Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Forth into the field.—Comp. Song of Solomon 2:10; Song of Solomon 6:11. The same reminiscence of the sweet courtship in the happy “woodland places.” It has been conjectured that this verse suggested to Milton the passage beginning, “To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the East,” &c. (P. L. 4:623, &c)
lodge—forsaking home for Jesus Christ's sake (Mt 19:29).Let us go forth into the field; that being retired from the crowd, we may more freely and sweetly converse together, and may observe the state of the fruits of the earth. In the villages; in one of the villages, as cities is put for one of the cities, Judges 12:7.
let us go forth into the field; from the city, where she had been in quest of Christ, and had now found him, Sol 5:7; into the country, for recreation and pleasure: the allusion may be to such who keep their country houses, to which they retire from the city, and take their walks in the fields, to see how the fruits grow, and enjoy the country air. The church is for going abroad into the fields; but then she would have Christ with her; walking in the fields yields no pleasure unless Christ is there; there is no recreation without him: the phrase expresses her desire of his presence everywhere, at home and abroad, in the city and the fields; and of her being with him alone, that she might tell him all her mind, and impart her love to him, which she could better do alone than in company it may also signify her desire to have the Gospel spread in the world, in the barren parts of it, which looked like uncultivated fields, the Gentile world; and so, in one of the Jewish Midrashes (c), these "fields", and the "villages" in the next clause, are interpreted of the nations of the world;
let us lodge in the villages; which, though places of mean entertainment for food and lodging, yet, Christ being with her, were more eligible to her than the greatest affluence of good things without him; and, being places of retirement from the noise and hurry of the city, she chose them, that she might be free of the cares of life, and enjoy communion with Christ, which she would have continued; and therefore was desirous of "lodging", at least all night, as in Sol 1:13. Some (d) render the words, "by", "in", or "among the Cyprus trees"; see Sol 1:14; by which may be meant the saints, comparable to such trees for their excellency, fragrancy, and fruitfulness; and an invitation to lodge by or with these could not be unwelcome to Christ, they being the excellent in the earth, in whom is all his delight.Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. let us lodge in the villages] The verb lûn = ‘to pass the night,’ does not always mean a passing sojourn. Consequently there is no hint here that the home of the Shulammite and her lover was distant several days’ journey. The verb is often used where simply ‘dwelling,’ ‘remaining,’ is meant; but it must be admitted that the cases where this meaning is clear are nearly all figurative, e.g. Job 19:4; Job 41:22; Psalm 49:12 (Hebrews 5:13).
in the villages] The Heb. bak-kěphârîm may mean among the henna flowers, as in ch. Song of Solomon 4:13, or among the villages. Either signification would give a good meaning here, but perhaps the former is preferable. ‘Let us dwell among the henna flowers’ would suit the tone of the passage best.Verses 11, 12. - Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see whether the vine hath budded and its blossom be open, and the pomegranates be in flower: there will I give thee my love. All true poets will sympathize with the exquisite sentiment of the bride in this passage. The solitude and glory and reality of external nature are dearer to her than the bustle and splendour of the city and of the court. By "the field" is meant the country generally. The village or little town surrounded with vineyards and gardens was the scene of Shulamith's early life, and would always be delightful to her. The word is the plural of an unused form. It is found in the form copher (1 Samuel 6:18), meaning "a district of level country." Delitzsch renders, "let us get up early," rather differently - "in the morning we will start" - but the meaning is the same. The word dodhai, "my love," is "the evidences or expressions of my love" (cf. Song of Solomon 4:16; Song of Solomon 1:2). No doubt the bride is speaking in the springtime, the Wonnemond of May, when the pulses beat in sympathy with the rising life of nature.
