Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fri-Sat 091205-6 Outlining Nehemiah

Outlining Nehemiah
I. Preparation for Rebuilding
ch. 1 Preparation of Prayer
          a. Discovery of problem
          b. Confession in Prayer
          c. Appeal to the Promise
ch. 2 Request and Inspection
          a. Nehemiah Requests
          b. Artaxerxes Commissions
          c. Nehemiah Inspects the Wall
II. Building of Wall
ch.3 Record of the Rebuilders
          a. Eliashib, etc...
          b. Joiada, etc....
          c. Hanun, etc.
          d. Nehemiah, etc.
          e. The Priests, etc.
ch. 4 Opposition and Determination
          a. Sanballat's Defamation
          b. Conspiracy to Confuse
          c. Working and Watching
ch. 5 Restoration of the Poor
          a. Outcry of the Poor
          b. Rulers Rebuked
          c. Nehemiah's Generosity         
ch. 6-7.73a Completion of the Wall
          a. Sanballat's Ruse
          b. Nehemiah's Brave Response
          c. Wall Completed

          d. Register of the Genealogy: Registration, People, Priests, Levites, Singers, Gatekeepers, Nethinim, Solomon's servants, Those of uncertain lineage, totals & gifts

III. Renewing the Covenant 
ch. 8 Words of the Law Read
          a. Words of the Law Read
          b. Feast of Tabernacles Observed
ch. 9 Sins of Confessed  (Should be a two part message)

          a. Gathering of the People
          b. Blessing the Lord of Creation

          c. Acknowledging the Lord 
          d. Recounting God's Kindness
          e. Rebelling in the Exodus
          f. Providing of the Land
          g. Repeating Disobedience
          h. Recounting God's Justice 
          i. Renewing the Covenant

ch. 10 Covenant Renewed
          a. List of Signers
          b. Separation and Sabbath
          c. "Taxes" for the Temple 
          d. Firstfruits Required

IV. Nehemiah's Two Terms as Govenor
Ch. 11-12 Wall Dedicated
          a. List of People in Jerusalem
          b. List of People outside Jerusalem
          c. Record of Priests and Levites

          d. Dedication of the Wall
          e. Temple Appointments
ch. 13 the law enforced
          a. Backsliding While Nehemiah Was Gone
          b. Contending for Sabbath Observance

          c. Contending Against Paganism  
So why does this blog program keep skipping lines when I repost something?

Unger's Commentary on the OT
I. Nehemiah's return and building of the wall 1-7
   ch1. prayer for Jerusalem
   ch2. mission to Jerusalem
   ch3. rebuilding city walls
   ch4. opposition to work
   ch5. Nehemiah's social and economic revival
   ch6. Nehemiah and further enemy plots
II. Spiritual revival
   ch.8 Reading the Law and revival
   ch.9 Humiliation and confession of sin
   ch.10 Pledge and reform
III. Other events of Nehemiah's first term as govenor
   ch.11 Population of Jerusalem and its environs
   ch.12 Lists of inhabitants and dedication of the walls
IV. Nehemiah's second term as govenor
   ch.13 Reforms and Nehemiah's second term
1. Overview
2. Nehemiah of His Knees  1.1-11
3. Preparation for a Mighty Task  2.1-11
4. Motivation: the Basis of Leadership  2.11-20
---MIA chapter 3---
5. Knocked Down, but Not Knocked Out  4.1-9
6. Discouragement: Its Cause and Cure  4.9-23
7. Love, Loans, and Money Problems  5.1-13
8. How to Handle a Promotion  5.14-19
9. Operation Intimidation 6
---MIA chapter 7.5-73---
10. Revival at Water Gate 8
11. The Fine Art of Insight  8.13-18
12. Four-dimensional Praying 9, 10.29b-31, 39b
13. Putting First Things First  10.28-39
14. In Honor of the Unknowns  7.1-4 & 11
15. Happiness Is a Walk on the Wall  12
16. Taking Problems by the Throat  13
The Accrostic Bible
Jerusalem's tragic plight mourned
Enlisting the king's support
Record all workers
Undermingin attacks y Samaritans
Selling Jewish children renounced
Assembling wall despite oppostion
Ledger of returning Jews
Explanation of God's Law
Making confession of sin
Witnesses to signed covenant
Account of Jeruslem's leaders
Levites lead temple dedication
Levites restored to temple

