Christian Churches of God
Song of Songs
(Edition 2.0 19951021-19990607)
This paper is a detailed commentary on the Song of Songs using the rabbinical commentaries themselves to isolate the clear Messianic intent of the Song. This surprising story is a must for all who would see the possibility of the conversion of Judah and understand better the nature of the Church and its relationship with Messiah.
Song of Songs
The Song of Songs is a most powerful allegory. The real intent of the Song has not been understood. It particularly relates to the conversion of Israel and Judah. Basically it is written in allegory and was not meant to be understood until the last days. The five songs of the Song have long been held most holy by rabbinical authorities. We will see just how close they are to the truth in their understanding. They just don’t make the jump. This paper attempts to tie the Song in with the NT to make it much easier for anyone with the knowledge of Judaism to make the jump. The aim is to assist them in understanding the Messianic import of the Song of Songs as the book of Esther had an enormous Messianic input as we saw. When you unravel the book of Esther and Proverbs 31 as we did and the Song of Songs, you see from the Old Testament that they understood what was happening in the Messianic prophecies. They understood what the New Testament had to say. The New Testament merely reinforces the Old, not replaces it.
The repetition of the noun in the genitive expresses the superlative; e.g. most holy (Ex. 29:37; lit. holy of holies. The naos, or holy of holies as the Temple of God is in fact the Church as the elect in the NT (1Cor. 3:16-17)). This is regarded as the choicest of Songs composed by Solomon (cf. 1Kings 5:12) (Metsudath David). The rabbis interpreted the phrase as a double song in which extensive use is made of parallelism. R. Simon said that it is double and re-duplicated, containing Israel’s praise of God and God’s praise of holiness. This view, as we will see, is only part of the story. The Soncino deals with Malbim's approach to the Song of Songs and the allegory involved. Malbim totally rejects Rashi's approach to the Song which the Soncino notes as being shared by most exegetes, although they differ in details (see Ibn Ezra, Akedath Yitschak, and Metsudath). Malbim rejects their interpretation that this is a parable of a love story, symbolising the love between the Lord and His people Israel.
Malbim's interpretation adds interesting comment on the story. The Soncino quotes this extract from his introduction and epilogue. This is not just a love poem. At one stage they were going to take it out of the Bible because people were singing it in the saloons and taverns and turning it into a ribald song. But this is the story of the church and Messiah and it then extends into the nation Israel. That is why the Jewish authorities cannot understand it, because to understand the Song of Songs you have to understand the relationship of Messiah and his church. You have to understand the history of the church after the death of Messiah and after the dispersion of Judah to fully understand the Song of Songs. This is a prophecy and relates to Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Lets look at what Malbim says.
And he took up his parable and said:
Among Solomon's many women, his soul became attached to the one beloved beautiful woman, betrothed to a shepherd in the pasture. And this beloved one was taken from the bosom of her beloved shepherd to King Solomon, to his royal palace, and he placed the royal crown on her head and gave her regal gifts.
This is the same story, in effect, as Esther. If you recall Esther was taken from Mordecai’s house and placed before the king to marry him.
He also appointed the daughters of Jerusalem as guards over her, and they surrounded her, watching her steps, lest she flee to the pasture, to her beloved, but the watchers guarded her in vain, for her heart was not attracted to all Solomon's luxuries, her soul despised his love, rejected the king's food and the wine of his banquets, for her soul yearned for the Prince of her youth who pastured his sheep among the lilies. He, too, remembered the love of her bridal days. Every day he would go before the court of the harem, where his bride was held captive, looking through the windows, conversing with her behind the walls, and she poured out her heart to him begging him to rescue her from her prison. So they devised signs. He made signs for her how to flee and how to find him on the distant mountains. And, indeed she fled many times from the king's palace to the pasture where he was encamped. And every time the daughters of Jerusalem, her guards, pursued her and returned her against her will to Solomon's chambers, until at the end of days, she girded her loins, broke the copper doors, cut off the locks, opened the fetters, and fled with a high hand, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, to her beloved the gazelle on the spice mountains.
This is the Church and Christ.
This is the body of the parable and the following is its interpretation:
The most beautiful of women, whom Solomon loved and brought to his palace is his Godly spiritual soul, which descended from on high to dwell in Solomon's house in the lower realms, just as 'the Lord has said to dwell in the thick darkness'. Now the shepherd lover to whom she was betrothed was the Most High Lover, Who leads the host, Who dwells in the most high heavens and lives in Araboth - and the king imprisoning her in his palaces and seducing her to his love symbolises the overpowering physical desire that is dominant in the body to rule over the spirit, to confine the holy spirit with a covenant of love for the flesh; it strives to attract the Godly soul along with other maidens, her companions (i.e. the powers of the mind) to its will, also to conquer 'the queen with him in the house,' to be its consort and its companion to fill its desires and its longings both in the performance of the kingdom as well as in the acquisition of riches and wealth and all Solomon’s delight.
The rabbis understand part of it but not all of it. This is not just the physical; it is the carnal mind being in enmity towards God. The leader or captain of the Host of heaven was Jesus Christ. It was the captain of the army of the Lord that spoke to Joshua at Jericho and said ‘take off your shoes for where you stand is holy ground’. They are exactly the same words as the angel of God spoke to Moses when he gave him the law. So the rabbis are there but they have not taken the jump.
Now the appointment of the daughters of Jerusalem as guards over her symbolises the physical powers that surround it and confine it, lest it withdraw from the physical world and cast off its physical shoes from its feet, and lest it lift its wings to fly on wings of purity and sanctity to spirituality, to its Lover in heaven. And the parables concern the love of the maiden for the shepherd, the prince of her youth, he, 'as a bridegroom putteth on a priestly diadem,'
There is only one bridegroom who puts on a priestly diadem and that is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. These rabbis are talking about an OT book. These people reject Jesus Christ yet the language is unmistakably Messianic.
she, 'as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.' The intention is that Solomon's soul despised physical desires and lusts, and did not defile itself to stray after the power that dominates the body, the temptations and the desires of its deeds. Instead, at all times, it became aroused with a powerful desire for its Lover, God, its rightful lot, and it strengthened itself with study and deed to go in His ways and to cleave to Him.
Now the intention of the parable is that the lover sent her his message behind the wall and the door, through windows and lattices, means that the Most High Lover longed to pour out on her His holy spirit, to enable her to understand Him fully.
Yes, it was that God did long to pour out His Holy Spirit on Israel but the only way that He could do that was through the Messianic sacrifice of redemption. The rest of the OT is quite clear, especially from Isaiah 53, that the sacrifice of Messiah was important in order to get Israel ready so that the Holy Spirit could be poured out. So before the Song of Songs was able to happen and the Holy Spirit was given to humans, Isaiah 53 had to happen and therefore Christ had to be crucified. So the Rabbis understand this yet deny that Messiah was there and denied that Jesus Christ was the Messiah even though he was crucified. All of the things that are prerequisites to the Songs of Songs being able to be affected and the Holy Spirit to be poured on God’s people had already occurred in Jesus Christ. Yet the rabbis rejected it.
He, therefore, sent the message of His providence through the wall, the physical barrier between her and the holy of holies, regarding her through the windows and the lattices of the soul to raise it from the valley of and [sic] lime pits to sanctity and to the holy spirit and to remove it from 'the valley of troubling to a door of hope.'
The physical barrier between the holy of holies was a curtain veil, which was torn in two by Jesus Christ. All the language of the rabbis here mirrors the symbols of the gospels.
The parable of her many flights from the king's palace to her lover in the forest, symbolises that through the striving of Solomon's soul and its longing and preparation for cleaving to God, the spirit rested upon her, and she clung to the glory of sanctity, attaining prophecy; indeed God spoke to her many times. When she fled from Solomon's palace, i.e. when she stripped herself of her physical being,
This is exactly what happens to the individual on baptism and it is by baptism we put to death the old man. We strip ourselves of physical being and enter a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. They understood what had to happen. When they wrote this, Christ had already been killed.
and the cloud and the thick darkness departed from her, she distanced herself from the love of the king.
This is described as the shadows fleeing, alluding to physical desire, and she remaining in seclusion with the great light and the glory of her Lover that shone upon her.
The parable of the daughters of Jerusalem pursuing her each time she flees and returning her to the king's palace, symbolises that the ties of the body were not yet completely dissolved.
Also it relates to the law. It relates to the physical and the spiritual with the Church.
Therefore this union was shortlived, for after the Godly spirit rested upon him, the physical powers returned to be aroused, and to terminate this union, and God departed when he finished speaking to Solomon. Then Solomon's soul returned to be imprisoned under the lock of his physical being as at first. At the end of days she leaves Solomon's palace by force and returns there no more, but cleaves to her beloved who betroths her to him forever. This represents Solomon's demise. Then the ties are undone and the bonds melted, the trap is broken and his soul flees to her God, the husband of her youth, 'and the dust returns to the earth, and the spirit returns to God Who gave it,' and it cleaves to the bond of life in eternal Paradise.
You can see the rabbinical confinement of this text. They have to look at Solomon and the spiritual and the physical and they don't make the jump that they are looking at Judah as the kingship under Solomon, the physical aspect of Judah. Everything relating to the OT was related on a physical plane and the Jews even today relate everything to a physical plane. They don’t understand the spiritual nature of the Church. The Church itself is then broken free. There it looks as though it is simply a battle between the spiritual and the physical relating to Solomon himself. Yet in the stories you are looking at Solomon on the one hand and the beloved on the other. You are thus looking at Judah and the physical aspects of the law on the one hand and you are looking at the beloved, who is the Messiah and the Church on the other. The woman is the Church, the nation, who has been torn between the physical aspects of Judaism and the structure of the Temple under Solomon. You are looking then at Messiah who is literally taking the Church into the wilderness out of the confines of its own captivity. That implication is not drawn by the rabbinical authorities, and for good reason, because the moment they acknowledge that there are two aspects involved, there are two people. You are not just talking about Solomon’s soul and his spirit, the nephesh, which is the spirit of man, which can’t go to God anyway unless Solomon is dead. The rabbis looking at Ecclesiastes would have to then start talking of the Babylonian soul doctrine to make sense of this text in a non-Messianic way. This text can only be made sense of in a biblical structure, given the fact that the soul returns to God who gave it, on death, and there is no existence after death. They then have to introduce the Babylonian mysteries and the soul to try and confine it and get away from a Messianic explanation. Without the Babylonian mysteries you have to have a division between Solomon and the beloved and that is probably the most important distinction between what the rabbis are trying to explain of the Song of Songs and its true meaning.
The explanation by Malbim is clever and is perhaps the closest we find to a Messianic explanation in the Judaic commentaries. In general the full significance of the Song is not understood. The wording of the explanation (from p. 37) is significant.
...its allegorical narrative according to its simple meaning embodies the happening of the holy maiden, King Solomon's soul, and her dialogue with her Beloved in the heavens at five occasions when she came out of the dungeon and removed the raiment of her captivity from her and she came into the inner court of the King in the beauty of holiness. This is the narrative, and this is the allegory, and that is the simple explanation.
One of the problems of the rabbinical traditions is that the relationship of the Song to the concepts of the nephesh or soul (here showing the Babylonian influence) stem from the inability to relate the text to Messiah as the Beloved and the Church as the holy maiden.
The aspects of the elements of the nephesh being involved in five aspects are relevant to the twelve elements of the complete righteous being. The concept of righteousness and the Holy Spirit relate to concepts of five and twelve. The whole calendar centres on it and the parables of five loaves and two fishes, feeding of the five thousand, how the loaves were taken up. The papers leading into the Passover, were geared around understanding the text in Matthew, whether the five loaves and two fishes were used to feed the five thousand; the manning of the baskets; how they were taken up; how the loaves were developed and how they were then divided; and what the understanding of each of the baskets was. It related to the Holy Spirit and it relates to the elements of seven and five which make up the twelve elements. Also the holy year, that of the sacred calendar, is all divided in the same way. The human being when converted appears to be composed of twelve elements in two aspects of seven and five. They appear to be inter-related with, and form the basis for, the parables of the feeding of the multitudes by Christ. The symbolism is in essence derived from the Song of Songs. The first element however is the overall relationship of Christ and the Church, which is comprised of five songs of the Song of Songs, even though there are seven Churches related in Revelation.
The fact that there are five divisions of the song and five divisions of the woman, who is the Church, and not seven, is because two of the Churches do not enter into the Kingdom of God. The Sardis and the Loadicean Churches do not enter the Kingdom of God. There are only individuals of those two Churches who make it in.
The division of the Song into five parts relates how the maiden flees the king's chamber into the wilderness five times. The church in the wilderness is in five separate stages. The first four times she is returned from the wilderness to the king's palace. On the fifth occasion she goes out to the wilderness and remains there with her beloved, never to return. Why? The answer is because Messiah comes and the last Church, the last group of the elect, is united with the Messiah. This is held by Malbim as representing the four times that God appeared to Solomon. Malbim's interpretations regarding Solomon and the soul from this point are considered to be incorrect. It is true that God through the Angel of Jehovah appeared four times. God or elohim as the Angel appeared five times to Solomon as Judah, but the Judaic system was appealed to by the Church over two thousand years, in each of its seven elements. The Sardis and Laodicean Churches could not convince Judah at all. But Judah will be converted in the last days and Judah will be restored ahead of Israel and the household of David which we are and ahead of Jerusalem, so that nobody can exalt themselves against Judah. Look at Zechariah from chapter 11 to 12; we will see that that sequence occurs. The real relationship, namely, of that of the Lord and His people, which is the view of most rabbinical authorities, is transferred to the Church. It depends on who the people of God are during this phase. When Christ ordained the seventy he transferred the authority from Judah under the Sanhedrin to the Church under the council of the seventy. Both were the council of the seventy but when Christ ordained those elders he transferred the authority of Judah to the Church and removed all authority from Judah including the calendar. In the same decade as the council of Nicea, Judah changed the calendar. The council of Nicea changed the Godhead into the Trinity and Judah under Rabbi Hillel II changed the calendar but they had no authority. This, the inner circle of the elect, is viewed in a structure of Churches. The outer congregation is the whole house of Israel. If you recall, when we were looking at the meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision, we looked at the meaning of the cherubim in the visions and the four cherubim were located as wheels within wheels. The life of the creatures was within the wheels. The rabbinical authorities thus see the significance but do not understand the complexity because they have rejected the Church. The structure of the Song adds light to this complex issue.
One of the problems with the Churches of God is, over the last couple of hundred years, the Churches have seen themselves as being distinct from the nation of Israel and they are not. We developed, in the twentieth century, no clear message to give to the nation of Israel because we separated ourselves as an elitist group. We have to be able to communicate to the outer wheel. One is within the other; it is not divorced from the other. It is not a question of two separate wheels. It is a wheel within a wheel. We have to provide guidance and leadership to the other wheel because God is going to deal with the whole lot and our failure to prepare and deal with the outer wheel means that we are simply dealt with ourselves.
