Song of Solomon 8:9
If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) If she be a wall.—The wall and door are emblems of chastity and its opposite. The palace of silver some commentators explain by reference to the custom (among the Druses) of wearing an ornament like a horn on the head. But this is unlikely. The metaphors of the wall and door are naturally expanded. If the maiden grows up virtuous and inaccessible to seduction we will build upon her a palace of silver, i.e., we will so provide for her in marriage that from her may spring an illustrious house; but if otherwise, we will enclose her with boards of cedar, i.e., the strongest precautions shall be taken to guard her honour. This passage is one of the strongest arguments for the theory that chaste wedded love is the theme of this book, the poet going on in Song of Solomon 8:10 to put into the heroine’s mouth a protestation of purity; and by which virtuous disposition, even more than by her beauty, she had won her husband’s love: “I have grown up to virtuous womanhood, and I have found favour in his eyes.”

Song of Solomon 8:9. If she be a wall, &c. — This and the following verse are certainly very obscure, and it is, perhaps, impossible to ascertain the precise signification of each of the terms or clauses used in them. The general meaning, however, of this verse is thought to be, that Christ engages himself to provide for her, in a way which should best suit with her condition. If the Gentiles, when they are converted, shall be like a wall, strong and firm in faith; we — my Father and I, as the principal builders, and my ministers, as workers with and under us, will build upon her a palace of silver — Will add more strength and beauty to her, will enlarge and adorn her; and if she be as a door — Which is weaker than a wall; if she be weak in faith, yet we will not therefore reject her, but we will enclose, or (as many others render the word) strengthen, or fortify her with boards of cedar — Which are not only beautiful, but also strong and durable. In other words, “We will take care of her, in proportion as she is capable of receiving or profiting by our bounty, like as men are wont to build on good foundations.” The eastern people delight thus to express themselves by parables, or comparisons. The bride’s answer in the next verse is thought to show that the bridegroom alludes to the sister’s degree of growth.

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.A brief dialogue commencing with a question and answer probably made by brothers of the bride concerning a younger sister who will soon be old enough to be asked in marriage. The answer is given in the form of a parable: "If she be a wall," i. e., stedfast in chastity and virtue, one on whom no light advances can be made, then let us honor and reward her. This fortress-wall shall be crowned as it were with a tower or battlement of silver. But "if she be a door," light-minded and accessible to seduction Proverbs 7:11-12, then let us provide against assailants the protection of a cedar bar or panel.9. wall … door—the very terms employed as to the Gentile question (Ac 14:27; Eph 2:14). If she be a wall in Zion, founded on Jesus Christ (1Co 3:11), we will not "withstand God" (Ac 11:17; 15:8-11). But if so, we must not "build" (Ac 15:14-17) on her "wood, hay, stubble" (1Co 3:12), that is, Jewish rites, &c., but "a palace of silver," that is, all the highest privileges of church communion (Ga 2:11-18; Eph 2:11-22). Image from the splendid turrets "built" on the "walls" of Jerusalem, and flanking the "door," or gateway. The Gentile Church is the "door," the type of catholic accessibleness (1Co 16:9); but it must be not a mere thoroughfare but furnished with a wooden framework, so as not merely to admit, but also to safely enclose: cedar is fragrant, beautiful, and enduring. This seems to be Christ’s answer to the foregoing question of the Jewish church concerning their sister church of the Gentiles, for which they were very solicitous. Christ therefore engageth himself to take care of her, and to provide for her, as the matter doth require, and as suits best with her condition. If the Gentiles, when they are converted, shall be like a

wall, strong and firm in faith, stedfast against all assaults and temptations, for a wall in Scripture use signifies strength, Isaiah 26:1 Jeremiah 15:20, and elsewhere,

we, my Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost, as the principal builders, and my ministers as workers with and under us,

will build upon her a palace of silver; will add more strength and beauty to her, will enlarge and adorn her, make her more amiable in mine eyes, and more visible and glorious in the eyes of the world.

And if she be as a door, which is weaker than a wall, and where the enemy doth or may break in upon her; if she be weak in faith, and sometimes overcome by the tempter, yet we will not therefore reject and forsake her, but

we will enclose, or (as many others render the word) strengthen, or fortify, her with boards of cedar, which are not only beautiful, but also strong and durable. If she be sincere, and open the door of her heart to me, though she be weak, I will come in to her, and make her stronger.

