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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Song of Solomon (Canticles) Chapter 3

Song of Solomon (Canticles)

sol 3:0

The bride relates to the chorus what appears to be an imaginary occurrence transacted in a dream (like that of Sol 5:2-8). The Targum takes this section to be typical of the wanderings of Israel after the Holy One in the wilderness, as the next Sol 3:6-11 is made to represent their entrance into the land.

Song of Solomon (Canticles) 3:1

sol 3:1

By night - i. e., In the night-hours.

Song of Solomon (Canticles) 3:3

sol 3:3

The city - One near the bride's native home, possibly Shunem.

Song of Solomon (Canticles) 3:4

sol 3:4

I held him - This begins the fourth stanza. The bride's mother is mentioned again in Sol 6:9; Sol 8:2.

Song of Solomon (Canticles) 3:5

sol 3:5

See Sol 2:7 note.

Song of Solomon (Canticles) 3:6

sol 3:6

The principal and central action of the Song; the bride's entry into the city of David, and her marriage there with the king. Jewish interpreters regard this part of the poem as symbolizing the "first" entrance of the Church of the Old Testament into the land of promise, and her spiritual espousals, and communion with the King of kings, through the erection of Solomon's Temple and the institution of its acceptable worship. Christian fathers, in a like spirit, make most things here refer to the espousals of the Church with Christ in the Passion and Resurrection, or the communion of Christian souls with Him in meditation thereon.

Sol 3:6-11

Two or more citizens of Jerusalem, or the chorus of youths, companions of the bridegroom, describe the magnificent appearance of the bride borne in a royal litter, and then that of the king in festive joy wearing a nuptial crown.

Sol 3:6

"wilderness" is here pasture-land in contrast with the cultivated districts and garden-enclosures round the city. Compare Jer 23:10; Joe 2:22; Isa 42:11; Psa 65:12.

Pillars of smoke - Here an image of delight and pleasure. Frankincense and other perfumes are burned in such abundance round the bridal equipage that the whole procession appears from the distance to be one of moving wreaths and columns of smoke.

All powders of the merchant - Every kind of spice forming an article of commerce.

Sol 3:7

Bed - Probably the royal litter or palanquin in which the bride is borne, surrounded by his own body-guard consisting of sixty mighties of the mighty men of Israel.

Sol 3:8

Because of fear in the night - i. e., Against night alarms. Compare Psa 91:5.

Sol 3:9, Sol 3:10

A stately bed hath king Solomon made for himself of woods (or trees) of the Lebanon. The word rendered "bed" occurs nowhere else in Scripture, and is of doubtful etymology and meaning. It may denote here

(1) the bride's car or litter; or

(2) a more magnificent vehicle provided for her reception on her entrance into the city, and in which perhaps the king goes forth to meet her.

It has been made under Solomon's own directions of the costliest woods (ceda and pine) of the Lebanon; it is furnished with "pillars of silver" supporting a "baldachin" or "canopy of gold" (not "bottom" as in the King James Version), and with "a seat (not 'covering') of purple cushions," while "its interior is paved with (mosaic work, or tapestry of) love from (not 'for') the daughters of Jerusalem;" the meaning being that this part of the adornment is a gift of love, whereby the female chorus have testified their goodwill to the bride, and their desire to gratify the king.

Sol 3:11

Daughters of Zion - So called here to distinguish them from the bride's companions, who are always addressed by her as "daughters of Jerusalem."

His mother - Bathsheba Kg1 1:11. This is the last mention of her in sacred history.

Next: Song of Solomon (Canticles) Chapter 4