Imágenes de páginas

Ge. 6. 5: Jer. 17.9.

7. 8-10; I. 26. 14.

Job 3. 17, 18 u eh. 2. 18-22

y Est. & 15: Rev. 3. 4,

5: 7.9, 13, 14.

a Pro. 5. 18, 19.

i 2 either love or hatred I by all that is before them. All things come alike to all : ch. 2. 14–16: Job 1 there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the 12; 13; Mal. 3. 18.

clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth

not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth 3 an oath. This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that

there is one event unto all Yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of ch. A. 11: se refa

evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the 4 dead. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living Job 14.7–12; 16. 33. 5 dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall-die: + but Job 30, 23.

'the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward ;5 for the Job 14, 21; Ps. 6. 5; 6 memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, ch. 2. 10; 8. 10; Job

is now perished ; * neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing

that is done under the sun. 7 Go thy way, - eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; sch. 8. 15. 8 for God now accepteth thy works. y Let thy garments be always white: 7 9 "and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou l = iu. 3. 3. me. 6. 17.

lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: • for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy ch. 2. 19, 24; I. 13,

42; 5. 18 10 labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,

do it with thy might; 8 e for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor P: 6. 5. Is. 38. 18 , wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Further application of wisdom to the various circumstances of life. 11 I RETURNED,9 e and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, 10 nor 4 ch. 2. 12: 4. 1, 4,

the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of -16.

understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; 11 / but time and chance 12 happeneth 1 ch. 2. 14, 15. 12 to them all. For man also knoweth not his time : 13 as the fishes that are ch. 8. 7.

taken in an evil net, * and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the A Pro. 7. 23

Bons of men i snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. 13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me :14 3:1736 31; i 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king see 2 Sam. 20. 15--22. 15 against it, and besieged" it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was

found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man 16 remembered that same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: | rer. 18 ch.7. 19;

nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. - ML6. 2, 3.' 17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet

More than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 15 18 * Wisdom is better than weapons of war:-but one sinner destroyeth much good.16 Jer. 26,5,11,12; 22.

20; Heb. 19. 15. 10 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary 17 to send forth a stinking savour: 1

So doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

John 9. 4.


i Job 18. 8-10; Pro.

29 6; Lk. 12. 20,

Thes. 5. 3.

Pro. 21. 22; 24. 5.

1 That is, "God's love or displeasure.' It is impog. | illustrations of the value of wisdom and the mischief of sible, from the events which befall a man in this life, to folly (ch. ix. 13-X. 20), and adds some counsels adapted determine his real character in the sight of God. The to various parts of his previous remarks (ch. xi. 1–6). statements in these verses must be understood only in a 10 Wisdom and energy often fail of success in temporal modified sense; for the Preacher is contemplating both things. life and death, apart from the future judgment of which 11 That is, the esteem and respect of mankind are not he afterwards emphatically speaks (ch. xi. 9).

always rained by such men; sometimes neglect, envy, 2 That is, who swears lightly and falsely; while he and contempt are their portion. that feareth an oath' is one who takes it seriously and 12 What to men appears accidental. The absolute keeps it faithfully.

control of Divine Providence over all events has been 3. Rather, 'For who is there that is chosen out (i. e. repeatedly asserted. See ch. iii. 1-11. excepted) To all the living there is hope: a living dog 13 Calamity and death come upon him as if hy chance is better than a dead lion. However wretched a living (ver. 11); as unexpectedly as destruction by the arts of man may be, he still has this advantage over the dead, the angler or the fowler does upon fishes and birds. that he can hope for a change for the better. A dog' 14 Or, “This also have I seen, (even) wisdom under the is put (as is frequently done in Eastern phraseology) for sun, and it seemed great unto me.' The .wisdom' is that the vilest, and a 'lion for the noblest of beasts.

of the poor man in ver. 15; and the whole illustrates 4 If they know nothing else, they know this; whereas (ver. 16) both the value of wisdom, and the maxim of the dead 'know not anything.'

ver. 11, that ‘favour' is not to men of skill.' 5 Any further advantage.

