My beloved [is] unto me [as] a cluster of camphire in the
vineyards of Engedi.
] Engedi was a place near Jericho, and famous for palm trees, as that was, hence called Hazazontamar, ( 2 Chronicles 20:2 ) . Pliny
``this beautiful and odoriferous plant, "alhenna", if it is not annually cut, and kept low, grows ten or twelve feet high, putting out its little flowers in clusters, which yield a most grateful smell, like camphire.''But, after all, perhaps the Cyprus vine is here meant, which, according to Pliny F25, was the best and largest of vines; and which, though it grew in Cyprus, from whence it had its name, yet some plants of it might be obtained by Solomon, and planted in the vineyards of Engedi; or there were such there like them, and were called by the same name: Jarchi, from an ancient exposition of theirs, relates, that the vineyards of this place brought forth fruit four or five times a year; Alshech says seven. Now as Christ compares himself to a vine, ( John 15:1 ) ; the church may compare him to a cluster of the grapes of the Cyprus vine, reckoned the best; there being a cluster of all perfections, divine and human, in him; and of all the spiritual blessings of the everlasting covenant, and of all the precious promises in it; and of all the grace of the Spirit, and the fulness of it, which is in him. The Jews calls a man, eminent for virtue, and a large share of knowledge, "clusters" F26; and they interpret "eschol", a cluster, by (wh lkhv vya) , "a man that has all things in him" F1: such an one is Christ, in the highest sense, having all perfections, excellencies, and virtues, in him. Some leave the word untranslated, "copher" F2, and which has the signification of atonement and propitiation; and so well agrees with Christ, who is the propitiation for sin, and has made atonement for it. Bishop Patrick observes, that the ancient Hebrew doctors, by dividing the first word "eschol", found out the mystery of the Messiah; considering it as if thus read, (rpwk lk vya) , "my beloved is unto me the man that propitiates" or "expiates all things"; that is, all sins and transgressions: in the Talmud F3 it is explained,
``he, whose all things are, has atoned for my iniquity;''which Christ has done for his church and people; and which makes him precious, and is matter of joy and gladness to them, ( Romans 5:11 ) ( 3:25 ) ( 1 John 2:2 ) ( 4:10 ) .