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Who patrol the city ;
To the chamber of her that bare me.'
By the gazelles and the lawns of the field,
Till she please. I-- 2 :7--3:5.) IV. The daughters of Jerusalem see a nuptial procession approaching the city from the country, and they describe it in the following terms:
Who is this approaching from the country,
In the day of the joy of his heart.—(3:6--11.) V. Dialogue between Shelomoh and Shulamith :
Shel.-A garden enclosed
Is my sister bride;
1 Feminine verb again. ,
· Chaste, inaccessible.
Myrrh and aloes,
That its fragrance may flow.
And eat its costly fruits.?
My sister bride,
Drink and be satisfied, my loved ones.-(4:12–5:1.) VI. A night scene; Shulamith addresseth the daughters of Jerusalem, whom she meets in her search for Shelomoh, tells them what had happened to her, and why she was in search of him; and then follows a dialogue between herself and the daughters of Jerusalem.
I was sleeping, but my heart was awake.
I have taken off my dress, how shall I put it on ?6
If ye meet my beloved, * All a figurative description of the charms of the bride, > Sbe affects to understand him literally. 3 He tells her he is already there. • What lover would say this in respect to his beloved, in a literal love-song? » He speaks to her.
6 She replies,
7 Narrative resumed. • Perfumed by him. • Oriental manners force upon us the allegorical interpretation of such a poem,
What shall ye tell him ?
That I am fainting with love.
Thou fairest of women ?
That thou dost thus adjure us ?
Distinguished among a myriad;
O daughters of Jerusalem !
Thou fairest of women,
We would seek him with thee.
To the garden bed of spices,
He feeds his flock among the lilies.-(5:2–6:3.) VII. A morning scene in the garden. Shelomoh goes into his garden early in the morning, and there unexpectedly sees Shulamith, and exclaims :
Shel.-Who is this,
That looks forth like the morning dawn,
Terrible as a host in battle array ?
To see to the fruits in the vale ;
i The soft, full, rich, moving, loving expression of the eyes.
My soul was as the war chariot i
Of my noble people.
I would look upon thee.
As upon a chorus of dancers ?3 (6: 10-12.) VIII. The brothers of Shulamith are introduced, consulting together as to what they shall do with their sister, now that she is addressed by Shelomoh, pretending that she is too young to receive such addresses. She replies to them indignantly; then follows the concluding dialogue between herself and Shelomoh. First Brother.–Our sister is yet young;
Her bosom is not full.4
Now that she is addressed ?
If she be a gate, we will shut it up with boards of cedar.s
My bosoms are towers;
The keepers shall have two hundred.?
Thine associates await thy voice,
Let me hear it.
Like the gazelle, like the fleeting fawn,
The above specimens may suffice to give an idea of the general tone and spirit of this interesting relic of antiquity. The translations are free, but I believe they are in strict fidelity to the meaning and form of the original. The subject is the more important on account of the misunderstandings which are so general with reference to this book. These misunderstandings have prevailed to such an extent, that many even now are disposed to deny the book a place among the canonical Scriptures. Objections to its place in the canon, however, are wholly arbitrary ; they have not a shadow of testimony to give them plausibility. The attempt, I think, has never been made to displace it from the canon on philological grounds; and I presume, never will be made by any one acquainted with the subject. It is true there is no express quota tion from it in the New Testament, and it is true also that it is not expressly quoted by Philo; but its existence as a part of the canon is recognised by Josephus, and all the early Christian writ ers, and it has always made a part of the Septuagint translation, which was completed probably some 200 years before Christ. On this topic the statements and reasonings of Eichhorn in his Einleztung ins Alt. Test., Th. I., 109–179, wholly exhaust the subject, and are perfectly unanswerable.
! Excitement occasioned by even the unseen and unknown approach of her beloved.
2 She has turned to go away.
5 If she is chaste (like a wall) we will ornament her; if she is open (like a gate) we will shut her up.
6 She replies indignantly in their own style. ? The keepers had cheated him, but she will do him justice. Herself is the vineyard, which she keeps, and keeps it for him.
8 They escape from the envious brothers; their union is perfected, and the
1. The testimony of Josephus, in his work against Apion, I., 8, compared with Antiq. viii., 2:5, is entirely explicit with reference to this book.
2. Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in the second century of the Christian era, went to Palestine on purpose to ascertain the Scriptural books of the Jewish canon, and found the Canticles among the number.- Euseb. Eccl. Hist. iv., 26.
3. Origen, of Alexandria, the best biblical scholar of his time (born A.D. 185, died 253), after the most patient and accurate investigation, came to the same result.--Euseb. Eccl. Hist. vi., 25.
4. Jerome, in the fifth century, the most learned critie of the Latin church, in his Prologus galeatus to the Vulgate, gives the same testimony.
5. The Jewish Talmud, written between the second and fourth centuries, witnesses the same.
6. So also Theodoret, the learned bishop of Cyprus, A.D. 450, testifies in the same way. Indeed, the testimony is uniform ; it is all on one side. Compare Eichhorn as above, and Rosenmüller, Scholia in Vet. Test., P. ix., vol. 2, p. 269–272.
If a fact can be established by testimony, it is established by testimony that the Song of Solomon was a part of the Hebrew canon in the time of Christ. Nor is there
internal evidence against it; but as far as that goes, it is all in its favor, for there are other portions of the Old Testament acknowledged to be canonical, which are exceedingly like it both in sentiment and imagery. Let the reader carefully consult passages like the following: Ps. 45: Jer. 3: Ezek. 16:, 10:, 13: Hos. 1., 2., 3: and compare Lowth's Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, Lect. xxx. and xxxi., and the notes on these lectures in the Andover edition, 1829.