15 Rather, “The words of wise men heard in quiet use of God's eart ounties here recommended fare better] than the outcry of a ruler among fools,' i. e. is not that of the worldling, but is connected with a a foolish ruler. The 'poor wise man' (ver. 15) seems to present enjoyment of God's blessing.

be still thought of. 7 White garments and perfumed oil were signs of 16 One who offends against the dictates of wisdom may festivity amongst the Hebrews.

bring ruin not only on himself, but on many—even on & Whatever appears to thee desirable or important to whole nations. be done, do it promptly and earnestly, remembering that 17 Rather, 'the fragrant oil of the perfumer.' A small the period for doing it will soon have passed for ever. offensive matter which might not be noticed in other

9 Solomon, after acknowledging, as before, that there things would be very disagreeable in this: so a slight are exceptions to his statements (vers. 11, 12), gives new | indiscretion which would pass without observation in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Col 4.6

2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; —but a fool's heart at his left. 3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way,

His wisdom faileth him,—P and he saith to every one, that he is a fool. 4. If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, 9 leave not thy place ;8

For' yielding pacifieth great offences. 5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, *As an error4 which proceedeth from the ruler :

.eh a b; IL 6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.

! Ett a L 7 I have seen servants * upon horses, 6

Pro. 18. 18; 1 And princes walking as servants upon the earth. 8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it;

And whoso breaketh an hedge,' a serpent shall bite him. 9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith;

And he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. 8 10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must be put to more

strength: But wisdom is profitable to direct. 9 11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment:10—and a babbler is no better. IP SH 1,5; Jer. 12 . The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; 11 But the lips of a fool will swallow up himself :

12 13.15: Ep 421 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness :

b P2 61.8: Pr 101: And the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14 A fool also is full of words :

< Presi, A man cannot tell what shall be ; And d what shall be after him, 12 who can tell him !

deh.22; 12; 1. 15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them,

• ver. 3; I 5. Because he knoweth not how to go to the city. 13 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, 14

1/ 1344, 23; SIL And thy princes eat in the morning ! 15 17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, 10

And & thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! Pra 21. 45 18 * By much slothfulness the building decayeth;

Pre 123
And through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. 17
19 A feast is made for laughter, and i wine maketh merry:
But money answereth all things. 18

kot 7. 12 20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought;

I Es. 29; ASS other men would be marked in a wise man. This maxim save hard labour, as well as much time and money. applies very forcibly to the Christian, whose profession 10 Rather, "If the serpent bite because he is tot should be without a blemish.

charmed, then there is no advantage to the master of the i The right hand, being more used, is more quick and tongue' (i. e. the charmer). An enchanter most be apt than the left. So a wise man can use his thoughts quick in his art, or the serpent will bite before his song promptly and aptly; whilst a fool is confused and unable has lulled it. So a wise man will be prompt. to act.

11 That is, they are conciliatory; whereas the fools 2 He exhibits his folly in his most ordinary actions. words are provoking, and lead on from folly to rege (ver. 3 See ch. viii. 3, and note.

13), which will end in mischief to himself and others 4 Or, .An error which proceedeth ;' é. e. the promotion 12 Perhaps this should be, 'after that.' Althongh an of unsuitable persons (ver. 6).

knows not what is soon to happen, and still less what is 5 This may mean either the noble, i. e. in birth, | to happen after that, the fool indulges in confident per accomplishments, or character, or those who were pre dictions respecting it. viously rich. Under the despotisms of the East, the sudden 13 That is, he cannot find out the broad and frequente elevation of persons in a low condition, and the degrada highway, and therefore goes a long way round to get to tion of those who had held high rank with a view to the his object. confiscation of their property, are very frequent.

14 that is, when he is deficient in wisdom, experiener, 6 Solomon first introduced among the Hebrews the and skill. use of horses, which are often mentioned afterwards as 15 The morning repast of the Orientals is very light, appendages of rank. See Esth. vi. 8, 9; Jer. xvii. 25; consisting of fruit, milk, cheese, etc.: their principal meal Ezek. xxiii. 12

being late in the afternoon. Therefore to eat, i eta 7 Rather, fence.' Vers. 8, 9 refer to various modesfeast, in the morning was regarded as luxurious and of injuring others (see Gen. xlix. 6; 2 Kings iii. 19, intemperate, and as wasting time which ought to be 25; Prov. xxvi. 27), which are here represented as re devoted to business. coiling upon the perpetrators. Wisdom teaches a man 16 And therefore educated in the knowledge of the that what does harm to another will in the end be mis duties of his high station. chievous to himself.

