Imatges de pÓgina

to be accompanied by stringed, and others by wind instruments'. This, though it may appear a trifling distinction in itself, might be of some importance to ascertain the nature of the poetic composition. This idea was suggested by a hint of Sir W. JONES', who observes that the music of the Greeks was accompanied with different instruments, according to the different modes, as the Phrygian with the sound of trumpets, &c. So that a Phrygian was a trumpet-air, a Lydian a flute-air, and so of the rest.

If any thing like this obtained among the Hebrews, the stringed instruments probably accompanied the more cheerful strains, and the softer wind instruments, as the organ, &c. the more plaintive.

We have supposed the Hebrew Psalms were performed in dialogue, and this rests not merely on supposition. On some occasions we know that they answered one another, and then doubtless joined in chorus. But as this subject may be resumed, when we come to consider the Song of Solomon as a sacred drama, I shall here conclude the present section, and with it, our first Introductory Essay..

'Those for stringed instruments are Ps. iv, vi, liv, &c. But one only is marked for wind instruments, namely, Ps. v. Essay II. added to his Asiatic Poems.


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WE now bend our attention to the second general object of enquiry, which will comprehend several particulars, viz.—the author and antiquity of this book-the occasion on which it was composed-the nature of the piece-the images employed-the allegorical designthe inspiration of the book-and an historical sketch of the commentaries upon it.


Let us enquire first for the AUTHOR of this poem, and, in so doing, endeavour to ascer-、 tain its antiquity, and, as nearly as possible, its date. I admit that the titles of the sacred books of the Old or New Testament, are not always either of divine authority, or of very high antiquity: but this I think is clearly so, as being a part of the book itself, and forming the first verse of it, which runs thus: The 'Song of Songs, which is SOLOMON's,' or of Solomon. The only question here is, whether the prefix lamed, employed in the original, intimate that it was written by, or concerning,

Solomon. Admitting that it may sometimes, bear the latter rendering, it is, I think, comparatively very seldom; its certain, usual, and authorized meanings are, to, for, with, or BY, answering to the dative and ablative cases, which are (if we may apply the term cases to that language) usually blended in the Hebrew, as well as in the Greek. That lamed is used for BY, as indicating the author, appears from the titles of the Psalms, and other Hebrew poems. Thus several of them are said to be psalms of (or by) David, and they are attributed to him in the New Testament, both by our Lord and his apostles'. So we read of psalms of Asaph, of Solomon, and of Heman;

'Matt. xxii. 43. Acts, ii. 25, &c.,

2 The principal argument I am aware of in favour of understanding this prefix (5), in the sense of concerning, is, that it is so used in the title of Ps. lxxii. which seems by the last verse to be written by David- the prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.'-To this I an swer,

1. That some of the best critics and expositors understand this, not as if it were the last of David's Psalms (for that is not said), but as containing the result and completion of his prayers; as if the universality of Messiah's kingdom was the end, the sum, the accomplishment of David's prayers [Vide Poli Syn. Crit.], or that this was the last subject on which David prophesied, as we see in 2 Sam. xxiii. 1. [Ainsworth]. If either of these senses be admitted, it will not prove that David was the author.

2. Dr. Durell imagines this verse to be an interpolation; but I think it would be much more correct to suppose it the note of some ancient Jewish transcriber, who took the psalm (as many have done) for the last which he composed. That it is no genuine part of the psalm, is I think sufficiently evident from the conclusion of the preceding verse with a double Amen. So the 1st book (as the Jews divide it)

of the prayers of Moses, of Habbakuk, &c.; which certainly cannot mean prayers concerning those prophets. This sense is also confirmed by the ancient versions, and particularly by the Septuagint. The other rendering concerning Solomon, clearly originated with the allegorical rabbins and Christian fathers, who, attributing the poem to the Messiah, as the antitype of Solomon, availed themselves of the equivocation of the Hebrew prefix as an argument in their favour. I admit their hypo


ends with Ps. xlii. the 3d with Ps. lxxxix.-the 4th with Ps. cvi. all with double amen, as this concludes the 2d book. Farther, this verse does not appear to be poetry, as are the preceding, and is therefore omitted in the poetic versions of Buchanan, Dr. Watts, Mrs. Rowe, &c. as it is also in the comment of Bp. Horne, who takes no notice of it. As to the ancient versions, it is inserted in the LXX. but omitted in the Arabic, which instead of it inserts hallelujah.

3. Admitting the disputed verse in its common acceptation, it yet will not prove that the preceding pfalm was David's, for we know that the 50th pfalm, which falls into the same book, was Asaph's. It is true the LXX understand the above psalm to be David's, [es] for Solomon; but the Chaldee paraphrase says, 'This psalm was given by the hand of • Solomon in prophecy,' namely, of the Messiah; and I conceive the internal evidence of the psalm leads the same way. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness to the king's son,' i. e. give me, the son of David, who am now king in his stead, the communication of wisdom and grace to reign, and to be a proper type of my great defcendant the Messiah-for it is chiefly of his kingdom that the author speaks, as the ancient Jews readily confess. In Ps. xxi. David prays concerning himself in a similar manner-The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord,' &c.

4. Since writing the above, I find Michaelis is of opinion that this is the end of the first collection of psalms, which ' was made, probably under Solomon, for the service of the temple.'

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thesis, but shall endeavour to vindicate it from better authority, because I disdain to employ an argument which appears to me fanciful, untenable, and invented only to serve a


In this Song of Solomon, the Seventy take the lamed, as they do in the Psalms, for the sign of its author, and render it like our translators'. Even those critics, who incline to the other rendering, which makes Christ (the true Solomon) the subject of the song, are yet generally disposed to include the literal Solomon as its author, and this is certainly the case as to the Jewish writers, as we may have farther occasion to observe.

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Now that Solomon composed a great variety of songs or poems, we are told by the inspired author of the book of Kings', who enumerates them at one thousand and five;' some of these we perhaps have in the book of Psalmsothers may be included in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes-and the rest lost, or perhaps, as being only the extemporaneous effusions of his genius, were never committed to writing; but this is called the Song of 'Songs,' as being the most considerable and important; or, for the peculiar excellency of its subject3.


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O ESTI Zaλwμav. The Syriac calls it, The wisdom of wifdoms of the same Solomon,' i. e. the same who wrote the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.


1 Kings, iv. 32. comp. Ecclus. xlvii. 17.

So Holy of holies, King of kings, Heaven of heavens, and more particularly, Ornament of ornaments," Ezek.

xvi. 7.

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