Chapter 1 to Chapter 2:7
The first song commences with Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, and ends with I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem...That ye awaken not (2:7)
Song of Songs 1:1-17 The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's. 2 O that you would [Let him] kiss me with the kisses of your [His] mouth! For your love is better than wine,
The RSV translates Let him kiss me as O that he would kiss me. The text then changes from the second to the third person. The interpretation is variously as the statement of either the Shulemite of her absent lover or of the daughters of Jerusalem of Solomon. The distinction is important. Allegorically this is recited by Israel in exile, after the Shekinah has left them, and they long for its return. After the Holy Spirit had left Israel it is then recited by them in Israel and they long for the Shekinah’s return. That is the symbolism that is being put across here. God and Israel are symbolised by a bride and bridegroom, who kiss each other on the mouth (Rashi). The elohim, here understood as the bridegroom, is understood from the NT as being the subordinate elohim of Psalm 45:6-7, Hebrews 1:8-9. This elohim is Messiah. Thus the relationship is not fully understood by the rabbinical authorities.
For thy love (Heb. Dodim meaning also caresses and manifestations of love; Ibn Ezra) is better than wine. It is a Hebrew idiom to call every banquet of pleasure and joy by the name of wine (cf. Esther 7:2; Isa. 24:9) (Rashi). Allegorical interpretation refers it to the giving of the Torah and God's speaking directly to Israel (Rashi). We know however, that the God who spoke at Sinai, was the Angel of the Covenant or Presence and that no man has seen God ever (Jn. 1:18; 1Jn. 4:12; 1Tim. 6:16) or heard His voice (Jn. 5:37) and that the law was delivered by angels in the hands of a mediator (Gal. 3:19). So the rabbis do not understand that they are dealing with Messiah in the Old Testament in receiving the law which was Jesus Christ in the New.
3 your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you.
The verb is feminine although the subject is masculine. Ibn Ezra holds that the noun shemen may be feminine although this is the only instance of it in the Scriptures. The feminine form more correctly relates to the Holy Spirit as the instrument of the imparting of the Shekinah (which is the manifestation of the presence of God in the Spirit) to the bride. The Holy Spirit conveys the presence of God that’s why it is correctly understood in the feminine. That is why wisdom is listed in the feminine in Proverbs 8:22. So the Holy Spirit is a feminine capacity and the Church is feminine and a bride because it develops a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. The name is the name of Messiah. The Philadelphians of Revelation are those of the maidens who do not deny the name (Rev. 3:8), given to Messiah by God. The oils poured out are held to be symbolic of the miracles performed in Egypt. The report of the miracles attracted people from other nations (Metsudath David).
There are Hebrew words in the Song of Songs which do not occur anywhere else in the Bible. The Greek word love, agape, which refers only to the love of God, is not a Greek word. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew word SHD 158 ‘ahab in the feminine form SHD 160 ‘ahabah which occurs in the Song of Songs with other words for love (SHD 157; ‘ahab; SHD 1730; dowd as a love token and even an uncle; SHD 7474; ray’ah a female associate, hence love). Ahabah has nothing to do with sexual erotic love when used in relation to these concepts (see esp. Jer. 31:3). Isaiah 63:9 shows that it is this word that applies to the love of God through the Angel of the Presence and the redemption of Israel. The word for love here is ahabah and that is where the Greeks got their word agape. Agape was not a word in the Greek language until they translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek in the Septuagint (LXX). They developed the word agape to transliterate the Hebrew word ahabah because the Greeks didn’t have a word for divine love. They had erotic love, eros, and they had the word for filial love, philadelphia, but they did not have a word for Godly love, agape. So they had to transliterate the word ahabah and it became the word agape and then they try to tell the elect what it means. In fact, Greek philosophy and theology is so totally deficient, because all of their philosophical ideas are founded upon erotic and filial love and they do not comprehend the concept of agape love. That is, the love of a superior to a subordinate. Greek philosophical ideas are that only like can love like, and only like can befriend like, and only like can satisfy like, therefore you can’t be reconciled to God except by a sacrifice of God. So Christ had to be God, as God, in the Trinity to reconcile us to God. That is a Greek concept and not a Hebrew concept. We could be reconciled to God in the Hebrew through the sacrifice of doves and goats and sheep and cattle. The whole structure was that the high priest had to lay down his own blood in the New Testament to reconcile us to God. That is a Hebrew concept, that a superior can be reconciled to an inferior through an intermediary sacrifice. No such thing can occur in Greek philosophical thought. The real reason the Greeks invented the Trinity was in fact to place themselves on an equality with God such that they did not have to obey God. But the structure is that their understanding is deficient because their loan words that are involved here are in fact Hebrew loan words transliterated. It is most important that you understand that the word for divine love here does not relate to any Greek concepts and the Greeks do not understand, theologically, the Hebrew concept involved in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, nor can they ever within their philosophical structure. They have to divorce themselves from Greek philosophy in order to accept Hebrew theology and be saved. The reason the Churches of God were undermined in the twentieth century was because pseudo-Greek theologians who, hampered by the epistemology of Plato and Greek theology, failed completely to understand books like the Song of Songs and the sacrifices involved either in Hebrew or New Testament theology. They simply did not know what they were doing.
4 Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol [RSV following Metsudath David. Ibn Ezra, Kimchi and Ibn Ganach translate we will find] your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.
Rashi says that the text means I heard from your messengers that you wished to draw me. I say that we will run after thee to be thy wife (Soncino). The taking into the private chambers of the king indicates being taken by force. Ibn Ezra interprets the text as meaning Were even the king to bring me into his private apartment, still I would rejoice and be glad in thee (Soncino). The chambers of the king are distinct from the lover of the Shulemite.
Sincerely or rightly do they love thee is connected with the Hebrew word for upright hence the expression they love thee with uprightness (Rashi). Ibn Ezra renders the text: More than proper wine do they love thee (Soncino).
The fact that the beloved is a Shulemite is of immense importance and this concept relates also to the concept in the kings when you are dealing with Elisha. Shulem or Shunem is in Issachar, near Chesulloth, on a steep slope of Gilboa; now called Salem (Young's Concordance). Strong makes Shulem distinct from Shunem. However, the meaning is the same as Salem i.e. peaceful. Shunem means rest or quiet. Hence the meaning of both terms has Messianic connotations. This is the reflection of the prophecy of Messiah as coming from the woman who is the Shulemite. The reference is deduced from 2Kings 4:11-37. There is no text in the Bible that is there for adornment, or simply for dressing. Every single text in the Bible has some meaning in relation to the story of Messiah or the purpose of the Church or the plan of God.
2Kings 4:11-37 One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. 12 And he said to Geha'zi his servant, "Call this Shu'nammite." When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, "Say now to her, See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?"
This is symbolism - remember the Fall of Jericho. God sent two witnesses into Jericho and spoke to Rahab the harlot and she was saved intact because the red cords were placed on her windowsill, symbolising the blood of the Passover lamb. She and all her family were saved because of their loyalty to the witnesses and their attitude to the occupation of Israel. This same situation occurs with Elisha and Gehazi.
She answered, "I dwell among my own people." 14 And he said, "What then is to be done for her?" Geha'zi answered, "Well, she has no son, and her husband is old." 15 He said, "Call her." And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 And he said, "At this season, when the time comes round, you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your maidservant." 17 But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Eli'sha had said to her. 18 When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, "Oh, my head, my head!" The father said to his servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20 And when he had lifted him, and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, "Send me one of the servants and one of the asses, that I may quickly go to the man of God, and come back again." 23 And he said, "Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath."
The New Moons and Sabbaths were used to consult the prophets. The New Moons, more importantly than the Sabbaths, were used to consult the prophets.
She said, "It will be well." 24 Then she saddled the ass, and she said to her servant, "Urge the beast on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you." 25 So she set out, and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Geha'zi his servant, "Look, yonder is the Shu'nammite; 26 run at once to meet her, and say to her, Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?" And she answered, "It is well." 27 And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Geha'zi came to thrust her away. But the man of God said, "Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress; and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me." 28 Then she said, "Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, Do not deceive me?" 29 He said to Geha'zi, "Gird up your loins, and take my staff in your hand, and go. If you meet any one, do not salute him; and if any one salutes you, do not reply; and lay my staff upon the face of the child." 30 Then the mother of the child said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So he arose and followed her. 31 Geha'zi went on ahead and laid the staff upon the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him, and told him, "The child has not awaked." 32 When Eli'sha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33 So he went in and shut the door upon the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. 34 Then he went up and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35 Then he got up again, and walked once to and fro in the house, and went up, and stretched himself upon him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 Then he summoned Geha'zi and said, "Call this Shu'nammite." So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, "Take up your son." 37 She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground; then she took up her son and went out. (RSV)
This relates to the conversion of the Church from Judah and Jerusalem. The Shulemite aided the prophets. Elisha gave her a child as a gift of God through the Spirit. This child was given to represent Messiah. Proceeding from Shulem or Salem he was given to the woman but died. He died through the knowledge and power of God, occupying the bed of the prophets and for the purpose of rulership symbolised by the rod of Elisha being laid upon the face of the child. The placement of the face to face is as an image of the instrument of God. The walking once to and from represented the visitation of the Spirit to resurrect Messiah. The resurrected Messiah sneezed seven times. This sequence represents the angels of the seven Churches and the seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3. The opening of the eyes of the child and the taking up of the son is the same activity as the marriage supper of the Lamb at the return of Messiah at the end of the last phase of the seven Churches.
It is at the last days when the child is returned to the Shulemite. The child is returned to Jerusalem in order to take up his position as Messiah and restore the fortunes of Salem or Shunem and restore the fortunes of Israel. That profound miracle by Elisha was in fact a prophesy of Messiah in its relationship to the conversion of Judah and Jerusalem. It is only at the end of the sequence that Judah and Jerusalem is to be converted.
We return to the Song of Songs.
5 I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has scorched me. My mother's sons were angry with me, they made me keeper of the vineyards; but, my own vineyard I have not kept!
The Shulemite was dark due to the harsh treatment of her brothers by exposing her to the sun or the elements. The Soncino notes the Midrash makes the homiletic comment: The Jew is black with anxiety during the week, but comely on the Sabbath. The Hebrew word for black denotes a ruddy hue from sunburning. The relationship with the Sabbath rest is again seen here. The notation of the keeping of vineyards is seen in Proverbs 31 where the woman of Proverbs 31 (see the paper Proverbs 31 (No. 114)) and the Shulemite here are together with Esther (see the paper Commentary on Esther (No. 63)) interwoven in the symbolism of Messiah and the Church.
The tents of Kedar are black through exposure to the elements. Kedar is a nomadic tribe descended from Ishmael (Gen. 25:13; cf. Ps. 120:5). Thus the analogy is that they both can be laundered until they are white as the curtains of Solomon, so the Shulemite can be made fair, and hence salvation is open to the Gentiles. The Soncino says that:
Allegorically, the people of Israel are addressing the nations of the world and declaring to them, I am black because of my deeds, but white with the deeds of my ancestors. Even among my deeds many of them are comely. If I have sinned by worshipping the calf I have the merit of accepting the Torah (Rashi).
Rashi holds that the swarthiness is held to be superficial and, when it passes, the speaker will be found to be fairer than the others, i.e. the daughters of Jerusalem. We are talking about the conversion of the gentiles and the Rabbis themselves are talking about the conversion of the gentiles. This can only refer to the Church. The comments regarding the vines are taken to mean that her Father distributed the vines among His children. The woman was made to tend the vineyards alone by mistreatment. Daath Mikra holds this point and Rashi holds that it was in the tending of the vineyards that she became sunburned. Thus through mistreatment she was the only one about the work of the Father tending the vineyards and became hardened to the elements in the process. That is correct of the church as it was the only one about the work of the Father. She was thus the object of scorn of the daughters of Jerusalem. (Rabbinical authorities) Ibn Ezra renders the text mine own vineyards have I not kept as meaning that she had never had to keep even her own vineyards before. Rashi, as Ibn Ezra in his third explanation, holds she neglected her own vineyard to keep those of her brothers. This symbolised Israel forsaking her God, to worship the pagan deities of her neighbours (Soncino, The Five Megilloth, p. 54). Yet the daughters of Jerusalem are other than the women. We must look to alternatives.
7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who wanders beside the flocks of your companions? 8 If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your kids beside the shepherds' tents. 9 I compare you, my love, to a mare of Pharaoh's chariots. 10 Your cheeks are comely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels. 11 We will make you ornaments of gold, studded with silver. 12 While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. 13 My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh, that lies between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Enge'di. 15 Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves. 16 Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly lovely. Our couch is green; 17 the beams of our house are cedar, our rafters are pine. (RSV)
Spiked nard was used to anoint Messiah’s feet by the woman prior to his death.
Mordecai was the name derived from myrrh, which represented Messiah as a pure fragrance as the anointed spice of Israel. The reference to these spices has important significance both to Esther and to the gospels.
The Lord makes us to lie down. Psalm 23 is alluded to here. The reference to other flocks is one of adherence to the subordinate elohim of Israel who is Messiah rather than the fallen Host. The RSV uses wanders where the word is rendered by the Soncino as veileth herself, meaning as a harlot would veil herself. She finds her lover at noon rather than at night as a wanton woman (see Soncino). The noon rest is usual (see also 2Sam. 4:5). The reference to Myrrh is also found in Esther as the basis for the name of Mordecai and relates to Messiah.
Song of Songs 2:1-7 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. 2 As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens. 3 As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. 4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. 5 Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I am sick with love. 6 O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me! 7 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the hinds of the field, that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please. (RSV)
The Rose of Sharon is the humble meadow flower. Malbim holds this to say that my beauty is not remarkable, for I am just one of the flowers of the plain. The word chabatseleth occurs again only in Isaiah 35:1. The LXX and the Vulgate understand it as lily. The Targum and Saadia as Narcissus, Ibn Ezra and Kimchi as rose (Soncino). The narcissus is plentiful in Palestine and Sharon probably refers to the coastal district from Caesarea to Joppa. The lily of the valley is probably of the red variety as it alludes to the lips in verse 13.
R. Eliezer says that:
The righteous are to be compared to the lily of the valley which goes on blooming, not to the lily of the mountains which soon withers (Midrash)
These have a spiritual connotation. Their bloom is ongoing and permanent, as the spirit would function on a continuous basis.
This sentiment is that behind Christ’s comments in Matthew 6:28-34.
Matthew 6:28-34 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)
The lilies of the field being spoken of by Messiah are greater than Solomon and that is the context of the Song of Songs. The Rose of Sharon here, which is the Church, is greater than Solomon and the Judaic system. Messiah was alluding to that in Matthew 6:28-34 when he elevated the Rose of Sharon from the Song of Songs above that of the house of Solomon.
The symbolism is there, but it is a superficial example of the duration of the reality. The raiment is of course the marriage garments of the elect in the marriage supper of the Lamb. The reference to the lily among thorns is a reference to the elect among the daughters of Jerusalem. The Soncino notes:
Taking advantage of her modesty, her beloved pays her a delicate compliment: ‘True thou art only a lily, but a lily surrounded by thorns (i.e. the women of Jerusalem); Beware of them lest they puncture thee (i.e. lest they entice thee to Solomon’s love) (Malbim).
