I would lead you, and bring you into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause you to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Juice of my pomegranate.—“The Orientals,” says Dr. Kitto, “indulge largely in beverages made of fresh juice of various kinds of fruits. Among these, sherbet made of pomegranate juice is particularly esteemed; and from its agreeable and cooling acidity, the present writer was himself accustomed to prefer it to any other drink of this description.” The meaning of the verse is explained by Song of Solomon 1:2; Song of Solomon 5:1; Song of Solomon 7:9.Song of Solomon 8:2-3. I would lead and bring thee — With joy and triumph, as the bridegroom was usually brought to the bride’s house; into my mother’s house, who would instruct me — How I should behave myself toward thee: or, as the clause may be rendered, where she did instruct, or educate me. I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, &c. — I would give thee the best entertainment the house affords. My gifts and graces should all be employed to serve and glorify thee. His left hand, &c. — The same expressions are used Song of Solomon 2:6. The sense is, He would not despise me for my forwardness in my affection to him, but would kindly accept of my love, and return it.Isaiah 54:13. Some allegorists make the whole passage Cant. 7:11-8:2 a prayer of the synagogue for the Incarnation of the Word, like Sol 1:2((see note). Others, a prayer of the Church under both covenants for that complete union with the Incarnate Godhead which is still future.
who would instruct me—rather, "thou wouldest instruct me," namely, how I might best please thee (Isa 11:2, 3; 50:4; Lu 12:12; Joh 14:26; 16:13).
spiced wine—seasoned with aromatic perfumes. Jesus Christ ought to have our choicest gifts. Spices are never introduced in the song in His absence; therefore the time of His return from "the mountain of spices" (So 8:14) is contemplated. The cup of betrothal was given by Him at the last supper; the cup or marriage shall be presented by her at His return (Mt 26:29). Till then the believer often cannot feel towards, or speak of, Him as he would wish.Bring thee, with joy and triumph, as the bridegroom was usually brought to the bride’s house. See Psalm 45:14,15.
Into my mother’s house; either,
1. My mother’s-inlaw, my husband’s mother, as the custom was, Genesis 24:61 Judges 12:9. Or,
2. My own mother’s, to show her extraordinary respect and affection to him. In the mystical sense both come to one; for the universal church was in some sort both his and her mother.
Who would instruct me, to wit, how I should behave myself towards thee. Or, where she did instruct or educate me.
I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate; I would give thee the best entertainment which the house affords. My gifts and graces should all be employed to serve and glorify thee. Genesis 24:67; or to have the knowledge of him spread among her relations, those of her mother's house, who belonged to the election of grace; or to enjoy his presence there, with great delight and pleasure: the act of "leading" thither shows great familiarity with him, great love and respect for him, a hearty welcome to her mother's house; and was treating him becoming his majesty, great personages being led, Isaiah 60:11; all which is done by prayer, in the exercise of faith: and the act of "bringing" denotes on her part the strength of faith in prayer; and on his part great condescension; see Sol 3:4. Her end in all was, as follows,
who would instruct me; meaning her mother; the allusion may be to a grave and prudent woman, who, taking her newly married daughter apart, teaches her how to behave towards her husband, that she may have his affections, and live happily with him: the house of God is a school of instruction, where souls are taught the ways of Christ, the doctrines of the Gospel, and the duties of religion; nor are the greatest believers above instruction, and the means of it. Some render the words, "thou shalt", or "thou wouldest teach me" (u); meaning Christ, who teaches as none else can; he teaches by his Spirit, who leads into all truth; by the Scriptures, which are profitable for instruction; by his ministers, called pastors and teachers; and by his ordinances administered in his house; where the church desired the presence of Christ; and might expect instruction from him, being in the way of her duty; and to hear such marriage precepts, as in Psalm 45:10. In return, the church promises Christ,
I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, of the juice of my pomegranate; or, "wine of my pomegranate" (w); of which mention is made in Jewish writings (x) and by other authors (y): there was a city in the tribe of Dan, called "Gathrimmon", Joshua 21:24; the winepress of the pomegranate, or where they made pomegranate wine. Spiced wine was much used by the ancients, and in the eastern countries: so Phoenician wine, or wine of Byblis, is said to be odoriferous (z); so the wine of Lebanon, Hosea 14:7; the Babylonians had a wine they called nectar (a): spiced wine was thought less inebriating (b), and therefore the ancients sometimes put into their wine myrrh and calamus, and other spices (c); sometimes it was a mixture of old wine, water, and balsam; and of wine, honey, and pepper (d). Now these sorts of wine being accounted the best and most agreeable, the church proposes to treat Christ with them; by which may be meant the various graces of the Spirit, and the exercise of them in believers; which give Christ pleasure and delight, and are preferred by him to the best wine; see Sol 4:10. With the Hebrew writers, pomegranates are said to be a symbol of concord (e): the pomegranate was a tree of Venus (f).
