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Song of Solomon 4

Chapter 4

Vs. 4:1-5:1: These verses seem to be a unit.  The Beloved lavishly praises the girl’s physical beauty and invites her to come with him, for he desires and expects to enjoy her company.  His desires (and the girl’s) are fulfilled.

v. 5: See also 2:16 and 6:34:5-6 obviously allude to 2:16-17, but I do not believe these two sections refer to the same event.  I do believe that 2:8-3:5 and 5:2-6:3 refer to the same event, but verses 4:1-5:1 describe a scene where the lovers come together, whereas those in 2:8-3:5 (as well as 5:2-6:3) describe a scene when the lovers are parted.  Therefore, I suspect that this allusion to 2:16-17 is intended to remind the girl of the time when she and he were parted earlier, but also to contrast that parting by mentioning their present togetherness.  See also notes on 4:6.

v.6: The phrase “until the day breaks and the shadows flee away” links this passage to 2:17, as also does the reference to a mountain, but here the mountain is “the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense.”  In 2:17 the mountain is “the mountain of separation.”  Verses such as 4:16-5:1 suggest that being on the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense means enjoying the company of the girl (sexually or otherwise) “until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”  However, being on the mountain of separation suggests being apart from the girl “until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”  Thus, while I do believe 4:6 alludes to 2:17, I do not believe these two verses describe the same event.  See also notes on 4:5.

v. 8: Concerning this passage, Barnes writes, “Four peaks in the same mountain-system are here named as a poetical periphrasis for northern Palestine, the region in which is situated the native home of the bride.”  I agree with Barnes, and I believe that the Beloved is calling the girl to leave her home and join him, which she does in 3:6.  Perhaps this also is an allusion to 2:10 where the Beloved calls her to join him.  However, there she does not come with him; thus, I suspect that v. 8 here describes a later time, a time when she accepts his invitation.

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