. flowing myrrh, is that which flows out from the bark of the myrrh shrub of itself, and is specially valued, cp. Song of Solomon 5:13. It is called also môr dĕrôr, ‘freely flowing myrrh’ (Exodus 30:23).

the handles of the lock] R.V. the handles of the bolt. Some commentators, e.g. Delitzsch, suppose that the person who knocks has put the myrrh upon the bolt as an offering to the Shulammite, but the phrase, “my hands dropped myrrh upon,” &c., implies that the myrrh was not on the bolt before she tried to open the door. Of course in real life she would not drop myrrh upon the bolts, but in a dream she might imagine it, especially when she was in unusual circumstances and surrounded by unwonted luxury. Probably she had been anointing herself with perfumes before she went to sleep. Budde thinks that the text is in disorder here and would read,

“I arose to open to my beloved,

[And laid hold upon] the handles of the bolt,

While my hands dropped myrrh,

And my fingers flowing myrrh.”

Siegfried would strike out, “upon the handles of the bolt,” as a gloss, and would leave the rest as it stands. Neither change seems necessary.

Verse 5. - I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with liquid myrrh, upon the handles of the bolt. The meaning seems to be that the lover had come to the door perfumed as if for a festival, and the costly ointment which he brought with him has dropped on the handles of the bolts. Similar allusions may be found in Lucretius and other heathen writers. This description is, of course, inapplicable to the shepherd theory. It would not be a rough country swain that came thus perfumed; but Solomon is thought of as at once king and lover. It would be stretching the poetry too far to suppose that Shulamith meant the natural sweetness of her lover was the perfume. Neither is there any probability in the explanation that she dipped her hand in perfumed oil before she opened the door. That would destroy all the form and beauty of the dream. It is her lover whose fragrance she celebrates, not her own. Whether he brought perfumes with him, or the innate personal sweetness of his presence left its fragrance on that which he touched, in either case it is the lover himself who is spoken cf. His very hand, wherever it has been, leaves behind it ineffable delight. His presence reveals itself everywhere. Those who go after him know that he is not far off by the traces of his loving approaches to them. The spiritual meaning is too plain to need much exposition. Song of Solomon 5:55 I arose to open to my beloved,

   And my hands dropped with myrrh,

   And my fingers with liquid myrrh,

   On the handle of the bolt.

The personal pron. אני stands without emphasis before the verb which already contains it; the common language of the people delights in such particularity. The Book of Hosea, the Ephraimite prophet's work, is marked by such a style. עבר מור, with which the parallel clause goes beyond the simple mōr, is myrrh flowing over, dropping out of itself, i.e., that which breaks through the bark of the balsamodendron myrrha, or which flows out if an incision is made in it; myrrha stacte, of which Pliny (xii. 35) says: cui nulla praefertur, otherwise דּרור מר, from דּרר, to gush out, to pour itself forth in rich jets. He has come perfumed as if for a festival, and the costly ointment which he brought with him has dropped on the handles of the bolts (מנעוּל, keeping locked, after the form מלבּוּשׁ, drawing on), viz., the inner bolt, which he wished to withdraw. A classical parallel is found in Lucretius, iv. 1171:

"At lacrimans exclusus amator limina saepe

Floribus et sertis operit postesque superbos

Unguit amaracino" ...

Bttch. here puts to Hitzig the question, "Did the shepherd, the peasant of Engedi, bring with him oil of myrrh?" Rejecting this reasonable explanation, he supposes that the Shulamitess, still in Solomon's care, on rising up quickly dipped her hand in the oil of myrrh, that she might refresh her beloved. She thus had it near her before her bed, as a sick person her decoction. The right answer was, that the visitant by night is not that imaginary personage, but it is Solomon. She had dreamed that he stood before her door and knocked. But finding no response, he again in a moment withdrew, when it was proved that Shulamith did not requite his love and come forth to meet it in its fulness as she ought.

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