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Ec 11:9, 10
showed what youths are to shun, so this verse shows what they are to
2. Illustrating "the evil days"
"Light," "sun," &c., express prosperity; "darkness," pain and
(Isa 13:10; 30:26).
3. keepers of the house--namely, the hands and arms which
protected the body, as guards do a palace
are now palsied.
4. doors--the lips, which are closely shut together as
doors, by old men in eating, for, if they did not do so, the food
would drop out
5. that which is high--The old are afraid of ascending a hill.
6. A double image to represent death, as in Ec 12:1-5, old age: (1) A lamp of frail material, but gilded over, often in the East hung from roofs by a cord of silk and silver interwoven; as the lamp is dashed down and broken, when the cord breaks, so man at death; the golden bowl of the lamp answers to the skull, which, from the vital preciousness of its contents, may be called "golden"; "the silver cord" is the spinal marrow, which is white and precious as silver, and is attached to the brain. (2) A fountain, from which water is drawn by a pitcher let down by a rope wound round a wheel; as, when the pitcher and wheel are broken, water can no more be drawn, so life ceases when the vital energies are gone. The "fountain" may mean the right ventricle of the heart; the "cistern," the left; the pitcher, the veins; the wheel, the aorta, or great artery [SMITH]. The circulation of the blood, whether known or not to Solomon, seems to be implied in the language put by the Holy Ghost into his mouth. This gloomy picture of old age applies to those who have not "remembered their Creator in youth." They have none of the consolations of God, which they might have obtained in youth; it is now too late to seek them. A good old age is a blessing to the godly (Ge 15:15; Job 5:26; Pr 16:31; 20:29).
9. gave good heed--literally, "he weighed." The "teaching the
people" seems to have been oral; the "proverbs," in
writing. There must then have been auditories assembled to
hear the inspired wisdom of the Preacher. See the
explanation of Koheleth in the
11. goads--piercing deeply into the mind
(Ac 2:37; 9:5;
evidently inspired words, as the end of the verse proves.
12. (See on
13. The grand inference of the whole book.
The Song of Solomon, called in the Vulgate and Septuagint, "The Song of Songs," from the opening words. This title denotes its superior excellence, according to the Hebrew idiom; so holy of holies, equivalent to "most holy" (Ex 29:37); the heaven of heavens, equivalent to the highest heavens (De 10:14). It is one of the five volumes (megilloth) placed immediately after the Pentateuch in manuscripts of the Jewish Scriptures. It is also fourth of the Hagiographa (Cetubim, writings) or the third division of the Old Testament, the other two being the Law and the Prophets. The Jewish enumeration of the Cetubim is Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra (including Nehemiah), and Chronicles. Its canonicity is certain; it is found in all Hebrew manuscripts of Scripture; also in the Greek Septuagint; in the catalogues of MELITO, bishop of Sardis, A.D. 170 (EUSEBIUS, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26), and of others of the ancient Church.
ORIGEN and JEROME tell us
that the Jews forbade it to be read by any until he was thirty years
old. It certainly needs a degree of spiritual maturity to enter aright
into the holy mystery of love which it allegorically sets forth. To
such as have attained this maturity, of whatever age they be, the Song
of Songs is one of the most edifying of the sacred writings. ROSENMULLER justly says, The sudden transitions of the
bride from the court to the grove are inexplicable, on the supposition
that it describes merely human love. Had it been the latter, it would
have been positively objectionable, and never would have been inserted
in the holy canon. The allusion to "Pharaoh's chariots"
has been made a ground for conjecturing that the love of Solomon and
Pharaoh's daughter is the subject of the Song. But this passage
alludes to a remarkable event in the history of the Old Testament
Church, the deliverance from the hosts and chariots of Pharaoh at the
Red Sea. (However, see on
The other allusions are quite opposed to the notion; the bride is
represented at times as a shepherdess
"an abomination to the Egyptians"
So 1:6; 3:4; 4:8; 5:7
are at variance with it. The Christian fathers, ORIGEN and THEODORET, compared the
teachings of Solomon to a ladder with three steps; Ecclesiastes,
natural (the nature of sensible things, vain); Proverbs, moral;
Canticles, mystical (figuring the union of Christ and the Church). The
Jews compared Proverbs to the outer court of Solomon's temple,
Ecclesiastes to the holy place, and Canticles to the holy of holies.
Understood allegorically, the Song is cleared of all difficulty.
the bride, is thus an appropriate name, Daughter of Peace being
the feminine of Solomon, equivalent to the Prince of Peace. She
by turns is a vinedresser, shepherdess, midnight inquirer, and prince's
consort and daughter, and He a suppliant drenched with night dews, and
a king in His palace, in harmony with the various relations of the
Church and Christ. As Ecclesiastes sets forth the vanity of love of the
creature, Canticles sets forth the fullness of the love which joins
believers and the Saviour. The entire economy of salvation, says HARRIS, aims at restoring to the world the lost spirit of
love. God is love, and Christ is the embodiment of the love of God. As
the other books of Scripture present severally their own aspects of
divine truth, so Canticles furnishes the believer with