Song of Solomon 7:9
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
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(9) Causing the lips.—The text in this verse has evidently undergone some change. The LXX., in stead of siphtheî yesheynîm, lips of sleepers, read sephathaîm veshinnayîm, χέιλεσί μου καὶ ὸδοῦσι. The Marg., instead of yesheynîm, sleepers, reads yeshanîm, the ancient, which Luther adopts, translating “of the previous year.” Ledôdî, for my beloved, is evidently either an accidental insertion of the copyist, the eye having caught dôdî in the next verse, or more probably is wrongly vowelled. The verse is untranslatable as it stands; but by reading ledôdaî, “to my caresses” (comp. Song of Solomon 1:2; Song of Solomon 4:10; Song of Solomon 7:12), we get a sense entirely harmonious with the context, and this is a change less violent than to reject ledôdî altogether. It is the old figure, comparing kisses to wine (comp. Song of Solomon 1:2; Song of Solomon 2:4; Song of Solomon 5:1). “The roof of the mouth” (comp. Song of Solomon 5:16), or palate, is put by metonymy for the mouth generally. Dôbeb is either from the root dôb, cognate with zôb = flow gently, and means suffusing, in which case we translate “Thy mouth pours out an exquisite wine, which runs sweetly down in answer to my caresses, and suffuses (LXX. ἱκανούμενος, accommodating itself to) our lips as we fall asleep”—or, according to the Rabbinical interpretation, followed by the Authorised Version (which connects dôbeb with dabab, a Talmudic word = speaking), there may be in it the idea of a dream making the lips move as in speech. In this case the lines of Shelley suggest the meaning:—

“Like lips murmuring in their sleep

Of the sweet kisses which had lulled them there.”


Song of Solomon 7:9. The roof of thy mouth — Thy speech, the palate being one of the principal instruments of speech; like the best wine — Grateful and refreshing; for my beloved — Who reapest the comfort and benefit of that pleasure which I take in thee. Causing the lips, &c., to speak — The most dull, and stupid, and sleepy persons to speak.

7:1-9 The similitudes here are different from what they were before, and in the original refer to glorious and splendid clothing. Such honour have all his saints; and having put on Christ, they are distinguished by their beautiful and glorious apparel. They adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. Consistent believers honour Christ, recommend the gospel, and convince and awaken sinners. The church resembles the stately and spreading palm; while her love for Christ, and the obedience resulting therefrom, are precious fruit of the true Vine. The King is held in the galleries. Christ takes delight in the assemblies and ordinances of his people; and admires the fruit of his grace in them. When applied to the church and to each faithful Christian, all this denotes that beauty of holiness, in which they shall be presented to their heavenly Bridegroom.For my beloved, that goeth down sweetly - Words of the bride interrupting the king, and finishing his sentence, that goeth smoothly or pleasantly for my beloved. Compare Proverbs 23:31.9. roof of thy mouth—thy voice (Pr 15:23).

best wine—the new wine of the gospel kingdom (Mr 14:25), poured out at Pentecost (Ac 2:4, 13, 17).

for my beloved—(So 4:10). Here first the daughters call Him theirs, and become one with the bride. The steps successively are (So 1:5) where they misjudge her (So 3:11); So 5:8, where the possibility of their finding Him, before she regained Him, is expressed; So 5:9 (So 6:1; 7:6, 9; Joh 4:42).

causing … asleep to speak—(Isa 35:6; Mr 5:19, 20; Ac 2:47; Eph 5:14). Jesus Christ's first miracle turned water into "good wine kept until now" (Joh 2:10); just as the Gospel revives those asleep and dying under the law (Pr 31:6; Ro 7:9, 10, 24, 25; 8:1).

The roof of thy mouth; either,

1. Thy speech, the palate being one of the principal instruments of speech; or rather,

2. Thy taste, whereof the palate or roof of the mouth is the most proper and principal instrument, Job 34:3. But then this is not to be understood actively of her taste, but passively of the taste or relish which her Beloved had of her; as in the foregoing clause, the smell of her nose was not meant subjectively or actively of that sense of smelling which was seated in her nose, but objectively or passively of the breath of her nostrils, which was sweet to the smell of her Beloved.

