Song of Solomon 8:12
My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Thou, O Solomon . . .—i.e., “Let Solomon keep and enjoy his possessions (his harem of mercenary beauties), which cost so much to obtain and keep; I am happier in the secure love of my one true wife.” The mention of “two hundred to the keepers of the fruit” seems added to show the cost of a polygamous establishment on a great scale.

Song of Solomon 8:12. My vineyard, which is mine — My soul, may every true member of the church say, my heart and life, my time and talents; or, my privileges and advantages, may the church in general say, which are committed to my trust, and for which I must be accountable; are before me — Under my continual care. Thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand — Thou, O Christ, must have the honour and glory: thou must receive returns of gratitude, love, and duty for the blessings thou hast bestowed; thou must be served with the produce of the vineyard, and of every plant therein. And those that keep the fruit thereof, two hundred — Those ministers that take pains with thy people to make them fruitful, must have that reward and encouragement that is due to them, 1 Corinthians 9:7. They that give Christ his due, will also give ministers theirs; yet without encroaching on Christ’s. It may be observed here, that the Hebrew of this verse will admit of a different translation, thus; My vineyard, which before brought me a thousand pieces, is now thine, O Solomon, and there are two hundred pieces for those who look after the fruit thereof. They who adopt this translation suppose that the occasion of writing this book was taken from Solomon’s marriage of a beautiful person called Shulamith, (Song of Solomon 6:13,) and generally supposed to be Pharaoh’s daughter: and that in her single state she possessed a vineyard, which upon her marriage became Solomon’s; because, though among the Jews it was usual for the husband to endow his spouse with a sum of money at their marriage, yet the bride also often brought a portion to her husband, as appears from Tob 10:10. Now, supposing it to be a fact, that Solomon’s marriage gave occasion to this book, and that what has now been stated is the literal meaning of this verse; in the application of it to Christ and his church, we must say, as Solomon’s spouse gave her vineyard, or her whole property, to him on her marriage, so the church, the spouse of Christ, upon her marriage to him, gives him, not only herself, but her all, and retains a propriety or exclusive right in nothing. She lays herself and her all at his feet. With her heavenly husband’s permission, however, she takes care to provide for those who are employed in cultivating and keeping the vineyard. For while Solomon has the vineyard, two hundred pieces, arising from the produce of it, are reserved for those who look after the fruit thereof. For the labourer, said Jesus, is worthy of his hire: and he that is taught in the word must communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

8:8-12 The church pleads for the Gentiles, who then had not the word of God, nor the means of grace. Those who are brought to Christ themselves, should contrive what they may do to help others to him. Babes in Christ are always seen among Christians, and the welfare of their weak brethren is an object of continual prayer with the stronger believers. If the beginning of this work were likened to a wall built upon Him the precious Foundation and Corner-stone, then the Gentile church would become as a palace for the great King, built of solid silver. If the first preaching of the gospel were as the making a door through the wall of partition, that door should be lasting, as cased with boards of durable cedar. She shall be carefully and effectually protected, enclosed so as to receive no damage. The church is full of care for those yet uncalled. Christ says, I will do all that is necessary to be done for them. See with what satisfaction we should look back upon the times and seasons, when we were in his eyes as those that find favour. Our hearts are our vineyards, which we must keep with all diligence. To Christ, and to his praise, all our fruits must be dedicated. All that work for Christ, work for themselves, and shall be unspeakable gainers by it.She next turns to the king, and commends her brothers to his favorable regard by means of another parable. Solomon owns a vineyard in Baal-hamon (possibly Baalbak, or identical with Amana (Conder)), situated in the warm and fertile plains of Coele-Syria, overshadowed by the heights of Lebanon Sol 4:8. This vineyard he has let out to tenants etc.

The bride also has a vineyard of her own Sol 1:6, her beauty and virtue faithfully guarded by these same brothers in time past. This vineyard now belongs to Solomon. Let him have "the thousand" which is his due - she is indeed herself henceforth entirely his - but let the faithful keepers have their meed as well. At least two hundred silverlings should be theirs - a double tithe of royal praise and honor.