Talk Thru the Bible
Reconstruction of the Wall  (Political)
   Preparation to Reconstruct the Wall 1.1-2.20
      -Discovery; Intercession; Arrival; Preparation
   Reconstructi3on of the Wall 3.1-7.7
      -Record of Builders; Opposition; Completion; Organization of Jerusalem; Registration
Restoration of the People  (Spiritual)
   Renewal of the Covenant  8.1-10.39
      -Interpretation of Covenant; Reaffirmation of Covenant
   Obedience to the Covenant   11.1-13.31
      -Resettlement or People; Register of Priests & Levites; Dedication of Wall;       Restoration of People

H.G.M. Williamson in Word Biblical Commentary

  1. Nehemiah's Vocation 1.1-11
  2. Nehemiah's Commission 2.1-10
  3. Nehemiah's First Steps in Jerusalem 2.11-20
  4. Rebuilding the Walls  3.1-32
  5. Renewed Opposition 4.1-5  (3.33-37)
  6. Further Opposition and Countermeasures  4.6-23  (3.38-4.17)
  7. Internal Difficulties  5.1-19
  8. The Completion of the Wall   6.1-19
  9. The Need to Populate Jerusalem  7.1-73a
  10. The Reading of the Law 7.73b-8.18
  11. Confession 9.1-37
  12. A Pledge to Keep the Law  9.38-10.39  (10.1-40)
  13. The Population of Jerusalem and Related Matters  11.1-36
  14. Priests and Levites 12.1-26
  15. The Dedication of the Wall  12.27-43
  16. The Temple Chambers: Use and Abuse  12.44-13.14
  17. Concluding Reforms  13.15-31

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thurs 091213 pm Rev 6-8

Revelation 6
6.1 seal one- white horse with a bow - conquering
6.3 seal two - bright red horse with a sword - take peace
6.5 seal three - black horse with a pair of scales - famine
6.7 seal four - pale horse with Death and Hades following - to kill (famine, pestilence, wild beasts of the earth)
6.9 seal five - martyrs given a white rob and told to wait for vengence
6.12 seal six - "everybody" prays for the mountains to fall on them.
Revelation 7
7.17   and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes...  Comfort for the martyrs.
Revelation 8
8.1 seal eleven - thunder, rumblings,  lightening, and an earthquake.8.
8.7 first trumpet - hail and fire destroy 1/3 of the earth.
8.8 second trumpet - mountain falls in the sea and 1/3 of the creatures die.
8.9  third trumpet - great star fell from heaven.
8.12 forth trumpet - 1/3 of sun, moon, and stairs fell to the earth.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wed 091202 pm SoS 7-8