17 That is, it lets in the water. The roofs of Oriental 8 Or, He that cleaveth trees shall be impoverished houses, being often made of straw and dried clay, Deed thereby.' Whole tribes have sometimes been reduced to frequent repairs. poverty and famine in consequence of the destruction of 18 This appears to be a recommendation of diligente, their date-trees by a malignant invader.

which procures money; by which again other things are 9 Rather, 'to give success.' Science and skill often l obtained.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

m Lk. 12 2. 3.

In Pro. 22. 9; Is. 82. 8,

• ver. 6; Deu. 15. 10:

Pro. 11. 18; 19. 171 Mt. 10. 42; 25.40; 2 Cor. 9. 68Gal.

6. 9, 10; Heb. 6. 10. P Ps. 112. 9; Lk. 6. 30;

I Tim. 6. 18, 19. q Mic. 5. 5.

Eph. 5. 16. • Pro. 20. 4; 22. 13.

And curse not the rich in thy bedchamber:
For a bird of the air shall carry the voice,

And that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
11 Cast thy bread * upon the waters : 2_ for thou shalt find it after many days.
2 ? Give a portion to seven, 3—and also to eight;

For thou knowest not what evil shall 4 be upon the earth. 3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth:5

And if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north,

In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. 4.He that observeth the wind shall not sow;?

And he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. 5 As 'thou knowest not 8 what is the way of the spirit,

w Nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child :

* Even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. 6 v In the morning sow thy seed, 9—and in the evening withhold not thine hand :

z For thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, Or whether they both shall be alike good.

The use of wisdom in preparing for old age, death, and judgment.
7 TRULY 10 the light is sweet,
. And a pleasant thing it is for the eyes * to behold the sun:
8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all;

Yet let him remember the days of darkness; 11 for they shall be many.
All that cometh is vanity.
9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth;
And let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth,

And walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : 12

But know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow 13 from thy heart,--and put away evil from thy flesh:

For childhood and youth are vanity. 12 Remember a now 14 thy Creator in the days of thy youth,

+ While the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, "When thou shalt day, I have no pleasure in them;

1 John 3 &

Ps. 133. 14, 15. s see refi. ch. 7. 24;

Job 5.9; P. 40.5 y ch.9. 10; 2 Cor. 9.6. • 1 Cor. 3.5-8; 2 Cor.

9. 10.

a ch. 7. 11.

ch. 6. 6. c ch. 12. 1-5: Deu. 32

29; Job 10. 22: 18 18: Jer. 13 16

d Num. 15. 30.
e eh. 3. 17. 12. 14: Ro.

2. 6-11; 14. 12: 1
Cor. 4. 5; ? Cor. 5.

10; Gal. 6. 7. 8. 1 2 Cor. 7. 1; 2 Tim.

Ps. 35 . Pro. 8. 17; 22.6;

Jer. 3. 4; Lam. 3. 27 ( ch. 1. 8, P. 9. 10.

see 2 Sam. 19.35



Astrong proverbial expression, indicating the strange , every present opportunity of doing good should be diliand unexpected way in which secrets often come out. gently improved. Detraction eren of those who seem most removed from 9 Go on in the regular way of duty, and be assured us may reach their ears.

your wise activity shall not fail of a blessing. This 2 The object of vers. 1-3 appears to be, not to recom- sentiment is applicable to all our labours, and especially mend generosity on its own account, but to show its con- to efforts for the spiritual good of others, to which, in nection with wísdom, inasmuch as liberality to those who addition to the general encouragement here given, special cannot repay, though it appears like casting bread upon promises are annexed. Compare Isa. lv. 11–13; Gal. vi. the waters, is never lost. Some suppose that there is an 7-10. allusion to the practice in Egypt of sowing the seed 10 Solomon having described the uses of wisdom in before the waters of the Nile, after overflowing the country, making the best of our earthly life, so as to make light have entirely receded to their channel.

sweet, and the beholding of the sun pleasant,' even nber of completeness ; and therefore though all be vanity, proceeds next (ch. xi. 7-xii, 7) this is a command to be most extensively liberal. The to set forth the last and highest use of wisdom on earth, expression, 'Give a portion,' is perhaps borrowed from the in giving due consideration to approaching infirmity, practice of distributing food to the needy on festive occa- | death, and judgment. From all of which he derives the sions (Neh. viii. 10; Esth. ix. 22).

important conclusion, that man's chief wisdom and life's 4 Thou knowest not but that thou mayest become chief solace are to be found in the fear of God. In this needy. The same sentiment, but with its application portion of the book the language becomes highly poetical, extended to eternal things, is illustrated by our Lord in and the religious tone and teaching are more decided the parable of the unjust steward (Luke xvi. 1-12). and full.

