Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? I raised you up under the apple tree: there your mother brought you forth: there she brought you forth that bore you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Who is this that cometh.—This begins a new section, which contains the most magnificent description of true love ever written by poet. The dramatic theory encounters insuperable difficulties with this strophe. Again we presume that the theatre and the spectators are imaginary. It is another sweet reminiscence, coming most naturally and beautifully after the last. The obstacles have been removed, the pair are united, and the poet recalls the delightful sensations with which he led his bride through the scenes where the youth of both had been spent, and then bursts out into the glorious panegyric of that pure and perfect passion which had united them.
Leaning upon her beloved . . .—The LXX. add here shining white, and the Vulgate, flowing with delights.
I raised thee up.—Literally, aroused: i.e., I inspired thee with love. For this sense of exciting a passion, given to the Hebrew word, compare Proverbs 10:12; Zechariah 9:13. Delitzsch restores from the Syriac what must have been the original vowel-pointing, making the suffixes feminine instead of masculine.
There thy mother . . .—Not necessarily under the apple-tree, which is commemorated as the scene of the betrothal, but near it. The poet delights to recall these early associations, the feelings with which he had watched her home and waited her coming. The Vulg. has here ibi corrupta est mater tua, ibi violata est genetrix tua, which savours of allegory. So in later times the tree has been taken to stand for the Cross, the individual excited to love under it the Gentiles redeemed at the foot of the Cross, and the deflowered and corrupted mother the synagogue of the Jews (the mother of the Christian Church), which was corrupted by denying and crucifying the Saviour.Song of Solomon 8:5. Who is this, &c. — These seem to be the words of the daughters of Jerusalem, or of the friends of the bride and bridegroom, admiring and congratulating this happy union: leaning upon her beloved — Which implies both great freedom and familiarity, and fervent affection and dependance upon him. I raised thee up — These are Christ’s words: when thou wast fallen, and laid low, and dead in trespasses and sins, and in the depth of misery, I revived thee: Under the apple-tree — Under my own shadow: for she had compared him to an apple-tree, and declared, that under the shadow of the tree she had both delight and fruit, (Song of Solomon 2:3,) which is the same thing with this raising up. There — Under that tree, either the universal or the primitive church did conceive and bring thee forth.
Who is this - Compare and contrast with Sol 3:6. In the former scene all was splendor and exaltation, but here condescension, humility, and loving charm.
I raised thee up ... - Beneath this apple-tree I wakened thee. The king calls the bride's attention to a fruit-tree, which they pass, the trysting-spot of earliest vows in this her home and birthplace. The Masoretic pointing of the Hebrew text (the most ancient traditional interpretation) assigns these words to the bride, but the majority of Christian fathers to the king. The whole passage gains in clearness and dramatic expression by the latter arrangement.
I raised thee … she … bare thee—(Ac 26:14-16). The first words of Jesus Christ to the bride since her going to the garden of nuts (So 6:9, 10); so His appearance to Paul is the only one since His ascension, So 8:13 is not an address of Him as visible: her reply implies He is not visible (1Co 15:8). Spiritually, she was found in the moral wilderness (Eze 16:5; Ho 13:5); but now she is "coming up from" it (Jer 2:2; Ho 2:14), especially in the last stage of her journey, her conscious weakness casting itself the more wholly on Jesus Christ (2Co 12:9). "Raised" (Eph 2:1-7). Found ruined under the forbidden tree (Ge 3:22-24); restored under the shadow of Jesus Christ crucified, "the green tree" (Lu 23:31), fruit-"bearing" by the cross (Isa 53:11; Joh 12:24). "Born again by the Holy Ghost" "there" (Eze 16:3-6). In this verse, her dependence, in the similar verse, So 3:6, &c., His omnipotence to support her, are brought out (De 33:26).Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness? These Words are repeated from Song of Solomon 3:6, See Poole "Song of Solomon 3:6". This and the next clause are the words either,
1. Of the daughters of Jerusalem, or the friends of the bride and Bridegroom, admiring and congratulating this happy conjunction. Or,
2. Of the Bridegroom, who proposeth the question, that he may give the answer here following.
Leaning upon her Beloved; which implies both great freedom and familiarity, and fervent affection, and dependence upon him. If these be the Bridegroom’s words, he speaketh of himself in the third person, which is usual in the Hebrew language.
I raised thee up, when thou wast fallen, and laid low, and wert dead in trespasses, and in the depth of misery I revived thee.
Under the apple tree; under my own shadow; for she had compared him to an apple tree, and declared that under the shadow of the tree she had both delight and fruit, Song of Solomon 2:3, which is the same thing with this raising up.
