SONG OF SOLOMON 4
[Shir Hashirim 4 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]
1 Behold, thou art fair [yafeh], my love; behold, thou art fair [yafeh]; thou hast doves' [yonim] eyes within thy locks [behind your veil]: thy hair is as [ like] a flock [eder] of goats, that appear [descending] from Mount Gilead [Gil`ad].
A bride of perfect beauty.
Repetition: for surety, and emphasis, and importance. "Fair" is archaic English for beautiful. "Love" is rayah: fellow, companion, associate, friend-emphasizing unity of mind and purpose and character, for this is absolutely essential in Bride and Bridegroom.
Eyes are light and understanding, discernment, perception. The dove is the symbol of the Spirit (Jn. 1:32), of purity, gentleness, harmlessness. It was the only sacrificial bird. Here is clarity of spiritual insight; discerning of the Truth; seeing with gentleness and understanding, and sympathetic desire to help and not destroy.
It would appear that "locks" (tzammah "something fastened on") should be "veil": submission and modesty, the opposite of boldness. The Redeemed are represented as a woman, the wife and helpmeet of Christ the Head, because the ideal female characteristics are more suitable to the Redeemed than those of the male.
As specifically distinguished from the sheep, the goat is waywardness. But of itself, it was a clean and sacrificial animal. Here a flock of glossy, long-haired goats seen descending a hillside is a symbol of beauty and animation, as hair ripples and shines in the light as the head is moved. Long-not short-hair is the glory of the female (1 Cor. 11).
Hair, like the veil, is covering and submission: but it is much more. It is personal beauty; it is glory; it is multitudinous unity with the Head. In Samson, it was strength. In the Nazarite, it was separateness and dedication. In the two women who ministered to Christ (Lk. 7:28; Jn. 11:2) it was loving, humble devotion and service.
"Gilead" connotes fruitfulness and health. The name means "heap of witness" (Gen. 31:47). It was a place associated with balm and physicians: healing and ministration (Jer. 8:22). *
Behold thou art fair
—This is the constant praise of the Beloved as he gazes on the beauty of his Bride (see Ch. 1:8,15).
Why the repetition? Perhaps because he sees in her both external and internal beauty. There is an external beauty for all to see, because the prophet declares:
"Thy people shall be all righteous"
the work of Yahweh's hands that He might be glorified (Isa.60:21).
There is also an internal beauty, for, as is acknowledged in Psalm 45:13, this
"daughter of a king is all glorious within."
Mere external beauty is of little worth. The Proverbs record:
"As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which departeth from wisdom" (Prov. 11:22).
Of the virtuous woman (Prov. 31:10) it is remarked:
"Favour (deportment or grace of manner) is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth Yahweh, she shall be praised" (Prov. 31:30).
That is the basis of praise now lavished upon the Bride.
The Christadelphian Expositor
2 Thy teeth are like a flock [eder] of sheep that are even [just] shorn, which came [coming] up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins [ is matched], and none is barren [missing] among them.
Teeth have both great beauty and great usefulness. They are the aspect of eating the spiritual food that develops the spiritual mind: mastication, assimilation, rumination. Beautiful teeth indicate health, care, wise diet, and cleanliness.
The word "shorn" (kahtzav), does not seem exactly correct. It is never so translated elsewhere, and is not the normal word for shorn. A fully shorn sheep does not give the impression of beauty. This word means "formed or cut to uniform shape and size." Its close variant is translated "of one size" as applied to the Cherubim in the Most Holy, and the Temple lavers (1 Kgs. 6:25; 7:37). The idea is uniformity and balance.
The beauty of the Bride is in the balanced evenness of her eating of the Word, and of the balanced result in her character and conduct. How hard it is to keep a proper balance in our studies, in our judgments, in our treatment of others! How rare is balance: how rare is intense zeal without hyper-criticism: how rare is gentle kindness without weakness and compromise! But how important to the Bride's beauty in the eyes of her Lord. It can only come by balanced assimilation of the Word, day in and day out, eschewing crotchets.