In other words, it means unless they bring you back into physical Judaism. These are a rabbi’s comments, not a Christian writing and not just one Jewish rabbi but also all of the great commentators on the Old Testament. You have to ask how they can write this and not understand? How can they not be converted when out of their own mouths they are convicted?
It might be remembered that Solomon’s love became in fact idolatry. Solomon fell from grace and became an idolater. That is a function also of the church in the last day. The daughters of Jerusalem were themselves destroyed because they did not heed the warning of Messiah within the Sign of Jonah (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)).
The Soncino renders 2:3 as:
As an apple-tree among the trees of the wood, So is my beloved among the sons. Under its shadow I delight to sit, And its fruit is sweet to my taste.
The beloved is Messiah among the sons of God. The Bible is quite clear that Messiah was not the only son of God. From Job 1:6 and 2:1, and Genesis 6:4, you will find multiple sons of God attributed. Also in Deuteronomy 32, Messiah (Jehovah) was allocated Israel and the nations were divided according to the number of the sons of God. Messiah alone is the firstfruit of the elect. The reference is to the first love, which must not be awakened, perhaps, until the correct time. They are saying ‘don’t stir up love’. That is why they were spoken to in parables lest they turn before they were called and brought to repentance when they could not sustain it. That is why it was given to us to understand, but Judah was not given to understand for two thousand years, because it was not their time to be called. In other words, the calling of the elect from among the daughters of Jerusalem is to be in accord with the timing and sequence of the plan of God.
The Shulemite, according to Malbim, in verse 7 is pleading that the tempters desist from trying to turn her affection towards another, after she has avowed her loyalty to her beloved. The adjuration by the gazelles of the field is a symbol of grace and beauty common in South Lebanon (Daath Mikra).
The comments about not awakening love are also held to be a caution against stirring up false love. Malbim holds this comment to be a kind of refrain marking the close of a section (cf. 3:5; 8:5).
True love, she admonishes the women of the court, needs no arousing from without. It should be as free and unfettered as the gazelles and hinds (Daath Mikra).
This first section is thus dedicated to the first love which the Shulemite has for the beloved. This is of course reflected in the sentiments expressed to the Ephesian Church in Revelation 2:4. This first love was abandoned by her and the Messiah exhorted her to restore the love that she had at first.
This section ends at verse 7. Verse 8-14 begins a new section which ends at the end of this chapter. This section relates to the Ephesian Church and the stirring up love is to restore your first love. Do not commence until you are ready and if you lose your first love, then you are to stir it up again. You must keep going in a state of continual relationship with the Messiah. That is the import of the first song of the five Song of Songs.
The Soncino produces the following commentary on the next section. The division becomes apparent that we have seen a removal of the Shulemite from her first position which was centred in her own environment and her work was transferred by force, by her own brothers. So the Church in the first phase is in Jerusalem and was surrounded by the daughters of Jerusalem and Jerusalem tried to stamp out the Church. It was because of the Jews that the Church had to be transferred. They fled to Pella for the destruction of the Temple and they then set up the Ephesian era in proper, through the apostles, centred on Ephesus.
The first scene concluded with the failure of the king and his court ladies to persuade the peasant girl to be disloyal to her lover. This section is devoted to an account of how, one spring morning, her shepherd came and invited her to join him in the field. To prevent this meeting, her brothers transferred her work to the vineyards from which she had been taken by force to the royal court. She finds consolation in the certainty that her lover would seek her. His approach is traced until he reaches the wall of the building in which she is confined. Peering through the attic window, he fails to see her and pleads for the sound of her voice. In reply she informs him that she has sent away the court ladies who guard her to hunt foxes that destroy the vineyards (Malbim).
The brothers appear to represent the nation not sympathetic to the beloved. This could only be Judah. The Church is then persecuted under the circumstances we see in the text. This would accord with what we understand of the Smyrna era. The court ladies hunt foxes that destroy the vineyards. The ruse is to hunt false shepherds. The foxes are also found in the story of Samson where there are 300 tied in pairs. These symbols are explained in the paper Samson and the Judges (No. 73). You also see what happens in the paper Gideon’s Force and the Last Days (No. 22).
Song of Songs 2:8-14 The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.
The text uses the word kol (lit. voice) in the sense of hark (cf. Gen. 4:10; Isa. 43:3). The sense hear is applied to the meaning hark, meaning listen to the voice of the shepherd. The elect hear the voice of the shepherd (Jn. 10:25-30).
John 10:25-30 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one." (RSV)
That is a powerful text and it is the thing that keeps the Church free and pure from idolatry and false doctrines. Because when you hear these false doctrines you know that they are not the voice of our master or of the shepherd, and you are simply taken away from these false teachers. The Soncino states concerning the text:
The author depicts how the Shulemite hears the footsteps of her beloved although he is still far away. She, nevertheless discerns that he is coming. He is leaping upon the mountains, from mountain to mountain, and then, upon the hills below. He is hastening over the hills with the speed of a swift footed gazelle (Malbim). [She must be alluding to her shepherd since the language would not be used of a king] (Soncino).
The language here is not that of a king. They are talking about the priest-Messiah, because when Christ came in the first instance he came as the priest-Messiah of Aaron and not the king-Messiah of Israel. That is why some of his disciples could not stand. That is why Judas fell away and many fell away when he did not take up the sword of the ruling monarch. This language is that of a shepherd. He is a shepherd of the sheep until the end of the era of the Churches. At the end, he comes again as king-Messiah in power and glory. That same symbolism is mirrored in the Day of Atonement, when the priest-Messiah is dressed in linen, makes atonement and then you have the separation of the goats and then he is re-attired in the apparel of the king-Messiah. So there are two priests involved. The high priest is in two forms of dress on the Day of Atonement, one as priest-Messiah and the other as king-Messiah as high priest - ruling high priest and the atoning priest. They are two different forms of dress. One is in clear white linen with no royal apparel and the other is in the total royal apparel of the ruling high priest. That is the division of the first and second instances or advents of Christ. The language is used of the shepherd for the period in the interim.
This text refers also to Psalm 114:4-6.
Psalm 114:4-6 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? (RSV)
This is of Messiah and the Messianic advent. The hills are literally being shaken at the coming of the Messiah. So this beloved who is skipping over the hills is the one true shepherd - the Messiah.
The reversal is used in this text. Messiah makes the hills themselves skip.
Psalm 29:6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Si'rion like a young wild ox. (RSV)
Thus we deal with the period up to his return whilst he is yet distant. He is not yet returned as King Messiah. He came first as priest Messiah or the Messiah of Aaron and became High Priest of the order of Melchisedek (Ps. 110:4).
At the time of Christ, the Dead Sea Scrolls were quite clear. All of Judah expected a Messiah of two advents. They expected a Messiah of Aaron and a Messiah of Israel. Damascus Rule VII of the DSS and the unpublished fragment in cave four are quite clear that the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah of Israel are the one Messiah. So you have one Messiah of two advents. The Jews understood that at the time of Christ. The Pharisees still killed Christ even though they knew that there had to be one Messiah of two advents. Some of them knew that they had to kill him in order to fulfil prophecy.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle, or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.
The Soncino notes of this text:
He has already come so close that he ‘standeth behind our wall.’ Now he has come still closer, for he ‘peereth through the lattice.’ He actually thrusts his head through the lattice. The word ‘metsits’ means ‘blossoms,’ denoting something protruding (Malbim). It is likewise possible that the word for peereth signifies ‘to sparkle’ and perhaps suggests that she thinks of her rescuer as so close that she can see the ardent gleam in his eyes (see Rashi, Psalms 132:18). (Soncino).
The beloved places his head, as head of the elect, so that it protrudes through the barriers of the earthly system. He sparkles as the new Morning Star designate.
10 My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
This text is understood that her lover raised his voice and called her to join him (Malbim, Metsudath David).
11 for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The word sethav occurs only here - the only place in the Bible it is used. The word sethav is used to translate winter but it does not mean that. Based on Targum Genesis 8:22, it is synonymous with choref meaning winter. According to many commentators this is the second half of Kislev, Tebeth, and the first half of Shebat, ending usually in February. SHD 5638 shows this word to stem from an unused root meaning to hide and hence it means the season of hiding hence this is synonymous with winter. This is the hiding attendant upon the persecution of the Smyrna era during the persecution referred to at Revelation 2:10.
Revelation 2:9-10 "`I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. (RSV)
These people were persecuted ten days, but not in the west. They were persecuted ten days in the east. Diocletian’s persecution was ten years long in the eastern Churches but it was only three years long in the western Churches. That is why there is some confusion about this prophesy not being kept because a lot were looking at the persecution in west Europe and saying it was only three years, but it was ten years in the east. When the Church was based in Smyrna they were persecuted more and they took the brunt of the persecution. The persecution in the Empire was not all that long or great, in fact Gibbons says that in the entire period of the Roman Empire there were only fifteen hundred people put to death. Most of those were put to death for striking magistrates. They struck the magistrates so they could be put to death and so be in the first resurrection. That is not the way to get into the first resurrection! It wasn’t the Roman Empire that persecuted the Church overly much; it was ten years under Diocletian.
The persecution of the Church came under the successor of the Roman Empire, which was the Holy Roman Empire. They killed hundreds of thousands. It was actually the mainstream Christian church that persecuted the true Church of God.
The persecution under Diocletian in the east endured for ten years, whereas in the west it was only three years. The persecution did not cease with the Empire but occurred over many years under its successor, the Holy Roman Empire.
12 The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
This verse is misunderstood. The flowers appearing are taken to be the spring flowers in Palestine (Akedath Yitzchak). The time of singing is however rendered in the LXX and also by Rashbam as the time for pruning the vines; cf. Leviticus 25:3. This is the time of pruning the vines. We are then going into the tribulation and the pruning of the vines and tearing out the weakness in the Church. This marked the councils of Nicea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon. The vines were pruned.
Others maintain the zamir is the name of a migratory bird that utters song on its return to spring (Daath Mikra). The Midrash refers the verse to Moses and Aaron (the flowers) whose coming to Pharaoh resulted in Israel’s singing Az Yashir [Exod. 15] at the Red Sea after the winter of oppression in Egypt (Soncino).
The voice of the turtle [dove] is not a singing bird but a bird of passage (cf. Jer. 8:7). Its voice announces the coming of spring (Malbim).
The pruning of the vines is the understanding of the persecution and the trial of the elect. The analogy to Moses and Aaron and to Israel in Egypt and at the Red Sea is exactly that of the Church in the wilderness of the forty Jubilees on a year for a Jubilee basis. Israel was forty years in the wilderness and the Church was forty Jubilees in the wilderness. Israel was judged forty years after three year’s mission of Messiah. The gentile nations were given forty Jubilees and then the world’s systems are torn down.
13 The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
The fig tree putteth forth has as the literal sense of the verb sweetens with spice which is also used for the act of embalming with spices (Soncino).
This may also refer to the pollen, which resembles the spices sprinkled on the dead in the process of embalming (Ibn Ezra).
The meaning has thus a connection with the spices of affliction. This symbolism was used of Messiah at and before his burial. Myrrh is also a basis for the name of Mordecai, which has also Messianic symbolism in the story of Esther (see the paper Commentary on Esther (No. 63)). The text relating to green figs is important.
green figs. [Hebrew paggeha; ripe figs are called te’enim, and those that ripen early bikkurah. Figs ripen at various times, usually from August onwards. Some remain unripe on the tree until the following Spring. The green figs are slightly darker in colour; and the verb chanat which is related to the reddish brown wheat (chittah), suggests the translation, ‘The fig tree maketh red-ripe her winter figs’.] (Soncino).
Thus the meaning is that those ripened under the season of hiding are red ripe or likened also to the wheat harvest which is that of the elect. The vines in blossom is also significant.
the vines in blossom. Noted for their sweet fragrance. Semadar, a word of unknown origin and occurring only here, is interpreted by the Rabbis as ‘tender grapes when they first appear.’ A few weeks later they become boserim, and when fully ripe are called anabim. ‘When the blossom falls away and the grapes are visible, that is the stage of semadar’ (Rashi).
We are thus dealing with the firstfruit stage of the vine. This is the early stage of the calling of the elect.
14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely. (RSV)
Kimchi renders the text on top of the rocks. The dove in the cleft of the rocks represents a dove remaining in its nesting place when hiding. The shepherd lover, impatient at her delay to join him, urges her to leave her hiding place (Malbim).
The Church went into hiding during the persecution and could not accomplish its task. The Shepherd calls it to action.
Song of Songs 2:15-17 Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom." 16 My beloved is mine and I am his, he pastures his flock among the lilies. 17 Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle, or a young stag upon rugged mountains. (RSV)
The text is: take us the foxes or catch us the foxes.
With this she explains to her lover how she rid herself of the daughters of Jerusalem, who kept a close watch over her. She urged them to hunt the foxes who were destroying the vineyards, ‘for our vineyards are in blossom’ (Malbim).
The daughters of Jerusalem inhibited the actions of the Church. The actions of Judah even though it was hardened and thus denied conversion was able to withstand the effects of the attacks on the faith made by Gnostic elements and thus preserved intact the physical understanding of the Scriptures ready for the Restoration. In this manner the Church was able to free itself from the daughters of Jerusalem also. But the little foxes that destroyed the vineyard ultimately ended up in the councils of Nicea, Constantinople and Chalcedon. These foxes, these false priests and prophets destroyed the faith and created what is now called the mainstream Christian church and those people do not enter the first resurrection. They destroyed the vineyards of God.
The Soncino comments on the term: the little foxes is telling.
the little foxes. Perhaps she is referring to her danger at court. Comparing herself to a vineyard, she calls upon him to save her from the foxes who seek to destroy her true happiness. This may be an allusion to the story of Samson, who released foxes in the vineyards to avenge himself against those who had destroyed his marriage (Malbim).
If we look back to when we dealt with Samson and the Judges, this whole structure is of Christ’s operation in the Holy Spirit with Samson to establish the forward prophesies on the bringing down of the gentile nations. These three hundred foxes were sent forward two by two, into the nations of the Gentiles, by Jesus Christ. These are the three hundred lights under bushels that got smashed at the same time so that the gospel of the Kingdom of God is brought to the Gentiles and the nations are given the understanding.
Samson used the 300 foxes to set the fields of the Philistines alight (see the paper Samson and the Judges (No. 73)). This story is a physical representation of the spiritual intervention of Messiah. It refers to the development of the Holy Spirit in the individual as it occurs with Samson. Messiah as the Angel of Yahovah (Jehovah) uses Samson to deal with the gentile system. The foxes also have application to the story of Gideon (see the paper Gideon’s Force and the Last Days (No. 22)). The foxes that destroy the vineyards are the shepherds who are to be removed from the flock. The passages in Ezekiel 34, Malachi and others show this to be the power of the rabbinical teachers. This structure had to be removed from its influence on the elect. The term in blossom means that it is easily destroyed (Metsudath David). Therefore the protection had to be extended to ensure the elect were not destroyed before they could develop.
