The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleSong 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 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
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
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.
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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Gill, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 4:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=so&chapter=004&verse=001>. 1999.