5 As the clouds arise from the sea, and empty them 11 That is, days of suffering and sorrow. The man who selves upon the earth, whence the water returns ag neve:

repared to meet it to the sea (see ch. i. 7), they form an apt illustration of when it comes. Happy is he who, in the midst of outthe sentiment of these verses, that good returns to him ward darkness, possesses the light and comfort of Divine who does it.

wisdom. 6 There is some difficulty in determining the meaning 12 This may be the language of solemn irony: or it may of these words in their connection, but most likely it is be designed as a repetition of previous exhortations, rethis : 'In whatever quarter thy bounty is dispersed, minding the young man that all the enjoyments of this there thou shalt find it again.' '

life, of which his age is peculiarly susceptible, should be 7 As the husbandman who refuses to sow or to reap, such as shall be consistent with the constant remembrance unless the weather be in all respects favourable, will not of his accountability to God. prosper; so the man who waits for objects and seasons of | 13 “Sorrow' is put for the cause of sorrow. Live not beneficence precisely such as he would desire will be so as to bring sorrow upon thyself in the future. likely to live in vain.

14 Rather, Remember, I pray, thy Creator,' etc. : (see 8 The Preacher is still enforcing his exhortation to note on Psa. cxvi. 14. Religion is the most effectual benevolence. Because we know so little of the future preservative of youth, and the best preparative for inpurposes of God respecting both ourselves and others, firmity and age.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* ch. 2

[ocr errors]


2 'While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, ?

Nor the clouds return after the rain : 2
3 In the day when the keepers of the houses shall tremble,

And the strong men shall bow themselves,
And the grinders cease because they are few,

And those that look out of the windows be darkened,
4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets,—when the sound of the grinding is low,

And he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, 4

And all on the daughters of music shall be brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high,

And fears shall be in the way,
And the almond tree shall flourish, 5—and the grasshopper shall be a burden,
And desire shall fail: because man goeth » to his long home, 8

And the mourners 7 go about the streets :
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken,

Or the pitcher be broken at the fountain,-or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was :

see reda Ge 11 9 And the spirit shall return unto God " who gave it. 9

Nare ; 18; Practical conclusions from the whole. 8 VANITY of vanities, 10 saith the Preacher; all is vanity.

ch.1.2, ; nes 9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people 1 EL 103

knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and * get in order many I EL 4. 2; Pes LL 10 proverbs. The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words : y and that which ch 11, 12 11 was written was upright, even words of truth.11 "The words of the wise are ' as

goads, 12 and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, 18 which are given 12 from one shepherd. And further, oby these, 14 my son, be admonished : of - 16

making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter : d Fear God, and keep his 14 commandments : "for this is the whole duty of man.15 For God shall bring every Jobs

work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

@ch. 3. 21.

Job 31. 14;
Zoe. 121

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

e c IR

[ocr errors]

ML 12. *: LL

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1 All this (vers. 245) is a highly figurative and very / 9 The inspired Preacher was no materialist. He did beautiful description of the troubles and infirmities of old not consider the soul as of the same substance as the body: age. The images in the former part of this verse set forth but he knew that the body is only the organ of the inthe general gloom and insensibility to joy by which it is dwelling spirit; and that the soul, though acting by usually characterized.

means of the body while connected with it, is yet capable 2 The cheerfulness of youth throws off one trouble of separate existence and activity. long before another comes; but the intervals are very 10'In the concluding verses (8-14), the Preacher recalls short between the clouds which darken the wintry sky attention to his first utterance (ver. 8), which he repeats of old age.

with emphasis as having been proved by all his investiga3 The body is compared to a house which is falling tions; he then briefly describes his labours in the inculato ruin. The arms which guard, and the legs which tion of Divine wisdom (9--12); and, finally, sums up support it are palsied; the teeth, the eyes, and the lips his whole discourse (13, 14) by urging a reverent atten loset he voice is