The "washing" is quite self-explanatory: washing in the blood of the Lamb, washing by the Word. Cleanliness in every aspect of mind and body is one of the primary and fundamental lessons of the law of God. "Be ye holy even as I am holy" is the urgent, constant theme.
The sense seems rather to be
"Whereof every one is twinned, and none is bereaved."
This word for "twin" (tah'am)# is rendered "coupled together" of the boards of the Tabernacle (Ex. 26:24); and "barren" (shakkool), is always elsewhere translated "bereaved" or "robbed" (Jer. 18:21; Hos. 13:8; etc.).
It seems to further emphasize the balanced completeness of the full, even set of teeth: none missing: all perfect pairs. Gaps in the teeth destroy the beauty and unity, and impair the chewing process -- denoting wasted time, insufficient attention, and unbalanced, crotchety study. *
#The OJB translation ''is matched'' is helpful to Bro Growcott's exposition
3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely [thy mouth is naveh (lovely)]: thy temples are like a piece [half] of a pomegranate within thy locks [veil].
Here certainly is speech, a very vital aspect of the Beauty or otherwise -- of those who would be the Bride. "Thread" may seem too thin a conception for full, rounded lips of beauty; but the thought seems to be rather the delicate outline of form and shape.
"Scarlet," like the lips themselves, can be used in two very different ways. Scarlet is sin (Isa. 1: 18); but throughout the sacrificial ordinances, scarlet is rather salvation from sin by the shedding of blood. Scarlet wool was used in the cleansing of the leper, and in the preparation of the red heifer water of purification (Lev. 14:4,9; Num. 19:6). And we remember Rahab's "scarlet thread" of salvation (Jam. 2:18).
The mouth is both the primary source of sin, and the means of escape from it --
"With the mouth, confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:10).
"The lips of the righteous feed many" (Prov. 10:21).
"By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt. 12:37).
The beautiful mouth of the Bride gives forth only "the law of kindness" (Prov. 31:26), for she is the Virtuous Woman, the Ideal Wife. Criticism is a very easy habit, and it is usually indulged in by those who do little, speaking about those who do much. It is a miserable device to obscure our own shortcomings.
But the beautiful Bride's speech is "comely," both in content and in manner, for she knows that "every idle word" will be called to account at the last great Day, as Christ warns (Matt. 12:36). What a dreadful Day of reckoning we may be preparing for ourselves!
The temple is the seat of thought, judgment, character, and resolution. God said He would make Ezekiel's forehead strong against his adversaries (Eze. 3:8). The forehead is where the sealing of God's servants must occur (Rev. 7:3; 22:4) -- the transforming of the mind, and the stamping of it with the indelible impress of that which is pure and holy and divine.
The veiled temple is modesty: not bold or brazen. Again, it may be the beauty of the Spirit beneath the veil of the flesh.
Pomegranate is fruit, and it is a very special fruit in the divine imagery: the essence of all fruit. It was on the border of the High Priest's robe (Ex. 39:24), with the golden bells of salvation and praise. And four hundred brazen pomegranates capped the two great pillars of Stability and Strength -- Jachin and Boaz -- at the entrance of the Temple (1 Kgs. 7:42).
Cut through transversely, the pomegranate has twelve sections, arranged around the center like the camps of the twelve Tribes around the Tabernacle. It is full of white, pearl-like seeds in a red fluid, and seems to represent a multitudinous unity purified in the blood of the Lamb.
The eastern pomegranate is light golden brown with a tinge of pink, and would not unfittingly represent the temple of the Bride. But the word "piece" (pelakh), which implies "to break, pierce or cut," points rather to the interior of the fruit. At first consideration, it may not seem appropriate to compare the temple to an opened pomegranate, with its bright red and white; but the thought is not a direct comparison of appearance, but rather the impression of the beauty of the brilliant, jewel-like shining freshness that is revealed within when the pomegranate is opened up.