If she be a wall,.... Built upon a sure foundation; and firmly established in her faith on Christ, and love to him; and is constant therein, and stands as a wall against the attacks of enemies (b);

we will build upon her a palace of silver; though at first but as a side wall, yet should become a complete habitation, even a palace for Christ, the King of kings, and, being designed for so illustrious an inhabitant, should be a "silver" one, denoting its worth, value, and splendour; the builders of it are the church and her ministers; though Christ is the principal builder, Zechariah 6:12. Or, "a tower of silver" (c), signifying, that she should be well fortified, and be put into a posture of defence against her enemies: the Gentile church at first had but a very small appearance of a building, a foundation just laid, a side wall erected; but, in a short time, a noble structure, a stately tower, a silver palace, were built for God;

and if she be a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar; if the door of the Gospel was opened among the Gentiles, it should be succeeded to the building a holy temple to the Lord; which should be not only ornamented, but so well fenced, that it should not be in the power of their enemies to deface and demolish it: or if the door of their hearts was opened, to receive Christ, and his glorious train of grace, they should be adorned and beautified with a larger measure of them; or if being come into a church state, and the door of it was set open to receive good men, and exclude bad men, this would be to their honour comfort and safety: or this phrase is expressive of the finishing of the building, the gate or door being set up; though it rather seems to intend the low and mean estate of the Gentile church at first, when there was but little appearance of a building, only a door set up; which afterwards grew up into a stately and magnificent palace, like that of Solomon's, built of cedar boards of the wood of Lebanon; which may denote her fragrancy, perpetuity, and incorruptibleness.

(b) So Ajax is called the wall of the Grecians, Homer. Iliad. 6. v. 5. & 7. v. 211. (c) "propugnaculum argenteum", Tigurine version; "arcem argenteam", Mercerus; "castellum argenti", Michaelis.

{f} If she is a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she is a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.

(f) If she is sure and fast, she is fit for her husband to dwell in.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. If she be a wall] i.e. if she resist attacks and preserve her innocence, they will reward her by building upon her a battlement or turret of silver, i.e. they will adorn her, perhaps for her marriage, as the bride in ancient times wore a crown.

and if she be a door] i.e. if she be ready to permit an enemy to pass her defences, then they will fasten her up with a plank of cedar. The meaning is, that as men prevent a door from opening by fastening a plank across so that it cannot move, so they will take measures to prevent her from yielding to her weakness. The Heb. deleth means always strictly a door, never a doorway, which is pethach.

cedar] The plank is to be of cedar, because the wood of that tree is specially tough and indestructible, not at all like the soft red American cedar.

Verse 9. - If she be a wall, we will build upon her a turret of silver: and if she be a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar. The interpretation which Delitzsch suggests of these words is that the "wall" represents firmness of character, and the "door" weakness and insecurity. If she firmly and successfully withstands all immoral approaches, then we will bestow high honour upon her, as a tribute to her maidenly virtue and constancy. The turret or castle of silver would mean rewarding her with increase. Silver is the emblem of holiness, gold of nobility. The meaning may, however, merely be, "We will endow her with plenty." The boards of cedar are supposed to be special protections, as cedar is noted for its hardness and durability. But is not the meaning much simpler and more natural? It would be rather a far fetched use of the figure of a door that it should suggest seduction, and would be rather unsuitable in the lips of the bridegroom when speaking of the little sister of his own bride. May not the meaning be no more than this? - She may become one of the most substantial parts of the building, like a wall; in that ease all that she can be she shall be; we will put the highest honour upon her. She may be a door, that is, though not so great and substantial as the wall, still in the very front of the building and before the eyes of all. In that case we will beautify her with costly and fragrant adornment. The gate shall be enclosed in cedar wood. "The wall and the door," says Zockler, "are mostly understood of the steadfast and faithful keeping of the Word of God and of its zealous proclamation to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 16:9, etc.); but some also explain them of the valiant in faith and the weak in faith, or of the learned and simple, or of faithful Christians and such as are recreant and easily accessible to the arts of seduction. And then, according to these various interpretations, the 'silver bulwarks' are now the miracles of the first witnesses of Jesus, now the distinguished teachers of the Church, now pious Christian rulers, now the testimonies of Holy Scripture by which faith is strengthened. And, again, by the 'cedar boards' are sometimes understood the ten commandments or the Law, sometimes Christian teachers, sometimes the examples of the saints, sometimes the salutary discipline of the cross and sufferings for Christ's sake," etc. All such attempts at detailed interpretation fail to give satisfaction. Their effect is to repel many from the study of the book altogether, just as the follies and. extravagances of the interpreters of prophecy have greatly hindered the study of the prophetic Scriptures. The wall and the door need not be taken as opposed to one another, as they are not in our conceptions of a city. They fulfil different functions. The wall is for defence; the door is for admission. In the one case we think of strength, and in the other case of beauty. The application of the symbols is very easy if the general meaning alone is regarded. There is a variety of capacity and function in the Church of Christ. There are differences in the forms of Christianity among different nations. But the Lord will receive and bless all. Some are not fitted to be built upon as strong wails, but they may still be beautiful examples of Christian graces in the eyes of the world, through whom many gladly enter into the truth and into the fellowship of Christ. Song of Solomon 8:99 If she be a wall,