(u) "docebis me", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, & alii; "doceres me", Brightman, Michaelis. (w) "de vino dulci mali granati mei", Montanus. (x) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 143. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Maacolot Asurot, c. 7. s. 7. (y) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 14. c. 16. (z) Theocrit. Idyll. 14. v. 15, 16. (a) Athenaei Deipnosophist. l. 1. c. 95. p. 32. (b) Ibid. l. 11. c. 3. p. 464. (c) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 14. c. 13, 16. Plauti Persa, Acts 1. Sc. 3. v. 7, 8. (d) Munster. Dictionar. Chaldaic. p. 22, 27. (e) Apud Chartar. de Imag. Deorum, p. 139. (f) Athenaeus, ut supra (Deipnosophist.), l. 3. c. 8. p. 84.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. The bride thinks with delight of the close familiar intercourse she would in that case have had with him.
who would instruct me] The verb here may be either 3rd pers. sing. fem. as the A.V. takes it, or 2nd pers. sing. masc. as the Vulgate and Targum take it. In the latter case the translation would be, ‘thou wilt instruct me,’ or as R.V. margin, ‘that thou mightest instruct me.’ If we adopt the former view, the meaning must be that the Shulammite’s mother would instruct her how to play a maiden’s part to her betrothed lover; if the latter, that her lover would be able to impart to her his wisdom. But in both cases the wish that he had been her brother must be understood to have been given up, or lost sight of; and in the latter it may be doubted whether this exaltation of the wisdom of the beloved is an Eastern trait at all, unless the instruction is instruction in agriculture, as Oettli suggests, comparing Isaiah 28:23-28 and ch. Song of Solomon 7:12. That is surely too prosaic. But in ch. Song of Solomon 3:4 the clause “until I had brought him into my mother’s house” is followed by the words, “and into the chamber of her that conceived me,” and the LXX and the Syriac actually have these words here in place of who would instruct me. This reading would keep the whole clause in harmony with the wish in Song of Solomon 8:1, and probably should be accepted.
of the juice of my pomegranate] Rather, my new pomegranate wine. Âsîs is the juice of grapes or other fruit, trodden out in the wine-press and fermented quickly; cp. Isaiah 49:26, “As with ’âsîs they shall be drunk with their own blood”; Joel 1:5; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13. Tristram (Nat. Hist. p. 388) says of the pomegranate, “The juice was and still is expressed for a cooling drink, or sherbet, and sometimes also fermented into a light wine. It is now commonly used in the East with sugar or spices, and then strained before being fermented. The wine of the pomegranate does not keep long and is very light.”
יין הטּוב is wine of the good kind, i.e., the best, as רע אושׁת, Proverbs 6:24, a woman of a bad kind, i.e., a bad woman; the neut. thought of as adject. is both times the gen. of the attribute, as at Proverbs 24:25 it is the gen. of the substratum. The punctuation כּיּין הטּוב (Hitz.) is also possible; it gives, however, the common instead of the delicate poetical expression. By the comparison one may think of the expressions, jungere salivas oris (Lucret.) and oscula per longas jungere pressa moras (Ovid). But if we have rightly understood Sol 4:11; Sol 5:16, the palate is mentioned much rather with reference to the words of love which she whispers in his ears when embracing her. Only thus is the further continuance of the comparison to be explained, and that it is Shulamith herself who continues it.
9ab Which goes down for my beloved smoothly,
Which makes the lips of sleepers move.