12. "mine" by grant of the true Solomon. Not merely "let out to keepers," as in the Jewish dispensation of works, but "mine" by grace. This is "before me," that is, in my power [Maurer]. But though no longer under constraint of "keeping" the law as a mere letter and covenant of works, love to Jesus Christ will constrain her the more freely to render all to Solomon (Ro 8:2-4; 1Co 6:20; Ga 5:13; 1Pe 2:16), after having paid what justice and His will require should be paid to others (1Co 7:29-31; 9:14). "Before me" may also mean "I will never lose sight of it" (contrast So 1:6) [Moody Stuart]. She will not keep it for herself, though so freely given to her, but for His use and glory (Lu 19:13; Ro 6:15; 14:7-9; 1Co 12:7). Or the "two hundred" may mean a double tithe (two-tenths of the whole paid back by Jesus Christ) as the reward of grace for our surrender of all (the thousand) to Him (Ga 6:7; Heb 6:10); then she and "those that keep" are the same [Adelaide Newton]. But Jesus Christ pays back not merely two tithes, but His all for our all (1Co 3:21-23). My vineyard; my church, which is oft compared to a vineyard, and is here opposed to Solomon’s vineyard. It is much doubted and disputed whether this verse be spoken by Christ or by the spouse; the first clause seems to agree best to the former, and the following clause to the latter. Possibly the difficulty may be reconciled by ascribing the first clause to Christ, and the latter to the spouse; such interlocutions being familiar in this book, and in other writings of this kind. Which is mine: this repetition is not idle, but very emphatical, to show that Christ had a more eminent and special title to his vineyard, the church, than Solomon had to his vineyard, because it was purchased not by his money, but by his blood, and because it was his, not only for the short time of this present life, as Solomon’s was, but to all eternity.

Is before me; is under my own eye and care, and is not wholly committed to the care and management of others, as Solomon’s was: I the Lord do keep it night and day, as we read, Isaiah 27:3. I am with it to the end of the world, Matthew 28:20.

Thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand: these are the church’s return to Christ, who is here called Solomon, as he was Song of Solomon 3:9,11, as elsewhere he is called David. Dost thou, O Christ, keep thine own vineyard, which Solomon did not? Then surely it is meet that thou shouldst receive, and thou shalt receive, as large a revenue from thy vineyard as he did from his.

Those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred; though the chief revenue belongeth and is justly given to thee, yet thy ministers who serve thee in thy vineyard shall have, and are allowed by thee to receive, some encouragement for their service. See 1 Corinthians 9:7.

My vineyard, which is mine, is before me,.... These are either the words of Christ, asserting and confirming his right and property in his vineyard, the church; and which he distinguishes from and prefers to all others; and which being said to be before him denotes his exact knowledge of every vine in it, not a plant escaping his watchful eye; his presence in it, his care of it, the delight and complacency he has therein: or else the words of the church, expressing her care, watchfulness, and diligence in the vineyard, and her concern for the welfare of the several vines and plants in it; see Sol 1:6; And certain it is that the next clause is spoken by her:

thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand; a thousand pieces or shekels of silver, as before: the church is willing Christ should have all he desires and demands, his whole due and full revenue of glory from his people; for he is meant, and not Solomon literally, as many Jewish writers (h) acknowledge. And the church being now in his presence, and using familiarity with him, thus addresses him,

and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred; by which may be meant an honourable maintenance for themselves and families, and much esteem and respect among the people to whom they minister; this is the double honour in 1 Timothy 5:17. Christ has the greatest share, as in reason he should, being the proprietor of the vineyard, and having the chief care and oversight of it, and gives it its increase: however, faithful ministers have their reward, which lies greatly in the conversion of sinners, and edification of saints; for that is their joy, and crown of rejoicing; and in eternal happiness they shall enjoy hereafter, 1 Thessalonians 2:19.

(h) Shir Hashirim Rabba, & Alshech in loc. R. Abendamae Not. in Miclol Yophi in Psal. lxxii. 20.

