Song of Solomon 6:12
Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
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Song of Solomon 6:12. Or ever I was aware — I was surprised with a vehement desire of my spouse, which is to be understood figuratively, and so as to agree with the majesty and omniscience of Christ. My soul made me, &c. — Eager in my desire, and swift in my motion toward the church. Amminadib is supposed to be some eminent charioteer then well known, and famous for his speed in driving chariots.

6:11-13 In retirement and in meditation the Christian character is formed and perfected. But not in the retirement of the idle, the self-indulgent, or the trifler. When the Christian is released from the discharge of his duties in life, the world has no attractions for him. His prayer is, that all things belonging to the Spirit may live and grow within him, and around him. Such are the interesting cares and employments of him whom the world wrongly deems unhappy, and lost to his true interests. In humility and self-abasement, the humble Christian would turn away from the sight of all; but the Lord delights to honour him. Chiefly, however, may the reference be to the ministering angels who shall be sent for the soul of the Christian. Their approach may startle, but the departing soul shall find the Lord its strength and its portion for ever. The church is called the Shulamite: the word signifies perfection and peace; not in herself, but in Christ, in whom she is complete, through his righteousness; and has peace, which he made for her through his blood, and gives unto her by his Spirit.The bride's words may be paraphrased: "You speak of me as a glorious beauty; I was lately but a simple maiden engaged in rustic toils. I went down one day into the walnut-garden" (the walnut abounded on the shores of Lake Gennesaret, and is still common in Northern Palestine) "to inspect the young plants of the vale" (i. e., the wady, or watercourse, with now verdant banks in the early spring after the rainy season), "and to watch the budding and blossoming of vine and pomegranate." Compare Sol 2:11-13 notes. "Then, suddenly, ere I was myself aware, my soul" (the love-bound heart) "had made me the chariot of a lordly people" (i. e., an exalted personage, one who resides on the high places of the earth; compare 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 13:14, where Elijah and Elisha, as the spiritual leaders of the nation, are "the chariot and horsemen of Israel," compare also Isaiah 22:18). This last clause is another instance of the love for military similitudes in the writer of the Song.

Ammi-nadib - literally, my people a noble one. The reference is either to Israel at large as a wealthy and dominant nation, under Solomon, or to the bride's people (the Shulamites) in particular, to the chief place among whom, by her union with the king, she is now exalted.

12. Sudden outpourings of the Spirit on Pentecost (Ac 2:1-13), while the Church was using the means (answering to "the garden," So 6:11; Joh 3:8).

Ammi-nadib—supposed to me one proverbial for swift driving. Similarly (So 1:9). Rather, "my willing people" (Ps 110:3). A willing chariot bore a "willing people"; or Nadib is the Prince, Jesus Christ (Ps 68:17). She is borne in a moment into His presence (Eph 2:6).

Or ever I was aware; I was surprised with a sudden and vehement desire of enjoying my spouse; which is to be understood figuratively, and so as to agree with the majesty and omnisciency of Christ.

My soul made me; I made myself; which may signify Christ’s activity in stirring up his affections to the church: or, I was made; for the active phrase is oft understood passively, and the soul is commonly put for the person.

Like the chariots of Ammi-nadib; eager in my desire and swift in my motion towards the church. Ammi-nadib is supposed to be some eminent charioteer then well known, and famous for his speed in driving chariots. But this clause with the former is otherwise rendered, both in the margin and by others, and that very agreeably to the Hebrew words, my soul set me on the chariots of my willing (or, as others, noble or princely) people, i.e. which mine and the bride’s friends had prepared to bring me to the bride with more expedition, into which I ascended with all my soul, as longing to come to my bride.

