Song of Solomon 8:2
I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
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(2) Juice of my pomegranate.The Orientals,” says Dr. Kitto, “indulge largely in beverages made of fresh juice of various kinds of fruits. Among these, sherbet made of pomegranate juice is particularly esteemed; and from its agreeable and cooling acidity, the present writer was himself accustomed to prefer it to any other drink of this description.” The meaning of the verse is explained by Song of Solomon 1:2; Song of Solomon 5:1; Song of Solomon 7:9.

Song of Solomon 8:2-3. I would lead and bring thee — With joy and triumph, as the bridegroom was usually brought to the bride’s house; into my mother’s house, who would instruct me — How I should behave myself toward thee: or, as the clause may be rendered, where she did instruct, or educate me. I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, &c. — I would give thee the best entertainment the house affords. My gifts and graces should all be employed to serve and glorify thee. His left hand, &c. — The same expressions are used Song of Solomon 2:6. The sense is, He would not despise me for my forwardness in my affection to him, but would kindly accept of my love, and return it.

8:1-4 The church wishes for the constant intimacy and freedom with the Lord Jesus that a sister has with a brother. That they might be as his brethren, which they are, when by grace they are made partakers of a Divine nature. Christ is become as our Brother; wherever we find him, let us be ready to own our relation to him, and affection for him, and not fear being despised for it. Is there in us an ardent wish to serve Christ more and better? What then have we laid up in store, to show our affection to the Beloved of our souls? What fruit unto holiness? The church charges all her children that they never provoke Christ to withdraw. We should reason with ourselves, when tempted to do what would grieve the Spirit.Who would instruct me - Or, thou shouldest teach me Isaiah 54:13. Some allegorists make the whole passage Cant. 7:11-8:2 a prayer of the synagogue for the Incarnation of the Word, like Sol 1:2((see note). Others, a prayer of the Church under both covenants for that complete union with the Incarnate Godhead which is still future. 2. Her desire to bring Him into her home circle (Joh 1:41).

who would instruct me—rather, "thou wouldest instruct me," namely, how I might best please thee (Isa 11:2, 3; 50:4; Lu 12:12; Joh 14:26; 16:13).

spiced wine—seasoned with aromatic perfumes. Jesus Christ ought to have our choicest gifts. Spices are never introduced in the song in His absence; therefore the time of His return from "the mountain of spices" (So 8:14) is contemplated. The cup of betrothal was given by Him at the last supper; the cup or marriage shall be presented by her at His return (Mt 26:29). Till then the believer often cannot feel towards, or speak of, Him as he would wish.

Bring thee, with joy and triumph, as the bridegroom was usually brought to the bride’s house. See Psalm 45:14,15.

Into my mother’s house; either,

1. My mother’s-inlaw, my husband’s mother, as the custom was, Genesis 24:61 Judges 12:9. Or,

2. My own mother’s, to show her extraordinary respect and affection to him. In the mystical sense both come to one; for the universal church was in some sort both his and her mother.

Who would instruct me, to wit, how I should behave myself towards thee. Or, where she did instruct or educate me.

I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate; I would give thee the best entertainment which the house affords. My gifts and graces should all be employed to serve and glorify thee.

I would lead thee, and bring, thee into mother's house,.... The general assembly and church of the firstborn is mother to the church visible, to particular churches and believers, where they are born, educated, and brought up; for which they have a great affection, as persons usually have for the place of their nativity and education. And here the church desires to have Christ with her; either to consummate the marriage between them, Genesis 24:67; or to have the knowledge of him spread among her relations, those of her mother's house, who belonged to the election of grace; or to enjoy his presence there, with great delight and pleasure: the act of "leading" thither shows great familiarity with him, great love and respect for him, a hearty welcome to her mother's house; and was treating him becoming his majesty, great personages being led, Isaiah 60:11; all which is done by prayer, in the exercise of faith: and the act of "bringing" denotes on her part the strength of faith in prayer; and on his part great condescension; see Sol 3:4. Her end in all was, as follows,

who would instruct me; meaning her mother; the allusion may be to a grave and prudent woman, who, taking her newly married daughter apart, teaches her how to behave towards her husband, that she may have his affections, and live happily with him: the house of God is a school of instruction, where souls are taught the ways of Christ, the doctrines of the Gospel, and the duties of religion; nor are the greatest believers above instruction, and the means of it. Some render the words, "thou shalt", or "thou wouldest teach me" (u); meaning Christ, who teaches as none else can; he teaches by his Spirit, who leads into all truth; by the Scriptures, which are profitable for instruction; by his ministers, called pastors and teachers; and by his ordinances administered in his house; where the church desired the presence of Christ; and might expect instruction from him, being in the way of her duty; and to hear such marriage precepts, as in Psalm 45:10. In return, the church promises Christ,