This is especially fitting in that the temple represents the mind within. Again, reverting to the veil (of the flesh), the pure white forehead showing through the heavy meshes of a red veil could have the striking appearance of a freshly opened pomegranate. *
4 Thy neck [tzavar] is like the tower of David [migdal Dovid] builded for an armoury [girt with battlements], whereon there hang a thousand bucklers [mogen], all shields of mighty [Gibborim] men.
The idea is grace and stateliness and firmness and strength: labour and steadfastness in the Truth's warfare: honour, freedom, and joy.
The neck is used in various symbols. A stiff neck is obstinacy; a stretched-forth neck is wantonness; a bowed neck is servitude. To put the neck to the work is zeal and faithful labour, and that is part of the picture here. An erect neck is freedom and joy; and chains about the neck are glory and honour, again parts of this picture. The neck connects the Head to the Body, therefore, above all things, it must be firm and strong like the tower of David.
The word for "armoury" (talpeeyoth), appears only here, and is given many interpretations. It seems to mean "tall and slender."
"Whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men."
It was customary to hang rows of brilliantly-polished shields on the central defence tower of a city: often trophies of victory from conquered enemies. From a distance they would appear as chains of gold about a neck. Here is the aspect of both spiritual and actual warfare. Victory is the hall-mark of the Bride: it marks her past and her future
"To him that overcometh (that is, overcometh himself, sin, the flesh) will I give power over the nations" (Rev. 2:26).
The victor shall have the victory. *
5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes [ofarim (fawns, young deer)]that are twins, which feed [graze] among the lilies.
The breast is the seat of the emotions. It also represents sustenance and fruitfulness, and nurture and care of the young and helpless. Perhaps maturity, and gentle, concerned, loving consideration and provision for others, are the principal indications here. And motherhood: the New Jerusalem, mother city of the Millennium, nurturing all the earth in the law of the Lord. Isaiah's glorious closing picture is --
"Rejoice ye with Jerusalem... that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations" (Isa. 66:10-11).
The two-fold aspect irresistibly points to Jewish and Gentile components of the Bride. In fact, the whole natural body is almost entirely two-fold and symmetrical: though its fundamental unity is emphasized by its most vital elements -- the mind and heart -- being single. There must be just one mind and heart in the multitudinous Body.
Lilies are the Temple flowers, the divine flowers, as pomegranates are the corresponding fruit. Lilies appear to have been purple. The name (shohshahn) means "shine," or "to rejoice."
"Roe" is tzvee. This same word is usually translated "glory" or "beauty." The animal is apparently so named because of its striking beauty of appearance and motion. It indicates speed and grace and sure-footedness in high places: the army of the Redeemed who will "tread down the wicked" under their hooves, or "straight feet" (Mal. 4:2-3; Eze. 1:7). Roes truly are not warlike animals, but neither is a lamb, symbol of their Commander. These are clean and peaceful animals, warring to establish righteousness and true, permanent peace.*
6 Until the day break [HaYom], and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh [har hamor], and to the hill of frankincense.
Myrrh is red. It means "bitter." It is medicinal and purifying. It symbolizes sorrow and sacrifice. It was associated with burial. Frankincense is white, and symbolizes prayer and praise.
Christ's custom was to go up at night into a mountain to pray. In its fullness, Calvary and Moriah comprise historically the "mountain of sacrifice and hill of prayer." It was a going up from the valley of the flesh to the mountain top of the Mercyseat and Shekinah Glory.*
7 Thou art all fair [yafeh], my love; there is no spot [mum (blemish, spot, defect, flaw)] in thee.
Are we part of the Bride? Is it our utmost and constant effort to be WORTHY to be so, to the exclusion of everything else? If not, why not? Where is wisdom? Where is plain ordinary common sense?
