Because of the smell of your good ointments your name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love you.
The sense of smell furnishes much of the imagery of this poetical book. Perfumes not only gratify the smell, they awaken the emotions, and have a remarkable power of reviving, by association, bygone scenes and far-distant friends and companions, in whose society the fragrant wild flowers or blooms of the garden have been enjoyed. Perfumed unguents were in the East employed for anointing the body, for health and comfort. Their use was associated with hospitable reception and entertainment. The Name of our Saviour is as the unguents poured upon his form, diffusing sweet fragrance abroad.
I. THE NAME OF CHRIST IS FRAGRANT TO THE SPIRITUAL SENSE OF HIS PEOPLE. In fact, the Christ is "the Anointed," who, by his appointment and devotion, is marked out as the beloved Son of God, and the honored Saviour of the world. The perfume of Divine grace, treasured up from eternity, was poured forth in abundance upon the Word when he "became flesh, and dwelt among us."
II. THE NAME OF CHRIST HAS A COSTLY, PRECIOUS FRAGRANCE. It is well known that large sums of money were lavished on the scented unguents stored in vessels, bottles, and vases of alabaster and other expensive materials. The perfumes used were brought in many cases from distant lands; they were distilled from rare and beautiful flowers; they were purchased by the wealthy and used by the luxurious.
III. THE NAME OF CHRIST POSSESSES A DELIGHTFUL AND REFRESHING FRAGRANCE. As the mere mention of the king's name was welcome to the bride and to her companions, so is the Name of our Saviour, when pronounced in the hearing of his friends, the occasion of delight. The Name of Jesus is music to the ear, and is as "ointment poured forth." It dispels the lassitude, the discouragement, the despondency, which are sometimes apt to steal into the soul of the disciple during the Master's bodily and temporary absence. It is a "Name above every name." "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart."
IV. THE NAME OF JESUS DIFFUSES A FAR-REACHING FRAGRANCE. The penetrating power of odours is well known. Poets tell of the "spicy breezes" that "blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle;" how "filled with balm the gale sighs on, though the flowers are sunk in death." Thus the precious Name of Christ sheds its sweetness far and wide, bringing life, hope, and salvation to those in remotest lands. The Plant of Renown which was bruised upon the soil of Palestine has given forth perfume of blessing which has reached the uttermost ends of the earth, reviving those ready to perish with its refreshing and reinvigorating power.
V. THE NAME OF CHRIST DIFFUSES A LASTING AND PERMANENT FRAGRANCE. It is known that some perfumes, such as musk, will continue to pour forth their sweetness day after day and year after year, diffusing effluvia unceasingly, and. yet suffering no perceptible loss of bulk, no diminution of power to give forth their special odour. Similarly is it with the power of Christ to bless mankind. Generation after generation has found healing, life, and blessing in the gospel; yet is its freshness undimmed and its power undiminished. And today more are rejoicing in the ever-fragrant Name than at any former time. Nor shall that Name ever lose its sweetness or its power. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.