The comment my beloved is mine in verse 16 is held to mean that the woman turns to the women (the daughters of Jerusalem) and
she makes this passionate confession as though to imply, ‘My brothers succeeded in separating us, but we are for ever united in our love.’ (Metsudath David).
So the Jews separated us from Messiah and put us in the wilderness but we are still united to Messiah as the Church.
Of course the brothers of Judah did indeed succeed in separating Messiah from the Church but they are forever united in love and will be joined at the marriage supper. Judah will at last be converted and take its place when it realises the full significance of the Messianic Scriptures to which it has been blinded. A hardness of heart has come over Judah but that hardness is going to be taken away. In the last days Judah is going to be converted and Judah will be restored first.
The term in verse 17 until the day breathe is literally until the day blow’ i.e. the evening breeze rises. Metsudath David explains, ‘until the sun blow away’ from the earth (Soncino). This is held by the rabbis to be the end of the day. However, the meaning can also be that the day dawns as mentioned by Peter in 2Peter 1:19.
2Peter 1:19 And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (RSV)
Messiah is the new Morning Star. The reference to the shadows fleeing can also be to the light removing all darkness and all shadow. The meaning is taken to extend until sunset as being when the shadows flee away. The separation is to be only until sunset when she will expect him (Metsudath David). Thus the rabbis did understand that the process was as a separation which entailed a reconciliation at the end. This is the reconciliation of Christ and the Church at the marriage supper.
The term: upon rugged mountains, is rendered by the Soncino as upon the mountains of spices.
This translation follows Gratz.
The final word bather means ‘division, separation,’ and may refer to the intervening mountains which the shepherd had to cross in order to reach her. The word ‘division’ is aptly used of mountains that appear to be cleft. Other explanations proposed are that it is a proper noun, ‘the mountains of Bether’ (Metsudath David).
The mountains of division or separation are referred to in the various texts describing Messiah returning to the Church and to Israel. The mountains in the end prove to be the refuge of the survivors of the wrath of God. Division is also evident in the Church through error. The broken staff of union is the division that resulted in the separation of Israel and Judah.
Each text in the Song of Songs has a major meaning or implication for the establishment of the Church and its relationship to Judah. It also has a meaning in relation to the conversion of Judah. Once Judah understands and can place all of these in context, Judah can be converted. It will not be done by fables and will not occur out of faulty theology. We have to know what we are talking about and we have to be able to get to each of these texts in the OT and explain them so that the Jews can see by the Holy Spirit what Christ and the Church was doing for two thousand years. Once we can do that we will convert Judah.
Song of Songs 3:1-3 Upon my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.
The Soncino notes of the text:
Many days later, the maiden, imprisoned in Solomon’s chambers, remembers her lover and his love while lying in bed at night. She rises from her bed and goes out to seek him in the city. She does not find him until she leaves the city and goes out into the wilderness. She joins her beloved until she is pursued by the daughters of Jerusalem. Nevertheless she continues her union with him and he speaks to her affectionately. This episode relates how she left Solomon’s bed, and how the daughters of Jerusalem did not separate them afterwards. This goes on until v. 2 (Malbim).
I sought him. Repeated to connote that she sought him repeatedly (Malbim).
The elect among Israel are constantly being called and are in battle with the reactionary elements of Judaism. This will only cease on the conversion of Judah as a whole. This will occur in the last days because of this constant love affair of the nation with Messiah in spite of the rabbinical resistance to the Messianic restructuring of the priesthood and the elect.
Zechariah 9:9 shows how Messiah came to the daughters of Jerusalem and they did not receive him.
2 "I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves." I sought him, but found him not.
The Messiah was not to be found within the structure of Jerusalem and the Temple or in the later rabbinical system. Only in the wilderness could this union occur.
3 The watchmen found me, as they went about in the city. "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?" (RSV)
The watchmen are the watchmen of Ezekiel and the scribes and executioners of Ezekiel 8:1 to 9:11.
The text then goes on to the finding of the loved one. The rabbinical authorities hold that the watchmen did not answer her (Metsudath David).
Song of Songs 3:4-5 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. 5 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. (KJV)
The immediate follow on from the watchmen to the beloved shows a nexus of one aspect to the other. If they answered her, she neglects to state the answer. There is an abruptness in the style here.
The bringing of the beloved into the mother’s house is as a permanent place and not skipping over the mountains that separate them (Malbim). The permanent place is a reference to the house of the Mother, which is Jerusalem and Zion as the capital of Israel and the centre of the millennial system.
The chamber of her that conceived me is an example of the parallelism that characterises Hebrew poetry. However, the chamber of her that conceived the Church is the Temple so that the mother’s house for the nation is the same as the chambers of the Church.
The text in verse 5 is held, by Malbim, to relate to the fact that the daughters of Jerusalem pursue her, and she adjures them not to alienate the love that the beloved has for her (as above v. 2). This relates to the aspects of conversion. The adjuration is that the conversion of the daughters of Jerusalem does not take place before they are ready to be called by God. In other words, until it pleases God. Judah was not to be called and converted until the time of the Gentiles were completed. This period lasted seven time frames from the period of 605-525 BCE and ended in 1914-1994/95. They could not understand and it was given to them in parables so that they would not turn and be saved before they were ready to come into judgment.
The text then goes on to the next phase of the story, which relates to the power of Israel.
Song of Songs 3:6-11 Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
The Soncino makes this telling comment.
When the maiden returns from the wilderness, everyone wonders how she fled from Solomon’s bed at night. How did it happen that the mighty men surrounding it did not detain her? This is the question, ‘Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness etc.? Behold it is the litter of Solomon, Threescore mighty men are about it etc.’ The answer is, ‘Every man hath his sword upon his thigh Because of dread in the night.’ The dread of the night fell upon them until they were unable to draw their swords (Malbim).
This comment shows the condition of Judah and the mighty men of Israel at this period. The question on Judah’s lips here is ‘How did the Church escape from the environs of Judah and Jerusalem?’ Firstly, Judah tried to detain the Church and destroy it. In the latter days Judah comes to this realisation and is converted from that realisation and from the adversity in which it finds itself. We see this developing from this period in history.
7 Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel. 8 They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night. 9 King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. 10 He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem. 11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart. (KJV)
The fear in the night is because of the destruction surrounding the nation. The swords are on their thighs as were the bows in the hands of the men who built the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Neh. 4:10-20). The text here also says behold his bed, which is Solomon’s. The term does not say it is Solomon but rather the litter is that which is Solomon’s. This litter was the litter of the heritage of Solomon. We are thus speaking also of the descendants of Solomon over the history of the Church. The story might also be extended to embrace the power and right of Messiah who deals with the unified nation of Israel on his return. However, the time sequence indicates we are dealing with Judah in the sequence of the Church. The time sequence here would have to be during Pergamos following on from Smyrna (Rev. 2:9-17).
Revelation 2:9-17 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (KJV)
The persecution of the Smyrna era had been brought about by Roman authority but it had been assisted by the divisions and animosity caused by Judah. The Trinitarian systems in the west saw a reaction to their power in the east. The foundation of the Catholic system from the support of Theodosius as emperor in 381 CE saw the Church persecuted. The Judaic kingdoms in Arabia and North Africa saw Islam arise as a reaction to both systems based on some, but not all, Christian doctrines. The Church was forced into an alliance with Islam because of the Roman Empire in Constantinople. The Jewish hegemony over Arabia was destroyed at the same time. Thus Judah was set in fear and dispersed. The sixty mighty men show that we are dealing with a reduced force. It has neither the spiritual power nor the authority of the seventy of the Sanhedrin, as that was removed to the Church from Luke 10:1. The mighty men are afraid because the system, being reliant on physical force, has no power to deal with either Western Trinitarianism or of the Church and Islamite Unitarianism. The Paulicians during the Pergamos era put Constantinople’s forces to flight and pillaged Asia Minor up to the Taurus Mountains and to the sea. They gained the protection of Islam throughout the empire. The Church in Islamite Spain also enjoyed protection at this time (see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)). Christ said he would proceed against Pergamos with the sword of his mouth, because they were tainted by the thinking that goes with military force, and Christ deals with them accordingly.
The Church, and also Judah, was, from this time, supported in the wilderness symbolised by hidden manna. The hidden manna relates to the power of the Spirit, which was the prerogative of the Church only. However, Judah was still protected by God.
The white stones are they that formed the foundation of the Temple under Solomon. The stones also formed the system of voting in the Hellenised world. Thus the white stone with a new name is evidence of the power to contribute by voice to the government of God as part of the administration which forms the foundation of the City of God.
The crown referred to in Chapter 3:11 is not held to be a symbol of royalty but of happiness. This equated with the garlands worn on festive occasions (see Soncino). The espousals referred to here concern Solomon and the crown given him by his mother who was in fact not of Judah as she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and hence we are speaking of a different system. The espousal may have been his wedding or refer to the union with foreign gods with which he became enmeshed.
Some refer to this text as commencing a discourse of Solomon pressing his suit with the woman and extolling her beauty; others hold that it is the Shepherd who is addressing his beloved after the arrival of his retinue. This is considered more probable (Ibn Ezra, Isaiah da Trani, Malbim).
Song of Songs 4:1-16 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. 2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. 3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks. 4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. 5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. 6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. 7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
The text here deals with the attributes of the beloved. The eyes as doves refer back to 1:15. Rashi says the comparison is suggested by the innocence of the dove. Malbim says that it is an old custom to sing praises of the bride at her wedding. Verse 1 is translated as thy eyes are as doves behind thy veil by the Soncino. The veil conceals the entire face save the eyes. This follows Ibn Ganach and Kimchi. Rashi explains that the Hebrew denotes “a hair net to keep her locks tidy; the root meaning is to ‘confine’” (Soncino). The sense is one of constraint. The beloved is beautiful and sees in beauty regardless of the constraints upon her and the limitations of the disclosure of the mysteries of God.
The comments regarding “the hair being as a flock of goats” refer to the natural glossy black colour of the goat of each braid. When the sun shone upon it, its hair glistened with a beautiful sheen (Daath Mikra). The text: that trail down from mount Gilead is regarded as presenting difficulties. It occurs only here and in 6:5. Both ancient and modern commentators vary widely in the interpretation. The Soncino considers that the best interpretation is that proposed by Professor Yahuda who connected it with an Arabic root, ‘to do a thing before dawn’. The picture here is a flock of goats coming down from the mountainside in rows just before the daybreak, forming white lines against the dark background in the dim light. It holds that this interpretation seems to be alluded to in the Midrashic comment on the phrase, viz. ‘When a woman has a luxuriant growth of hair she arranges it in white lines,’ i.e. in plaits which show white partings in between. Thus they render it as: ‘thy hair is like a flock of goats that trail down in the morning twilight’.
The difficulty might be better understood or removed, if the Church was referred to and the entire arrangement of the white rows was as the elect in white garments, being arrayed in the dawn of the Messianic system, when the day dawns in the hearts of the elect (2Pet. 1:19) who partake of the divine nature (2Pet. 1:4) and are called out of the darkness into his marvellous light (1Pet. 2:9).
The area of Gilead is that area east of the Jordan. The Soncino says that it is A chain of mountains, beyond the Jordan, intersected by numerous valleys. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh found a home there [Josh. 17:1 ff.]. Gilead was renowned for its rich pasture and countless flocks [Num. 23:1; Mic. 7:14]. It lies within view of Jerusalem. The fact that it lies within view of Jerusalem is also significant. We are relating the text to the anticipation of the Messianic advent and the end of the current age. Gilead was held in nexus to the kings of Judah (Jer. 22:6). The kingship was removed because of their idolatry and given to those who became both kings and priests unto God (Rev. 5:10). Thus Gilead symbolised the place of peace for the elect. There was a balm in Gilead, yet the health of the people was not restored (Jer. 8:22) due to their idolatry (Jer. 8:19). The nations were also told to go up to Gilead to take balm (Jer. 46:11). Thus salvation was, from this prophecy over the extent of the entire book of Jeremiah, removed from Judah and extended to the Gentiles. There must be no iniquity in Gilead (Hos. 12:11). The destruction of the women of Gilead will be punished (Amos 1:13). This is the basis of the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31 ff. The Messianic restoration will involve Benjamin taking Gilead (Obad. 19) thus the inheritance of Reuben and Gad with half of Manasseh is elsewhere beyond the Jordan to the east.
Micah 7:14 shows that the people who are the flock of the inheritance of Messiah will dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land. They will feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old (Mic. 7:14). This period refers to the period after the destruction of the planet by the nations (Mic. 7:8-17). Then the restoration of the last days shall be as the exodus and it will be to Gilead and the Lebanon also (Zech. 10:10). Thus the elect shall also come from Lebanon as we see from verse 8.
The teeth are compared here to the whiteness of newly washed wool, the colour of snow (Isa. 1:18) (see Soncino). The student of the NT here will immediately recognise the symbolism of spiritual cleanness (Rev. 15:6; 19:8,14) and the washing of the robes of the elect in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 3:5,18; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9,13,14). The fact that they are all shaped alike (Soncino), Rashi explains as ‘well numbered’, and Kimchi and Ibn Ezra explain as ‘all of the same size’. The significance is to the fact of the enumeration in the book of life of the Lamb and they are all spiritually prepared alike.
The text whereof all are paired, Daath Mikra explains that they are like sheep, each of which keeps to its mate i.e. here symbolised by the upper and lower teeth. Rashi connects a word for paired with methomm or ‘perfection’ i.e. none were decayed. This is considered to be the correct interpretation. Only by Rashi’s identification of the Hebrew can we see that the state of spiritual perfection among the elect is the subject. The Soncino renders the text: Whereof all are paired and none faileth among them. The text is interpreted as being “a play on words”. ‘All of them (shekullam) are paired and none is missing (shakkulah) among them’.
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet refers to the salvation of the Gentiles through the Passover sacrifices prefigured by the salvation of Rahab at the wall of Jericho (see the paper The Fall of Jericho (No. 142) for explanation).
The Hebrew word for mouth here is midbarech or thy speech or the instruments of thy speech, namely, the mouth. Metsudath David says that her lips being red and thin are comparable to a thread of red scarlet. Thin red lips are hardly sensual, so the sense must be concerned with text elsewhere in the Bible. The sense of the speech being perfect is also correct, when we see that that condition is the one of the creation and extended to Satan before the fall, where his instruments were perfect before iniquity was found in him (Ezek. 28:13-15) as we are expected to be perfect.
The temples being like a pomegranate split open behind the veil refers to the complexion being ruddy. The word for temple refers to the thin part of the skull and Ibn Ezra translates pelach as ‘the red flower of the pomegranate’. Accordingly, he praises her ruddy complexion. Those who translate the text as a pomegranate split open explain that the temples gleam though the veil as the mingled white and red of the pomegranate gleam through the cracks in the rind (Metsudath David). Rashi renders the text ‘like half a pomegranate’. He is praising her for the roundness of her cheeks and their ruddy colour. The reference is to the elect. The splitting open perhaps refers to the curtain. The elect went behind the veil when it was torn in two by the sacrifice of Messiah symbolised by the ruddy colour. The play on words, places the elect as the inner sanctuary.