There thy mother brought thee forth; under that tree either the universal or the primitive church did conceive and bring thee forth.
leaning upon her beloved); faith in Christ, whom her soul loved, and who loved her, is signified hereby; see Isaiah 50:10; which is the grace by which believers lean on the person of Christ, for acceptance with God; on his righteousness, for justification; on his fulness, for the supply of their wants; and trust in his blood for pardon and cleansing, The word is only used in this place, and is differently rendered: by some, "casting herself" (l) on him; as sensible sinners do at first conversion, when they venture their souls on Christ, commit the care and keeping of them to him, and trust their whole salvation with him: by others, "joining, associating" (m); cleaving to him, keeping company with him, from the use of the word (n) in the Arabic tongue; so such souls give up themselves to Christ; cleave to him, with full purpose of heart; walk with him, and walk on in him, as they have received him: by others, "rejoicing" or "delighting" (o) herself in him; in the view of his personal glory, transcendent excellencies, inexhaustible fulness, and searchable riches: the Septuagint version is, "strengthened", or "strengthening herself on her beloved"; deriving all her strength from him, to exercise grace, perform duty, withstand temptation, and persevere to the end, conscious of her own weakness; faith, in every sense of the word, is intended;
I raised thee up under the apple tree; not the words of Christ concerning the church, since the affixes are masculine; but what the church said concerning Christ, when leaning on his arm as she went along with him: so the words may be connected with the preceding, by supplying the word "saying", as Michaelis observes; relating a piece of former experience, how that when she was under the apple tree, sat under the shadow of it, Sol 2:3; that is, under the ordinances of the Gospel; where, having no sensible communion with Christ for some time, he being as it were asleep, she, by her earnest prayers and entreaties, awaked him, and raised him up, to take notice of her; whereby she enjoyed much nearness to him, and familiarity with him;
there thy mother brought thee forth, there she brought thee forth that bare thee; which may be said either concealing the Old Testament church, who conceived hope of the coming of Christ, waited for it, and was often like a woman in pain until he was brought forth, which at length was done, to the joy of those that looked for him; or of the New Testament church, hoping, looking, waiting for the second coming of Christ, in the exercise of faith and prayer, and is like a woman in travail, and will be until he makes his appearance; and both may be meant, the one by the former, the other by the latter phrase, and may be the reason of the repetition of it. It may be applied to the apostles of Christ, who travailed in birth, until Christ was brought forth into the Gentile world, through the preaching of the Gospel; and so to all Gospel ministers, who are in like case until Christ be formed in the souls of men; which is no other than the new birth, and is attended with pain like that of a woman in travail; and every regenerate person may be said, in this sense, to be Christ's mother, as well as his brother and sister, Matthew 12:50; and each of the above things are usually done under and by the means of the word and ordinances; which may be signified by the apple tree, or, however, the shadow of it.
(l) "injiciens se", Cocceius. (m) "Adjungens se", Montanus; "associans se", Brightman, Schmidt, Marckius, Michaelis; so Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Joseph Kimchi, & R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel. Moed, fol. 19. 1.((n) "Raphak, comes fuit; rephik, comes itineris; socius", Golius, col. 1018, 1019. (o) "Deliciis affluens", V. L. "delicians", some in Mercerus, so Kimchi.Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. the wilderness] i.e. the uncultivated open pasture lands round the village. This again is an insurmountable difficulty for Budde, as the same word in Song of Solomon 3:6 was. Siegfried boldly tries to get over the difficulty by saying that the threshing-floor lay in the midhbâr, and in Wetzstein’s account the marriage procession is said to move from the chaff-barn towards the threshing-floor. But unfortunately, the procession, if procession it be, is described as coming from the midhbâr. Moreover, to make the threshing-floor a part of the midhbâr is unheard of.
leaning upon her beloved] i.e. she was supporting herself as weary with the journey.
I raised thee] The pronouns thee and thy in the last clauses of this verse are masculine in the Massoretic text, and consequently make the Shulammite address the bridegroom. But the Syriac, which is followed by many commentators, reads the pronouns as feminine. The question is one of vowels, as the consonantal text is the same for both readings, and in all probability the feminine suffixes are correct, for no one’s mother but the bride’s has hitherto been spoken of, and the words are better suited to the bridegroom than to the bride. The clause should be rendered as in the R.V. I awakened thee. The lover, as he approaches the maiden’s home, points out places that are memorable to him. Under this apple tree he had, perhaps, kissed her awake. Cp. Tennyson’s Sleeping Beauty. This is better than, ‘here I first aroused thy love.’
there] i.e. yonder, not under the apple tree, but in the house they are approaching.
thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee] Better, as in the R.V., thy mother was in travail with thee, there was she in travail that brought thee forth.