I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, of the juice of my pomegranate; or, "wine of my pomegranate" (w); of which mention is made in Jewish writings (x) and by other authors (y): there was a city in the tribe of Dan, called "Gathrimmon", Joshua 21:24; the winepress of the pomegranate, or where they made pomegranate wine. Spiced wine was much used by the ancients, and in the eastern countries: so Phoenician wine, or wine of Byblis, is said to be odoriferous (z); so the wine of Lebanon, Hosea 14:7; the Babylonians had a wine they called nectar (a): spiced wine was thought less inebriating (b), and therefore the ancients sometimes put into their wine myrrh and calamus, and other spices (c); sometimes it was a mixture of old wine, water, and balsam; and of wine, honey, and pepper (d). Now these sorts of wine being accounted the best and most agreeable, the church proposes to treat Christ with them; by which may be meant the various graces of the Spirit, and the exercise of them in believers; which give Christ pleasure and delight, and are preferred by him to the best wine; see Sol 4:10. With the Hebrew writers, pomegranates are said to be a symbol of concord (e): the pomegranate was a tree of Venus (f).

(u) "docebis me", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, & alii; "doceres me", Brightman, Michaelis. (w) "de vino dulci mali granati mei", Montanus. (x) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 143. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Maacolot Asurot, c. 7. s. 7. (y) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 14. c. 16. (z) Theocrit. Idyll. 14. v. 15, 16. (a) Athenaei Deipnosophist. l. 1. c. 95. p. 32. (b) Ibid. l. 11. c. 3. p. 464. (c) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 14. c. 13, 16. Plauti Persa, Acts 1. Sc. 3. v. 7, 8. (d) Munster. Dictionar. Chaldaic. p. 22, 27. (e) Apud Chartar. de Imag. Deorum, p. 139. (f) Athenaeus, ut supra (Deipnosophist.), l. 3. c. 8. p. 84.

I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
2. The bride thinks with delight of the close familiar intercourse she would in that case have had with him.

who would instruct me] The verb here may be either 3rd pers. sing. fem. as the A.V. takes it, or 2nd pers. sing. masc. as the Vulgate and Targum take it. In the latter case the translation would be, ‘thou wilt instruct me,’ or as R.V. margin, ‘that thou mightest instruct me.’ If we adopt the former view, the meaning must be that the Shulammite’s mother would instruct her how to play a maiden’s part to her betrothed lover; if the latter, that her lover would be able to impart to her his wisdom. But in both cases the wish that he had been her brother must be understood to have been given up, or lost sight of; and in the latter it may be doubted whether this exaltation of the wisdom of the beloved is an Eastern trait at all, unless the instruction is instruction in agriculture, as Oettli suggests, comparing Isaiah 28:23-28 and ch. Song of Solomon 7:12. That is surely too prosaic. But in ch. Song of Solomon 3:4 the clause “until I had brought him into my mother’s house” is followed by the words, “and into the chamber of her that conceived me,” and the LXX and the Syriac actually have these words here in place of who would instruct me. This reading would keep the whole clause in harmony with the wish in Song of Solomon 8:1, and probably should be accepted.

of the juice of my pomegranate] Rather, my new pomegranate wine. Âsîs is the juice of grapes or other fruit, trodden out in the wine-press and fermented quickly; cp. Isaiah 49:26, “As with ’âsîs they shall be drunk with their own blood”; Joel 1:5; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13. Tristram (Nat. Hist. p. 388) says of the pomegranate, “The juice was and still is expressed for a cooling drink, or sherbet, and sometimes also fermented into a light wine. It is now commonly used in the East with sugar or spices, and then strained before being fermented. The wine of the pomegranate does not keep long and is very light.”