Like the best wine, grateful and refreshing. For my beloved; either,

1. For thee my beloved, who reapest the comfort and benefit of that pleasure which I take in time; or,

2. For me thy Beloved, or, according to thy usual expression,

for my Beloved; which words Christ takes as it were out of her mouth, and repeats them emphatically; which agrees very well to the style and usage of these dramatical and amaropious writings. And this clause further intimates the church’s loyalty or faithfulness to Christ, that she reserves herself and all her loves for Christ alone.

That goeth down sweetly; whereas bad wine either goeth down slowly and tediously, or is not permitted to go down at all; Heb. that walketh directly; or, that moveth itself aright; which is given as the character of good wine, Proverbs 23:31.

Causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak; causing the most dull, and stupid, and sleepy-headed persons to speak, and that fluently and eloquently, which is a common effect of good wine.

And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine,.... Which may intend, either her taste, as the word is rendered in Sol 2:3; by which she can distinguish good wine from bad, truth from error; or her breath, sweet and of a good smell, like the best wine; the breathings of her soul in prayer, which are sweet odours, perfumed with the incense of Christ's mediation; or rather her speech, the words of her mouth; the roof of the mouth being an instrument of speech; the same word is sometimes rendered "the mouth", Sol 5:16; and may denote both her speech in common conversation, which is warming, refreshing, comforting, and quickening; and in prayer and praise, which is well pleasing and delightful to Christ; and especially the Gospel preached by her ministers, comparable to the best wine for its antiquity, being an ancient Gospel; for its purity, unadulterated, and free from mixture, and as faithfully dispensed; its delight, flavour, and taste, to such who have their spiritual senses exercised; and for its cheering, refreshing, and strengthening nature, to drooping weary souls. It follows,

for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly; is received and taken down with all readiness, by those who have once tasted the sweetness and felt the power of it. Or, "that goeth to righteousnesses" (t); leading to the righteousness of Christ for justification, and teaching to live soberly and righteously: or, "that goeth to my beloved, straightway" or "directly" (u); meaning either to his Father, Christ calls his beloved, to whose love the Gospel leads and directs souls, as in a straight line, as to the source of salvation, and all the blessings of grace; or to himself, by a "mimesis", whom the church calls so; the Gospel leading souls directly to him, his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, for peace, pardon, justification, and atonement: or, "that goeth to my beloved to uprightnesses" (w); that is, to the church, who is Christ's beloved, consisting of upright men in heart and life, whom Christ calls his beloved and his friends, Sol 5:1; and whom Christ treats with his best wine, his Gospel; and which is designed for them, their pleasure, profit, comfort, and establishment:

causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak; either such who are in the dead sleep of sin; who, when the Gospel comes with power, are quickened by it; and it produces in them humble confessions of sin; causes them to speak in praise of Christ, and his grace, and of the salvation which he has procured for lost sinners; it brings them to Zion, to declare what great things God has done for them: or else drowsy professors, in lifeless frames, and much gone back in religion; who, when aroused and quickened by the Gospel, and brought out of their lethargy, are ready to acknowledge their backslidings with shame; to speak meanly and modestly of themselves, and very highly of Christ and his grace, who has healed their backslidings, and still loves them freely; none more ready to exalt and magnify Christ, and speak in praise of what he has done for them. Some render the words, "causing the lips of ancient men to speak" (x); whose senses are not so quick, nor they so full of talk, as in their youthful days: wherefore this serves to commend this wine; that it should have such an effect as to invigorate ancient men, and give them a juvenile warmth and sprightliness, and make them loquacious, which is one effect of wine, when freely drunk (y); and softens the moroseness of ancient men (z): wine is even said to make an ancient man dance (a).

(t) "ad rectitudines", Montanus; "ad ea quae roetissima sunt", Tigurine version. (u) "Directe", Mercerus; "rectissime", Brightman. (w) "Ad rectitudines", i.e. "rectos homines", Marckius, Michaelis. (x) "veterum", Pagninus; "antiquorum", Vatablus. (y) Philoxenus apud Athenaei Deipnosoph. l. 2. c. 1. p. 25. Vid. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 38. 1.((z) Philoxenus apud Athenaei Deipnosoph. l. 11. c. 3. p. 463. (a) Ibid. l. 4. c. 4. p. 134. l. 10. c. 7. p. 428.