Song of Solomon 7
7.2  a rounded bowel...  NET Bible translation notes: The comparison of her navel to a “round mixing bowl” is visually appropriate in that both are round and receding. The primary point of comparison to the round bowl is one of sense, as the following clause makes clear: “may it never lack mixed wine.” J. S. Deere suggests that the point of comparison is that of taste, desirability, and function (“Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 202). More specifically, it probably refers to the source of intoxication, that is, just as a bowl used to mix wine was the source of physical intoxication, so she was the source of his sexual intoxication. She intoxicated Solomon with her love in the same way that wine intoxicates a person.
7.4  pools of Heshbon...  Since pools of water reflect the light, they serve as an excellent metaphor for the beloved’s dazzling eyes. Excavations at Heshbon, ten miles north of Madaba in Transjordan, have uncovered a large eighth-century b.c. cistern or reservoir that could be the basis for this image. The long, dry months of summer would have required the storage of water in cisterns, and these pools of water would have been beautiful indeed to the inhabitants of the city as they saw light sparkle off the water.   
--Matthews, Victor Harold ;  Chavalas, Mark W. ;   Walton, John H.: The IVP Bible Background Commentary  : Old Testament. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2000, S. So  
7:4  Heshbon...  Meaning intelligence.  A city ruled over by Sihon, king of the Amorites (Josh. 3:10; 13:17) It was taken by Moses (Num. 21:23-26), and became afterwards a Levitical city (Josh. 21:39) in the tribe of Reuben (Num. 32:37). After the Exile it was taken possession of by the Moabites (Isa. 15:4; Jer. 48:2, 34, 45). The ruins of this town are still seen about 20 miles east of Jordan from the north end of the Dead Sea. There are reservoirs in this district, which are probably the “fishpools” referred to in Song of Songs 7:4. 
7.4  Bath-rabbim...  Meaning: daughter of many.  the name of one of the gates of the city of Heshbon, near which were pools (Song of Songs 7:4). 
7.4 tower of Lebanon... A tall mountain, such as Mount Hermon in southern Lebanon, may be meant here. However, Fox’s suggestion of a play on Lebonah, “frankincense,” with the place name Lebanon is attractive. Thus the woman’s nose is fragrant and as desirable as a tall pile of this expensive incense.   
Matthews, Victor Harold ; Chavalas, Mark W. ; Walton, John H.: The IVP Bible Background Commentary : Old Testament. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2000, S. So 7:4
7.5 Hebron...   A prominent headland of Central Palestine, consisting of several connected hills extending from the plain of Esdraelon to the sea, a distance of some 12 miles or more. At the east end, in its highest part, it is 1,728 feet high, and at the west end it forms a promontory to the bay of Acre about 600 feet above the sea. It lay within the tribe of Asher.
   It was here, at the east end of the ridge, at a place called el-Mukhrakah (i.e., the place of burning), that Elijah brought back the people to their allegiance to God, and slew the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Here were consumed the “fifties” of the royal guard; and here also Elisha received the visit of the bereaved mother whose son was restored by him to life (2 Kings 4:25-37).
   "No mountain in or around Palestine retains its ancient beauty so much as Carmel. Two or three villages and some scattered cottages are found on it; its groves are few but luxuriant; it is no place for crags and precipices or rocks of wild goats; but its surface is covered with a rich and constant verdure." "The whole mountain-side is dressed with blossom, and flowering shrubs, and fragrant herbs."
   The western extremity of the ridge is, however, more rocky and bleak than the eastern. The head of the bride in Song of Songs 7:5 is compared to Carmel.
   It is ranked with Bashan on account of its rich pastures (Isa. 33:9; Jer. 50:19; Amos 1:2).
   The whole ridge is deeply furrowed with rocky ravines filled with dense jungle. There are many caves in its sides, which at one time were inhabited by swarms of monks. These caves are referred to in Amos 9:3. To them Elijah and Elisha often resorted (1 Kings 18:19, 42; 2 Kings 2:25). On its northwest summit there is an ancient establishment of Carmelite monks. Vineyards have recently been planted on the mount by the German colonists of Haifa.
   The modern Arabic name of the mount is Kurmul, but more commonly Jebel Mar Elyas, i.e., Mount St. Elias, from the Convent of Elias.
   See the Christian archaeological video which describes this place and the ancient events surrounding it: On the Prophets & Kings of Israel ("Who is God?," part of the Faith Lessons video series). "In a fiery showdown with the prophets of Baal, Elijah confronted Israel with a choice: "Whom will you serve?" Today, we must challenge our culture with the same question."
7.5 purple...  NET Bible translation notes:  Heb “like purple” or “like purple fabric.” The term אַרְגָּמָן (’argaman, “purple fabric”) refers to wool dyed with red purple (HALOT 84 s.v. אַרְגָּמָן). It is used in reference to purple threads (Exod 35:25; 39:3Esth 1:9) or purple cloth (Num 4:13Judg 8:26Esth 8:15Prov 31:22Jer 10:9Song 3:10). NASB translates it as “purple threads,” while NIV nuances this term as “royal tapestry.” M. H. Pope (The Song of Songs [AB], 629-30) adduces several ancient Near Eastern texts and suggests that it refers to purple hair-dye. The comparison is to hair which entangles Solomon like binding cords and therefore, it seems most likely that the idea here must be purple threads. The Hebrew noun is a loanword from Hittite argaman “tribute,” which is reflected in Akkadian argamannu“purple” (also “tribute” under Hittite influence), Ugaritic argmn “tax, purple,” Aramaic argwn “purple” (HALOT 84). Purple cloth and threads were considered very valuable (Ezek 27:7, 16) and were commonly worn by kings as a mark of their royal position (Judg 8:26).
7.13  mandrakes...  Mandrakes are the fruit of the Mandragora officinarum, a member of the Solanaceae or potato order, closely allied to the Atropa belladonna. It is a common plant all over Palestine, flourishing particularly in the spring and ripening about the time of the wheat harvest (Genesis 30:14). The plant has a rosette of handsome dark leaves, dark purple flowers and orange, tomato-like fruit. The root is long and branched; to pull it up is still considered unlucky (compare Josephus, BJ, VII, vi, 3). The fruit is called in Arabic baid el-jinn, the "eggs of the jinn"; they have a narcotic smell and sweetish taste, but are too poisonous to be used as food. They are still used in folklore medicine in Palestine. The plant was well known as an aphrodisiac by the ancients (Song of Solomon 7:13).  ---ISBE
Song of Songs 8
8.2  NET Bible translation notes: This statement is a euphemism: the Beloved wished to give her breasts to Solomon, like a mother would give her breast to her nursing baby. This is the climactic point of the “lover’s wish song” of Song 8:1-2. The Beloved wished that Solomon was her little brother still nursing on her mother’s breast. The Beloved, who had learned from her mother’s example, would bring him inside their home and she would give him her breast: “I would give you spiced wine to drink, the nectar of my pomegranates.” The phrase “my pomegranates” is a euphemism for her breasts. Rather than providing milk from her breasts for a nursing baby, the Beloved’s breasts would provide the sensual delight of “spiced wine” and “nectar” for her lover.
8.3  same as 2.6
8.6  seal...  NET Bible translation notes: In the ancient Near East חוֹתָם (khotam, “seal”) was used to denote ownership and was thus very valuable (Jer 22:24Hag 2:23; Eccl 17:22). Seals were used to make a stamp impression to identify the object as the property of the seal’s owner (HALOT 300 s.v. I חוֹתָם). Seals were made of semi-precious stone upon which was engraved a unique design and an inscription, e.g., LMLK [PN] “belonging to king […].” The impression could be placed upon wet clay of a jar or on a writing tablet by rolling the seal across the clay. Because it was a valuable possession its owner would take careful precautions to not lose it and would keep it close to him at all times.
8.11  Baal-hamon...  Meaning: place of a multitude.  This was the name of a place where Solomon had an extensive vineyard (Song of Songs 8:11). It has been supposed to be identical with Baal-gad, and also with Hammon in the tribe of Asher (Josh. 19:28). Others identify it with Belamon, in Central Palestine, near Dothaim.
8.11–12  The writer continues the train of thought that love cannot be bought. These verses are a kind of parable. Solomon had owned a vineyard at Baal Hamon which he let out to tenants for a thousand shekels each, and they in turn made a profit of two hundred shekels. By contrast, the vineyard of the life and character of the Shulammite is not on the market. No-one will invade her property, not for any price: My own vineyard is mine to give.
Carson, D. A.: New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition. 4th ed. Leicester, England;  Downers Grove, Ill., USA : Inter-Varsity Press, 1994, S. So 8:5
"Hark the Herald, Angels Sing"

Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739.

Music: Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn, in his cantata Festge sang an die Künstler, 1840 (second movement, Vaterland, in deinem Gauen); the cantata celebrated the 400th anniversary of Johann Gute berg’s invention of the printing press. This arrangement, by William H. Cummings, appeared in the Congregational Hymn and Tune Book, by Richard R. Chope, 1857.  ---

This hymn is chalked full of Scriptural allusions and deep theological truths.  You can read some background information on this hymn at  Hymns books that use more than three verses of the hymn generally combine the first half of the fourth and first half of the fifth verses into one fourth verse.  The truths in that portion of the hymn are vital for the Christian's sanctification.

    Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.


Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.


Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.


Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.


Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” is another of the more than 6,500 hymns from the pen of Charles Wesley that have enriched Christian hymnody. It is thought to have been written one year after his dramatic, Aldersgate conversion experience of 1738. This text, along with “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” is generally considered to be one of Wesley’s finest. According to John Julian, noted hymnologist, this is one of the four most popular hymns in the English language. It certainly has become one of the classic, Christmas carol hymns to the present time, sung thousands of times every year all around the world.
Like so many of Wesley’s hymns, this text condensed course in biblical doctrine in poetic form. Following the re-telling of the angelic visit to the shepherds in the initial stanza, the succeeding verses teach such spiritual truths as the virgin birth, Christ’s deity, the immortality of the soul, the second or new birth, and a concern for Christ-like living. As the late Eric Routley, noted English hymnist, observes in his book, Hymns and Human-Life: “These [Wesley] hymns were composed in order that men and women might sing their way, not only into experience, but also into knowledge; that the cultured might have their culture baptized and the ignorant might be led into truth by the gentle hand of melody and rhyme.” Charles Wesley is also the author of the hymn “A charge to keep I Have” and “Depth of Mercy.” Other Charles Wesley hymns include “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”