   We will build upon her a pinnacle of silver;

   And if she be a door,

   We will block her up with a board of cedar-wood.

The brothers are the nearest guardians and counsellors of the sister, and, particularly in the matter of marriage, have the precedence even of the father and mother, Genesis 24:50, Genesis 24:55; Genesis 34:6-8.. They suppose two cases which stand in contrast to each other, and announce their purpose with reference to each case. Hoelem. here affects a synonymous instead of the antithetic parallelism; for he maintains that אם (ואם) ... אם nowhere denotes a contrast, but, like sive ... sive, essential indifference. But examples such as Deuteronomy 18:3 (sive bovem, sive ovem) are not applicable here; for this correl. אם ... אם, denoting essential equality, never begins the antecedents of two principal sentences, but always stands in the component parts of one principal sentence. Wherever ואם ... אם commences two parallel conditional clauses, the parallelism is always, according to the contents of these clauses, either synonymous, Genesis 31:50; Amos 9:2-4; Ecclesiastes 11:3 (where the first ואם signifies ac si, and the second sive), or antithetic, Numbers 16:29 f.; Job 36:11 f.; Isaiah 1:19 f. The contrast between חומה (from חמה, Arab. ḥaman, Modern Syr. chamo, to preserve, protect) and דּלת (from דּלל, to hang loose, of doors, Proverbs 26:14, which move hither and thither on their hinges) is obvious. A wall stands firm and withstands every assault if it serves its purpose (which is here presupposed, where it is used as a figure of firmness of character). A door, on the contrary, is moveable; and though it be for the present closed (דלת is intentionally used, and not פּתח, vid., Genesis 19:6), yet it is so formed that it can be opened again. A maiden inaccessible to seduction is like a wall, and one accessible to it is like a door. In the apodosis, Sol 8:9, the lxx correctly renders טירת by ἐπάλξεις; Jerome, by propugnacula. But it is not necessary to read טירת. The verb טור, cogn. דור, signifies to surround, whence tirah ( equals Arab. duâr), a round encampment, Genesis 25:16, and, generally, a habitation, Psalm 69:25; and then also, to range together, whence תּוּר, a rank, row (cf. Arab. thur and daur, which, in the manifoldness of their meanings, are parallel with the French tour), or also tirah, which, Ezekiel 46:23 (vid., Keil), denotes the row or layer of masonry, - in the passage before us, a row of battlements (Ew.), or a crown of the wall (Hitz.), i.e., battlements as a wreath on the summit of a wall. Is she a wall, - i.e., does she firmly and successfully withstand all immoral approaches? - then they will adorn this wall with silver pinnacles (cf. Isaiah 54:12), i.e., will bestow upon her the high honour which is due to her maidenly purity and firmness; silver is the symbol of holiness, as gold is the symbol of nobility. In the apodosis 9b, על צוּר is not otherwise meant than when used in a military sense of enclosing by means of besieging, but, like Isaiah 29:3, with the obj.-accus., of that which is pressed against that which is to be excluded; צור here means, forcibly to press against, as סגר, Genesis 2:21, to unite by closing up.

ארז לוּח is a board or plank (cf. Ezekiel 27:5, of the double planks of a ship's side) of cedar wood (cf. Zephaniah 2:14, ארזה, cedar wainscot). Cedar wood comes here into view not on account of the beautiful polish which it takes on, but merely because of its hardness and durability. Is she a door, i.e., accessible to seduction? They will enclose this door around with a cedar plank, i.e., watch her in such a manner that no seducer or lover will be able to approach her. By this morally stern but faithful answer, Shulamith is carried back to the period of her own maidenhood, when her brothers, with good intention, dealt severely with her. Looking back to this time, she could joyfully confess:

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