The reference to the neck and the tower of David built with turrets whereupon hang a thousand shields, is a reference to the numbers of the inner administration of the celestial government. The sacrifice of Messiah was determined from among the thousand of the angelic Host. This inner number of the Host appears to relate to the elohim central structure and the sacrifice of one of them was determined from the beginning. This was also understood from Job 33:19-24. Metsudath David merely says that a thousand represents a large number. The shields were used as ornaments according to the Soncino (cf. Ezek. 27:11). The fact of the matter is that anciently the fortified structure was as strong as its defenders. The practice of displaying shields during heraldic times was as signs to those without of who the defenders were and they signified the composition, derivation and loyalties of the defenders.
Job 33:23-24 If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him; 24 and he is gracious to him, and says, `Deliver him from going down into the Pit, I have found a ransom; (RSV)
Ibn Ezra renders the text builded with turrets as meaning for the suspension of arms. A mound or tel in which arms are stored, i.e. the neck is compared to the mound not to the swords. Rashi and Rashbam translate talpioth as if delivered from the root ‘to teach’ (aleph), the first letter being elided. The rendering of the Targum, ‘the instruction of the law,’ may have suggested this explanation (Soncino). The neck of the Shulemite is like a splendid tower built as a model for others to follow. The word is understood by the LXX as a proper noun, ‘The tower of David built towards Talpioth’. This context seems to evade the issue or complex problem presented by the text. The fact of the elect being those beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and those who would not worship the beast or take its number from the NT (Rev. 20:4) could not of course be addressed here by the Soncino.
The reference to the breasts being two fawns that feeds among the lilies has stumped the Hebrew commentators. Metsudath David holds that fawns appear more beautiful when they feed among lilies. The reference is to the feeding of the flock and the clothing of the lilies of the field as greater than Solomon in all his glory. Messiah directly refers to this concept at Matthew 6:24-34.
The concept here of the day breathing is the same as at 2:17. The cooling or breathing of the day symbolises the joy of the beloved at meeting the shepherd at the end of the day. This refers to the Messianic advent. The start of the day for the elect is also the first love when the day dawns in the heart of the elect as we see above. Metsudath David renders the text: When evening comes I shall repair to the open country, where everything is sweet and fragrant like myrrh and frankincense. The symbolism of myrrh and frankincense and especially myrrh has been dealt with in the paper Commentary on Esther (No. 63) and also above. The nexus with Messiah is unmistakable. Indeed those were the specific offerings by the Magi at his birth (Mat. 2:11).
Thou art fair my love and there is no spot in thee is a direct reference to the elect being without spot or blemish as we see from the primary concept of the lamb that was Messiah from 1Peter 1:19 and also of the elect at 2Peter 3:14.
This is the salutation of Messiah to the bride who is the elect. The next phase is his call to the Church.
8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
Metsudath David concludes that “Delighted with her promise, he continues, ‘Thy beauty is indeed ravishing; I will help thee to escape from this lair of lions and leopards’” (Soncino).
The Soncino notes that the rest of the chapter describes the lover pleading with her to flee from the royal palace. Note the fervour of his pleading: Come with me do not remain with him (Solomon). The plea is the same as that made to the Church to come out of the kingdom of this world and particularly its false religious structure of which Solomon himself fell foul (Rev. 18:4). The text rendered look from the top of Amana follows Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Kimchi and others. Metsudath David renders the text: depart from the top of Amana (cf. Isa. 57:9 for the meaning of the verb). Thus he urges her to leave the royal residence in Lebanon. Amana is the name of the south of the Anti-Libanus, the eastern chain of hills facing the plain of Damascus (cf. 2Kgs. 5:12) (Soncino). The Lebanon range in the extreme north of Palestine consists of several summits, the highest of which are Hermon and Senir. The Soncino holds that Solomon had probably built royal residences there. In Deuteronomy 4:48 Senir is called Sion and Deuteronomy 3:9 tells us that the Sidonians called it Sirion (see also Soncino). Lebanon and Senir were also the source for the construction of the satanic system portrayed as Tyre in Ezekiel 27:5. This was part of the lead in to the condemnation of Satan, the anointed covering cherub in Ezekiel 28, who sat on the mountains of God. The association with Eden is also not developed here when perhaps it might be appropriate.
9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! 11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
According to Akedath Yitschak the reunion has endowed him with courage to carry her away from enforced confinement. It has put new heart (lebab) into him. Thus here Messiah is to take captivity captive (Eph. 4:8). The process is commenced with the Church.
The next text refers to my sister, my bride. This process was first embodied in the relationship between Abraham and Sarah as explained in Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18. Whoever interfered between Abraham and his wife was cursed and punished. The penalty paid by Abimelech was a thousand pieces of silver. In other words, the entire thousand of God had to be appeased. This process is understood where Messiah is both the husband of the elect and their brother where all are sons of God. He is the firstborn among many brethren and the Host regard the elect as their brethren (Rom. 8:29; Rev. 6:11; 12:10).
The glance of one eye is held to be seductive by Metsudath David. The kere has the feminine for the word one to agree with the word for eye, which in Hebrew is feminine. The meaning of the kethib is held by Daath Mikra to perhaps mean with one (glance) of thine eyes. The text goes on to read with one bead of thy necklace (cf. Prov. 1:9). Ibn Ezra explains this as a kind of ornamental band tied around the neck. The meaning is that one bead of the necklace, one eye of the body, is betrothed to the shepherd as a bride in their own right. This equates to the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Mat. 25:1-12).
The text thy lips... drop honey is continued on to the text honey and milk are under thy tongue. The praise of God delivers the response from God so that honey and milk are the reward of the prayers of the saints. The Council of the Elders are charged with monitoring those prayers (Rev. 5:8).
And the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon is held by the Soncino to be an allusion to the oriental custom of perfuming clothes. Lebanon was renowned for its fragrance (cf. Hos. 14:7) (Metsudath David). The Soncino adds: The girl must have exchanged her humble dress for some splendid raiment worn by the ladies of the court.
The real answer was that the Shulemite did indeed obtain an new garment. This wedding garment was that obtained through baptism and the process of purification in the blood of the Lamb and through the Holy Spirit. It is fascinating that the symbolism of the elect after baptism is not taken up by the rabbinical authorities even though it is so consistent.
A garden shut up refers to the fact that the elect are a garden secluded unto all but its lawful possessor (as Metsudath David says). The Church is chaste and modest as gardens are walled to prevent the intrusion of strangers (cf. Isa. 5:5) (Ibn Ezra, Metsudath David).
Springs were sealed in the Middle East by clay which dried and had the effect of a seal thus making them private property. The capacity to drink from the waters of the elect was likewise sealed. The Holy Spirit was only advanced on a permanent basis to the elect being foreordained or predestined, chosen, called, justified and glorified (Rom. 8:29-30).
13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, 14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
The text here translated as thy plants is literally thy sendings forth are etc (Isaiah da Trani). The meaning is that the elect send forth fruit of the Holy Spirit which both develop the mysteries of the Kingdom of God (see the paper The Mysteries of God (No. 131)) and also demonstrate and support the elect or Church as the residence of God through the Holy Spirit. Malbim holds that she is not like an ordinary garden but is full of the most delicious fruit. Pardes or park is held to be of Persian origin (cf. Eccles. 2:5) (Kohut). Marcus claims it is of Phoenician origin (Soncino). For spikenard the Hebrew nerd is nard-oil (Midrash).
Saffron is obtained from the crocus in Palestine and is used as a condiment. In Mishnaic Hebrew, it is used in a verb form, meaning to become pale (see Kohut, Jastrow; Soncino). Calamus (Heb. kaneh) is a plant of reed like stem and tawny colour, well known to the ancients and imported into Palestine from India (Daath Mikra). Cinnamon is grown in the East Indies and reaches thirty feet in height. The Soncino notes, from the Midrash, Rabbi Huna as saying: “Cinnamon used to grow in the Land of Israel, and goats and sheep fed on it”. The Midrash according to Aruch holds myrrh to be the oil obtained from the plant, mingled with wine.
Aloes grow in India. Its wood is very aromatic and venerated by the natives. R. Joshua says this is foliation - an ointment or oil prepared from the leaves of the spikenard. The use of the term ohel or tent was held to mean that the substance was obtained by importation by tent-dwellers i.e. Bedouin. Others held that it is referred to as tent because it is fragrant and spreads and fills the Tent of Meeting (Midrash).
All of these comparisons are seen to have relevance to the aspects of the elect in their relationship to the Holy Spirit and their tasks in the Kingdom of God. The addition with all the chief spices means that the report of the charms of the Shulemite spread as the scent of the most precious of aromatic herbs (Metsudath David).
15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. 16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. (KJV)
This fountain of gardens and well of living waters displays the Church as it is under Messiah where from him living waters flow (Jn. 4:10,11; 7:38; Rev. 7:17) and the living bread (Jn. 6:51).
Song of Songs 5:1-16 I come to my garden, my sister, my bride, I gather my myrrh with my spice, I eat my honeycomb with my honey, I drink my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends, and drink: drink deeply, O lovers!
The context of Chapter 5 relates to the sacrifice of Messiah and the ongoing search for the Church. The first three verses refer back to the crucifixion and the resurrection. The later verses recapitulate the ascension and the subsequent persecution of the Church.
Verse 1: I am come into my garden. According to the Soncino, in Hebrew the perfect of the verb also expresses a definite future act (Metsudath David). Her lover already imagines himself there. Sforno, homilising the whole of the chapter, applies this verse to the religious education of children. The perfect of the verb might also indicate a definite completed act. The advent of Messiah was in two forms. The Messianic intent of this text has to be denied as a past- completed action as that implies two advents and in this case a completed action. We will see that this is in fact the meaning from a comparison with the Gospels.
The sister/bride symbolism is examined above. The brother/bride of the Church example of the parables includes the wise and foolish virgins of Matthew 25:1-13.
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. The root arah means ‘to gather fruit’ (cf. Psalm 80:13). The literal translation is ‘I have plucked my myrrh with my balsam’ (Daath Mikra).
The reference to Psalm 80:13 is relevant also because 80:8-13 refers to Israel as a vine once carefully tended but now forsaken and food for the wild beasts. The myrrh and spices are examined above and relate to the firstfruits.
The reference to honeycomb and honey is a play on the reference at 1Samuel 14:27. The brightness of Jonathan eyes was akin to the enlightenment of the Spirit. The text I have drunk my wine with my milk is avoided by the commentaries. The New Testament writers apply the concepts to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
The text, Eat O friend, is attributed by Rashbam as an invitation to the friends of the lovers to participate in the marriage feast. Most commentators make friends agree with beloved (which is plural) in accordance with the context and poetic parallelism (Soncino). The meaning of the friends participating in the marriage feast is explained by Christ at the parables of the wedding and again in the texts of Revelation. Those that were originally bidden to eat at the wedding did not in fact come, so those who would have been considered less worthy were invited in their place (Mat. 22:1-14). These are the friends invited to eat. However, each must have a garment. These are they who are part of the general multitude who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; and 22:14 see KJV for intent). Thus the marriage supper is comprised of two groups, the brides and the friends. Both are in the Kingdom of God as we see from the distinction in Revelation between the 144,000 (Rev. 7:1-8) and the great multitude (Rev. 7:9-17). The great multitude also serve God before His throne, immediately following their redemption from the great tribulation. Thus this distinction was known from the OT in the Song.
Drink, yea, drink abundantly O beloved refers to the abundance of the feeding of the elect by the Lamb. The 144,000 are fed by the Lamb as firstfruits. They alone sing the Song of the Lamb before the throne of God and the four living creatures and the elders which comprise the inner council of the elohim (see Rev. 14:1-5). There is thus a distinction between the 144,000 and the great multitude that also serve before the throne.
The text then goes on to the complex issues involved in the crucifixion and the resurrection.
2 I slept, but my heart was awake. Hark! my beloved is knocking. "Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night."
Here the Messiah slept but he qualifies the text. The rabbinical commentaries show the complex difficulties they face in applying the text while avoiding the Messianic concepts.
The Soncino (referring to Daath Mikra) says:
A day of excitement is followed by troubled dreams. In verses 2-7 she relates her dream (Daath Mikra). Earlier exegetes, however, interpret it as an actual happening: in verse 8 she asks the ladies of the court, who have offered to assist her in the search, to tell her lover, on finding him, that she is sick with love for him. They ask (verse 9) what she can see so extraordinary in him to warrant all her excitement, which provides her with the opportunity of painting a glorious picture of his graces (Soncino).
The understanding here is obvious. The daughters of Jerusalem and the beloved both seek Messiah. The beloved that did come was rejected of Judah because he was not extraordinary. They expected the king Messiah, not the priest Messiah. The Church then extolled the gospel of grace to Judah, which was not converted save for individuals.
The comment regarding My heart waketh deals with the resurrection through the grace of God holding the core of the Spirit. Daath Mikra explains that the heart was the seat of the passions, but also the seat of intelligence. On death, the Spirit of man goes back to God who gives it. Messiah had a command from God to be resurrected as Spirit. This is the meaning of the term my heart waketh. His Spirit was restored to life by command of God. The text then, from verse 3, proclaims the miracle of the resurrection and the subsequent baptism and salvation of the elect.
The text then goes on in verse 2 to say hark my beloved knocketh. The Soncino notes that: Seeing that the ladies are sympathetic she tells them her dream. This translation follows the LXX which takes dophek as a separate clause agreeing with dodi, ‘my beloved is knocking’.
For kol, with the meaning hark, see 2:8. This may also be rendered ‘my beloved is knocking aloud’ (see Heidenheim, Mecklenburg, [Gen. 4:10] (Soncino).
The call is to the elect to open to the Messiah. The term for he who knocks at the door is rendered in the Arabic form as Al Tarikh which is the name for the Morning Star. The Surah Al Tarikh is thus rendered in different forms. It is rendered as the Morning Star in Pickthall’s translation while it is rendered the Nightly Visitant by Darwood. It also means He who knocks at the door. The sense of the text is thus identified with Messiah from here and also from Revelation 3:20. Here the Messiah comes in and eats with those who open to him.
The comment that his head is drenched with dew is again a reference to the Nightly Visitant which contains, in the Arabic, a connection with the Morning Star (see also Pickthall). The Morning Star or Day Star, the Light Bearer or Lucifer is the rank of the elohim of this earth, which was held by Satan as anointed guardian cherub, as we know from Ezekiel 28:14 and Isaiah 14:12. This rank is given to Christ, which he shares with the elect (2Pet. 1:19; Rev. 3:27-28; 22:16). The dew also has reference to Judges 6:38 as is noted also from the Soncino.
The commentaries note that he may have come from his mother’s house in the night. It also notes he awaited all evening after his resurrection until the Sunday morning (Jn. 20:1,8-10,16-17) when he ascended into heaven as the wave sheaf offering and then returned that evening (Jn. 20:19).