The tune, “Mendelssohn” was contributed by one of the master composers of th early nineteenth century, Felix Mendelssohn. He was born into a Jewish-Christian home on February 3, 1809, in Hamburg, Germany, and died at Leipzig, Germany, on November 4, 1847. Mendelssohn was a highly acclaimed boy prodigy, making his first public appearance as a pianist, at the age of nine. Felix Mendelssohn was not only a noted performer and conductor, but also a prolific composer throughout his brief life-time. His works included symphonies, chamber music, concertos, as widely performed today is the oratorio. The Elijah, first performed in England on August 26, 1846. The “Mendelssohn” hymn tune was adapted from the composer’s Festgesang, Opus 68, composed in 1840. This was a work that Mendelssohn wrote to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the invention of printing. The hymn setting of this music was made by William H. Cummings, a noted English musician and scholar, and was first published in Richard Chope’s Congregational Hymn and Tune Book of
1857. Although other tunes have been tried with Wesley’s text, the “Mendelssohn” has become the recognized music or this carol hymn.

Felix Mendelssohn is also the composer of the “Consolation” tune used for “Still, Still With Thee” and the “Munich” tune, used for the hymn “O Word of God Incarnate.”It is interesting to note briefly the the history of our Christmas carol hymns. The word “carol” is derived from the word “carola,” which means a ring dance. Carols, then have long been thought of as an early form of sacred folk music, dating in time from the early middle ages. During this period they seem to have been an integral part of the early mystery and miracle plays which were widely used by the medieval church for teaching its religious dogmas. The carols were sung during these plays as an intermezzo between the various scenes, much like the role of a modern-day orchestra between the scenes of a drama production.

Then, in 1627, the English Puritan parliament abolished the celebration of christmas and all other “worldly festivals.” During the remainder of the seventeenth century and well into the eighteenth century, there was a scarcity of these folk-like carol hymns in England. Charles Wesley’s “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” represents one of the relatively few, important carol hymns to have been written during this time.

“The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable.” - Ralph W.Sockman
101 More Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck is a great book.

