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present state. The golden objects of our vision
This world's a dream, an empty show;
This will apply even to spiritual enjoyments. • When the Lord turned again the captivity of • Zion, we were like them that dream,' says the Psalmist. And how true is this in the
experience of the Christian! Our brightest views of the divine glory are as imperfect and transient as a vision. While we enjoy these divine comforts we begin to doubt them--and what is the vision when withdrawn?
The repetition of the chorus shews the conclusion of another scene-another day-and,' with us, another section. But with what beauty or connection is it here introduced ? She had dreamed of being in the company of her beloved, she supposes him still in her embraces, and she deprecates the loss of his pre
But I cannot forbear here introducing a few more lines from my favourite commentator--WATTS.
· I charge you, all ye earthly toys,
Approach not to disturb my joys ;
Chap. iii. Ver. 6-II. 1st Virgin. What is this rising from the wilderness, like
columns of smoke, Fuming with myrrh, and frankincense, More (preciouss than all the powders of the mer
chant? 2d Virgin. Behold! Solomon's own palanquin!
Threescore warriors surround it, the warriors
of Israel, Every one having a sword, being skilled in war; Each [with] his sword upon his thigh,
Because of danger in the night.
Even Solomon the king, of the wood of Lebanon.
By the daughters of Jerusalem. 2d Virgin. Go forth, ye daughters of Zion, and view King
In the day of the gladness of his heart. THIS section, like the preceding, seems not well to admit of division.
A grand scene now opens upon our view. The royal palanquin is seen coming up
from the wilderness-i. e. from Egypt, which lay beyond the wilderness. To render this scene
Its cushion-the same word 2379 is used for a seat, or saddle to ride on, Levit. xv. 9. It is properly, I think, the seat of a carriage.--Beds, i. e. carpets of gold and silver are mentioned, Esther i. 6.
intelligible, it may be necessary to give some account of the kind of carriage here introduced, and explain the other parts of the
poetical imagery, before we attempt any spiritual application.
The use of perfumes at eastern marriages is common, and, upon grand occasions, very profuse. Not only are the garments scented till, in the Psalmist's language, they smell of “myrrh, aloes, and cassia :' but it is customary for virgins to meet and lead the procession with silver-gilt pots of perfumes; and sometimes
; even the air around is rendered fragrant by the burning of aromatics in the windows of all the houses, in the streets through which the procession is to pass'. In the present instance, so liberally were these rich perfumes burnt, that, at a distance, a pillar, or pillars ? of smoke arose from them: and the perfume was so rich as to exceed in value and fragrancy all the powders of the merchant).
Harmer on Sol. Song, p. 123–5.
Twenty MSS. the LXX, Symmachus, the Syriac, and Vulgate, all read this word singular (70). The word used
920 for columns means strictly palm trees, which from their height and straitness were often used for that
purpose; pillar or column of smoke, in a calm atmosphere, strongly resembles that tree-rising very high, and then bending downwards. ·Columnæ, ad formam palmæ assurgentes.' Buxtorf.
3. More (rich, excellent, or precious)than' -—I take to be the exact force of the particle p in this place, (See in Heb. Ps. iv. 8. cx. 3. Prov. iii
. 14. Is. X. 10. Job xxxv. 2.) and so it is rendered by Junius & Tremel. and Piscator. I have rendered abekat (open) powders, rather than perfumes, as more literal; and as comprehending gold dust, which was a grand article of commerce, and probably here alluded to.
There is some difficulty to fix the speakers, to me it appears that neither the bride nor bridegroom are introduced throughout the whole of this section; but that it is a kind of dialogue between the virgins, probably in two semi-cho
The carriage here introduced appears to have been a kind of palanquin of state, sufficiently large, perhaps, to inclose both bride and bridegroom'. The magnificence of this car
these perfumes to gold dust, and the powders of the merchant, I suppose there may be an allusion to the sacred perfumes of the temple, which were not to be manufactured or used for any other purpose, under penalty of death.
The original word nun is supposed to mean a kind of litter, or open vehicle, usually called a palanquin, in which the great men of the east are carried, sometimes upon elephants or caInels, and other times on men's shoulders. The bier on which Abner was carried to his grave was probably of this nature.
See Parkhurst in 70). Niebuhr says, a palanquin completely ornamented with silver, covered with rich stuffs, and suspended on a handsome bamboo, will cost about 2ool. sterling. Travels, vol. II. p. 410.
IJ In the year 1796, the British government presented the Nabob of the Carnatic with a superb carriage of this nature, which may even vie with Solomon's, of which the following account is copied from the public prints of the time. The + beams are solid gold, the inside beautifully decorated with • silver lining and fringe throughout: the panels are painted s in the highest style of finishing, and represent various
groups and heads of animals, after the manner of Asia, • beaded with gold richly raised above the surface, and en
graved. The stays, and different other ornaments, are of • einbossed silver.'
The word anpirion (1991) used in the next verse, and rendered by our translators chariot, is of very doubtful origin and import. Most of the critics derive it from a root (oo) implying fruitfulness, and render it a bridal-bed, which was always expected to be fruitful. [So Lord Clarendon calls a
riage is not merely ideal; such are to this day employed by eastern nabobs, as may be seen in the margin.
A carriage seems also alluded to in the 45th psalm, but differing materially from this. That resembles inore the war-chariot of a conqueror, and the prince goeth forth to victory, with his sword girded on his thigh. This is the palanquin of a new-married pair, accompanied with festivity and joy. In an allegorical view, the object intended is probably the same, only considered in a different point of view.
But what is this object? The TARGUM and Jewish commentators explain it of the temple; and this was indeed a magnificent object. But something grander than the temple is here; and THEODORET, and other Christian writers, explain it of the propagation of the gospel by its first ministers, whom he considers, not improperly, as pillars of the church.
The success of the gospel is sometimes consi
numerous family, • The offspring of a very fruitful bed.') But then it must mean such a bed as the Rabins say the bride used to be carried in from her father's house to her husband's: i. e. a palanquin or litter, and so the word is used. in the Misnah, Avenarius makes it a compound word, signifying a carriage upon wheels; but the LXX. simply render it apelov, a carriage; and from the similarity of sound, Cocceius, among others, has supposed the term to have been originally Greek, and hebraised (with other foreign words) by Solomon. Pausanius mentions a nuptial chariot which contained three persons, the bride, the bridegroom, and his friend, Something like this is the Indian palanquin called Palki, in which the bride and bridegroom are carried upon inen's shoulders.