And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
9. and the roof of thy mouth] Better, as R.V., and thy mouth. Chçkh is the palate, but it is used for the mouth. Cp. ch. Song of Solomon 5:16; Hosea 8:1. The reference here as in Song of Solomon 5:16 is to the sweet words of love which she whispers, they intoxicate like wine.

for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly] This should be, as in R.V., that goeth down smoothly for my beloved. Instead of smoothly, R.V. marg. gives ‘aright.’ Cp. for the phrase Proverbs 23:31, R.V. and margin. Budde would read lěchikkî, ‘for my palate,’ instead or lědhôdhî, ‘for my beloved,’ but there is no support for such a change in any version or MS. The translation of the A.V. is according to the accents, but most recent commentators, who take the dramatic or semi-dramatic view of the whole, assign these words to the bride, supposing that she interrupts the king and turns off the simile to her beloved.

causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak] Better, as R.V., gliding through the lips of those that are asleep. The A.V. may, following Jerome and Kimchi, have connected the word dôbhçbh with dibbâh, a calumny or evil rumour, or they may have read dôbhçr or medhabbçr. But dôbhçbh has no connexion with dibbâh, but is rather related to zâbh, and means ‘to go softly,’ hence the translation ‘going softly’ or ‘gliding’ over the lips of sleepers, or of those about to sleep. The whole clause would then mean that this wine was such that men drank it till they were rendered slumberous by it. But this is not very satisfactory, and the suggestion that, following the LXX, Aq., Syr., Vulg., we should read ‘gliding over my lips and teeth,’ or ‘over his lips and teeth,’ might perhaps be adopted.

Song of Solomon 7:99aa And thy palate like the best wine.

יין הטּוב is wine of the good kind, i.e., the best, as רע אושׁת, Proverbs 6:24, a woman of a bad kind, i.e., a bad woman; the neut. thought of as adject. is both times the gen. of the attribute, as at Proverbs 24:25 it is the gen. of the substratum. The punctuation כּיּין הטּוב (Hitz.) is also possible; it gives, however, the common instead of the delicate poetical expression. By the comparison one may think of the expressions, jungere salivas oris (Lucret.) and oscula per longas jungere pressa moras (Ovid). But if we have rightly understood Sol 4:11; Sol 5:16, the palate is mentioned much rather with reference to the words of love which she whispers in his ears when embracing her. Only thus is the further continuance of the comparison to be explained, and that it is Shulamith herself who continues it.

9ab Which goes down for my beloved smoothly,

       Which makes the lips of sleepers move.