Wed 091202 am Sos 5-6 Rev 5

Song of Songs 5
5.4  his hand to the latch....  My beloved put in his hand by the hole [of the door], and my bowels were moved for him. --KJV   NET Bible translation notes: The noun חֹר (khor, “hole”) is used in OT in a literal and metaphorical sense: (1) literal sense: hole bored in the lid of a chest (2 Kgs 12:10); hole in a wall (Ezek 8:7); hole in the ground or cave used as hiding places for men (1 Sam 13:6; 14:11Isa 42:23); hole in the ground, as the dwelling place of an asp (Isa 11:8); and a hole in a mountain, as the den of lions (Nah 2:13); and (2) figurative sense: hole of an eye (metonymy of association), that is, eye-socket (Zech 14:12) (HALOT 348 s.v. IIחֹר; BDB 359 s.v. III חֹר). While the meaning of חֹר in Song 5:4 is clear – “hole” – there is a debate whether it is used in a literal or figurative sense. (1) Literal sense: The lexicons suggest that it denotes “hole of a door, that is, key-hole or latch-opening” (HALOT 348; BDB 359). Most commentators suggest that it refers to a hole bored through the bedroom door to provide access to the latch or lock. The mention in 5:5 of כַּפּוֹת הַמַּנְעוּל (kaffot hammanul, “latches of the door-bolt”) suggests that the term refers to some kind of opening associated with the latch of the bedroom door. This approach is followed by most translations: “the hole in the door” (JB), “the latch-hole” (NEB), “the latch-opening” (NIV), “the latch-hole” (NEB), “the latch” (RSV, NJPS), and “the opening of the door” (KJV). The assumption that the hole in question was a latch-hole in the door is reflected in Midrash Rabbah: Rabbi Abba ben Kahana said, “Why is the hole of the door mentioned here, seeing that it is a place where vermin swarm?” The situation envisaged by his actions are often depicted thus: In ancient Near Eastern villages, the bolting systems of doors utilized door-bolts and keys made of wood. The keys were often stored either on the outside (!) or inside of the door. If the key was placed on the inside of the door, a small hole was bored through the door so that a person could reach through the hole with the key to unlock the door. The key was often over a foot in length, and the keyhole large enough for a man’s hand. Apparently, he extended his hand through the hole from the outside to try to unbolt the door latch on the inside. He could put his hand through the hole, but could not open the door without the key. (2) Figurative sense: Because of the presence of several erotic motifs in 5:2-8 and the possibility that a double entendre is present (see notes below), several scholars suggest that the term is a euphemism for the female vagina (HALOT 348). They suggest that חֹר (“hole”) is the female counterpart for the euphemistic usage of יָד (“hand”) in 5:4. See A. S. Cook, The Root of the Thing: A Study of Job and the Song of Songs, 110, 123; Cheryl Exum, “A Literary and Structural Analysis of the Song of Songs,”ZAW 85 (1973): 50-51; M. H. Pope, Song of Songs (AB), 518-19.
5.13  beds of spices...  NET Bible translation notes: The term עֲרוּגַת (“garden-beds”) refers to a private garden terrace or garden bed, a rare luxury in Palestine and very expensive to own (Ezek 17:7, 10) (BDB 788 s.v. עֲרוּגָה). The term בֹּשֶׂם (bosem, “balsam”) refers to balsam trees which yielded sweet-smelling oils from which perfumes were produced. The balsam trees should be identified either as Astragalus tragacantha which grew everywhere in Palestine and exude resin from its thorns, or as Commiphora opobalsamum which was not native to Israel but to South Arabia from whence it had to be imported at great cost (2 Chr 9:1) (Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 177-78). She is comparing the beautiful scent of his cologned cheeks to fragrant beds of spice.
5.15  legs like alabaster columns... A similar portrayal of perfect physical symmetry can be found in the description of the Babylonian god Marduk in the Enuma Elish creation epic.
Matthews, Victor Harold ; Chavalas, Mark W. ; Walton, John H.: The IVP Bible Background Commentary : Old Testament. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2000, S. So 5:15
Song of Solomon 6
6.3 I am my beloved's... NET Bible translation notes:  This is the second occurrence of the poetic refrain that occurs elsewhere in 2:16 and 7:11. The order of the first two cola are reversed from2:16: “My beloved is mine and I am his” (2:16) but “I am my beloved’s and he is mine” (6:3). The significance of this shift depends on whether the parallelism is synonymous or climactic. This might merely be a literary variation with no rhetorical significance. On the other hand, it might signal a shift in her view of their relationship: Originally, she focused on her possession of him, now she focused on his possession of her.
6.3b  grazes among the lilies...  NET Bible translation notes: The term שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (shoshannah, “lily”) or שׁוֹשַׁנִים (shoshanim, “lilies”) appears eight times in the Song (2:1, 2, 16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). Of these five are unequivocally used figuratively as descriptions of a woman or women (2:1, 2), the color and softness of her breasts (4:5), the attractiveness of his lips (5:13), and her waist (7:2). The closest parallel to 6:2 is the description “the one who grazes among the lilies” (2:16; 6:3) which is a figurative expression comparing his romancing of his Beloved with a sheep feeding on lilies. However, this still leaves a question as to what the lilies represent in 2:16; 6:2, 3. The phrase “to gather lilies” itself appears only here in the Song. However, the synonymous phrase “to gather myrrh and balsam spice” is used in 5:1 as a figure (euphemistic hypocatastasis) for sexual consummation by the man of the woman. There are three basic options as to how “lilies” may be taken: (1) The lilies are real flowers; he has gone to a real garden in which to repose and she is picking real lilies. (2) The term “lilies” is a figure for the young woman; he is romancing her just as he had in 2:16 and 5:1. He is kissing her mouth just as a sheep would graze among lilies. (3) The term “lilies” is a figure expression referring to other women, such as his harem (e.g., 6:8-9).
6.4  Tirzah...  Although the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel was moved from Tirzah (Tell el-Far’ah) during Omri’s reign, that does not mean it was totally abandoned. It is possible the writer here wishes to avoid comparisons between Jerusalem and Samaria, political rivals, so Tirzah could be a substitute. The name also serves as a pun, based on the Hebrew root rṣh, “pleasing” or “beauty.” This allows the lover to intensify his statement that she is as “beautiful as Tirzah.”
Matthews, Victor Harold ; Chavalas, Mark W. ; Walton, John H.: The IVP Bible Background Commentary : Old Testament. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2000, S. So 6:4
6.6 not one of them is lost...  This one causes me to chuckle.  

Revelation 5
5.5  weep no more...  The lion of Judah and Root of David is able.  If we remembered how it ends, we would not weep so much.
5.8  golden bowls of incense...  I am thinking about why we use incense today (which much be done with caution for hermeneutical reasons) and it is a fascinating metaphor for our prayers.
5.9-10  Another selection from Heaven's chorus book.
5.9  I like the last verses of an old hymn that did not make cut for new hymn books. (after listening to the tune and seeing the length of it, understandably forgotten)

"All Mortal Vanities, Begone"
Words: Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707.
Our voices join the heav’nly strain,
And with transporting pleasure sing,
“Worthy the Lamb that once was slain,
To be our Teacher and our King!”

