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in the common version bed; nor is the difference so great'as may appear to a mere English reader; since the eastern beds are usually mats, mattrasses, or carpets spread upon the düan, a part of the room elevated above the rést. To these a green plat or lawn would very aptly correspond, and miglit be very properly 'stiled “ á verdant carpet*;" just as an
à eastern poet speaks of the carpet of the garden' bespangled with gold':
But what is the design of this expression? Mr. HARMER, who supposes this scene to be at some distance froin Jerusalem, understands the words as expressing a modest wish to delay the consummation of the marriage by protracting her journey; but we suppose that period to be past; and, if not, such an interpretation appears to' me unnatural and inconsistent in a bride so much flattered with her new connexion, and so enamoured of her royal bridegroom.
Dr. DODERLEIN considers the passage as the commendation of a rural life in preference to a residence in the metropolis ; while, in the next verse, the bridegroom describes the splendour. of a palace, of which the meanest parts were formed of cedars, and of fir, or cypress”.
Ensoof Zooleika, appended to White's Institutes of Tamur.
* If Kiroth, 1977, inean beams, the corresponding word should be rafters, which the original is allowed to bear. Rahithe, 0977, is supposed to be from the Chaldee 1077, currere, to run. [Buxtorf.] In the first instance it evidently means canals in which water runs for cattle, Gen. 38, 41.
But a learned and ingenious friend, who has favoured this version with his perusal, harmonizes the verses thus: He supposes that, while a verdant lawn, perhaps glowing with the intermixture of the most beautiful flowers, forms their carpet, they were seated in an alcove, artificially formed by the intervening branches of the cedar and the fir-tree, to shelter them from the scorching sun-beams. Thus the cedars and the firs might be poetically called the beams and rafters of their choisk, summer-house, or arbour.-This I confess appears to me far the most beautiful and elegant idea, and the moral 2dly, It may here mean rafters, being so used both in the Misnah and in the Midrash, as Dr. Gill observes from R. Solo Jarchi) because perhaps rafters are so laid as to form a resemblance of canals in their interstices; and 3d, in another part of this song, (chap. vii. 5.) it is used for galleries, ambulacra (Buxtorf) which have also an evident resemblance to the primary meaning of the word. It must be confesssd our common printed copies here read
. MSS. one edition, all the ancient versions, and a Greek MS. in the library of St. Mark, at Venice, read the word plural, either 107 or 800. Vid. Doderlein Scholia in V. T. p. 193; Notæ Crit. in Cant. in Repert. Bibl. et Or. t. vii. p. 224. et Paulus Repert. Or. t. xvii. p. 138.] Buxtorf, though he writes 190m, places it under the root 27,
Eight .רהיטנו but many MSS. and additions read :רחיטנו
• Scribitur cum , sed juxta Masor. legitur There is another doubtful word in this verse. D'112, according to Ainsworth, are brutine trees, (called by Pling • bruta') resembling the cypress, with whitish branches, and of an vdoriferous scent. So the LXX. KUTUPIGG0., and Vulg. cypressina, cypress trees. But others suspect that, by the exchange of a single letter, this is used for own, (which indeed is the reading of several MSS. both in Kennicott and De Rossi) commonly rendered firs.
or spiritual improvement will be founded on
be mistaken; and if my reader approve the more general idea, of a contrast between the verses, as marking the difference between a rural choisk and a royal palace, I am not willing to impede his spiritual improvement by withholding a farther remark on this supposition; namely, that though the Lord doth often vouchsafe to his people much happiness and pleasure in retirement, and in private communion, yet his special presence and blessing are to be sought for in his public ordinances, in his holy temple : for the • beams of his house are cedar, and his rafters are of fir.'
• No beams of cedar or of fir
The TARGUM applies this to the third temple, which the Jews expect to be built in the
days of the king Messiah, whose beams will • be of the cedars of the garden of Eden, and
whose rafters will be of brutine, fir, and box.' Apply this to the Christian church, the true emple of Messiah, and it may lead us to remark, that this is composed of the most va
make a progress.
luable and durable materials: not rotten hypocrites or painted professors ; but sound and savory believers.
I may add, once more, that we are too apt to rest in present attainments and present enjoyments in religion, without endeavouring to
We are, like PETER, for building tabernacles, and saying, “ It is good ; for us to be here,' when it is better for us to go forward in our journey. For whatever pleasures, or happiness, we may find in our present attainments and privileges, the Lord hath better and richer blessings in reserve for us. We may say with DAVID, the lines have fallen to ' us, (that is, our lot hath been marked out)
in pleasant places,' or with Solomon, verdant • is our carpet;' but what are present enjoyments to what God is capable of bestowing ? What are temporal and transitory blessings to those which are eternal ? And what are the tents and tabernacles in which he dwells on earth to his palace in the heavens?
Ch. II. Ver. 1-3. Sprouse. I'am a rose of Sharon;
A lily of the vallies. Bridegroom. As a lily among thorns,
So is my consort among the daughters. Spouse. As the citron-tree among the trees of the wood,
And his fruit was sweet' unto my taste. If I mistake not, the chapters should not have been separated here, because the scene and çonyersation are continued. The spousė, per
haps with the most beautiful productions of the royal garden in her view, ventures to compare herself, not with them, but with the more humble natives of the fields and vallies. Here I'conceive may be an allusion to her conversation with the virgins in the former chapter ; and the thought might be naturally suggested by the assemblage of beauty collected at the royal nuptials. I am á rose, says she, “and
am now transplanted into the royal garden ; - but I am not a native of this soil. I was not • educated in a palace; though I was born “there. My mother's sons were angry with me, they made me a keeper of the vineyards,
and I became an inhabitant of the fields : " there I should have bloomed and died, sunnoticed and unadmired, had not provi"dence opened a way for my removal hi• ther.'
Sharon was a fertile plain, famous for its pastutes, as appears from 1 Chron. xxvii. 29. A part, at least, of this district, in which a town of the same name was situated (1 Chron. v. 16) is said in the Mishnah (title Sota) to have been of a peculiarly dry and sandy soil, which is the best . adapted for the growth of roses; and it is probable that they were here cultivated for their use in perfumes, which form an important article of commerce in the east. The LXX read a rose of the field,' which gives the same general idea, though not so accurate.
By a “ lily of the vallies' we are not to understand the humble flower generally so called with us, the lilium convallium; but the nobler flower which ornaments our gardens; and which in Palestine grows wild in the fields, and especially in the vallies, among the corn.' • See the lilies of the
field, how they grow:yet Solomon, in all his glory, was ! not arrayed like one of these.' Matt. vi. 28, 29.