The dramatic structure of the Song becomes here more strongly manifest than elsewhere before. Shulamith interrupts the king, and continues his words as if echoing them, but again breaks off. The lxx had here לדודי in the text. It might notwithstanding be a spurious reading. Hitzig suggests that it is erroneously repeated, as if from Sol 7:11. Ewald also (Hohesl. p. 137) did that before, - Heiligstedt, as usual, following him. But, as Ewald afterwards objected, the line would then be "too short, and not corresponding to that which follows." But how shall לדודי now connect itself with Solomon's words? Ginsburg explains: "Her voice is not merely compared to wine, because it is sweet to everybody, but to such wine as would be sweet to a friend, and on that account is more valuable and pleasant." But that furnishes a thought digressing εἰς ἄλλο γένος; and besides, Ewald rightly remarks that Shulamith always uses the word דודי of her beloved, and that the king never uses it in a similar sense. He contends, however, against the idea that Shulamith here interrupts Solomon; for he replies to me (Jahrb. IV 75): "Such interruptions we certainly very frequently find in our ill-formed and dislocated plays; in the Song, however, not a solitary example of this is found, and one ought to hesitate in imagining such a thing." He prefers the reading לדּודים beloved ones, although possibly לדודי, with , abbreviated after the popular style of speech from m, may be the same word. But is this ledodim not a useless addition? Is excellent wine good to the taste of friends merely; and does it linger longer in the palate of those not beloved than of those loving? And is the circumstance that Shulamith interrupts the king, and carried forward his words, not that which frequently also occurs in the Greek drama, as e.g., Eurip. Phoenissae, v. 608? The text as it stands before us requires an interchange of the speakers, and nothing prevents the supposition of such an interchange. In this idea Hengstenberg for once agrees with us. The Lamed in ledodi is meant in the same sense as when the bride drinks to the bridegroom, using the expression ledodi. The Lamed in למישׁרים is that of the defining norm, as the Beth in במי, Proverbs 23:31, is that of the accompanying circumstance: that which tastes badly sticks in the palate, but that which tastes pleasantly glides down directly and smoothly. But what does the phrase וגו דּובב שׂף mean? The lxx translate by ἱκανούμενος χείλεσί μου καὶ ὀδοῦσιν, "accommodating itself (Sym. προστιθέμενος) to my lips and teeth." Similarly Jerome (omitting at least the false μου), labiisque et dentibus illius ad ruminandum, in which דּבּה, rumor, for דובב, seems to have led him to ruminare. Equally contrary to the text with Luther's translation: "which to my friend goes smoothly goes, and speaks of the previous year;" a rendering which supposes ישׁנים (as also the Venet.) instead of ישׁנים (good wine which, as it were, tells of former years), and, besides, disregards שׁפתי. The translation: "which comes at unawares upon the lips of the sleepers," accords with the language (Heiligst., Hitz.). But that gives no meaning, as if one understood by ישׁנים, as Gesen. and Ewald do, una in eodem toro cubantes; but in this case the word ought to have been שׁכבים. Since, besides, such a thing is known as sleeping through drink or speaking in sleep, but not of drinking in sleep, our earlier translation approves itself: which causes the lips of sleepers to speak. This interpretation is also supported by a proverb in the Talm. Jebamoth 97a, Jer. Moeed Katan, iii. 7, etc., which, with reference to the passage under review, says that if any one in this world adduces the saying of a righteous man in his name (רוחשׁות or מרחשׁות), שׂפתותיו דובבות בקבר. But it is an error inherited from Buxtorf, that דובבות means there loquuntur, and, accordingly, that דובב of this passage before us means loqui faciens. It rather means (vid., Aruch), bullire, stillare, manare (cogn. זב, טף, Syn. רחשׁ), since, as that proverb signifies, the deceased experiences an after-taste of his saying, and this experience expresses itself in the smack of the lips; and דּובב, whether it be part. Kal or Po. equals מדובב, thus: brought into the condition of the overflowing, the after-experience of drink that has been partaken of, and which returns again, as it were, ruminando. The meaning "to speak" is, in spite of Parchon and Kimchi (whom the Venet., with its φθεγγόμενος, follows), foreign to the verb; for דּבּה also means, not discourse, but sneaking, and particularly sneaking calumny, and, generally, fama repens. The calumniator is called in Arab. dabûb, as in Heb. רכיל.

We now leave it undecided whether in דובב, of this passage before us, that special idea connected with it in the Gemara is contained; but the roots דב and זב are certainly cogn., they have the fundamental idea of a soft, noiseless movement generally, and modify this according as they are referred to that which is solid or fluid. Consequently דּבב, as it means in lente incedere (whence the bear has the name דּב), is also capable of being interpreted leniter se movere, and trans. leniter movere, according to which the Syr. here translates, quod commovet labia mea et dentes meos (this absurd bringing in of the teeth is from the lxx and Aq.), and the Targ. allegorizes, and whatever also in general is the meaning of the Gemara as far as it exchanges דובבות for רוחשות (vid., Levy under רחשׁ). Besides, the translations qui commovet and qui loqui facit fall together according to the sense. For when it is said of generous wine, that it makes the lips of sleepers move, a movement is meant expressing itself in the sleeper speaking. But generous wine is a figure of the love-responses of the beloved, sipped in, as it were, with pleasing satisfaction, which hover still around the sleepers in delightful dreams, and fill them with hallucinations.

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