His words of prophecy reveal
Eternal counsels, deep designs;
His grace and vengeance shall fulfill
The peaceful and the dreadful lines.

Thou hast redeemed our souls from hell
With Thine invaluable blood;
And wretches that did once rebel
Are now made favorites of their God.

Worthy forever is the Lord,
That died for treasons not His own,
By every tongue to be adored,
And dwell upon His Father’s throne!

5.11  1,000 x 1,000 = a million. Thousands of thousands is a lot of angels!

Tues 091201 pm SoS 4

Song of Songs 4

As Keel points out, for the most part the descriptions focus on dynamic powers rather than shapes. So the eyes are not shaped like doves but act like doves.
Matthews, Victor Harold ;  Chavalas, Mark W. ;   Walton, John H.: The IVP Bible Background Commentary  : Old Testament. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2000, S. So 4:7
Gilead...  a mountainous region east of Jordan. From its mountainous character it is called “the mount of Gilead” (Gen. 31:25). It is called also “the land of Gilead” (Num. 32:1), and sometimes simply “Gilead” (Ps. 60:7; Gen. 37:25). It comprised the possessions of the tribes of Gad and Reuben and the south part of Manasseh (Deut. 3:13; Num. 32:40). It was bounded on the north by Bashan, and on the south by Moab and Ammon (Gen. 31:21; Deut. 3:12-17). “Half Gilead” was possessed by Sihon, and the other half, separated from it by the river Jabbok, by Og, king of Bashan. The deep ravine of the river Hieromax (the modern Sheriat el-Mandhur) separated Bashan from Gilead, which was about 60 miles in length and 20 in breadth, extending from near the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret to the north end of the Dead Sea. Abarim, Pisgah, Nebo, and Peor are its mountains mentioned in Scripture.

4.10  my sister...  What's with that!?  I would assume it is a term of endearment or closness, but its sounds weird to my 21st century western ears.
4.13  pomegranates... 
    The pomegranate tree, Punica granatum (Natural Order, Granateae) occurs usually as a shrub or small tree 10-15 ft. high, and is distinguished by its fresh green, oval leaves, which fall in winter, and its brilliant scarlet blossoms (compare Song of Solomon 7:12). The beauty of an orchard of pomegranates is referred to in Song of Solomon 4:13. The fruit which is ripe about September is apple-shaped, yellow-brown with a blush of red, and is surmounted by a crown-like hard calyx; on breaking the hard rind, the white or pinkish, translucent fruits are seen tightly packed together inside. The juicy seeds are sometimes sweet and sometimes somewhat acid, and need sugar for eating. The juice expressed from the seeds is made into a kind of syrup for flavoring drinks, and in ancient days was made into wine:
   "I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, of the juice (margin "sweet wine") of my pomegranate" (Song of Solomon 8:2). The beauty of a cut section of pomegranate--or one burst open naturally, when fully ripe--may have given rise to the comparison in Song of Solomon 4:3; 6:7: "Thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate." The rind of the pomegranate contains a very high percentage of tannic acid, and is employed both as a medicine and for tanning, particularly in making genuine morocco leather.  --ISBE

Throughout the Orient, the pomegranate has since earliest times occupied a position of importance alongside the grape and the fig. According to the Bible, King Solomon possessed an orchard of pomegranates, and, when the children of Israel, wandering in the wilderness, sighed for the abandoned comforts of Egypt, the cooling pomegranates were remembered longingly. Centuries later, the prophet Muḥammad remarked, “Eat the pomegranate, for it purges the system of envy and hatred.”

4.13   henna...

   Lawsonia is named after Isaac Lawson, an 18th century Scottish army doctor who was a friend of Linnaeus; inermis means unarmed without spines).
The plant
   Henna is a shrub that can grow up to 7 m high at its tallest, with greyish-brown bark. Its wood is close-grained and hard and is used to make tool handles and tent pegs.
   Leaves - used as a skin and hair dye and in traditional medicine. They are almond-shaped, tapering at the end attached to the tree.
   Flowers - used in traditional medicine and oil for perfumery. They are sweet-scented and creamy-white in colour, in dense clusters at ends of branches. Each flower has 4 greenish-yellow petals, 4 sepals and 8 stamens.
   Fruits - seeds are used in traditional medicine and oil for perfumery. They are spherical in shape, about the size of a small pea (5-7 mm wide), brown when ripe and contain many little pyramid-shaped seeds.

