The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleSong of Solomon 7:4
Thy neck [is] as a tower of ivory…
Two things recommend
the neck, erectness and whiteness; both are here expressed, the one by
a "tower", the other by "ivory"; hence a fine beautiful neck is called
an ivory one F20; and for the same reason it sometimes has the epithet
of "snowy" F21, and sometimes of "marble" F23. Of the church's neck, as
it may design either the ministers of the word, or the Scriptures of
truth, (See Gill on 4:4); where it is compared to "the tower of
David", and here to "a tower of ivory": Marckius conjectures that they
may be the same, or that this is the name of, vine ancient structure
known at this time; however, it is used as expressive of the purity of
the lives of Gospel ministers, and the evenness of their doctrines, and
of the purity, beauty, glory, axial harmony of the Scriptures;
thine eyes [like] the fish pools in Heshbon, by the gate of
Heshbon was formerly the seat of Sihon, king of the
Amorites, (Numbers 22:26) ; of which Bathrabbim was one of its gates; so
called, either because it led to Rabbath, a city near it, and mentioned
with it, (Jeremiah 49:3) ; or because of the great numbers that went in and
out by it; for it may be rendered, "the daughter of many", or "of great
ones" F24: near this gate, it seems, were very delightful fish pools,
to which the eyes of the church are compared. In the Hebrew language,
the word for eyes and fountains is the same; the eyes having humours in
them, and so fitly compared to fish pools. Of the eyes of the church,
as they may design either the ministers of the word, or the eyes of her
understanding, particularly faith, (See Gill on 1:15); here they are
said to be like "fish pools", whose waters are clear, quiet, constant
and immovable; and, seen at a distance, between trees and groves, look
very beautiful: and, if applied to ministers, may denote the clearness
of their sight in discerning the truths of the Gospel; and their being
filled with the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ; and
their being blessings to the churches of Christ, and to the souls of
men the word for "fish pools" comes from a word which signifies "to
bless" F25; and such being observed as were near the gate of
Bathrabbim, may have respect to the multitude that attend their
ministry, and receive benefit by it; in which they are constant and
invariable, and all of a piece, and appear very beautiful to those to
whom they are useful. And if applied to the church's eyes of
understanding, those of faith and knowledge, may denote the perspicuity
of them, in the discernment of spiritual things; and the fixedness and
immovableness of them on the person, blood, and righteousness of
Christ; looking alone to him, and off of every other object, and so
very attractive to him, and beautiful in his sight, as well as their
abounding with the waters of evangelic repentance and humiliation; see
(Song of Solomon 4:9) (6:5) ;
thy nose [is] as the tower of Lebanon, which looketh towards Damascus;
a tower on that part of Mount Lebanon which faced Damascus, which lay
in a plain, and so open to view, as well as exposed to winds; hence
called, by Lucan F26, Ventosa Damascus; which tower was so high, as
Adrichomius F1 says, that from thence might be numbered the houses in
Damascus: by which also may be meant the ministers of the word; nor
need it seem strange that the same should be expressed by different
metaphors, since the work of ministers is of different parts; who, as
they are as eyes to see, so like the nose to smell; and having a
spiritual discerning of Gospel truths, both savour them themselves, and
diffuse the savour of them to others; and are both the ornament and
defence of the church: the former is signified by the "nose", which is
an ornament of the face, and the latter by the "tower of Lebanon", and
this is looking towards Damascus, the inhabitants of which were always
enemies to the people of Israel; and so may denote the vigilance and
courage of faithful ministers, who watch the church's enemies, and
their motions, and, with a manful courage, face and attack them.
Moreover, this description may respect the majesty and magnanimity of
the church herself; the former may be intimated by her nose, which,
when of a good size, and well proportioned, adds much grace and
majesty to the countenance; and the latter by its being compared to the
impregnable tower of Lebanon, looking towards Damascus, signifying that
she was not afraid to look her worst enemies in the face: or the whole
may express her prudence and discretion in spiritual things: by which
she can distinguish truth from error, and espy dangers afar off, and
guard against them.
F20 "Eburnea cervix", Ovid. Epist. 20. v. 57. "Eburnea colla", ib.
Metamorph. l. 3. Feb. 6. v. 422. & l. 4. Fab. 5. v. 335.
F21 Ovid. Amor. l. 2. Eleg. 4. v. 41.
F23 Ib. Fasti, l. 4. v. 135. Virgil. Georgic. 4. in fine.
F24 (Mybr tb) (yugatrov pollwn) Sept. "filiae muititudinis", V. L.
"magnatum", Montanus; "nobilium", Pagninus.
F25 (twkrb) a rad. (Krb) "benedixit".
F26 Pharsal. l. 3. v. 215.
F1 Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 100.
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 7:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=so&chapter=007&verse=004>. 1999.