There IS a Bride, and she IS ever spotless. She was made white and pure in the blood of the Lamb, and she is kept spotless by dedicated, loving obedience; and striving, and repentance, and prayer. The wise will give their whole lives and energies to becoming and being part of this glorious and joyous community. That is what manifests that they are the wise. All who do not are the foolish.
"He sanctifieth and cleanseth it by the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Ecclesia, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH" (Eph. 5:26-27).
"Keep yourselves in the love of God ... Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 21-24).
If we fit into the picture; if we are in full harmony and compliance; if this is where all our heart and interest and labours and efforts center, then this Song is for our joy and comfort.
As we examine this chapter, we are impressed with the intense minuteness of the inspection. For the Redeemed, it is a loving inspection that lauds every aspect of beauty, but for the rejected and unworthy it will be very much otherwise.
The Bride is multitudinous. We must bear this in mind. It is addressed to each, individually -- but only insofar as they recognize themselves as small parts of a great whole. We must be a unity: a harmonious, loving unity. Any lack of love, any petty-minded tendency to carping criticism of our brethren destroys the Beauty and Love, as far as the critic himself is concerned. There will still be the Bride, but those who criticize habitually and by nature write themselves off from participation in her beauty. Truly there must be faithful rebuke, when faithful rebuke is called for; but it must be by divine method and motive. The fleshly critic is outside of both.*
8 Come with me from Lebanon [the Levanon], my spouse [kallah (bride)], with me from Lebanon: look from the top [come down from the heights] of Amanah, from the top of Shenir and Hermon [Senir and Chermon], from the lions' [arayot] dens, from the mountains of the leopards [hills of the nemerim].
Repetition again: sureness and urgency. A new name for the first time in this Song: My Bride. And a wonderful, eternal, intimate invitation: Come with me!
There are two views of interpretation of this verse. Is it "from" Lebanon, as away from something to be abandoned, as the high places of the earth? Or is it, as in the latter part of the verse, "Come look from Lebanon": an ascending to, and viewing of, the inheritance?
It would appear to be the latter. Lebanon was part of the promised inheritance. God says --
"I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon" (Zech. 10:10).
And in two other places in this chapter (vs. 11, 15) Lebanon is spoken of as part of the beauty and the blessing: "the smell of Lebanon," "streams from Lebanon." Lebanon means "white and pure."
"Look from Amana (Truth) and Shenir (Light) and Hermon (the 'Holy Mount')."
Hermon was almost certainly the "holy mount" (2 Pet. 1: 18) of the Transfiguration. In Psalm 133 the "dew of Hermon" is associated with "life for evermore" and unity among brethren. These are the new and purified "high places of the earth" to which the Bride is exalted: the New Heavens.
"From the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards."
These are the former dominions of the evil beast nations, the present Sin-Powers of the world -- for ages the ravenous marauders of the earth -- but now subdued and pacified under the "straight feet" of the Lamb and the Roes, when the meek inherit the earth. Truly --
"Mt. Zion is more glorious than the mountains of prey" (Psa. 76:2-4).
"The leopard shall lie down with the kid ... the lion shall eat straw ... they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My HOLY MOUNTAIN, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:6-9). *
Taking up their position upon that commanding border, the Sons of Zion may view the landscape of a goodly and glorious land, fragrant of rich odours, and flowing with milk and honey, outstretching eastward in all the length of Euphrates to the East Sea.
This is its border on the east. From the junction of the Euphrates with the Persian Gulf in lat. 30 deg., the frontier is drawn "from Tamar to Meribah of Kadesh, to the river towards the Great (or Mediterranean) Sea." This is the south border of Paradise; a line of over a thousand miles abutting upon the Nile, and thence to the sea; and affording free access to the Red Sea by the Elanitic Gulf. The boundary on the west "shall be the Great Sea from the border (south) till a man come over against (the entering in to) Hamath."
