Song of Solomon 6:10
Who is she that looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
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(10) Who is she.—This verse is supposed to be spoken by the admiring ladies. The paragraph mark in the English Version should rather be at the beginning of the next verse. (Comp.—

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!

Arise, fair sun,” &c—Romeo and Juliet.)

But the poet heightens his figure by combining both the great lights of heaven with the dawn, and putting the praise in the mouth of “the meaner beauties of the night,” who feel their own inferiority “when the moon doth rise,” still more before the “all paling” sun.

Song of Solomon 6:10. Who is she, &c. — These are the words of the queens and concubines. Who — What manner of person is this, how excellent and glorious! that looketh forth as the morning — As the morning light, which, coming after the darkness, is very pleasant and amiable. Fair as the moon — Namely, when it is full, and walketh in brightness, Job 31:26. Clear as the sun — Without any such spots or dark specks as are in the moon. Thus the church is said to be without spot, or wrinkle, or blemish, (Ephesians 5:27,) which she is by God’s gracious acceptance of her, as such, in Christ, and through his merits and Spirit; and terrible, &c. — See above, Song of Solomon 6:4.6:4-10 All the real excellence and holiness on earth centre in the church. Christ goes forth subduing his enemies, while his followers gain victories over the world, the flesh, and the devil. He shows the tenderness of a Redeemer, the delight he takes in his redeemed people, and the workings of his own grace in them. True believers alone can possess the beauty of holiness. And when their real character is known, it will be commended. Both the church and believers, at their first conversion, look forth as the morning, their light being small, but increasing. As to their sanctification, they are fair as the moon, deriving all their light, grace, and holiness from Christ; and as to justification, clear as the sun, clothed with Christ, the Sun of righteousness, and fighting the good fight of faith, under the banners of Christ, against all spiritual enemies.The chorus address the bride here only as the Shulamite, and beg her to perform for their entertainment a sacred dance (see Sol 6:13) of her own country. The bride, after complying with their request, while they sing some stanzas in her praise Sol 7:1-5, and after receiving fresh commendations from the king Sol 7:6-10, invites him to return with her to her mother's house Cant. 7:11-8:4. Many Jewish allegorists interpret the whole as referring to the times of the second temple, and to the present dispersion of Israel, during which, God continuing to vouchsafe His mercy, Israel prays for final restoration, the coming of Messiah, and the glory of the latter day. Christian interpreters have made similar applications to the now militant Church looking for the Second Advent, or to the ancient synagogue praying for the Incarnation.

As the morning - The glorious beauty of the bride bursts upon them like a second dawn, as she comes forth to meet them at the commencement of another day. Special poetical words are used for "sun" (burning heat) and "moon" (white one). The same terms are applied to sun and moon in Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 30:26.

10. The words expressing the admiration of the daughters. Historically (Ac 5:24-39).

as the morning—As yet she is not come to the fulness of her light (Pr 4:18).

moon—shining in the night, by light borrowed from the sun; so the bride, in the darkness of this world, reflects the light of the Sun of righteousness (2Co 3:18).

sun—Her light of justification is perfect, for it is His (2Co 5:21; 1Jo 4:17). The moon has less light, and has only one half illuminated; so the bride's sanctification is as yet imperfect. Her future glory (Mt 13:43).

army—(So 6:4). The climax requires this to be applied to the starry and angelic hosts, from which God is called Lord of Sabaoth. Her final glory (Ge 15:5; Da 12:3; Re 12:1). The Church Patriarchal, "the morning"; Levitical, "the moon"; Evangelical, "the sun"; Triumphant, "the bannered army" (Re 19:14).

These are the words, either,

1. Of the Bridegroom; or,

2. of the queens and concubines last mentioned, as praising of her. And they are either words of inquiry, or rather of admiration and commendation:

Who, i.e. what manner of person, is this? how excellent and glorious! and so this pronoun who is understood Psalm 24:8 Mark 4:41, compared with Matthew 8:27.

As the morning; as the morning light, which coming after the darkness of the night is very pleasant and amiable, which also suddenly spreadeth itself from the east to the west.

Fair as the moon, to wit, when it is full and walking in brightness, as the phrase is, Job 31:26. But withal he seems to intimate that the church, like the moon, may have her eclipse, and be in darkness for a time.

Clear as the sun; without any such spots or dark specks as are in the moon; which is to be understood in the same sense that she is said to be without spot, or wrinkle, or blemish, Ephesians 5:27, which she is partly by God’s gracious acceptation of her as such in Christ, and through his righteousness; and partly because she shall be such in the future life.