I unmusical (ver. 4); tion to God and eternity as the great business of all me the steep hill and the thronged road are dreaded; 11 Rather, "The Preacher sought to find out acreptable and nothing can stimulate or please the worn-out senses words, and writing of uprightness and words of truth;' (ver. 5).

aiming to join what is agreeable and interesting with * 4 This may refer to the easily broken sleep of the | what is true and useful. aged; or it may be rendered, And it rises to the voice | 12 Urging men to wisdom and virtue. (or note) of the sparrow;' alluding to the whining voice 13 Rather, and as pails driven in are the master of of aged persons.

assemblies (which] are given from one Shepherd' 5 The white blossom of the almond-tree represents teacher). The teachings of such men make a deep and very significantly the hoary head of the old man. Or lasting impression; and to them Solomon compares his the words may be better rendered, The almond occasions instructions in this book, which he says have been loathing;' i. e. this delicate fruit gives no pleasure to the suggested and inspired by one Teacher, 4. e. by God old man; whilst the locust,' which every one else can himself. eat, is a 'burden,' a disgust to him.

14 By the admonitions already given. The Preacher's 6 Man occupies his grave longer than any house in design in what follows seems to be to urge his readers which he lived.

to be satisfied with a few good writings, which shall act a 7 Mourners were hired to bewail the deceased : see goads and nails, rather than to perplex themselves either refs.

with reading many books or with making new ones 8 After describing old age, the Preacher proceeds by 15 Or, 'For this is the duty of] every man.' Withanother set of images (ver. 6) to represent the circumstances out true practical piety no man can be happy, whateter attending upon dissolution. Some suppose the metaphors be his rank or advantages; with it, he who has litue to be taken from various parts of the human body; earthly good may possess a pure and real blessedness others understand them as referring to a lamp suspended Such was the experience and teaching of this wisst d by a 'silver chain,' which being broken, the 'golden bowl' the ancients. The same truth is, in every variety of or reservoir of oil falls upon the floor, and the lamp of form, taught by Him who is greater than Solorea;' life' is extinguished. The figure is then changed, and


enforced all death is represented by the images of the broken wheel' by his own perfect example, but himself opened for and the broken pitcher' of a well.

| the closed gates of paradise.

who no




t some persons than

THE name given to this book in the title (ch. i. 1) signi- | language is often used without any intimation that it is fies the most excellent song;' and evidently represents not to be taken literally; and some of the words reit as being not a collection of separate poems or idyls, lating to the violation of the marriage covenant are em

some have thought, but a single composition. And á ploved even more frequently in a figurative s close acquaintance with its contents confirms this testi in their literal meaning. Hence it was not improbable mony to its excellence and its unity.

that the love of Jehovah to his people should be repreThe title also agrees with all ancient writers on the sented in a longer allegorical poem, nor was it necessubject in ascribing this poem to Solomon; and this too sary that any explanation of such a purpose should be rroborate

ernal evido

idence. Tho allusions to interwoven or appended. Accordingly, the Jews have David's tower (ch. iv. 4), to Solomon's couch, or palan always so understood the Song of Solomon. The ancient quin (ch. ii. 7, 9), and to his vineyard in Baal-hamon book Zohar, the Chaldee Targum, and later Jewish com(ch. viii. 11), indicate a writer familiar with that age. mentators, explain it in this way. Such an application, Rare and precious articles of luxury are also mentioned. moreover, is in perfect harmony with another inspired Objects of interest to the naturalist are often referred to; 1 poem, Psa. xlv.s, and it is in accordance with the practice not less than twenty different names of plants, and thirteen which has prevailed universally in the East, even to the of animals, being found in these few pages. An intimate present day, of expressing love to the Creator in the acquaintance is displayed with various parts of the land language of this human passion. And this mode of from Egypt to Damascus; whilst the beauties of Tirzah, representation does not stop with the Old Testament. Gilead, and Heshbon, and the grandeur of Lebanon and The relation of Jehovah to the Hebrew nation having Hermon, are alluded to in language which shows that been designed to foreshadow his connection with his they are fully appreciated. All this is just what might spiritual church, it naturally supplies the writers of naturally be expected if Solomon were the author. In the New Testament with language most appropriate to addition to this, the reference to his mother, in ch. iii. 11, exhibit the relation between our Lord and his people. and a comparison of ch. vi. 8 with 1 Kings xi. 3. seem to Thus Jehovah was David's

rd (Psa. xx connect the poem with the earlier part of his reign, when is ours (John x. 11, 14). And thus also Christ is the Bathsheba was still living, and when his harem was less bridegroom, and the church his bride (2 Cor. xi. 2; extensive than it became in his later years of unbounded Eph. v. 23-27; Rev. xxi. 2). Accordingly, Christian indulgence.