Chap. Song of Solomon 8:5-7. The Return in the Might of Love
The scene depicted in these verses is the return of the Shulammite with her lover to the village. As they draw near she leans upon him in weariness, and they are observed by some of the villagers, who ask the question in Song of Solomon 8:5 a. The lovers meantime come slowly on, and as they come he points out an apple tree under which he had once found her sleeping and awaked her, and then as they come in sight of it, he points to her birthplace, her mother’s home. In Song of Solomon 8:6-7 the Shulammite utters that great panegyric of love which is the climax and glory of the book. Because of this power of love which she feels in her heart she beseeches her lover to bind her closely to himself. For the Wetzstein-Budde theory these verses are full of insuperable difficulty. Such personal details as we have here cannot be made to fit into a collection of general wedding songs, and the advocates of that view have simply to give them up as a mere congeries of fragments. Taken as above, everything is simple, intelligible and natural.Verses 5-14. - Part V. CONCLUSION. THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE IN THE SCENE OF THEIR FIRST LOVE. Verse 5a. - Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? We must compare this question with the corresponding one in Song of Solomon 3:6. In that case the inhabitants of Jerusalem are supposed to be looking forth, and behold the bridal procession approaching the capital. In this case the scene is transferred to the country, to the neighbourhood of the bride's home, where she has desired to be with her lord. The country people, or the group of her relatives, are supposed to be gazing at the pair of lovers, not coming in royal state, but in the sweet simplicity of true affection, the bride leaning with loving confidence on the arm of her husband, as they were seen before in the time of their "first love." The restoration of "first love" is often the prayer of the disciple, feeling how far he falls short of the affection which such a Master should call forth. The first feelings of the heart when it is won to Christ are very delightful.
"Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
Of Jesus and his Word?" It is a blessedness when we come up from the wilderness. It is a joy to ourselves and a matter of praise to our fellow believers when we are manifestly filled with a sense of the Saviour's presence and fellowship. The word midhbaur, translated "wilderness," does not, however, necessarily mean a desolate and barren desert, but rather the open country, as the Valley of Jezreel The LXX. had either a different reading in the Hebrew or has mistaken it. They have rendered the last clause "clothed in white," which perhaps Jerome has followed with his deliciis affluens. The word is, however, from the root rauvaq, which in the hiph. is "to support one's self." The meaning, therefore, is, "leaning for support." It might, however, be intended to represent the loving confidence of married life, and therefore would be equivalent in meaning to the Greek and Latin renderings, that is, "Who is this? Evidently a young newly married wife with her husband." Perhaps this is the best explanation of the words as preparing for what follows, as the bridegroom begins at once to speak of the first love. Some think that the road in which the loving pair are seen to be walking brings their footsteps near to the apple tree over against Shulamith's house where they had first met. But there is no necessity for that supposition. It is sufficient if we imagine the apple tree to be in sight. Verse 5b. - Under the apple tree I awakened thee; there thy mother was in travail with thee; there was she in travail that brought thee forth. I awakened thee; i.e. I stirred thee up to return the affection which I showed thee (cf. Song of Solomon 2:7). The Masoretic reading prints the verb עורַרתִּיך, as with the masculine suffix, but this renders the meaning exceedingly perplexed. The bride would not speak of awakening Solomon, but it was he who had awakened her. The change is very slight, the ך becoming ך, and is supported by the Old Syriac Version. It must be remembered that the bridegroom immediately addresses the bride, speaking of her mother. The apple tree would certainly be most naturally supposed to be situated somewhere near the house where the bride was bore perhaps overshadowing it or branching over the windows, or trained upon the trellis surrounding the house. The bridegroom points to it. "See, there it is, the familiar apple tree beside the house where thy dear self wast born. There, yonder, is where thy mother dwelt, and where thou heartiest my first words of affection as we sat side by side just outside the house under the shade of the apple tree." The language is exquisitely simple and chaste, and yet so full of the tender affection of the true lover. The spot where the first breathings of love came forth will ever be dear in the remembrance of those whose affection remains faithful and fond. The typical view certainly finds itself supported in these words. Nothing is more delightful and more helpful to the believer than to go over in thought, again and again, and especially when faith grows feeble, when the heart is cold and fickle under the influence of worldly temptations and difficulties of the Christian course, the history of the first beginning of the spiritual life. We recall how dear the Lord was to us then, how wonderful his love seemed to us, how condescending and how merciful. We reproach ourselves that we faint and fail; we cry out for the fulness of grace, and it is given us.
See whether the vine is in bloom,
Whether the vine-blossoms have opened,
The pomegranates budded -
There will I give thee my love.
13 The mandrakes breathe a pleasant odour,
And over our doors are all kinds of excellent fruits,
New, also old,
Which, my beloved, I have kept for thee.