3 I had put off my garment, how could I put it on? I had bathed my feet, how could I soil them?
The text is applied exactly in the Gospels at the last supper. Christ laid aside (tithenai) his garment. This symbolised the laying aside of his life. The term, how could I put it on? shows the miracle of the resurrection through the power of God. Only God could put it on again. The term I had bathed my feet how could I soil them? is a reference to the symbolism of the footwashing of the Lord’s supper done first for Messiah in spikenard. The first instance of the event shows that it is directly related to the forgiveness of sins (Lk. 7:38-50). John 11:2 shows that it was Mary who did this. The incident at John 12:3 was also done by Mary. She anointed his feet with nard in anticipation of his crucifixion. He arrived there six days before the Passover (i.e. 9 Nisan) and on 10 Nisan they gave him a supper and he was anointed. He was thus set aside as the Passover Lamb. He did not defile his feet. He died without blemish as the Passover. The same sense of being without blemish is applied to all who have their feet washed at the Lord’s Supper, through the blood of Messiah. The word for how in this text is a word found only in Esther 8:6. This text has the connotation of how can I let it happen. The word is SHD 346 ’ayeh meaning where? Seemingly derived from SHD 335 ‘ay where how or why. The sense is how can it be and the sense of the ongoing impossibility of being placed in that position.
4 My beloved put his hand to the latch, and my heart was thrilled within me.
The text shows the return of Messiah from the resurrection. The Soncino gives the meaning as: Hearing her lame excuses for not answering his knock, he departs, and his action causes her anxiety (Rashi). The translation here differs from that of the Soncino which applies the text as My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door. The explanation is given so it would appear that an unbolted door could be opened by inserting the hand in the hole (Isaiah da Trani, Daath Mikra). Others hold that the hole was also used to view and speak to the visitor.
The term heart is literally my bowels, which to the ancients were the seat of the emotions (cf. Jer. 31:19; Ps. 40:9).
5 I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, upon the handles of the bolt.
The commentaries note that when the knocking ceased she became anxious.
Rushing to the door her hands touched the liquid scent with which her beloved had sprinkled the door, [perhaps as a gesture of love, or in pursuance of a custom to anoint the door of a beloved with fragrant spices] (Isaiah da Trani). Some commentators are of the view that she anointed herself with myrrh before retiring for the night (Rashi, Metsudath David).
The real position here is that the beloved was not trying to enter here. He was trying to give the beloved the means of escape from the world system. From the very act of his opening, the beloved was anointed with the spices of the Spirit and freed from her environment. However, she could not yet be united with the lover. He had gone away for an extended period. The search of the beloved commences because she has contact with him only through the Spirit.
6 I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.
This is the period of the Church in the wilderness. The commentaries say [Imagine her grief at not finding him there! The verbs chamak abar (had turned away, was gone) are most expressive, and the omission of the particle ‘and’ reflects her disturbed mind.] (Soncino).
Her soul failed her meant she felt faint (Metsudath David). The qualification when he spoke is significant. Rashi comments: ‘Because he said, “I will not now enter, since thou didst at first refuse to open to me”’. Metsudath David, Isaiah da Trani and Malbim follow this explanation. Akedath Yitschak, however, explains it as past perfect, ‘my soul had failed me when he spoke,’ i.e., when he said, ‘Open to me, my sister, my love’. I did not give his words the proper attention. I did not take them seriously. This is exactly the situation with Judah, the blood sister of Messiah. They did not heed him and thus he went away for the forty Jubilee period to end the time of the Gentiles and the period of Satan’s rule.
There was no answer from this period. There was no sign given his ministry save the sign of Jonah (see the paper Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)).
7 The watchmen found me, as they went about in the city; they beat me, they wounded me, they took away my mantle, those watchmen of the walls.
Metsudath David says that those who patrol the city at night, mistaking her for a wanton, attempt to stop her, and when she refuses, they have recourse to violence. This is exactly what happened to the Church not only in Judah but elsewhere. They took her mantle. The Soncino says, “The word (redid) occurs again only in Isaiah 3:23 (veil)”. It was worn by Oriental ladies out of doors, and may have been a fine lawn garment thrown over the whole dress. Kimchi thinks it was a silk veil. The concept from Isaiah 3:16-26 is that the finery of Judah and the daughters of Zion is removed because of their wanton arrogance. Isaiah 4:1 ff. goes on to show how seven women shall seize a man to remove their shame. That is the time of Messiah when those who remain in Zion will be called holy, every one who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem. These are they written in the book of life of the Lamb. The filth of the daughters of Zion will be washed away by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning. At that time there will be a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies. Over all the glory there will be a canopy and a pavilion as a shade, a refuge and a shelter (Isa. 4:5-6).
8 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love.
The text here shows that the ladies of Jerusalem are asked to take part in the search. Conversion is thus extended to them. The Soncino says that Jewish commentators apply this verse to the intense love of Israel for God despite prolonged suffering. The text in verse 8 is however a question: What will you tell him? That I am lovesick. The question appears to be rhetorical. In that the lover is hardly likely to accept such an excuse for their behaviour.
The Soncino notes:
She urges them to tell her lover, on finding him, that all the wounds inflicted upon her by the watchmen were nothing compared to her love-sickness for him (Akedath Yitschak, Metsudath David).
The real explanation appears to be based upon the exchange between the beloved and the daughters of Zion. The relationship of the word in Isaiah 3:23 is noted. Yet not one reference to the action or criticism levelled at these women is even so much as mentioned by the commentators when it is obvious that there is a direct relationship between the texts. The reason is that the texts are clearly Messianic and the beloved of Messiah is not of the daughters of Jerusalem.
9 What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us?
The distinction is made even more apparent from this next verse. They see the distinct and passionate relationship between the Shulemite and the beloved. The Soncino says:
Surprised at her great passion they taunt her. What does she see in him to excite her emotions? The question provides her with an opportunity to give an account of his physical grace.
10 My beloved is all radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand. 11 His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves beside springs of water, bathed in milk, fitly set. 13 His cheeks are like beds of spices, yielding fragrance. His lips are lilies, distilling liquid myrrh. 14 His arms are rounded gold, set with jewels. His body is ivory work, encrusted with sapphires. 15 His legs are alabaster columns, set upon bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. 16 His speech is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. (RSV)
The depiction of his beauty is also of spiritual connotation and can be cross-referenced to other texts; his clear white skin (cf. Lam. 4:7). His pre-eminence above ten thousand is understood by the commentaries as:
Just as a standard (degel) is raised above the head of a marching army, so does he tower above all others on account of his beauty (Akedath Yitschak, Isaiah da Trani). Ten thousand expresses a very large number (Kimchi)
The description most fine gold in the Hebrew is kethem paz, which is a figure of speech for excellency. Beginning with his head she describes in matchless imagery all the limbs of his shapely body. Ibn Ezra translates kethem by ‘a diadem’ and paz by ‘precious stones.’ Rashi renders it ‘choice things which kings treasure up’ and Rashbam: ‘Heap of gold, pearl-like in colour’. His locks are curled is literally ‘heaps upon heaps (taltallim), undulating like hills (tel) (Isaiah da Trani). The reference to the eyes like doves is also applied earlier. The concepts are clarity and beauty. The eye is noted as the window of the soul or the light of the body (Mat. 6:20). Clear eyes are required for the priesthood (Lev. 21:20). The cheeks are as raised flower beds of balsam (cf. arugah Ezek. 17:7). As banks of sweet herbs uses the Hebrew migdaloth or ‘towers’. Akedath Yitschak says that spices used to be placed in vessels like towers (the practice may have followed the text rather than the reverse however). The Soncino goes on:
The rounded form and variegated colour of his cheeks suggest this bold comparison. His beard sits perfumed on his cheeks and his breath is as sweet as the purest myrrh (Metsudath David).
It might be taken from this text that Messiah here is prophesied to have worn a beard. The text however might be applied to the spiritual symbolism of the aspects noted in Revelation. The text dropping with flowering myrrh is taken as indicating a sweet (Akedath Yitschak) or faultless conversation. Beryl or Tarshish is c[h]rysolite first found in Tartessus in Spain. In colour it is yellow and pellucid, thus suggesting the nails of the fingers which are transparently pink (see Bigdei Kehunnah, Shaffer, Jerusalem, 1964) (Soncino).
The term polished ivory suggests a white smooth body. The Soncino notes her purpose as:
to indicate that every inch of his body is far more precious to her than all the wealth of Solomon. Esheth (polished) denotes a mass (Rashi). Ibn Ezra explains ‘to shine with brightness’ [cf. Jer. 5:28].
The note by Rashi as denoting a mass has application to the body of the Messiah. The extended sense of the body being a mass and being more precious than the wealth of Solomon is reference to the elect as the body of Christ.
The sapphires are held to be perhaps the lapis lazuli descriptive of his purple tunic covering his glistening skin (see Ibn Ezra, Kimchi). His body is as beautiful as a piece of ivory studded with sapphires (Rashi, Metsudath David). Here we approach the concept of the purple wealth and authority, which was used for royalty. This is extended to the body, which is clothed in that symbolism.
The text as pillars of marble (on golden pedestals Ibn Ezra, Akedath Yitschak) has the concept of being upheld by the pillars of the Temple which are the Philadelphian system of Revelation 3:12.
The comparison with Lebanon is descriptive of majestic beauty. The references to Lebanon are as above (and also cf. Deut. 3:25). Ibn Ezra notes it is famed for fertility and beauty.
These cedars tower above all other trees (cf. Amos 2:9). Thus the beloved is outstanding among all men (Rashi). This is Messiah. His mouth is most sweet (Lit. ‘his palate’), as before, refers to the fact that his mouth utters nothing but pleasant things (Metsudath David). It might be more correct that his speech is blameless rather than innocuous.
The conclusion this is my beloved and this is my friend is a challenge to the daughters of Jerusalem. The Soncino says:
and now judge for yourselves wherein my beloved is more to me than any other.’ She feels that she has more than answered the scornful question contained in verse 9 (Malbim).
Thus the Shulemite has answered the daughters of Jerusalem. Judah stands convicted. Now comes the apparent change of heart.
Song of Songs 6:1-12 Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.
The daughters of Jerusalem seem to have undergone a change of heart. If he is so wonderful then let us help thee to look for him (Akedath Yitschak, Metsudath David, Malbim). Similarly have the nations taunted Israel: Where is your God to help you? (Midrash). The text can thus be taken in the ironic. Judah is taunting the Church for its Messianic faith. The Shulemite replies allegedly evasively.
2 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
The reply is allegedly evasive; the answer to the usual attitude of Judah when the Messiah is not here as King Messiah and ruler. This is the same problem as we saw during the ministry of Messiah and the reason that he was rejected in the first instance. The reply is held to be that he may have gone forth to his usual haunts, gathering garlands as before (Daath Mikra). The usual haunt of Messiah as the Angel of Jehovah at the head of the nation (Zech. 12:8) was as the elohim of Israel (Zech. 12:8; Ps. 45:6-7; Heb 1:8-9) and its protector.
The evasive answers are held to be prompted because the daughters of Jerusalem tried to turn away her affections from him. This has been the continual problem of the Church with Judaism and those who espouse a Judaic system at the expense of the NT texts. The disappearance of the beloved only serves to make it still more overpowering. The dramatic elements which are pronounced in this chapter are intended to give unity and movement to the poem (Daath Mikra). The real understanding that Messiah had to go and return within the sign of Jonah could not be revealed within the mysteries of God.
The devotion of the Shulemite was not diminished. The term that feedeth among the lilies is held to mean that they are not to search. That is the duty of the Shulemite alone. The commentaries hold that jealousy now speaks. She is held to be anxious that she may have aroused their curiosity by singing his praises. Metsudath David thinks that this is spoken in fear of losing the beloved. It is rather a testimony to the faith of the elect. He notes however the term as meaning Just as I am still faithful to him, so is he still faithful to me. He ‘feedeth among the lilies.’ He has gone to bring me lilies from his garden (Metsudath David). Akedath Yitschak and Metsudath David are noted by the Soncino as holding the following:
Upon hearing the maiden’s pleasant words in her unlimited praise for him, and upon seeing the pain caused her by his absence and how her sins have been expiated, her beloved returns and endorses the words of the court ladies who had sung her charms.
The important point to note, is that the commentators note here that the expiation of the sins of the Shulemite have occurred. This is specifically a function of Messiah. The commentators, at least Akedath Yitschak and Metsudath David, therefore must know that the text is Messianic. It is likely that the majority, if not all, know. We are verging here on the deliberate withholding of the truth from the people of Judah by the Scribes (see also the paper Measuring the Temple (No. 137)).
4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. 5 Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead. 6 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them. 7 As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.
The comments now reflect the praise before regarding the flock of goats from Gilead and also the pomegranates and the teeth. The elect are again praised for their purity of faith and their unity of purpose. There is in effect another trial here over the course of the history of the Church. During the history of the Church in Europe there was a concerted undermining of the Church in eastern Europe by the Ashkenazi and the Church was infiltrated and diminished. This is what is referred to traditionally as the Thyatiran era.
The comment here in verse 4 relates to Tirzah. The commentaries allege that the king is now addressing her (see Soncino). Tirzah is an old Canaanite city (Josh. 12:24). It was famed for its beauty and was renowned as the royal residence of the kings of Israel after the revolt of Jeroboam. The Soncino says that it may have been linked here with Jerusalem, instead of Samaria which was the capital of the northern kingdom, because of the evil repute in which the latter was held in Nehemiah’s day. Tirzah retained the distinction of being a royal residence until the days of Omri, who built Samaria (1Kings 16:15 ff.). The city was of striking beauty, as is indicated by its Hebrew name, which means ‘to be pleasant’ (Metsudath David). Hence the remark of the Midrash, followed by Jewish commentators: ‘Thou (Israel) art beautiful when thou performest deeds that please Me.’ (Soncino).
There is thus a clear acknowledgment that beauty is allied with the adherence to the word of God. The contrast of the next part of the text being terrible as an army with banners is a direct comparison with Proverbs 7:26. The power of a seductive woman is compared with that of an armed host. Here the elect through its constancy is also as formidable as an army (also Metsudath David).
The comments are repeats of the praise already given, why should she seek praise from a lesser source? The comment, turn away thine eyes from me because they have overcome me, appears to be a strange plea.
The next text from verse 8 onwards is held to refer to a declaration by he, who is presumably the beloved.
8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. 9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
The Soncino says:
He approaches the daughters of Jerusalem and declares, ‘Solomon is the possessor of a harem of beautiful women, threescore queens, and fourscore concubines and maidens without number. Why should he hold my beloved against her will? (Malbim).
Malbim then goes on to state that is but one means: To me, she is but one. Moreover, to her mother, she is but one. He holds that all the daughters called her happy and the queens and concubines praised her despite their rivalry.
The praise in verse 10 is held to be her beloved citing the praise of the ladies when they first beheld her (Metsudath David, Malbim). These praises refer to the aspects of the elect in their relationship with Messiah at the restoration. Only then does the full stature of the elect become known. The woman is clothed with the sun and the moon and the stars (Rev. 12:1). She is of the day star.