We say that the head is "on the man" (2 Kings 6:31; Judith 14:18), for we think of a man ideally as the central unity of the members forming the external appearance of his body. Shulamith's head ruled her form, surpassing all in beauty and majesty, as Carmel with its noble and pleasing appearance ruled the land and sea at its feet. From the summit of Carmel, clothed with trees) Amos 9:3; 1 Kings 18:42), a transition is made to the hair on the head, which the Moslem poets are fond of comparing to long leaves, as vine leaves and palm branches; as, on the other hand, the thick leafy wood is called (vid., under Isaiah 7:20) comata silva (cf. Oudendorp's Apuleii Metam. p. 744). Grδtz, proceeding on the supposition of the existence of Persian words in the Song, regards כרמל as the name of a colour; but (1) crimson is designated in the Heb.-Pers. not כרמל, but כרמיל, instead of תולעת שׁני (vid., under Isaiah 1:18; Proverbs 31:21); (2) if the hair of the head (if ראשׁך might be directly understood of this) may indeed be compared to the glistening of purple, not, however, to the listening of carmese or scarlet, then red and not black hair must be meant. But it is not the locks of hair, but the hair in locks that is meant. From this the eulogium finally passes to the hair of the head itself.
5ab The flowing hair of thy head like purple -
A king fettered by locks.
Hitzig supposes that כרמל reminded the poet of כּרמיל (carmese), and that thus he hit upon ארגּמן (purple); but one would rather think that Carmel itself would immediately lead him to purple, for near this promontory is the principal place where purple shell-fish are found (Seetzen's Reisen, IV 277 f.). דּלּה (from דּלל, to dangle, to hang loose, Job 28:4, Arab. tadladal) is res pendula, and particularly coma pendula. Hengst. remarks that the "purple" has caused much trouble to those who understand by דלה the hair of the head. He himself, with Gussetius, understand by it the temples, tempus capitis; but the word רקּה is used (Sol 4:3) for "temples," and "purple-like" hair hanging down could occasion trouble only to those who know not how to distinguish purple from carmese. Red purple, ארגּמן (Assyr. argamannu, Aram., Arab., Pers., with departure from the primary meaning of the word, ארגּון ,drow eht), which derives this name from רגם equals רקם, material of variegated colour, is dark-red, and almost glistening black, as Pliny says (Hist. Nat. ix. 135): Laus ei (the Tyrian purple) summa in colore sanguinis concreti, nigricans adspectu idemque suspectu (seen from the side) refulgens, unde et Homero purpureus dicitur sanguis. The purple hair of Nisus does not play a part in myth alone, but beautiful shining dark black hair is elsewhere also called purple, e.g., πυρφύρεος πλόκαμος in Lucian, πορφυραῖ χαῖται in Anacreon. With the words "like purple," the description closes; and to this the last characteristic distinguishing Shulamith there is added the exclamation: "A king fettered by locks!" For רהטים, from רהט, to run, flow, is also a name of flowing locks, not the ear-locks (Hitz.), i.e., long ringlets flowing down in front; the same word (Sol 1:17) signifies in its North Palest. form רחיט (Chethı̂b), a water-trough, canalis. The locks of one beloved are frequently called in erotic poetry "the fetters" by which the lover is held fast, for "love wove her net in alluring ringlets" (Deshmi in Joseph and Zuleika).
(Note: Compare from the same poet: "Alas! thy braided hair, a heart is in every curl, and a dilemma in every ring" (Deut. Morg. Zeit. xxiv. 581).)
Goethe in his Westst. Divan presents as a bold yet moderate example: "There are more than fifty hooks in each lock of thy hair;" and, on the other hand, one offensively extravagant, when it is said of a Sultan: "In the bonds of thy locks lies fastened the neck of the enemy." אסוּר signifies also in Arab. frequently one enslaved by love: asîruha is equivalent to her lov.
(Note: Samaschshari, Mufaṣṣal, p. 8.)
The mention of the king now leads from the imagery of a dance to the scene which follows, where we again hear the king's voice. The scene and situation are now manifestly changed. We are transferred from the garden to the palace, where the two, without the presence of any spectators, carry on the following dialogue.
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