Thus we have an ample area; containing by estimation three hundred thousand square miles, for the length and "breadth of Immanuel's land," extending, as covenanted to Abraham and his Seed, "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates, for a possession in the Olahm" (Gen. 15:18).
Such is the territorial paradise or kingdom of the Deity; which all the prophets testify shall be inhabited by the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and their nobles, all of them Priests and Kings with Messiah pre-eminent in all things over all.
9 Thou hast ravished my heart [lev], my sister, my spouse [kallah]; thou hast ravished my heart [lev] with one of thine eyes [glances], with one chain of thy neck [link of thy necklace.].
Literally, "hearted me" -- that is, given me heart, or taken away my heart: probably including both thoughts. Strength of heart and oneness of heart are the basic ideas.
Here is overflowing intensity of affection and emotion of Christ for his brethren and sisters. This is the satisfaction of the travail of his soul (Isa. 53:11); the "joy set before him" for which he endured the suffering and the shame (Heb. 12:2).
It is the Bride's beauty that overcomes him. Let us note this well. If there is no beauty, there can be no love. Sympathy, perhaps, and pity, and kindly sorrow for what might have been. But no eternal, spiritual Love. That is only for those who concern themselves above all else to develop the Beauty.
Another new name. "Bride" alone is inadequate. Their relationship is far more wonderful and intimate and joyous than any human relationship. "Sister-Bride" approaches closer, for it combines two of the deepest forms of human love. He is not only the strong and glorious Bridegroom: he is the protective, caring Elder Brother.
And elsewhere the Redeemed are called his "children" (Heb. 2:13), and his "seed" (Isa. 53:10) -- drawing into the type the beauty and tenderness of a third deep form of human love: a triple bond, a three-fold cord: Bride, Sister, Daughter. The same family and background and parentage.
In the fullness of their intimacy and mutual understanding and heart-harmony, the slightest loving movement of eye or head is sufficient to arouse overflowing affection. How little is needed to convey the deepest meaning when heart is wholly knit to heart! The Bride's beauty overcomes Christ. Are we part of the Bride? -- the select few chosen from the ages. Do we realize the effort and devotion required? *
10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse [kallah]! how much better is thy love than wine [ yayin]! and the smell [scent] of thine ointments [perfumes] than all [any] spices!
How infinitely more reviving and gladdening and satisfying is the spiritual than the natural! This is "pleasure for evermore (Psa. 16:11): no brief, passing, cheating excitement whose tinsel is soon faded and dull, but eternal permanence: well worth waiting for.
"And the smell of thine ointments than all spices!"
Ointment in Proverbs (27:9), is the sweet intimate counsel of soul to soul. "Ointment" here is the common word for "oil" -- shemen -- the oil of gladness, of light, of praise, worship and thanksgiving: purifying, healing, dedicating, consecrating. Sacrifice, praise, worship, and thanksgiving are the sweet savours unto God. *
11 Thy lips, O my spouse [kallah], drop as [drip like] the honeycomb: honey [devash] and milk [cholov] are under thy tongue; and the smell [scent] of thy garments is like the smell [scent] of Lebanon [Levanon].
Her lips always overflow with golden sweetness, because that is the pure and serene state of the heart within: kindness, encouragement to others, true spiritual counsel and guidance. We are not appointed judges. We are constantly warned against habitual, unnecessary judging. Truly there are times we must judge, but very humbly and reluctantly -- not by steady, thoughtless, unfeeling fleshly habit.
Honey does not just happen effortlessly. It is the precious product of prodigious diligence and labour. A bee travels hundreds and hundreds of miles in its industrious lifetime, just to gather a total of a small spoonful of honey. The bee doesn't make the honey. It is the free and gracious gift of God. But the bee has to collect it, and prepare it, and dispense it. It brings no nourishment and sweetness just left in the flower.
"And the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon."