11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. 12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib. (KJV)
The maiden here is held to give excuses for fleeing Solomon’s palace. She claims innocently, ‘I went down into the garden of nuts etc’. (Malbim). However, it is the beloved that appears to be speaking here. He is speaking of his activities. The Midrash likens Israel to nuts. Just as the shell of a nut, when falling into mud, protects the kernel from becoming unclean, so has Israel preserved its purity when dispersed among the nations. Thus we see that the Midrash understands that we are looking at the activities of Messiah. He goes to see the green plants of the valley and to see whether the vine budded. The symbolism is clearly that of Israel in the dispersion. The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the whole house of Israel and the nation of Judah, his pleasant planting (Isa. 5:7). Messiah is about his Father’s business.
The meaning is perhaps not fully explained from the KJV text, which like the LXX treats the words princely people as a proper noun ammi nadib. Rashi says the yad is not the suffix but a poetical termination. He interprets: “‘My soul has made me as the chariots for foreign princes to ride upon,’ i.e. I have unwillingly brought a foreign yoke upon myself. That is how she feels at court in their midst, quite out of place”. Verse 12 in the Soncino says:
Before I was aware, my soul set me Upon the chariots of my princely people.
The Soncino says:
… this is a difficult verse. She retracts her previous statement and states ‘Indeed I do not know why I fled the kings quarters. My soul, i.e. my beloved, who is my soul and my life, drove me as a chariot to the princely members of my people, that I no longer be imprisoned but free (Malbim).
Here the concept is that the Church was set by the beloved within the chosen of Israel that it be no longer imprisoned. That is what Messiah said when he stated that the Kingdom of God would be given to a nation showing the fruits of the Kingdom (Mat. 21:33-43). Thus the nation showing the fruits of it was also in Israel. The soul of the Church here is held to be the beloved. However the Holy Spirit is the mechanism by which this can occur. Thus the activity of Messiah within the elect through the Holy Spirit was seen from the Song.
The next phase is from Chapter 7. There is quite a disparity in the translations of 7:1,2ff.
The Soncino commences the text as:
1. Return, Return, O Shulammite; Return, Return, that we may look upon thee.
What will yet see in the Shulammite? As it were a dance of two companies.
2. How beautiful are thy steps in sandals, O prince’s daughter! The roundlings of thy thighs are like the links of a chain. The work of the hands of a skilled workman.
The text at verse 1 here is held to mean that after revealing to the daughters of Jerusalem her intention to return to her people and to her beloved, they appeal to her to return to Solomon’s chambers where they will bestow honour upon her (Malbim).
The question ‘what honour will you bestow upon the Shulemite?’ is held by Malbim to be a question that she asks them. The history of Shunem has been given above. It is a village in the plain of Esdraelon three and a half miles north of Jezreel, to the west of the feature called “Little Hermon”. It lies in Issachar where the Philistines encamped before the last battle of Saul (1Sam. 28:4). Abishag came from there and Elisha lodged there (2Kings 4:8).
The praise of the Shulemite or Shulammite is questioned by her. Praise from other than the beloved is irrelevant. The text as it were a dance of two companies is rendered by Malbim as ‘since I am surrounded by two companies’ i.e. I am imprisoned on all sides. Others interpret this as an appeal by her lover to return to him. She then replies to his request as per the last two sentences of the verse, meaning ‘What more can you see and praise in one whom the companies of the people have praised?’ (Akedath Yitschak). The more likely meaning is that the Shulemite is a dance of two companies. The first company is the 144,000. The second company is the great multitude that surrounds the Messiah and attends his marriage supper. The explanations are most unsatisfactory regarding this text. Indeed it does not appear in the KJV or the RSV as Chapter 7:1 (it is relocated to 6:13). It is in the Masoretic Text and appears in Greens Interlinear in the main text but is of course relocated in the accompanying authorised text. Greens translates the text as:
Return, return O Shulamite! Return, return that we may gaze upon you! What will you see in the Shulamite? As the dance of two (army) camps.
The concept is clearly that the Shulemite can be seen as the dance of two (army) camps. The armies of the living God are somehow epitomised by the stature of the Shulemite. Why was it relocated when it clearly has great bearing on the text?
The KJV and the RSV commence the Chapter with verse 2 as being verse 1. The text reads in the Oxford Annotated RSV: How graceful are your feet in sandals O queenly maiden!
Song of Songs 7:1-13
1 How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
There are two views of this text. Malbim thinks that if the daughters of Jerusalem are addressing her, they are saying in effect that Thy feet are beautiful in the sandals thou wearest in Solomon’s chambers, not so if thou art the barefooted wife of a simple shepherd.
Akedath Yitschak explains that he is praising her after he has married her and has been intimate with her. (Rashi renders the text: the secret places of thy thighs). That is the difference between the intimacy of these phrases and those in 4:1-5. The illusion to the skilled workman is held to refer to the beloved (from Metsudath David). However, Malbim seems to miss the point of the craftsmanship of God in the process (Ps. 139:13-18) which also relates to predestination (Rom. 8:29-30) and hold the text to mean only if they are bedecked with jewels, the work of a skilled workman, as in Solomon’s chambers, not so if thou become the wife of a poor shepherd (Soncino).
The Soncino holds that the term O prince’s daughter might better be “O born lady”. Bath nadib means a scion of a noble family, but may also signify the possessor of a noble character. The Shulemite is born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3). The perfection of Holy righteous character is the intent of the process, in the fear of God (2Cor. 7:1). Christ was perfected on the third day (Lk. 13:32).
The elect or saints are perfected forever (Heb. 10:14; Eph. 4:13) and in them the love of God is perfected (1Jn. 2:5; 4:12). This is the intent of the perfecting of the House of God (2Chron. 8:16).
2 Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
The text is also rendered wherein no mingled wine is wanting (Soncino). The reference to a round goblet is important. The Hebrew is agan hasahar, lit. ‘a bowl of roundness’ (Soncino). ‘There are places where the moon is called sahara. Sahar is an allusion to the Sanhedrin sitting in semi-circular rows, like a half moon, which is likewise the shape of the threshing floor’ (Midrash).
This text thus refers to the placement of the council which mirrors that in Revelation 4:1 to 5:14. The Sanhedrin, as was the council of the priesthood, is a reflection of the celestial council, which serves the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 8:4-5). The rounded goblet perhaps has relationship also to those referred to as golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints in Revelation 5:8. The replacement of the Sanhedrin by the seventy [two] (Lk. 10:1,17) is reflected here in this symbolism of the beloved. The mingled wine is held to be a practice of the ancients making the wine milder (Metsudath Zion). The text is probably a reflection of Wisdom of Proverbs 9:1-5. The Wisdom here refers to the Holy Spirit which has sent out her maids which are the Church. We also see wine mixed with myrrh was offered to Christ at the crucifixion but he did not drink it (Mk. 15:23).
In Syria the perfect skin was that of the colour of wheat after it had been threshed and winnowed (Soncino). Metsudath David takes this as referring to the scent of her body. Isaiah da Trani and Ibn Ezra describe it as a description of her abdomen, wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. The reference to wheat is because the wheat harvest is the Pentecost harvest which represents the harvest of the Shulemite, who is the church. Setting the wheat about with thorns protected it from the cattle. The rabbis interpret this homiletically as a praise for Israel, that they refrain from transgressing religious prohibitions although they are fenced with but light safeguards, compared to lilies (Soncino). The rabbis thus interpret this as the wall around the Torah. It is however the protection of Israel through the Spirit.
3 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Comparison is with 4:5 where the shepherd uses the same terms.
4 Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
The symbolism of the tower has been examined also in relation to the armies of the Lord. The body is described above as a dance of two (army) companies.
5 Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
Heshbon is the ancient capital of Sihon king of the Amorites, situated twenty miles east of the point where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea. It was originally a Moabite city (Num. 21:25), and later was possessed by the Amorites (Josh. 9:10). Moses assigned it first to Reuben and then to Gad. As the Soncino notes, it passed hands between the Israelites and the Moabites several times. For many years it was the pride of Moab. It was famous for its fertility and rich countryside with reservoirs or pools. Thus the peace and beauty of the Heshbon pools (Isaiah da Trani, Daath Mikra).
The term by the gate of Bath-rabbim is held to be either a proper noun (Metsudath David) or ‘the gate of the populous city’. The gates were the place of judgment and the focus or place of assembly of the populace (see also Rashi).
Bath-rabbim is a combination of two words, SHD 1337 and SHD 7227. SHD 1337 is held by Strong to be Bath rabbiym derived from 1323 meaning daughter and a masculine plural from 7227 meaning the daughter (or city) of Rabbah. 7227 rab means abundant (in quantity, quality, size, age, number or rank). Hence it means to abound, captain, elder, great etc, many, master, mighty officer, prince etc. (see Strong for applications). The same word is at SHD 7228 where it is also used as an archer. The Chaldean (7229) is the same word and means captain, chief, great, lord, master and also stout. The meaning of the words is the gate of the city of the Lord.
The text thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon is complex. Rashi says, “Since when is a prominent nose a sign of beauty”. The word translated nose is allegedly derived from SHD 639 ‘aph. This is derived from SHD 599 ‘anaph which is a prime root to breathe hard or be enraged, hence 639 can mean nose or nostril, hence the face or occasionally a person.
It also means, from rapid breathing in passion, ire, anger or wrath. The same word is also SHD 637 ‘aph a prime particle meaning accession, also or yea. The Chaldean word is the same and means also. Thus the word has the implication of your accession or confirmation or acceptance which is used also of nose, and thus, as a play on words, is likened to the tower of Lebanon. We thus hearken back to the fortress of the elect. The commentaries have difficulty with this text and the Soncino says:
The word appech is therefore taken to mean ‘thy face.’ It would seem that the comparison is between the well proportioned nose and the beautiful projecting tower (Isaiah da Trani, Metsudath David).
This avoids the issue of the complex meaning of the text and the multiple possibilities.
Thy head upon thee is like Carmel is held to be like the summit of Carmel overlooking the sea in N.W. Palestine (Isaiah da Trani). The fate of Carmel is allied with the destruction and the glory of God (Isa. 33:9; 35:1-2). The Messiah is likened to Carmel (Jer. 46:18), when he is sent by the Lord of Hosts. Israel shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, Ephraim and Gilead in the restoration (Jer. 50:19). The hair being like purple and the king being held captive in the tresses thereof is held to be:
Common to the poetry of all times and climes is the idea of the lover held captive in a woman’s tresses. Like the lashes of the eyelids, the ringlets are described as ‘the net of love’ [cf. Prov. 6:25] (Malbim; Soncino).
The application of the colour purple to the hair and the captivity of the king have also the connotation that the king will himself become the subject of the very Shulemite he intended to imprison. The royalty of the elect as kings and priests are noted by the council of the elders in Revelation 5:10. The RSV has kingdom rather than kings but they are to be kings and priests of God.
6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! 7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
The praise now goes from the individual aspects of the body to the entirety of the Shulemite (see also Rashi). The Soncino holds that the king makes a last bid for the love of the Shulemite. She is attired in costly apparel, as befits her appearance before a king and “she causes the royal suitor to be more than ever enthralled with her.” (Soncino).
Again she thrusts his attention aside and concentrates upon her lover. The king has no alternative but to withdraw and abandon her to reunion with her lover (see Malbim; Soncino)
Here the last attempt is made to seduce the bride from devotion to Messiah to the worldly system. The problems with the conversion of Judah and the stated synagogue of Satan are referred to also in Revelation 2:9. This was evident as we have seen from the Smyrna Church but in the last days we see this battle again.
The reference to the palm tree is quite ancient. Reference is made to the palm tree from the exodus. There were twelve springs and three score and ten palm trees at Elim (Ex. 15:27).
The waters had been made drinkable at Marah with a tree. This was Messiah. The twelve springs are references to the twelve apostles and the seventy palms are references to the council of the seventy. It was initially the Sanhedrin under the twelve judges but that was a foreshadow of the apostles and the elect. The term Elim or Eliym means also gods. The Beni Eliym are the sons of God (see DSS re Deut. 32:8).
From the waters of Meribah the injunction to keep the commandments was given in relation to the blessing and the curses (Ex. 15:25b-26).
8 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
The supposed climbing of the palm tree is held by Malbim to denote the lengths to which the king claims he will go to attract the love of the Shulemite.
9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
The speech is held to be sweeter than the choicest wine (Metsudath David). The wine as the blood of the Lamb is a gospel message. There is also a comparison with Proverbs 23:31.
Wine is held to cause deep sleep and also unlock silent lips. The speech stirring pleasant emotions is held to be the import of this text (Metsudath David).
The rejection of the king is now final. Satan can’t win against the Church.
10 I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. 12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
She declares that she is the beloved’s and his desire is for her. None can separate her from her only beloved (Metsudath David). She then calls to the beloved to go into the field and then lodge in the villages. Some render kefarim (from SHD 3723 kaphar) as ‘henna flowers’ as in 4:13. The kaphar is a village protected by walls. The word comes from the proposition to cover (see also SHD 3724 kopher). It is thus a village that is covered in, and specifically bitumen as a covering or coating, and also the henna plant as used for dying. Figuratively, it means a redemption-price and this is its implied meaning here as is also connotated in 4:13. The word, particularly 3724, can mean a bribe, camphire, pitch, ransom, satisfaction, sum of money and a village. The complex play on words shows the redemption of Messiah of the beloved who then assists in ransoming the elect with him.
Malbim holds that he now reappears, and urges their departure from the palace to their former meeting-place in the fields. The symbolism is that Messiah is urging the Church to get up early to the vineyards and to care for the vine. The vine is to be examined to see whether it produces good fruit. The word Semadar, as examined in 2:13, is important here. The elect are being brought forth and this latter instance is very important and a continuation of the process free of the interference of the daughters of Jerusalem and the king of this world. The invitation to the Kingdom had been extended into the field and villages as we see that the invited guests did not come. The second invitees are those who end up producing the fruit of the Kingdom of God.
13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. (KJV)
Mandrakes were believed to be an aphrodisiac (partly from their shape) and in stirring up love (cf. Gen. 30:14 f). The Hebrew name for the plant is dudaim. This word is connected with the word dodim or love (Kimchi). Rashi renders this as basket of figs. This concept then brings the text into the good figs / bad figs analogy of Jeremiah 24:1-10. The nation was thus split into two groups. This will happen at the last days also.
New and old is rendered by Malbim as “‘New which seems like old, My love I have laid up for thee’. The precious new fruits seem like old since we have become sated with them. Our love, however, will never grow old” (Soncino). The reference is developed into the parable of the wages of the kingdom (Mat. 20:1-16). The last will be first and the first last. This also applies to the conversion of Judah. The wages of Judah shall be the same as that for the elect so that Jerusalem and the household of the king (the elect) cannot exalt themselves against Judah. In that day the feeble will be like David and the Household of David (the elect) will be as elohim, as the angel of Jehovah at their head (see Zech. 12:7-8). The being at the head of the household of the king is an elohim identified at Psalm 45:6-7 as the elohim of Israel anointed by his elohim. Hebrews 1:8-9 identifies this elohim as Messiah and thus Messiah is undeniably the Angel of Jehovah from this text.