My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. My vineyard, which is mine] This is an emphatic expression for my vineyard, in contrast to Solomon’s, and also as being her own exclusive possession.

is before me] is still in my possession, neither given away nor sold (Oettli), and is sufficiently guarded by me.

thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred] More literally, the thousand be to thee, O Solomon, and two hundred to those keeping (or watching) the fruit. The meaning seems to be, ‘O Solomon, you may keep the income of your vineyard, and the keepers may have their reward for their guardianship, but my vineyard is beyond your reach, and I have no need that my brothers or any others should guard it.

Song of Solomon 8:12It now lies near, at least rather so than remote, that Shulamith, thinking of her brothers, presents her request before her royal husband:

11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal-hamon;

     He committed the vineyard to the keepers,

     That each should bring for its fruit

     A thousand in silv.

12 I myself disposed of my own vineyard:

     The thousand is thine, Solomon,

     And two hundred for the keepers of its fruit!

The words לשׁ היה כּרם are to be translated after כרמוגו, 1 Kings 21:1, and לידידי ... , Isaiah 5:1, "Solomon had a vineyard" (cf. 1 Samuel 9:2; 2 Samuel 6:23; 2 Samuel 12:2; 2 Kings 1:17; 1 Chronicles 23:17; 1 Chronicles 26:10), not "Solomon has a vineyard," which would have required the words לשׁ כרם, with the omission of היה. I formerly explained, as also Bttcher: a vineyard became his, thus at present is his possession; and thus explaining, one could suppose that it fell to him, on his taking possession of his government, as a component part of his domain; but although in itself לו היה can mean, "this or that has become one's own" (e.g., Leviticus 21:3), as well as "it became his own," yet here the historical sense is necessarily connected by היה with the נתן foll.: Solomon has had ... , he has given; and since Solomon, after possession the vineyard, would probably also preserve it, Hitzig draws from this the conclusion, that the poet thereby betrays the fact that he lived after the time of Solomon. But these are certainly words which he puts into Shulamith's mouth, and he cannot at least have forgotten that the heroine of his drama is a contemporary of Solomon; and supposing that he had forgotten this for a moment, he must have at least once read over what he had written, and could not have been so blind as to have allowed this היה which had escaped him to stand. We must thus assume that he did not in reality retain the vineyard, which, as Hitzig supposes, if he possessed it, he also "probably" retained, whether he gave it away or exchanged it, or sold it, we know not; but the poet might suppose that Shulamith knew it, since it refers to a piece of land lying not far from her home. For המון בּעל, lxx Βεελαμών, is certainly the same as that mentioned in Judith 8:3, according to which Judith's husband died from sunstroke in Bethulia, and was buried beside his fathers "between Dothaim and Balamoon"

(Note: This is certainly not the Baal-meon (now Man) lying half an hour to the south of Heshbon; there is also, however, a Meon (now Man) on this the west side of Jordan, Nabal's Maon, near to Carmel. Vid., art. "Maon," by Kleuker in Schenkel's Bibl. Lex.)

(probably, as the sound of the word denotes, Belmen, or, more accurately, Belman, as it is also called in Judith 4:4, with which Kleuker in Schenkel's Bibl. Lex., de Bruyn in his Karte, and others, interchange it; and חמּון, Joshua 19:28, lying in the tribe of Asher). This Balamoon lay not far from Dothan, and thus not far from Esdrelon; for Dothan lay (cf. Judith 3:10) south of the plain of Jezreel, where it has been discovered, under the name of Tell Dotan, in the midst of a smaller plain which lies embosomed in the hills of the south.

(Note: Vid., Robinson's Physical Geogr. of the Holy Land, p. 113; Morrison's Recovery of Jerusalem (1871), p. 463, etc.)

The ancients, since Aquila, Symm., Targ., Syr., and Jerome, make the name of the place Baal-hamon subservient to their allegorizing interpretation, but only by the aid of soap-bubble-like fancies; e.g., Hengst. makes Baal-hamon designate the world; nothrim [keepers], the nations; the 1000 pieces in silver, the duties comprehended in the ten commandments. Hamon is there understood of a large, noisy crowd. The place may, indeed, have its name from the multitude of its inhabitants, or from an annual market held there, or otherwise from revelry and riot; for, according to Hitzig,

(Note: Cf. also Schwarz' Das heilige Land, p. 37.)

continued...

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