Song of Solomon 4:1
Behold, thou [art] fair, my love; behold, thou [art] fair
The same as in ( Song of Solomon 1:15 ) ; here repeated by Christ, to introduce the following commendation; to express the greatness of his love to his church; and show that he had the same opinion of her, and esteem for her, notwithstanding what had passed between that time and this;
thou [hast] doves' eyes within thy locks;
the same comparison, (See Gill on Song of Solomon 1:15); only with this difference, here her eyes are said to be "within [her] locks": which, whether understood of the ministers of the Gospel; or of the eyes of the understanding, particularly of, the eye of faith, as has been observed on the above place; do not seem so much to design the imperfection of the sight of the one or of the other, in the present state, as eyes within or under locks and in some measure covered with them, hinder the sight of them; as the modesty of either of them; locks being decently tied up, as the word signifies F9, is a sign thereof, as the contrary is a sign of boldness and wantonness. Doves' eyes themselves are expressive of modesty and humility, and, this phrase added to them, increases the idea; such ministers, who have the largest gifts, greatest grace, light, and knowledge, are the most humble, witness the Apostle Paul; and this phrase expresses the beauty of them, not only in the eyes of Christ, but in the eyes of those to whom they publish the good tidings of salvation: and so it may denote what an exceeding modest grace faith is, which receives all from Christ, and gives him all the glory, and takes none to itself; and what a beauty there is in it, insomuch that Christ is ravished with it, ( Song of Solomon 4:9 ) ; and seems rather to be the sense here;
thy hair [is] as a flock of goats;
like the hair of goats, so Ben Melech. Hair adds much to the comeliness of persons, and is therefore frequently mentioned, both with respect to the bride and bridegroom, in this song, ( Song of Solomon 5:1 ) ( 6:5 ) ( 7:5 ) ; and so in all poems of this kind F11; and one part of the comeliness of women lies in their hair;
``let a woman, says Apuleius F12, be adorned with ever such fine garments, and decked with gold and jewels, yet, without this ornament, she will not be pleasing; no, not Verus herself.''The women F13 in Homer, are described by their beautiful hair; nor is it unusual to compare the hair of women, and represent it as superior to a fleece of the choicest flock F14. And here the church's hair is said to be like the hair of goats, for that is the sense of the expression; and which is thought to be most like to human hair, ( 1 Samuel 19:13 ) ; and it is compared to that, not so much for its length and sleekness, as for its colour, being yellowish; which, with women formerly, was in esteem, and reckoned graceful F15; this being the colour of the hair of some of the greatest beauties, as Helena, Philoxena, and others, whose hair was flaxen and yellow; hence great care was taken to make it look so, even as yellow as gold F16: the Jewish women used to have their perukes, or false hair, of goats' hair, and still have in some places to this day F17; and it should seem the Roman women also had, to which the poet F18 refers. And the church's hair here is said to be like the hair of a flock of goats,
that appear from Mount Gilead;
or rather "on Mount Gilead", as Noldius: Gilead was a mountain in the land of Israel, beyond Jordan, famous for pasturage for cattle, where flocks of goats were fed, as was usual on mountains F19; and, being well fed, their hair was long, smooth, neat, and glistering; and so to spectators, at a distance, looked very beautiful and lovely; especially in the morning at sun rising, and, glancing on them with its bright and glittering rays, were delightful. So R. Jonah, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, which signifies the morning, interprets it, which "rise early in the morning"; and which, as Schultens F20 observes, some render,
``leading to water early in the morning;''the Vulgate Latin version is, "that ascend from Mount Gilead", from a lower to a higher part of it; which is approved of by Bochart F21. Now the hair of the church may be interpreted either of believers, the several members of the church of Christ; the hairs of the head are numerous, grow upon the head, and have their nourishment from it; are weak in themselves, but depend upon the head, and are an ornament to it: so the saints, though few in comparison of the world, yet by themselves are a great number, which no man can number; these grow upon Christ, the Head of the church, and receive their nourishment from him; and, though weak in themselves, have strength from him, and have their dependence on him; and are an ornament and crown of glory to him; and who are cared for and numbered by him, so that no one can be lost; see ( Ezekiel 5:1-5 ) . Or rather it may be interpreted of the outward conversation of the saints; hair is visible, is a covering, and an ornament, when taken care of, and managed aright, and has its dependence and is influenced by the head: the good conversation of the church and its members is visible to all, as the hair of the head, and as a flock of goats on Mount Gilead; and is a covering, though not from divine justice, yet from the reproaches of men; is ornamental to believers, and to the doctrine they profess; especially when their conversation is ordered aright, according to the weird of God, and is influenced by grace, communicated from Christ, the Head.
F9 (Ktmul) "intra ligamina tua", some in Vatablus; "vittam suam", Cocceius; "constrictam comam tuam", Michaelis, so Jarchi. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 2. Ode 11. v. 23, 24.
F11 Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. Nupt. Honor. Ode 1. v. 12.
F12 Metamorph. l. 2.
F13 Juno, Iliad. 10. v. 5. Diana, Odyss. 20. v. 80. Minerva, Iliad. 6. v. 92. Latona, Iliad. 1. v. 36. & 19. v. 413. Circe, Odyss. 10. v. 136, 220, 310. Calypso, Odyss. 5. v. 30. Helena, Iliad. 3. v. 329. & passim; Thetis, Iliad. 18. v. 407. & 20. v. 207. Ceres, Odyss. 5. v. 125. Nymphs and others, Odyss. 6. v. 222, 238. & 12. v. 132. & 19. v. 542. So Venus is described by Claudian. de Nupt. Honor. v. 99. "Casariem tunc forte Venus subnixa corusco fingebat solio".
F14 "Quae crine vincit Boetici gregis vellus", Martial. l. 5. Ep. 38.
F15 "Nondum illi flavum" Virgil. Aeneid. 4. prope finem. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 5. v. 4. Martial. Epigr. l. 5. Ep. 65.
F16 "Aurea Caesaries", Virgil. Aeneid. 8. v. 659. Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. de Rapt. Proserp. l. 3. v. 86.
F17 Vid. Braunium de Vest. Sacerdot. l. 1. c. 9. p. 201.
F18 "Hoedina tibi pelle" Martial. Epigr. l. 12. Ep. 38.
F19 Theocrit. Idyll. 3. v. 1, 2.
F20 Animadv. in loc.
F21 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 5. col. 628.