Fruit was stored on shelves and cupboards and above doorways where they were left to dry and be out of reach. The Shulemite assures the shepherd that she has laid up the fruit for him only to enjoy (Daath Mikra).
Song of Songs 8:1-14 O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
Isaiah da Trani holds that the maiden complains that she found it necessary to leave her mother’s house and her family to go out to the village as to show affection for her beloved. She wishes he were like her brother, in which case they could show affection for each other in public without being despised (Soncino). The Church is indeed despised, as it must be distinguished from the nations of the world in its relationship with Messiah.
The next text I would lead thee etc. has the connotation that as her brother, none would question her about bringing him to her home (Metsudath David). The meaning is twofold. The distinction between the Church and Judah in the first instance saw the Church persecuted in Judah. In the second instance, the Church among the Gentiles also saw a serious attack on the OT aspects of the Church. The attacks on what were seen as Jewish traditions of the law and the Sabbaths saw the Church persecuted there also.
2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
The translation here of the text in the KJV who would instruct me is rendered in the Soncino as that thou mightest instruct me. This follows Malbim. Isaiah da Trani, however, renders that she might instruct me. The Hebrew can be construed as second person masculine or third person feminine. Hence this rendering means her mother would teach her the secrets of love.
The reference to the juice of pomegranates is explained by the Soncino as:
Asis is fermented juice obtained from crushing the fruit in a wine-press. With sherbet added to it, this was a favourite cooling drink in the Orient. She stresses my pomegranate, i.e. which she herself had prepared for him.
3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
The text shows a repetition of 2:6. We see here the anticipation of the coming of the beloved.
4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
The charge is repeated from the earlier text where the stirring up of love before it pleases him is a reference to the calling of the elect in due time. It was for this reason that Christ spoke in parables so that people would not understand until it was time for them to come into judgment. The first love is critical in the elect and should not be undertaken until the proper time as determined by God and should not therefore be lost through unfortunate timing.
5 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.
The Soncino notes Malbim’s explanation.
The lovers are seen approaching, and the author asks, ‘Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness etc.’ Thereupon her lover replies, ‘under the apple-tree I awakened thee.’ The first time I found thee thou wert asleep under the apple-tree, and there I awakened thee, ‘There thy mother was in travail with thee.’ i.e. thou wert accustomed to be in the wilderness, rather than in the city (Malbim).
The explanation makes no comment as to the response and the persons involved. The beloved is here replying to the question directed at them. The beloved first saw the inquirer under the apple tree when their mother was in travail with them. In other words the beloved saw these before they were born. The inquirers are the daughters of Jerusalem and Israel proper. They are those who were of the seed of the woman referred to in Revelation 12:1-17. This woman was the nation and the Church, which brought forth the elect and the Messiah. She is referred to in Genesis 3:1-17. The Angel of Jehovah or Jehovah Elohim was he who guarded them in the garden. He was the presence or face of God (no man has seen God ever (Jn. 1:18; 1Tim. 6:16). He saw the woman under the apple tree in travail. This punishment was inflicted on the woman because of the problem that arose in the garden (Gen. 3:16). Here the beloved declares himself as The Angel of Yahovah (Jehovah) or Jehovah Elohim of the Garden of Eden.
The interpretation regarding the being in travail is interpreted by the Soncino as being a poetic repetition of the preceding. Malbim renders, ‘there she who bore thee was born.’ Not only were thou born in the wilderness but also thy mother was as well. This interpretation is necessary because the literal meaning places the beloved at a great age and renders the description of him incongruous. The fact of course is that we are speaking of Messiah as a pre-incarnate being and as a resurrected being and to admit this possibility condemns Judah outright and thus it must be avoided. For this reason also the wilderness is identified as the Plain of Esdraelon between Jezreel and Shulem which the lovers were held by the Soncino to have had to cross on their homeward journey. This explanation raises more problems than it solves given the prophecies concerning the valley of Jezreel and the return of the Messiah.
The term leaning upon her beloved is literally ‘joined, associated, with the beloved’ (Rashi). The Church is to be finally joined to Messiah at his return. The dubious assertion is also made that in the Middle East childbirth in the open air is not uncommon.
6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be condemned.
The Shulemite longs to be constantly near the beloved and never parted (Malbim). She pleads with her lover to be set as a seal upon his heart and upon his arm to protect her from the king (Malbim). Thus the Church appeals to Messiah for protection in the final phase. The text love is strong as death is held to indicate that the Shulemite had risked her life for his love (Malbim). The comments regarding jealousy are directed at the king. Malbim holds that jealousy completely enslaves one in its sway. She is fearful lest the king return to woo her and take her to his harem (Soncino). The flashes thereof are flashes of fire a very flame of the Lord. The text is literally a very flame of God (Jah), i.e. a tremendous flame (Isaiah da Trani, Metsudath David). The meaning is that the battle is spiritual. The king is one of the spiritual Host. His authority and power were given originally by Jah or God. Thus he is more powerful and she needs protection from the very fire of his jealous wrath. Messiah is the only one who can provide such protection.
The verse Many waters cannot quench love is held to be the climax of the Book, which has dramatically been mounting to this culmination (Soncino). Malbim holds that nothing can destroy true love which flows spontaneously from the heart and cannot be bought with a kings treasures as she has shown.
The use of the term flood is held to naturally follow the previous flame as a natural simile (Rashi, Metsudath David). The Soncino says:
Homiletically interpreted, it applies to the nations of the world who did not succeed in wresting the love of God from the heart of Israel either by force or by blandishments. The Midrash adds: ‘Even if the nations should open their treasuries and offer their money for one word of Torah, they would never succeed. All the temptations dangled before the eyes of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were of no avail.’
The usage is found in relation to the offspring of the woman as a flood which proceeds from the mouth of the dragon. The Church is spiritual Israel. Judah is only part of physical Israel. All of Israel, both physical and spiritual, is sought to be destroyed by the dragon, the god of this world (2Cor. 4:4) and the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
Salvation is also of the Gentiles and thus the Midrash falls. The love of God cannot be bought; it is the free gift of grace. It is not the sole prerogative of Judah and Torah is not the entirety of the word of God. No one holding this view can of course obtain salvation as part of the elect.
The last eight verses are held to be the reminisces and triumphs of the Shulemite. She reminds her brothers how unnecessary had been their fear for her chastity when beset by temptation (Akedath Yitschak).
8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?
Akedath Yitschak takes the text then to refer to the Shulemite when she was still young and undeveloped. He holds that what shall we do for our sister refers to her wedding day. They stipulate that their plans will depend upon her virtue. When they first discussed this matter she was as yet of unmarriageable age. Yitschak’s commentary forms the basis of the Soncino comments. There is of course another interpretation. That is that the beloved and Messiah are speaking of the little sister who has not yet come of age. This is equally able to be construed as Judah who is kept from conversion until the time of the Gentiles is complete (i.e. 1995/6; see the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): The Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms).
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. 10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
The text seems to be talking of two entities, the Shulemite and another. The construction is made however that the brothers speak of her and then she comes of age. They speak of her as being virtuous and that if she is able to withstand all attacks on her then they will give her hand in marriage to one who is worthy (Akedath Yitschak). Thus she claims this right as being a wall and her breasts were like towers. This virtue then enabled her to find favour in the eyes of the beloved, the Messiah. The turret of silver (palace of silver KJV) is held to be symbolic of an esteemed man worthy of a wife chaste and modest (Akedath Yitschak).
The term if she be a door is held to mean one who yields to temptation in view of the fact that a door opens to those who knock. If that were the case then they would give her to one of lesser calibre. Boards of cedar is held to refer to a small attic chamber, meaning a man of low calibre (Akedath Yitschak). The alternate meaning is of course as explained earlier as the meaning of Messiah standing at the door and knocking. The absence of other comment is indicative of the dilemma of this text.
The reply I am a wall is held to be the triumphant reply of an impregnable and faithful guardian of her honour. Where is the reward you promised for me? (Akedath Yitschak). She is ripe for marriage now in view of the comment regarding her breasts being like the towers thereof (Isaiah da Trani). The finding of peace is related by the commentaries as being the condition of her brothers after her virtue is unchallenged. The real understanding of peace under Messiah as the prince of peace and holder of the titles of God by delegation (Isa. 9:6) is not understood.
The most important aspect is in the commentary of Saadia Gaon. According to the Soncino:
Saadia Gaon sees ‘the little sister’ as the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the smaller part of the nation of Israel.
This is the most important commentary of the Book. The little sister is indeed the nation of Judah and Benjamin that is converted to the remainder of Israel in the last days. This nation showing the fruits of it is joined by the little sister when her age is come and she is able to stand with her sister Israel with Messiah at the advent.
The Soncino goes on with another telling commentary.
What shall we do for our sister. to let us know what God decrees at the end of over a thousand years, which is to Him like a day? What can we do if the redemption comes when they are still rebellious and will require the coming of the Messiah son of Joseph? God replies, ‘If she be a wall.’ I.e. if they are repentant, they will not require the Messiah son of Joseph, but the Messiah son of David will come and rebuild the Temple. If, however, they are in a state of disobedience, they will require the Messiah son of Joseph, who will gather warriors as cedar, to fight for them. Israel replies, ‘I am strong in the traditions of the Prophets, and my sages and scholars are protected by their righteousness, studies, and prayers. Then I know that I can rely on His prophecies and find peace.
This is the most critical text in the rabbinical commentaries. It shows that the rabbinical authorities knew that there had to be two Messiahs. The first, the priest Messiah was the Messiah son of Joseph, which is Joshua or Jesus Christ. The king Messiah or Messiah son of David is he who is to come. Judah wanted a king Messiah to rid itself of the Roman yoke. The Song of Songs was a warning to Judah of the coming of the Messiah and the failure of the tribes to repent. Judah knew that it had to be repentant but relied upon its traditions, which Messiah condemned it for in the name of God. The Dead Sea Scrolls show that at least some Jews at the time of Christ understood that there was to be a Messiah of two advents. These two were the one Messiah (Damascus Rule VII and the fragment from cave 4 (Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English)). The requirement for repentance as proclaimed by John the Baptist was thus understood by Judah, but they did not repent. The requirement for the salvation of the priest Messiah is not understood by Judah. The rabbinical authorities do not seem to understand or at least acknowledge the symbolism of the Atonement sacrifices and the symbolism of the two types of vestments worn by the High Priest on Atonement. There is no doubt however that the authorities know that the Song of Songs is the love story of Messiah and the Church and involves the conversion of Judah and Benjamin when they come of age. In other words when the hardening of their heart is removed and they are converted.
11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
This text is held to be a reminiscence of the temptation of the Shulemite by Solomon, whose wealth was used as a temptation to make her yield. The magnificent vineyard of the king was spurned with her retort ‘I am quite happy with my own humble vineyard’ (verse 12) (Malbim).
Baal-hamon. The site is unidentified and is not mentioned elsewhere. Rashi believes that it was near Jerusalem and its name (lit. ‘owner of a multitude’) derived from the fact that it attracted crowds of visitors. [It has been conjectured that it may have been Hamath in the kingdom of Aleppo] (Soncino).
The name is perhaps overlooked. The literal name is also Lord of the Multitude. The Lord of the Multitude is Satan as the entity behind the beast power of Revelation. The fact that the name occurs only here should reinforce the fact that it is allegorical.
The giving of the vineyard to keepers was an illusion to the fact that Solomon erected temples to foreign gods and allowed their priests to officiate in Israel and he took part in the services himself. The Soncino notes that it was the custom of metayers or partner-labourers (aris) to receive a portion of the produce, usually a third or a half in exchange for their work. The thousand pieces of silver has a symbolic meaning, just as the thirty pieces of silver paid for Christ was not only the price of a slave (Ex. 21:32) but also the number of the Council of God as we see from Revelation 4:1 to 5:14. The death of Christ was an offence against the entire Council. So too have we the price of the thousand being related to the administration of the Host (see Job 33:23 RSV) where the redeemer was one of the thousand. Solomon thus by his actions established another administration, but of the fallen Host. Those that keep the fruit were also recompensed but according to their part. The Shulemite would have none of this fruit. These are the 144,000 spiritual virgins who are faithful to Messiah (Rev. 14:4).
The commentaries concern themselves only with the size of the vineyard and the fact that it was let to so many tenants, each of whom paid this sum annually. In other words it cost them their salvation. The thousand is also a grouping of the 144,000, being of the twelve and the twelve tribes (Rev. 7:5; 21:14). 144 cubits, which is the measure of a man, forms also the basis of the height of the wall of New Jerusalem, the City of God (Rev. 21:17). The elect form the wall of the City of God, whereas they were its Temple. There are thus multitudes diverted under the idolatrous system of Solomon. This is a reflection of the term many are called but few are chosen. Solomon is used here to show how close to the very heart of Israel idolatry was to strike. Solomon traditionally is held to have kept the keys of the Temple and to have delayed the services by dalliance with the daughter of Pharaoh (see Proverbs 31 Soncino and also the paper Proverbs 31 (No. 114)).
12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
The understanding also follows that the redemption of mankind can only follow from the mediation of one of the thousand. Thus the comment at verse 12 is in reality a taunt that Solomon is condemned for his idolatry and indeed must have the redemption of the mediator for salvation.
13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it. 14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices. (KJV)
The commentaries attempt to make sense of this text by having the beloved speak to his companions and request to hear the voice of the Shulemite (see Isaiah da Trani) in recounting her experiences at the palace (Soncino). True, the Shulemite will give testimony at the judgment and the way the saints were treated will be the source of the judgment as we see from the parable of the sheep and the goats (Mat. 25:31-46). The commentaries hold that she is coy or embarrassed and begs to be left alone for a while and when they are alone she will sing to him (Isaiah da Trani). This runs counter to the entire thrust of her urgent search for him over the Song. She is urging his coming to end her trials.
The companions that dwell in the gardens here are the saints. These are they who hear the voice of the shepherd and they know his voice (Jn. 10:3-4). She pleads to be caused to hear it. This is a reminder that the calling is a gift of God and, without the direction of God, no one can come to Messiah (Jn. 6:37,44).
The Soncino ends the commentary with this text concerning the mountains of spices.
Now that they are finally united, the rugged heights are no longer barriers between them but delightful like mountains of spices. The Midrash reads a prayer into the verse: ‘Mayest thou hasten the advent of the redemption and cause Thy Shechinah to dwell on the mountain of spices (i.e. Moriah, as though derived from mor, “myrrh”) and rebuild the temple speedily in our days.’
Remember that the Shechinah will dwell on the Holy Mountain at the restoration and the pillar of fire and cloud will settle over Zion and the assemblies of the Lord permanently when the Lord washes away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleanses the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spring of judgment and a spirit of burning (Isa. 4:2-6).
The last verse of the Song is a call to Messiah to come quickly. This is a fitting end to the Song of Songs as it is to the Bible itself (Rev. 22:20-21). The Spirit and the Bride say come (Rev. 22:17). Surely he is coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus (or J[eh]oshua) be with all the saints. Amen.