Terrible as an army with banners: see Song of Solomon 6:4. Who is she that looketh forth as the morning?.... These words may be connected with the preceding, by a supplement of the word "saying"; and so may express what the daughters said, when they blessed and praised the church, wondering at her beauty, it being like the rising morning; so Helena is said to show her beautiful face, as the morning, when it springs forth (n): there was a city in the tribe of Reuben, called Zarethshahar, the beauty or splendour of the morning, Joshua 13:19. Homer often describes the morning by her rosy fingers (o), and as clothed with a saffron garment (p), and as beautiful and divine (q), and fair haired (r); and as on a golden throne and beautiful (s). And as these words describe the progressive gradations of light, so they may set forth the state and condition of the church in the several ages of the world; its first state in this clause, which may reach from the first dawn of light to Adam, Genesis 3:15; increasing in the times of the patriarchs, Noah, Abraham, and Jacob, and in which and to whom were various displays of Gospel light and grace; to the time of the giving of the law by Moses, when the church might be said to be

fair as the moon; which, though it receives its light from the sun, yet splendour and brightness are ascribed to it, Job 31:26; and, by other writers (t), is represented as fair and beautiful; and the beautiful form of persons is expressed by it (u): and very fitly is the state of the church under the law signified by the moon, by which the ceremonial law seems intended, in Revelation 12:1; that lying much in the observation of new moons, by the which the several festivals under the law were regulated; and which law gave light in the night of Jewish darkness, into the person, offices, and grace of Christ; and though it was imperfect, variable, waxed old, and at length vanished away, yet the church under it was "fair"; there being a beauty and amiableness in the worship of that dispensation, Psalm 27:4. The next clause, "clear as the sun", may describe the church under the Gospel dispensation; when the "sun of righteousness" arose, and made the famous Gospel day; when the shadows of the old law fled away, Christ, the substance, being come; when there were more light and knowledge, and a clear discerning of spiritual and evangelic things: and, in all those periods, the church was "terrible as an army with banners"; to her enemies, being in a militant state; See Gill on Sol 6:4. The whole of this may be applied to particular believers; who, at first conversion, "look forth as the morning", their light being small, but increasing; and, as to their sanctification, are "fair as the moon", having their spots and imperfections, and deriving all their light, grace, and holiness, from Christ; and, as to their justification,

clear as the sun, being clothed with Christ, the sun of righteousness, Revelation 12:1; and so all fair and without spot;

and terrible as an army with banners, fighting the good fight of faith, under the banners of Christ, against all spiritual enemies.

(n) Theocrit. Idyll. 18. v. 26. (o) , Iliad. 1. v. 477. & passim. (p) , Iliad. 8, v. 1. & 19. v. 1.((q) Iliad. 18. v. 255. (r) Odyss. 5. v. 390. (s) Odyss. 15. v. 56, 250. (t) "Tanto formosis, formosior omnibus illa est", Ovid. Leander Heroni, v. 73. "Pulchrior tanto tua forma lucet", Senecae Hippolylus, Acts 2. chorus, v. 740. (u) Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. de Nupt. Honor. v. 243.

{e} Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

(e) He shows that the beginning of the Church was small, but that it grew up to a great multitude.

10. These words evidently express the admiration of the ladies of the court for the Shulammite. Most commentators who regard the book as a connected whole take Song of Solomon 6:10 to be the praises referred to in the previous verse. Song of Solomon 6:9 would then end with a colon, and saying must be understood. The R.V. however marks a paragraph. Oettli emphasises the tense, and they praised her, and regards the words as those used by the court ladies when she was first met by the royal party. This is much the best hypothesis, for it gives a connecting point for the next verses as the words of the Shulammite. Delitzsch, on the other hand, makes this the beginning of a new act, and supposes that the Shulammite walks forth from some recess in the royal gardens and is greeted by the ladies with these words.

looketh forth as the morning] Better, as the dawn, i.e. as the dawn looks forth over the eastern hills, cp. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Acts 1. sc. 1,

“But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,

Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastern hill.”

clear] This is the word translated “choice one” in the previous verse, but it must mean clear here.

