King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A chariot.—Marg., bed; Heb., appiryôn. A word of very doubtful etymology. Its derivation has been sought in Hebrew, Persian, Greek, and Sanskrit. The LXX. render φορεῖον; Vulg., ferculum; and it seems natural, with Gesenius, to trace the three words to the root common in parah, φέρω, fero, fahren, bear, and possibly the sign of such a common origin in the Sanskrit pargana = a saddle (Hitzig). At all events, appiryôn must be a palanquin, or litter, both from the context, which describes the approach of a royal cortége, and from the description given of it, where the word translated covering suggests the notion of a movable litter, rather than of a State bed.Song of Solomon 3:9-10. King Solomon made a chariot — In which the royal bridegroom and bride might ride together in state. By this chariot he seems to understand the word of Christ dispensed by his ministers, wherein Christ rides triumphantly in the world, conquering his enemies and subduing the world to the obedience of the gospel. Of the wood of Lebanon — Of cedars, which wood being incorruptible, doth fitly signify the word of the gospel, which endureth for ever, 1 Peter 1:25. He made the pillars thereof — There is no necessity that either this or the following particulars should be distinctly applied to several things in the gospel; this in the general may suffice, that as all the particulars are added to show the perfection and beauty of the chariot, so they imply that Christ’s word is every way amiable and perfect. The bottom thereof of gold — The under and lower part. Whereby he may seem to intend the foundation of the word and promises, which is either God’s covenant, or Christ’s mediation, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. The covering of it — The uppermost part of it. The midst — The inward parts: being paved — Covered and adorned; with love — The love of Christ to the sons of men. For the daughters of Jerusalem — For their delight and comfort, who all bear a part in this marriage.
(1) the bride's car or litter; or
(2) a more magnificent vehicle provided for her reception on her entrance into the city, and in which perhaps the king goes forth to meet her.
It has been made under Solomon's own directions of the costliest woods (ceda and pine) of the Lebanon; it is furnished with "pillars of silver" supporting a "baldachin" or "canopy of gold" (not "bottom" as in the King James Version), and with "a seat (not 'covering') of purple cushions," while "its interior is paved with (mosaic work, or tapestry of) love from (not 'for') the daughters of Jerusalem;" the meaning being that this part of the adornment is a gift of love, whereby the female chorus have testified their goodwill to the bride, and their desire to gratify the king.A chariot, in which the royal Bridegroom and bride might ride together in state, as the manner was in the nuptial solemnities of such persons. By this chariot he seems to understand the word of Christ dispensed by his ministers in the church, whereby both Christ is exalted and rides triumphantly in the world, conquering his enemies, and subduing the world to the obedience of the gospel, and all believers are carried with safety and comfort through this present evil world, into those blessed mansions of heavenly glory.
Of the wood of Lebanon, i.e. of cedars, for which Lebanon was famous; which wood, being incorruptible, doth fitly signify the word of the gospel, which endureth forever, 1 Peter 1:25, and is called the everlasting gospel, Revelation 14:6, in opposition to the legal institutions, which were to continue only until the time of reformation, as we read Hebrews 9:10. Acts 9:15; and by it is conveyed to the souls of men; and in it he triumphs over his enemies, and causes his ministers to triumph also: and he is the subject, sum, and substance of it, and the alone author of it; for he is the Solomon here spoken of that made it; it is not a device of men's, but a revelation of his, and therefore called "the Gospel of Christ"; and which he gives to men to preach, a commission to preach it, and qualifications for it: and this he does "for himself", to set forth the glories of his person and office, to display the riches of his grace, and to show himself to be the only way of salvation to host sinners: and this chariot being said to be "of the wood of Lebanon", cedar, which is both incorruptible and of a good smell; may denote the uncorruptness of the Gospel, as dispensed by faithful ministers, and the continuance and duration of it, notwithstanding the efforts of men and devils to the contrary; and the acceptableness of it to the saints, to whom is the savour of life unto life; and it being a nuptial chariot that seems designed, it agrees with the Gospel, in the ministry of which souls are brought to Christ, and espoused as a chaste virgin to him, 2 Corinthians 11:2.
