Imatges de pÓgina

any weight as a tradition, it was probably started only as an, argument to prove that conversion which it supposes'. On the contrary, the style and figures employed by no means agree to this hypothesis; and differ totally from those of Ecclesiastes, which is generally, and most reasonably, referred to this latter period.

They who consider the book as carnal and obscene, will no doubt be pleased to refer it to the period of Solomon's dissipation and debauchery; but neither is this situation favourable to finished composition; nor is there any reason to believe, that at this time Solomon composed at all: this, therefore, can only rest on a conjecture made merely with a view to serve an hypothesis, which I hope to overthrow, when I come farther to enquire into the nature and design of the poem.

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From the passage in which threescore queens and fourscore concubines' are mentioned, Mr. Harmer, and some others, have supposed the book to have been written when Solomon's wives and concubines did not exceed that number, consequently, some considerable time before they were multiplied to three hundred of the former, and seven hundred of the latter'. But, as I think with


The son of Sirach enumerates first Songs, then Proverbs (Ecclus. xlvii. 18.), but the Jews, in Midras, observe that in 1 Kings, v. 32. Proverbs are mentioned first.

2 I confess that in this early date of the book I oppose very respectable authority beside that of the rabbins, namely, Dr. LIGHTFOOT and Dr. GILL, who place it full twenty years after Solomon's marriage, from the mention of

bishop Patrick, that the ladies there mentioned were not those of Solomon's seraglio, I refer the poem to a still higher date, and shall endeavour to prove it written on a prior occasion, namely his marriage with Pharoah's daughter.



THE next important object of enquiry then, is the occasion on which this poem was composed. That it was a nuptial poem is, I think, universally admitted, and cannot with any appearance of reason be denied. That it was ' during or soon after the marriage solemnity is, I conceive, fairly inferable from several passages: as when the virgins are invited to be-hold king Solomon in his nuptial crown, the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in

the tower of Lebanon, chap. vii. 4. But it is not certain that the tower of Lebanon was the same as the house of the forest of Lebanon, 1 Kings, vii. 2. (See my note on ch. vii. 4.) nor is it certain that all these were built in succession; so that the temple, and his palace at Jerusalem, were both complete before the house at Lebanon was begun. Much less does Mr. WHISTON's remark upon Amminadab's being the same as Abinadab, merit much attention, since they are evidently different names, and were most likely different petsons; or rather the former two Hebrew words compounded into a proper name by mistake. (See the note on ch. vi. 12.) Chariots also were introduced before the reign of Solomon. See 2 Sam. xv. I.- -1 Kings, i. 5.

the day of his espousals, which it is not likely was worn long after the nuptials; and when they are directed to behold the bridal bed, or palanquin, brought up in state to the palace. The same deduction may be made from other passages- The king hath brought me into his apartments the king is waiting in the galle'ries,' &c.

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The only marriage of Solomon, which is particularly noticed in the scriptures, is that with Pharoah's daughter, and to this occasion has the piece before us generally been referred'. Several objections have indeed been made to this supposition; but all of them, when examined, appear to me arguments in its favour, rather than objections.

It has been said, that the nature of the fortune which this princess brought to Solomon is inconsistent with the supposition of her being Pharoah's daughter. The portion alluded to is a vineyard which yielded a thousand pieces of silver, and this is thought inconsistent with the character of an Egyptian princess. But

1 Dr. Croxall, in the preface to his Fair Circassian, refers to a small Arabian MSS. found in a marble chest in the ruins of Palmyra, and mentioned (as he says) in the Philosophical Transactions of Amsterdam, 1558, and deposited in the university of Leyden; which MSS. he tells us, contains memoirs of the court and seraglio of Solomon; and mentions a beautiful Circassian captive, with whose charms Solomon was so enraptured, that he never left the seraglio for a month after she was brought there; but as all the parts of this story bear evident marks of fiction, and were not, I suppose, intended to be believed, I conceive it unnecessary to answer it particularly.

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the sacred historian happily settles this difficulty, by informing us that Pharoah gave his daughter a portion which very well agrees with our supposition, and was probably the vineyard here referred to: for the Hebrews did not confine the term to plantations of the vine, but extended it to any kind of plantations, either of fruit-trees or odoriferous shrubs'. Now, the inspired writer tells us that Pharoah, king of Egypt, having gone up and taken Gezer, • burnt it with fire, slew the Canaanites that dwelt there, and gave it for a present unto his daughter, 'Solomon's wife'2; and Solomon built Gezer. Now this Gezer is supposed by RELAND3, apparently with good reason, to have been the same as Gazara, in the neighbourhood of Joppa; and the latter is described by JosEPHUS as a fruitful country, and abounding with springs of water. Mr. WOOD, describing the valley of Bocat, in which stand the magnificent ruins of Balbec, compares it with the fertile plain of Rama, on the borders of which Gazara or Gadara is situated. Now as Gazara was probably the ancient Gaza, it is likelythat Balbec might be in or near the ancient Baal-hammon. If so, there is the more propriety in the comparison between the two spots.


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The bride's nother being supposed to have

1 Harmer on Sol. Song. p. 34. See ch. i. 14. vii. 12.


1 Kings, ix. 16, 17.

3 Palæst. p. 778.


Antiq. lib. viii. cap. vi. § 1.

an apartment within the palace of Solomon' is another circumstance that has been thought utterly inconsistent with the supposition of the bride's being the daughter of the king of Egypt; but if this be part of the relation of a dream, as I think, with Dr. DoDERLEIN, there is good reason to conclude, this objection vanishes: or, even without supposing this, I know not that we have sufficient proof from the modern etiquette of eastern princesses, but that the mother of Solomon's queen (especially if somewhat in years) might be suffered to accompany her daughter on the occasion of so grand an alliance; and if she were, there is no doubt but she would be honoured with apartments in the palace.

As to the supposed hint, that this lady was one of the daughters of Jerusalem, i. e. an inhabitant of that city; as it rests on a forced translation of no authority, it does not require a particular answer3. But the bride's coming up from the wilderness is another circumstance which merits observation; since when the sacred writers speak indefinitely of the wilderness, without specifying any wilderness in particular, it appears that they always intend

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Ch. iii. 4.

2 Notes to Dr. Percy's Trans. p. 86. and Dr. Hodgson on Sol. Song.

The middle thereof wrought [in needle work] by her 'whom he loveth [best] among the daughters of Jerusalem. See chap. iii. 10. in the following translation, and Dr. Percy's notes, p. 67, 8.

Chap. iii. 6. viii. 5.


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