Song of Solomon 8:2If Solomon now complies with her request, yields to her invitation, then she will again see her parental home, where, in the days of her first love, she laid up for him that which was most precious, that she might thereby give him joy. Since she thus places herself with her whole soul back again in her home and amid its associations, the wish expressed in these words that follow rises up within her in the childlike purity of her love:

1 O that thou wert like a brother to me,

   Who sucked my mother's breasts!

   If I found thee without, I would kiss thee;

   They also could not despise me.

2 I would lead thee, bring thee into my mother's house;

   Thou wouldest instruct me -

   I would give thee to drink spiced wine,

   The must of my pomegranates.

Solomon is not her brother, who, with her, hung upon the same mother's breast; but she wishes, carried away in her dream into the reality of that she wished for, that she had him as her brother, or rather, since she says, not אח, but כּאח (with כּ, which here has not, as at Psalm 35:14, the meaning of tanquam, but of instar, as at Job 24:14), that she had in him what a brother is to a sister. In that case, if she found him without, she would kiss him (hypoth. fut. in the protasis, and fut. without Vav in the apodosis, as at Job 20:24; Hosea 8:12; Psalm 139:18) - she could do this without putting any restraint on herself for the sake of propriety (cf. the kiss of the wanton harlot, Proverbs 7:13), and also (גּם) without needing to fear that they who saw it would treat it scornfully (ל בּוּז, as in the reminiscence, Proverbs 6:30). The close union which lies in the sisterly relationship thus appeared to her to be higher than the near connection established by the marriage relationship, and her childlike feeling deceived her not: the sisterly relationship is certainly purer, firmer, more enduring than that of marriage, so far as this does not deepen itself into an equality with the sisterly, and attain to friendship, yea, brotherhood (Proverbs 17:17), within. That Shulamith thus feels herself happy in the thought that Solomon was to her as a brother, shows, in a characteristic manner, that "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," were foreign to her. If he were her brother, she would take him by the hand,

(Note: Ben-Asher punctuates אנהגך. Thus also P. rightly. Ben-Naphtali, on the contrary, punctuates אנהגך. Cf. Genesis (1869), p. 85, note 3.)

and bring him into her mother's house, and he would then, under the eye of their common mother, become her teacher, and she would become his scholar. The lxx adds, after the words "into my mother's house," the phrase, καὶ εἰς ταμεῖον τῆς συλλαβούσης με, cf. Sol 3:4. In the same manner also the Syr., which has not read the words διδάξεις με following, which are found in some Codd. of the lxx. Regarding the word telammedēne (thou wouldest instruct me) as incongruous, Hitzig asks: What should he then teach her? He refers it to her mother: "who would teach me," namely, from her own earlier experience, how I might do everything rightly for him. "Were the meaning," he adds, "he should do it, then also it is she who ought to be represented as led home by him into his house, the bride by the bridegroom." But, correctly, Jerome, the Venet., and Luther: "Thou wouldest (shouldest) instruct me;" also the Targ.: "I would conduct thee, O King Messiah, and bring Thee into the house of my sanctuary; and Thou wouldest teach me (וּתאלּף יתי) to fear God and to walk in His ways." Not her mother, but Solomon, is in possession of the wisdom which she covets; and if he were her brother, as she wishes, then she would constrain him to devote himself to her as her teacher. The view, favoured by Leo Hebraeus (Dialog. de amore, c. III), John Pordage (Metaphysik, III 617 ff.), and Rosenmller, and which commends itself, after the analogy of the Gtagovinda, Boethius, and Dante, and appears also to show itself in the Syr. title of the book, "Wisdom of the Wise," that Shulamith is wisdom personified (cf. also Sol 8:2 with Proverbs 9:2, and Proverbs 8:3; Proverbs 2:6 with Proverbs 4:8), shatters itself against this תלמדני; the fact is rather the reverse: Solomon is wisdom in person, and Shulamith is the wisdom-loving soul,

(Note: Cf. my Das Hohelied unter. u. ausg. (1851), pp. 65-73.)

- for Shulamith wishes to participate in Solomon's wisdom. What a deep view the "Thou wouldest teach me" affords into Shulamith's heart! She knew how much she yet came short of being to him all that a wife should be. But in Jerusalem the bustle of court life and the burden of his regal duties did not permit him to devote himself to her; but in her mother's house, if he were once there, he would instruct her, and she would requite him with her spiced wine and with the juice of the pomegranates.


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