commentators in every age have regarded this poem as

aptly expressing the mutual love of the Saviour and his The burden of this Song is the mutual affection and church, and as titly representing the closeness and perendearments of the marriage relation. Solomon places, petuity of the union which subsists between them. himself before us as a bridegroom with his bride, in all And when it is regarded in this light, it will appear to the warmth and freshness of their newly-formed con- | be a valuable portion of Divine truth; more suitable to nection. Those who assign to the poem an historical origin the habits of th suppose the bride to be either Pharaoh's daughter (1 Kings of others, but peculiarly adapted to enliven the religious jl. 1), or a native of Palestine, of lower but still of emotions of no inconsiderable portion of the people of noble rank. But there is so little in it that is distinctive God. of any individual, that it is difficult to believe it to have Much caution, however, is needed in using this book; been composed either solely or chiefly with a view to for its language and thoughts have been often misany particular nuptial festivity. In part it resembles a understood and misapplied by expositors. Some have pastoral, in part à drama, in part an epithalamium, or greatly erred by adopting an arbitrary and fanciful nuptial songi yet it is not properly either of these. The method of explanation-attempting to give a mystical peculiarity of its construction, and the generality of its meaning to every minute circumstance in the allegory. references, seen

ate that it sprang from, and is But it must be borne in mind that in a figurative repreintended to lead to, a contemplation of the subject apart sentation there is always much which is to be regarded from personal application, and in its highest and most as mere costume and ornament, added to complete the important bearings.

picture. We are not to expect to find in the spiritual Undoubtedly the Song of Songs may be viewed as a objects represented a literal counterpart to every portion beautiful exhibition of the legitimate exercise of that of the allegory; but we should rather unite all the single merely human love which our Creator has implanted features into one general image, and then contemplate the in our nature, and has recognised and sanctioned in sentiment or truth thus illustrated. And it should ever the institution of marriage, which is declared to be be remembered, that while we have the practice of the 'honourable in all. Yet, if this were the main object church in all ages, and the judgment of eminent exof the poem, it might well be expected that frequent positors, in favour of the proper application of this song to reference would be made to those abuses of which Solomon evangelical subjects, the true knowledge of Christ and of himself affords so striking an example. We are there heavenly things is to be chiefly sought by us in the New fore led to look for some other design.

Testament, where it is plainly and fully imparted. It On examining the word of God, we find numerous must also not be forgotten, that although many have passages in which the marriage relation is used to repre applied the metaphor here employed to the relation subsent the connection between Jehovah and his chosen sisting between Christ and the individual believer, on people. Soon after he had graciously entered into cove the principle that what is true of the whole body is in nant with the Israelites at Sinai, he speaks of the sin some measure true of every member, yet such an apof forsaking his worship for that of false gods as un plication of the figure is never found in the Scriptures. faithfulness to the bonds of marriage (Exod. xxxiv. 15, Some portions of this book have been regarded as 16; Lev. xvii. 7; xx. 5; Deut. xxxi. 16); and he con unnatural, and others have been objected to as wanting tinues to use the same figure in Judges and the later in delicacy. These objections, however, are owing partly books. This metaphor reappears with great amplification, to defects in the translation of particular passages, and and often in more pleasing forms, in the prophetical writ- partly to ignorance or forgetfulness of the great difference ings (Isa. liv. 5; Ixii. 5; Jer. iii. 20; xxxi. 32; Hos. ii. which exists between Oriental customs and Oriental 2,7). It was therefore evidently familiar to the minds poetry, and those of Europe. See notes on ch. iv. 1, 12; of the Hebrews; so much so indeed, that the metaphorical | v. 11; vii. 2.


« AnteriorContinuar »