(u) "thalamum sponsarum", Montanus. (w) So Schmidt, Marckius, David de Pomis, Kimchi in Sopher Shorash. rad. & Ben Melech in loc. (x) Sotah, c. 9. s. 14. & Jarchi in ibid. (y) Vid. Alstorph. de Lecticis Veter. c. 3.((z) Vid. Suidam in voce (a) Agreement of Customs between the East Indians and Jews, artic. 17. p. 68.King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. In this verse we have a continuation of the spectator’s or warder’s call to those who are looking out at the royal cavalcade from the house or palace where the Shulammite is. The speaker must be conceived as uttering an aside to those about him, giving a description of the miṭṭâh from his previous knowledge. Here he calls it an appiryôn, which the LXX translate by phǒreion, which means a litter in which one is borne. This is undoubtedly the correct meaning, but the derivation of the word is uncertain. It may be, as Cheyne says, Encycl. Bibl., art. ‘Canticles,’ a mere corruption.
the wood of Lebanon] Lit. the woods, i.e. the cedar and the cypress.Verses 9, 10. - King Solomon made himself a palanquin of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the seats of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, from the daughters of Jerusalem. The palanquin is described, that the attention may be kept fixed awhile on the bridal procession, which, of course, forms the kernel of the whole poem, as representing the perfect union of the bride and bridegroom. The Greek versions translate φορεῖον: the Vulgate, ferculum. We read in Athenaeus (5:13) that the philosopher and tyrant Athemon showed himself on "a silver-legged φορεῖον with purple coverlet." There probably is some connection between the Hebrew appiryon and the Greek phoreion, but it is exceedingly doubtful if the Hebrew is merely a lengthened form of the Greek. Delitzsch derives the Hebrew from a root parah, "to cut or carve" anything of wood. The Greek would seem to be connected with the verb φερω, "to bear," "carry." The resemblance may be a mere coincidence. The rabbinical tradition is that the Hebrew word means "couch, or litter." Hitzig connects it with the Sanscrit paryana, meaning "saddle," "riding saddle," with which we may compare the Indian paryang. "bed." Others find a Chaldee root for the word, פָרָא, "to run," as currus in Latin, or from a root גָּאַר, "to shine," i.e." to be adorned." At all events, it would not be safe to argue the late date of the book from such a word as appiryon, on account of its resemblance to a Greek word. The "wood of Lebanon" is, of course, the cedar or cypress (1 Kings 5:10, etc.). There may be a covert allusion intended to the decoration of the temple as the place where the honour of the Lord dwelleth, and where he meets his people. The frame of the palanquin was of wood, the ornaments of silver. The references to the high value set upon silver, while gold is spoken of as though it was abundant, are indications of the age in which the poem was composed, which must have been nearly contemporaneous with the Homeric poems, in which gold is spoken of similarly. Recent discoveries of the tomb of Agamemnon, etc., confirm the literary argument. The palanquins of India are also highly decorated. The daughters of Jerusalem, i.e. the ladies of the court, in their affection for King Solomon, have procured a costly tapestry, or several such, which they have spread over the purple cushion. Thus it is paved, or covered over, with the tokens of love - while all love is but a preparation for this supreme love. (For the purple coverings of the seat, see Judges 5:10; Amos 3:12; Proverbs 7:16.) The preposition מִן in the last clause is rendered differently by some, but there can be no doubt that the meaning is "on the part of," that is, coming from. The typical interpreter certainly finds a firm ground here. Whether we think of the individual believer or of the Church of God, the metaphor is very apt and beautiful - we are borne along towards the perfection of our peace and blessedness in a chariot of love. All that surrounds us speaks to us of the Saviour's love and of his royal magnificence, as he is adored by all the pure and lovely spirits in whose companionship he delights.
3 The watchmen who go about in the city found me:
"Have ye seen him whom my soul loveth?"
Here also (as in Sol 3:2) there is wanting before the question such a phrase as, "and I asked them, saying:" the monologue relates dramatically. If she described an outward experience, then the question would be a foolish one; for how could she suppose that the watchmen, who make their rounds in the city (Epstein, against Grtz, points for the antiquity of the order to Psalm 127:1; Isaiah 62:6; cf. Isaiah 21:11), could have any knowledge of her beloved! But if she relates a dream, it is to be remembered that feeling and imagination rise higher than reflection. It is in the very nature of a dream, also, that things thus quickly follow one another without fixed lineaments. This also, that having gone out by night, she found in the streets him whom she sought, is a happy combination of circumstances formed in the dreaming soul; an occurrence without probable external reality, although not without deep inner truth:
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