Song of Solomon 1:9 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
9. O my love ] Rather, O my friend; cp. the use of ami in French between lovers. This word ra‛yâh is found only in the Song of Solomon, except once in the plural in Jdg 11:37, where Jephthah’s daughter says “I and my companions,” and in that case there is an alternative reading. It is used in the Song indiscriminately by Solomon and by the Shulammite’s true lover.
a company of horses ] Here the A.V. follows the Vulgate, which has equitatus; and that might be the meaning as the fem. may be a collective (cp. Ges. K. Gramm. § 122 s). Oettli, however, suggests that a favourite mare is meant, and in that case we should render to my mare in Pharaoh’s chariots have I compared thee. The plural, chariots, makes a slight difficulty, but it may be meant to indicate that this favourite steed was driven in various chariots. This reference to Egyptian chariots and horses is specially Solomonic (cp. 1Ki 10:26-29), as he first introduced the horse and chariot as a regular part of the army of Israel. To us this may seem a very unbecoming simile, but in the East women are held in lighter esteem than with us, and the horse in higher esteem. Arabic poets often use such comparisons for the women they love. But perhaps there is intended here a hint of the quality of the king’s affection. Cp. Tennyson, Locksley Hall,
“He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.”
In this scene Solomon presses his love upon the Shulammite for the first time; but in reply to his endeavours to win her she always utters praises of her absent lover. She contrasts their humble woodland resting-place with the royal palace, and declares herself to be a modest country flower which cannot bloom elsewhere than in the country. Finally, grown love-sick at the thought of her lover, she turns to the ladies of the court, beseeching them to restore her strength, and adjures them not to seek to kindle love, which should always be spontaneous, by any unworthy or extraneous means.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".