As the rising up early follows the tarrying over night, the description of that which is longed for moves forward. As השׁכּים is denom. of שׁכם, and properly signifies only to shoulder, i.e., to rise, make oneself ready, when early going forth needs to be designated it has generally בּבּקר (cf. Joshua 6:15) along with it; yet this word may also be wanting, 1 Samuel 9:26; 1 Samuel 17:16. נשׁךּ לכּר equals נשׁב ונלך לבר, an abbreviation of the expression which is also found in hist. prose, Genesis 19:27; cf. 2 Kings 19:9. They wished in the morning, when the life of nature can best be observed, and its growth and progress and striving upwards best contemplated, to see whether the vine had opened, i.e., unfolded (thus, Sol 6:11), whether the vine-blossom (vid., at Sol 2:13) had expanded (lxx ἤνθησεν ὁ κυπρισμός), whether the pomegranate had its flowers or flower-buds (הנצוּ, as at Sol 6:11); פּתּח is here, as at Isaiah 48:8; Isaiah 60:11, used as internally transitive: to accomplish or to undergo the opening, as also (Arab.) fattaḥ
(Note: Vid., Fleischer, Makkari, 1868, p. 271.)
is used of the blooming of flowers, for (Arab.) tafttaḥ (to unfold). The vineyards, inasmuch as she does not say כּרמינוּ, are not alone those of her family, but generally those of her home, but of her home; for these are the object of her desire, which in this pleasant journey with her beloved she at once in imagination reaches, flying, as it were, over the intermediate space. There, in undisturbed quietness, and in a lovely region consecrating love, will she give herself to him in the entire fulness of her love. By דּדי she means the evidences of her love (vid., under Sol 4:10; Sol 1:2), which she will there grant to him as thankful responses to his own. Thus she speaks in the spring-time, in the month Ijjar, corresponding to our Wonnemond (pleasure-month, May), and seeks to give emphasis to her promise by this, that she directs him to the fragrant "mandragoras," and to the precious fruits of all kinds which she has kept for him on the shelf in her native home.
דּוּדי (after the form לוּלי), love's flower, is the mandragora officinalis, L., with whitish green flowers and yellow apples of the size of nutmegs, belonging to the Solanaceae; its fruits and roots are used as an aphrodisiac, therefore this plant was called by the Arabs abd al-sal'm, the servant of love, postillon d'amour; the son of Leah found such mandrakes (lxx Genesis 30:14, μῆλα μανδραγορῶν) at the time of the vintage, which falls in the month of Ijjar; they have a strong but pleasant odour. In Jerusalem mandrakes are rare; but so much the more abundantly are they found growing wild in Galilee, whither Shulamith is transported in spirit. Regarding the מגדים (from מגד, occurring in the sing. exclusively in the blessing of Moses, Deuteronomy 33), which in the Old Testament is peculiar to the Song, vid., Sol 4:13, Sol 4:16. From "over our doors," down to "I have kept for thee," is, according to the lxx, Syr., Jerome, and others, one sentence, which in itself is not inadmissible; for the object can precede its verb, Sol 3:3, and can stand as the subject between the place mentioned and the verb, Isaiah 32:13, also as the object, 2 Chronicles 31:6, which, as in the passage before us, may be interpunctuated with Athnach for the sake of emphasis; in the bibl. Chald. this inverted sequence of the words is natural, e.g., Daniel 2:17. But such a long-winded sentence is at least not in the style of the Song, and one does not rightly see why just "over our doors" has the first place in it. I therefore formerly translated it as did Luther, dividing it into parts: "and over our doors are all kinds of precious fruits; I have," etc. But with this departure from the traditional division of the verse nothing is gained; for the "keeping" (laying up) refers naturally to the fruits of the preceding year, and in the first instance can by no means refer to fruits of this year, especially as Shulamith, according to the structure of the poem, has not visited her parental home since her home-bringing in marriage, and now for the first time, in the early summer, between the barley harvest and the wheat harvest, is carried away thither in her longing. Therefore the expression, "my beloved, I have kept for thee," is to be taken by itself, but not as an independent sentence (Bttch.), but is to be rendered, with Ewald, as a relative clause; and this, with Hitz., is to be referred to ישׁנים (old). Col refers to the many sorts of precious fruits which, after the time of their ingathering, are divided into "new and old" (Matthew 13:52). The plur. "our doors," which as amplif. poet. would not be appropriate here, supposes several entrances into her parents' home; and since "I have kept" refers to a particular preserving of choice fruits, al does not (Hitzig) refer to a floor, such as the floor above the family dwelling or above the barn, but to the shelf above the inner doors, a board placed over them, on which certain things are wont to be laid past for some particular object. She speaks to the king like a child; for although highly elevated, she yet remains, without self-elation, a child.
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