terrible as an army with banners] It is a marked peculiarity of the Song to repeat similes and epithets. They are introduced first for some special reason, then immediately they seem to crystallise into standing epithets. Cp. “feeding among the lilies.” The words used here for sun and moon are not the ordinary ones shemesh and yârçach, but chammâh, lit. ‘heat,’ and lěbhânâh, lit. ‘whiteness,’ exclusively poetic names, found together again in Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 30:26.Verse 10. - Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with banners? This, of course, is the praise which comes from the lips of the queens and concubines, the ladies of the harem, the daughters of Jerusalem. The word rendered "looketh forth" is literally "bendeth forward," i.e. in order to look out or forth (cf. Psalm 14:2), LXX., ἐκκυπτοῦσα Venet., παρακυπτοῦσα (cf. James 1:25, "stooping down and looking into the Word as into well"). The idea seems to be that of a rising luminary, looking forth from the background, breaking through the shades of the garden, like the morning star appearing above the horizon (ὡς ἑωσφόρος, Venetian) (cf. Isaiah 14:12, where the morning star is called הֶן שַׁחַר). The moon is generally יָדֵח, "yellow," but here לְבָנָה, "white," i.e. pale and sweet, as the lesser light, with true womanly delicacy and fairness; but the rest of the description, which plainly is added for the sake of the symbolical suggestiveness of the figures, removes all idea of mere weakness. Clear (or, bright) as the sun. And the word for "sun" is not, as usual, shemesh, but chammah, "heat," the warming light (Psalm 19:7; see Job 31:26; Isaiah 49:2). The fierce rays of the Eastern sun are terrible to those who encounter them. The glory of the Church is a glory overwhelming as against all that opposes it. The description is pure hyperbole as applied to a fair bride, referring to the blazing beauty of her face and adornments, but symbolically it has always been felt a precious contribution to religious language. Perhaps no sentence in the Old Testament has been more frequently on the lips of devout men, especially when they have been speaking of the victories of the truth and the glowing prospects of the Saviour's kingdom. With Sol 6:4 Solomon's address is resumed, and a new scene opens. Shulamith had found him again, and she who is beautiful in herself appears now so much the more beautiful, when the joy of seeing him again irradiates her whole being.

4 Beautiful art thou, my friend, as Tirzah,

   Comely as Jerusalem,

   Terrible as a battle-array.

In the praise of her beauty we hear the voice of the king. The cities which are the highest ornament of his kingdom serve him as the measure of her beauty, which is designated according to the root conceptions by יפה, after the equality of completeness; by נאוה, after the quality of that which is well-becoming, pleasing. It is concluded, from the prominence given to Tirzah, that the Song was not composed till after the division of the kingdom, and that its author was an inhabitant of the northern kingdom; for Tirzah was the first royal city of this kingdom till the time of Omri, the founder of Samaria. But since, at all events, it is Solomon who here speaks, so great an historical judgment ought surely to be ascribed to a later poet who has imagined himself in the exact position of Solomon, that he would not represent the king of the undivided Israel as speaking like a king of the separate kingdom of Israel. The prominence given to Tirzah has another reason. Tirzah was discovered by Robinson on his second journey, 1852, in which Van de Velde accompanied him, on a height in the mountain range to the north of Nabls, under the name Tullzah. Brocardus and Breydenback had already pointed out a village called Thersa to the east of Samaria. This form of the name corresponds to the Heb. better than that Arab. Tullûzah; but the place is suitable, and if Tullzah lies high and beautiful in a region of olive trees, then it still justifies its ancient name, which means pleasantness or sweetness. But it cannot be sweetness on account of which Tirzah is named before Jerusalem, for in the eye of the Israelites Jerusalem was "the perfection of beauty" (Psalm 50:2; Lamentations 2:15). That there is gradation from Tirzah to Jerusalem (Hengst.) cannot be said; for נאוה (decora) and יפה (pulchra) would be reversed if a climax were intended. The reason of it is rather this, that Shulamith is from the higher region, and is not a daughter of Jerusalem, and that therefore a beautiful city situated in the north toward Sunem must serve as a comparison of her beauty. That Shulamith is both beautiful and terrible (אימּה from אים) is not contradiction: she is terrible in the irresistible power of the impression of her personality, terrible as nîdgaloth, i.e., as troops going forth with their banners unfurled (cf. the Kal of this v. denom., Psalm 20:6). We do not need to supply מצנות, which is sometimes fem., Psalm 25:3; Genesis 32:9, although the attribute would here be appropriate, Numbers 2:3, cf. Song Numbers 10:5; still less צבאות, which occurs in the sense of military service, Isaiah 40:2, and a war-expedition, Daniel 8:12, but not in the sense of war-host, as fem. Much rather nidgaloth, thus neut., is meant of bannered hosts, as ארחות (not אר), Isaiah 21:13, of those that are marching. War-hosts with their banners, their standards, go forth confident of victory. Such is Shulamith's whole appearance, although she is unconscious of it - a veni, vidi, vici. Solomon is completely vanquished by her. But seeking to maintain himself in freedom over against her, he cries out to her:

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