The dramatic structure of the Song becomes here more strongly manifest than elsewhere before. Shulamith interrupts the king, and continues his words as if echoing them, but again breaks off. The lxx had here לדודי in the text. It might notwithstanding be a spurious reading. Hitzig suggests that it is erroneously repeated, as if from Sol 7:11. Ewald also (Hohesl. p. 137) did that before, - Heiligstedt, as usual, following him. But, as Ewald afterwards objected, the line would then be "too short, and not corresponding to that which follows." But how shall לדודי now connect itself with Solomon's words? Ginsburg explains: "Her voice is not merely compared to wine, because it is sweet to everybody, but to such wine as would be sweet to a friend, and on that account is more valuable and pleasant." But that furnishes a thought digressing εἰς ἄλλο γένος; and besides, Ewald rightly remarks that Shulamith always uses the word דודי of her beloved, and that the king never uses it in a similar sense. He contends, however, against the idea that Shulamith here interrupts Solomon; for he replies to me (Jahrb. IV 75): "Such interruptions we certainly very frequently find in our ill-formed and dislocated plays; in the Song, however, not a solitary example of this is found, and one ought to hesitate in imagining such a thing." He prefers the reading לדּודים beloved ones, although possibly לדודי, with , abbreviated after the popular style of speech from m, may be the same word. But is this ledodim not a useless addition? Is excellent wine good to the taste of friends merely; and does it linger longer in the palate of those not beloved than of those loving? And is the circumstance that Shulamith interrupts the king, and carried forward his words, not that which frequently also occurs in the Greek drama, as e.g., Eurip. Phoenissae, v. 608? The text as it stands before us requires an interchange of the speakers, and nothing prevents the supposition of such an interchange. In this idea Hengstenberg for once agrees with us. The Lamed in ledodi is meant in the same sense as when the bride drinks to the bridegroom, using the expression ledodi. The Lamed in למישׁרים is that of the defining norm, as the Beth in במי, Proverbs 23:31, is that of the accompanying circumstance: that which tastes badly sticks in the palate, but that which tastes pleasantly glides down directly and smoothly. But what does the phrase וגו דּובב שׂף mean? The lxx translate by ἱκανούμενος χείλεσί μου καὶ ὀδοῦσιν, "accommodating itself (Sym. προστιθέμενος) to my lips and teeth." Similarly Jerome (omitting at least the false μου), labiisque et dentibus illius ad ruminandum, in which דּבּה, rumor, for דובב, seems to have led him to ruminare. Equally contrary to the text with Luther's translation: "which to my friend goes smoothly goes, and speaks of the previous year;" a rendering which supposes ישׁנים (as also the Venet.) instead of ישׁנים (good wine which, as it were, tells of former years), and, besides, disregards שׁפתי. The translation: "which comes at unawares upon the lips of the sleepers," accords with the language (Heiligst., Hitz.). But that gives no meaning, as if one understood by ישׁנים, as Gesen. and Ewald do, una in eodem toro cubantes; but in this case the word ought to have been שׁכבים. Since, besides, such a thing is known as sleeping through drink or speaking in sleep, but not of drinking in sleep, our earlier translation approves itself: which causes the lips of sleepers to speak. This interpretation is also supported by a proverb in the Talm. Jebamoth 97a, Jer. Moeed Katan, iii. 7, etc., which, with reference to the passage under review, says that if any one in this world adduces the saying of a righteous man in his name (רוחשׁות or מרחשׁות), שׂפתותיו דובבות בקבר. But it is an error inherited from Buxtorf, that דובבות means there loquuntur, and, accordingly, that דובב of this passage before us means loqui faciens. It rather means (vid., Aruch), bullire, stillare, manare (cogn. זב, טף, Syn. רחשׁ), since, as that proverb signifies, the deceased experiences an after-taste of his saying, and this experience expresses itself in the smack of the lips; and דּובב, whether it be part. Kal or Po. equals מדובב, thus: brought into the condition of the overflowing, the after-experience of drink that has been partaken of, and which returns again, as it were, ruminando. The meaning "to speak" is, in spite of Parchon and Kimchi (whom the Venet., with its φθεγγόμενος, follows), foreign to the verb; for דּבּה also means, not discourse, but sneaking, and particularly sneaking calumny, and, generally, fama repens. The calumniator is called in Arab. dabûb, as in Heb. רכיל.
We now leave it undecided whether in דובב, of this passage before us, that special idea connected with it in the Gemara is contained; but the roots דב and זב are certainly cogn., they have the fundamental idea of a soft, noiseless movement generally, and modify this according as they are referred to that which is solid or fluid. Consequently דּבב, as it means in lente incedere (whence the bear has the name דּב), is also capable of being interpreted leniter se movere, and trans. leniter movere, according to which the Syr. here translates, quod commovet labia mea et dentes meos (this absurd bringing in of the teeth is from the lxx and Aq.), and the Targ. allegorizes, and whatever also in general is the meaning of the Gemara as far as it exchanges דובבות for רוחשות (vid., Levy under רחשׁ). Besides, the translations qui commovet and qui loqui facit fall together according to the sense. For when it is said of generous wine, that it makes the lips of sleepers move, a movement is meant expressing itself in the sleeper speaking. But generous wine is a figure of the love-responses of the beloved, sipped in, as it were, with pleasing satisfaction, which hover still around the sleepers in delightful dreams, and fill them with hallucinations.
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