Aromatic trees abounded in the verdant mountains of Lebanon. God says through Hosea, of these coming, joyful days --
"I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall blossom as the lily ... his branches shall spread: his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon" (Hos. 14:5-6).
It is the life-giving dew from God that brings forth the fruition of all His Creation, to His glory:
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
The aromatic garments of the Bride are her "adorning for her husband": righteousness, holiness, kindness, gentleness: worship and obedience and loving service --
"The King's Daughter is all-glorious WITHIN. Her clothing is of wrought gold. She shalt be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework" (Psa. 45:13-14). *
12 A garden [gan] inclosed [locked] is my sister, my spouse [kallah]; a spring shut up [enclosed], a fountain [ma'ayan] sealed.
The literal of this exhibits a pardais as a very beautiful enclosure, and illustrates the form of garden our first parents were placed in at the beginning...The literal of this exhibits a pardais as a very beautiful enclosure, and illustrates the form of garden our first parents were placed in at the beginning.
Paradise is a Persian word adopted into the Greek, and expressed in Hebrew by parades or pardes. It signifies a park, a forest, or preserve; a garden of trees of various kinds, a delightful grove, &c. It is found in these texts: -- "I made me gardens (paradises) and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits" (Eccles. 2:5); and, "a garden enclosed (a paradise) is my sister spouse, &c.; thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, &c." (Cant. 4:12-13).
The latter text is part of a description of Solomon's vineyard, representative of that part of Eden over which he reigned; and metaphorical of its beauty, fertility, and glory, when the Heir of the vineyard, the "greater than Solomon," shall come to Zion, and "marry the land" of Eden, as defined in the everlasting covenant made with Abraham (Gen. 15:18). For so it is written,
"thy land, O Zion, shall no more be termed desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, (i.e., my beloved is in her), and thy land Beulah, (ie., married): for Yahweh delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee" (Isaiah 62:4-5).
When the marriage, or union, takes place between the sons of Zion, and their King, with the Land of Promise in Eden, it will again become the garden of the Lord, or Paradise, which His own right hand hath planted. For
"the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody " (Isaiah 51:3).
Elpis Israel 1.2.
A garden is the epitome of organized beauty and productiveness and fruitfulness and new life, and is a perfect type of the glorified Bride. An area is carefully selected for site and favorable conditions, separated, marked off and protected with a wall or fence, cleared, leveled, the soil tested, enriched, broken up, worked over, sown, watered, weeded, tended, sprayed, pruned -- to bring forth at last to the patient gardener an abundance of beauty of sight and smell and sound (for living creatures are part of a garden), and bountiful provision of food and healing medicines.
The Bride is enclosed, shut up, sealed: not selfishly, but for integrity, and purity, and eventual universal blessing. Safe, guarded, separated, made secure, sealed, and identified as belonging to Christ, and Christ alone. *
13 Thy plants are an orchard [pardeis (park, paradise)] of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits [p'ri]; camphire [henna], with spikenard,
In Canticles, Solomon, who had much to do with lily work and pomegranates, and fragant and choice woods in the building of the temple, makes the Bridegroom term the Bride "the Lily;" and speaking of herself, she says, "I am his, feeding among lilies" and, "a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley." And in another part of this Song of Songs, the bridegroom says of the saints forming collectively the Bride, "A garden enclosed is my sister spouse; a spring locked up, a fountain sealed. Thy shoots are plants of Paradise, pomegranates with delicious fruits."
Moses styles Palestine "a land of pomegranates," so that they came to be used as a similitude for those who shall inherit the land. They therefore constituted the hem of the typical robe of Aaron, being of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and alternating with golden bells. These plants of Paradise typifying the two classes of saints from Israel and the Gentiles, are concretely the "strong ones, by whom HE, Yahweh, will establish" the kingdom of David.
