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The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible

Song of Solomon 5:13

His cheeks [are] as a bed of spices, [as] sweet flowers
Which may intend the presence of Christ with his people in his word and ordinances; often called his "face", which he shows, and they seek after, than which nothing is more desirable; walking in the light of his countenance is preferable to walking among spicy beds, where fragrant plants and odoriferous flowers grow: or the cheeks, being the seat of modesty and blushing, may denote the great humility of Christ, seen in his assumption of our nature, throughout the whole course of his life, and especially at his death, and which renders him very delightful to his people; how lovely does the meek and lowly Jesus look! how beautiful are those blushing cheeks of his, who, being equal with God, took upon him the form of a servant! The cheeks may intend not bare cheeks, but with the hair growing upon them, the hair of the beard; which puts forth itself, and grows upon the cheeks or "jaws" {o}, as it may be rendered, which makes a man look graceful and majestic; so Aben Ezra interprets the word of the beard, and so many Christian F16 interpreters, which puts out like aromatic plants on spicy beds. This was literally true of Christ, who was a grown man when he suffered, and gave his cheeks to the smiters, and who plucked off the hair of his beard: and in a mystical sense it may intend either believers in Christ, who are the hair of his cheeks, as well as of his head; and who, like spicy beds and fragrant flowers, are odoriferous to Christ and to one another; or "[as] towers of perfumes" F17 as some, which ascend upwards in the exercise of faith, hope, and love: or rather the graces of the Spirit in Christ, as man and Mediator; which, like the hair of the beard, are in Christ, in great numbers, without measure, and make him very lovely and graceful; and are like beds of spices and sweet flowers, for the variety and sweet smelling savour of them. Though it seems, best of all, to be expressive of the manliness, courage, prudence, gravity, and majesty of Christ; of which the beard, thick set and well grown, is an indication; all which appeared in the whole conduct and deportment of Christ among men; in his ministry, in his life and conversation, at his apprehension, arraignment, condemnation, sufferings, and death. The cheeks rising, and being a little elevated, are fitly described by beds in a garden, by "towers of perfumes", or fragrant flowers and fruit trees, reared up in the form of towers, or pyramids; or by a dish of fruit preserves, placed in such a figure: and the hair of the cheeks, or beard, are aptly represented by spices, rising up from a bed of them; and all denote the beauty, savour, and majesty of Christ. Or, as the Vulgate Latin version, "as beds of spices set by confectioners"; not as aromatic plants, set in rows by the gardener; but the spices themselves, set in rows by the confectioner in vessels F18, placed in his shop in rows to be sold; which being of various colours, especially white and red, the cheeks, for colour and eminence, are compared unto them;

his lips [like] lilies dropping sweet smelling myrrh;
by which are meant the words of Christ, which drop from his lips; which are like lilies, for their purity, thinness, and beautiful colour: the words of Christ are pure words, free from all pollution, deceit, and human mixtures; nor are his lips big with his own praises, but with expressions of regard for his Father's glory; and are very pleasant, gracious, and graceful. But then the comparison is not between them and white lilies, for not white, but red lips, are accounted the most beautiful; see (Song of Solomon 4:3) ; wherefore rather red or purple lilies are respected, such as Pliny F19, and other writers F20, speak of; such as grew in Syria F21, a neighbouring country; and also in Egypt F23 grew lilies like to roses. Some F24 think the allusion is to crowns, made of red or purple lilies, wore at nuptial festivals, on which were poured oil of myrrh, and so dropped from them; but the phrase, "dropping sweet smelling myrrh", is not in construction with "lilies", but with "lips": signifying, that the lips or words of Christ were like to lilies; not so much or not only for their thinness and colour, as for the sweet smell of them, very odorous, grateful, and acceptable; as are the doctrines of peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation, to sensible souls, delivered in the ministry of the word: the manner of which delivery of them is expressed by "dropping"; gradually, by little and little, as Christ's church and people can bear them; seasonably, and at proper times, as their wants require constantly, as while Christ was here or, earth, so now he is in heaven, by his ministers, in all ages, to the end of the world; and yet sweetly and gently refreshing, and making fruitful; see (Deuteronomy 32:2) . Moreover, the kisses of Christ's lips, or the manifestations of his love, may be taken into the sense of this clause; which together with the grateful matter and graceful manner of his words, render him very acceptable to his church; see (Song of Solomon 1:2) ; and such a sentiment is expressed, in much the same language, by others F25.


FOOTNOTES:

F15 (wyyxl) "maxillae ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, Marckius, Michaelis.
F16 Sanctius, Cocceius, Ainsworth, Marckius, Michaelis.
F17 (Myxqrm twldgm) "turribus pigmentorum", Marckius; "condimentorum", Schmidt, Michaelis.
F18 Vid. Fortunat. Scacchi Eleochrys. Sacr. l. 1. c. 18. p. 90.
F19 Nat. Hist. l. 21. c. 5.
F20 Theophrast. apud Athenaei Deipnosophist. l. 15. c. 8. p. 681. Maimon. in Misn. Sheviith, c. 7. s. 6. & Alshech in loc. Midrash Esther, s. 4. fol. 91. 1.
F21 Dioscorides, l. 1. c. 163. Apud Fortunat. Scacch. ut supra, (Eleochrys. Sacr.) l. 1. c. 27. p. 134.
F23 Herodot. Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 92.
F24 Scacch. ibid. l. 1. c. 28. p. 138, 139.
F25 "Olent tua basia myrrham", Martial. Epigr. l. 2. Ep. 10.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 5:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=so&chapter=005&verse=013>. 1999.