Song of Solomon 2:1 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
1. Render, I am a crocus of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
the rose of Sharon ] The Heb. word chabhatstseleth, which occurs besides only in Isa 35:1, can hardly mean a rose. The LXX, Vulg., and Targ. to Isa 35:1 translate it ‘lily,’ but as we have shôshannâh for lily in the next clause, it is probably some other flower. The Targum here gives narqôs rattîb, ‘the green narcissus,’ but Gesen. Thes. prefers the Syriac translation, Colchicum autumnale or meadow saffron, a meadow flower like the crocus, white and violet in colour, and having poisonous bulbs. This is the most probable of the proposed identifications, though Tristram, Nat. Hist. of Bible, p. 476, decides for the sweet-scented narcissus, Narcissus tazetta, a native of Palestine, and a flower of which the natives are passionately fond. While it is in flower it is to be seen in all the bazaars, and the men as well as the women at that season always carry two or three blossoms which they are constantly smelling.
Sharon ] is generally supposed to be the great plain of Sharon to the S. of Carmel on the Mediterranean coast, stretching from Caesarea to Joppa. But the word probably means ‘a plain,’ and might, consequently, be applied by the inhabitants of any district to the plain in their neighbourhood. This is supported by the fact that Eusebius states that the district from Tabor to the Lake of Gennesaret was called Sharon, so here we may render either a crocus of Sharon, or of the plain, as in the LXX.
the lily ] Rather, a lily. Shôshannâh must be a red flower; cp. Son 5:13, “His lips are like lilies.” Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 464, identifies it with the scarlet Anemone coronaria. It is found everywhere, on all soils and in all situations. It meets every requirement of the allusions in Canticles and is one of the flowers called susan by the Arabs.
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".