Or ever one was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib. These are either the words of the church or of Christ, saying, "I know not" (y) as the first clause may be rendered: if the words of the church, the sense may be, that though she knew not where her beloved was gone, when he went from her, yet she ran about in search of him as swiftly as the chariots of Amminadib; and when she did know that he was gone down into the garden, immediately, on a sudden, at an unawares, such was the strength of her love and affection to him, the she moved as swiftly after him as if she had been in one of those chariots; and this may signify also her courage and resolution, that, notwithstanding all difficulties and discouragements she met with, she drove on as briskly and as courageously after him as ever Amminadib did, in one of his chariots, in the field of battle: or, "I know not"; whether in the body or out of the body; such was the rapture and ecstasy she was in, when she heard her beloved say, "I went down into the garden of nuts", &c. or, when she heard the daughters' commendations of her, she did not think that such belonged to her, and therefore said, "I know not"; however, this caused her to make the greater haste to answer such characters, and to enjoy the company of her beloved. But rather they are the words of Christ, who was now in his garden, observing the condition it was in, and says, "I know not", or do not perceive (z), that it was in a fruitful and flourishing case, and therefore took all the speedy methods he could to bring it into a better; or being in a transport of love to his church, it caused him speedily to return unto her, and grant her his presence; offer all necessary assistance, and be as chariots to her, to carry her through difficulties, and to protect and defend her from all enemies: and this his soul caused him to do, not her worth and worthiness, love and loveliness, but his own good will and pleasure, and cordial affection for her. Many take Amminadib to be the proper name of a person, who was one of Solomon's chariot drivers, that understood his business well, and drove swiftly, and with success, to whom Christ compares himself, when returning to his church with haste: but I rather think, with Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and others, that it is an appellative, consisting of two words, "ammi", my people, and "nadib", willing or princely, and may be rendered, "the chariots of my willing" or "princely people" (a); meaning, not angels, nor ministers, but the people of Christ themselves, to whom he is as chariots; for so I should choose to translate the words, "my soul made me as chariots to my willing" or "princely people"; and so describes the persons who share in this instance of his grace; they are such who are made willing by Christ, in the day of his power on them, to be saved by him, and serve him, Psalm 110:3; and who are of a free, princely, and munificent spirit, Psalm 2:12; being princes, and the sons and daughters of a prince, Sol 7:1; to these Christ makes himself as chariots, as he now was to the church, and took her up along with him to enjoy his presence, she had sought for and desired. Wherefore the daughters of Jerusalem, who had accompanied her hitherto in search of him, perceiving she was going from then, say what follows.

(y) , Sept. "nescivi", V. L. "non novi", Montanus. (z) "Nondum percipientem haec", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (a) "populi mei spontanei", Pagninus; "voluntari", Piscator, Cocceius, Marchius, Michaelis.

{g} Before I was aware, my soul made me {h} like the chariots of Amminadib.

(g) I found nothing but rebellion.

(h) Or, Set me on the chariots of my willing people.

12. This is probably the most difficult verse in the whole book to interpret satisfactorily. Perhaps it may best be rendered as in R.V. my soul (or, desire, marg.) set me among the chariots of my princely people. That nephesh may mean ‘appetite’ or ‘desire’ is clear from Proverbs 23:2. So taken, the words would mean that when she was engaged in inspecting and enjoying the gardens, suddenly, before she knew, her longing to see the plants brought her among the chariots of her noble people, i.e. of noble people who were hers, i.e. rulers of her land. She suddenly came upon the train of King Solomon, as they were on the way from or to some royal dwelling in the North. But it must be confessed that the translation of Ammi-nadib as ‘my princely people’ is not very satisfactory, though the omission of the article with the adj. after a noun defined by a pronominal suffix is not uncommon. (Cp. Ges.-K. Gramm. § 126, h and z). The text may be corrupt, but the extensive changes of reading proposed by Budde, Grätz, and Cheyne do not mend matters much, and are none of them convincing. But if the meaning we have found in these words is even generally correct, it is fatal to Budde’s theory that the book is a mere collection of unconnected marriage songs. Nothing can be made of them on that hypothesis, and all who support it have to get rid of them, either by amending them, or excising them.

Song of Solomon 6:1211 To the nut garden I went down

     To look at the shrubs of the valley,

     To see whether the vine sprouted,

     The pomegranates budded.

12 I knew it not that my soul lifted me up

     To the royal chariots of my people, a noble (one).

In her loneliness she is happy; she finds her delight in quietly moving about in the vegetable world; the vine and the pomegranate, brought from her home, are her favourites. Her soul - viz. love for Solomon, which fills her soul - raised her to the royal chariots of her people, the royal chariots of a noble (one), where she sits besides the king, who drives the chariot; she knew this, but she also knew it not for what she had become without any cause of her own, that she is without self-elation and without disavowal of her origin. These are Shulamith's thoughts and feelings, which we think we derive from these two verses without reading between the lines and without refining. It went down, she says, viz., from the royal palace, cf. Sol 6:2. Then, further, she speaks of a valley; and the whole sounds rural, so that we are led to think of Etam as the scene. This Etam, romantically (vid., Judges 15:8 f.) situated, was, as Josephus (Antt. viii. 7. 3) credibly informs us, Solomon's Belvedere. "In the royal stables," he says, "so great was the regard for beauty and swiftness, that nowhere else could horses of greater beauty or greater fleetness be found. All had to acknowledge that the appearance of the king's horses was wonderfully pleasing, and that their swiftness was incomparable. Their riders also served as an ornament to them. They were young men in the flower of their age, and were distinguished by their lofty stature and their flowing hair, and by their clothing, which was of Tyrian purple. They every day sprinkled their hair with dust of gold, so that their whole head sparkled when the sun shone upon it. In such array, armed and bearing bows, they formed a body-guard around the king, who was wont, clothed in a white garment, to go out of the city in the morning, and even to drive his chariot. These morning excursions were usually to a certain place which was about sixty stadia from Jerusalem, and which was called Etam; gardens and brooks made it as pleasant as it was fruitful." This Etam, from whence (the עין עיטם)