The original for "orchard" is pardais: a "paradise of pomegranates." Constant emphasis is on fruitfulness, productiveness, bringing forth bountifully for the sustenance and benefit of others: healing, sustaining, giving nourishment and joy. This is the essence of the Truth, and of those who are truly in it. Are we of the Bride?
These all have their memory-stirring connotations in Scripture, and bring many things to mind. Camphire is kopher, the same word that is translated "atonement" -- actually meaning "cover" or "cleanse": the golden Ark-cover or Mercy-seat. It is apparently so named because from it was extracted a beautiful golden dye or "covering." *
14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense [kol atzei levonah (all kinds of incense trees)]; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief [finest] spices:
Spikenard takes us to quiet Mary's loving ministration, when the odour filled the house (Jn. 12:3); she alone of all that company seeming to realize the significance and solemnity of the occasion.
Calamus and cinnamon were ingredients of the holy anointing oil, by which kings, priests, and prophets were consecrated to the service of God: consecration and service: divinely bestowed authority and dignity.
Myrrh and aloes were then needed, loving contribution of the once-fearful but suddenly bold Nicodemus, in an hour of darkness and sorrow. *
The wood of life Rev 22.2.
...a soul-inspiring symbol of the out-flowing, fragrant, genial, and happifying, influences of the New Jerusalem Paradise in the healing principles brought to bear upon the nations in its administration of the affairs of the subjected world.
The leaves of a tree are the lungs, or breathing organs, of the tree or plant. The Wood of life, vitalized by the living water of the Spirit, symbolizing the incorruptible and immortal, and most holy hosts of the new heavens, in the aggregate; the Leaves of the Wood, like the Eyes of the Four Living Ones, are the individual saints in particular; in other words, each particular leaf is a saint-constituent of the Divine institution, through which the Spirit breathes when and where He pleases.
When the earnest of the spirit was shed forth, the Spirit breathed upon the 3000 Pentecostians through the apostles, the leaf-bearing and fruitbearing branches of the true vine. The report of the wonderful works of the Deity they heard in their own tongues (Acts 2:8,11), was the breathing of the Spirit, which by the doctrine enumerated healed them of their ignorance and moral degradation.
"He breathes where he pleases".
He breathed in Jerusalem of old; he will breathe thence anew; not upon a few thousand Jews only, and through twelve men of Israel; but through "a great multitude which no man can number," upon all the millennial nations of the earth; so that as a consequence,
"the knowledge of the glory of YAHWEH shall fill the earth, as the waters cover the sea".
15 A fountain [na'yan] of gardens, a well [be'er] of living waters [mayim chayyim], and streams from Lebanon [Levanon.].
16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south [wind]; blow upon my garden [gan], that the spices [fragrances] thereof may flow out. Let my beloved [dodi] come into his garden [gan], and eat his pleasant fruits [let him taste its choice pri (fruits)].
The north wind may be pleasantly cooling, or it may be bitterly cold. The south wind may be comforting and warming, or it may be burning and scorching. Cold and heat, affliction and comfort, smiting judgment and loving care, all have their place. Plants need the strengthening and variety of extremes of weather -- up to a point: to stir up, to activate, to bring to life and fruition. God giveth the increase.
"Let my Beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruit."
So ends the chapter, and so similarly ends the whole Song --
"Make haste, my Beloved!" (8:14) ...
"Even so come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:14)
"Let him eat his pleasant fruit." Will he find fruit? We know he will: but shall we have participated in providing for his joy the "pleasant fruits" described in this chapter? Can we join in this appeal?
Verse 1 of chapter 5 actually belongs at the end of this chapter
"I am come into my garden, my Sister-Bride. I have gathered my spice. I have eaten my honey. I have drunk my wine. Eat, O friends! Drink abundantly, O Beloved!"
Here is the climax: the consummation: the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. May we all have the wisdom to choose the narrow, lonely, but glorious path that will safely lead us there! *
* Bro Growcott - Come With Me, My Sister-Bride