(Note: According to Sebachim 54b, one of the highest points of the Holy Land.))

a watercourse, the ruins of which are still visible, supplied the temple with water, has been identified by Robinson with a village called Artas (by Lumley called Urtas), about a mile and a half to the south of Bethlehem. At the upper end of the winding valley, at a considerable height above the bottom, are three old Solomonic pools, - large, oblong basins of considerable compass placed one behind the other in terraces. Almost at an equal height with the highest pool, at a distance of several hundred steps there is a strong fountain, which is carefully built over, and to which there is a descent by means of stairs inside the building. By it principally were the pools, which are just large reservoirs, fed, and the water was conducted by a subterranean conduit into the upper pool. Riding along the way close to the aqueduct, which still exists, one sees even at the present day the valley below clothed in rich vegetation; and it is easy to understand that here there may have been rich gardens and pleasure-grounds (Moritz Lttke's Mittheilung). A more suitable place for this first scene of the fifth Act cannot be thought of; and what Josephus relates serves remarkably to illustrate not only the description of Sol 6:11, but also that of Sol 6:12.

אגוז is the walnut, i.e., the Italian nut tree (Juglans regia L.), originally brought from Persia; the Persian name is jeuz, Aethiop. gûz, Arab. Syr. gauz (gôz), in Heb. with א prosth., like the Armen. engus. גּנּת אגוז is a garden, the peculiar ornament of which is the fragrant and shady walnut tree; גנת אגוזים would not be a nut garden, but a garden of nuts, for the plur. signifies, Mishn. nuces (viz., juglandes equals Jovis glandes, Pliny, xvii. 136, ed. Jan.), as תּאנים, figs, in contradistinction to תּאנה, a fig tree, only the Midrash uses אגוזה here, elsewhere not occurring, of a tree. The object of her going down was one, viz., to observe the state of the vegetation; but it was manifold, as expressed in the manifold statements which follow ירדתּי. The first object was the nut garden. Then her intention was to observe the young shoots in the valley, which one has to think of as traversed by a river or brook; for נחל, like Wady, signifies both a valley and a valley-brook. The nut garden might lie in the valley, for the walnut tree is fond of a moderately cool, damp soil (Joseph. Bell. iii. 10. 8). But the אבּי are the young shoots with which the banks of a brook and the damp valley are usually adorned in the spring-time. אב, shoot, in the Heb. of budding and growth, in Aram. of the fruit-formation, comes from R. אב, the weaker power of נב, which signifies to expand and spread from within outward, and particularly to sprout up and to well forth. ב ראה signifies here, as at Genesis 34:1, attentively to observe something, looking to be fixed upon it, to sink down into it. A further object was to observe whether the vine had broken out, or had budded (this is the meaning of פּרח, breaking out, to send forth, R. פר, to break),

(Note: Vid., Friedh. Delitzsch, Indo-Germ. Sem. Studien, p. 72.)

- whether the pomegranate trees had gained flowers or flower-buds הנצוּ, not as Gesen. in his Thes. and Heb. Lex. states, the Hiph. of נוּץ, which would be הניצוּ, but from נצץ instead of הנצוּ, with the same omission of Dagesh, after the forms הפרוּ, הרעוּ, cf. Proverbs 7:13, R. נץ נס, to glance, bloom (whence Nisan as the name of the flower-month, as Ab the name of the fruit-month).

(Note: Cf. my Jesurun, p. 149.)

Why the pomegranate tree (Punica granatum L.), which derives this its Latin name from its fruit being full of grains, bears the Semitic name of רמּון, (Arab.) rummân, is yet unexplained; the Arabians are so little acquainted with it, that they are uncertain whether ramm or raman (which, however, is not proved to exist) is to be regarded as the root-word. The question goes along with that regarding the origin and signification of Rimmon, the name of the Syrian god, which appears to denote


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