4.14  saffron...
Saffron-based pigments have been found in 50,000 year-old depictions of prehistoric beasts in what is today Iraq. Later, the Sumerians used wild-growing saffron in their remedies and magical potions Saffron was an article of long-distance trade before the Minoan palace culture's 2nd millennium BC peak. Ancient Persians cultivated Persian saffron (Crocus sativus 'Hausknechtii') in Derbena, Isfahan, and Khorasan by the 10th century BC. At such sites, saffron threads were woven into textiles, ritually offered to divinities, and used in dyes, perfumes, medicines, and body washes. Thus, saffron threads would be scattered across beds and mixed into hot teas as a curative for bouts of melancholy. Non-Persians also feared the Persians' usage of saffron as a drugging agent andaphrodisiac. During his Asian campaigns, Alexander the Great used Persian saffron in his infusions, rice, and baths as a curative for battle wounds. Alexander's troops mimicked the practice and brought saffron-bathing back to Greece.
4.14  calamus...
   The aromatic underground stem or rhizome of the perennial herb known from Biblical times, Acorus calamus L. is also referred to as ‘calamus’, or as the ‘sweet flag’. Children suffering from colic or adults who suffer from various kinds of indigestion have been known to take calamus for quick relief of their symptoms. The calamus, which closely resembles the iris in appearance, belongs to the family Araceae, and it grows abundantly under moist conditions, such as near a pond or a stream or swamp. This perennial herb is found in Europe, North America, and also in Asia.
   Acorus calamus is a semi-aquatic plant that likes to grow with “wet feet”, often alongside Irises, Cattails, and other waterweeds.  It likes the edges of ponds, lakes, and rivers, but I've seen it growing in drier soil as well.  The leaves are similar to Cattail or Iris leaves, being sword shaped, and from 2 1/2 to 3 feet in length.  Calamus leaves, though, are a yellow-green in color, not blue-green, and have a slightly wavy margin (edge) and a midrib.  Easily, the most effective way to identify the plant is to break off and smell the leaves.  Ahhhh… nothing else smells like Sweet Flag.  The root is a rhizome, which is a horizontal tuber that runs across the ground.  It is marked by leaf scars above, and produces abundant rootlets, which for the most part go straight down, below.  There are no stems; the leaves rise directly from the rhizome.   The plant can easily be cultivated from a root cutting, and will grow quickly once established.  I have a few different varieties growing in a non-draining planter that I keep wet, and it thrives, producing flowers every year.  I used wild soil in the planter, and the seeds and roots that came along with have all happily sprouted, offering a little wetland ecosystem that, when I was living on the third floor of an apartment building, the birds and insects delighted in. 
   The root is used medicinally, but the leaves can be steeped into an elegant if unusual tea or used for a unique and exquisite smudge.  They are incredibly nice to simply bruise and smell, and they’ve been long used strewn across floors to release their enlightening scent as they’re walked upon.  If collecting the plant, keep in mind that as an aquatic, it’s going to have taken up whatever’s in the water it’s growing in, which you may not want to chew on.  Ironically, the invading Mongols used to plant Calamus in any source of water they intended to drink from, believing it would purify the water in which it grew.  This act gave rise to one of its common folk names, “Mongolian Poison”… people were generally freaked out if they found it growing somewhere they hadn’t seen it before.  Coming upon it in the wild, I always quickly scan the area for any such invading Mongols, but so far haven’t seen any, so maybe this is an old wive’s tale… ---Jim Mcdonald @
4.14  cinnamon...
cinnamomum zeylanicum
Sanskrit: cacy-nam
Hebrew: qinnâmôn
Septuagint: kinnamômon
Vulgate: cinnamomum
Proverbs 7, 17
Song 4, 10-14
Revelation 18, 13-14
Exodus 30, 23-24
   This particular cinnamon, known as sweet cinnamon, also known as Ceylong cinnamon, was occasionally mistake for aromatic cassia (Cinnamomum cassia), owing to its similar aroma. In the preparation of kyphi, the sacred perfume of the Egyptians, these two types of cinnamon are combined as they are in holy unction of the Hebrews, in the instructions given by the Lord to Moses (Exodus 30, 23-24).
   Growing in tropical regions of the Far East, the cinnamon tree can stand ten meters tall. Its bark, harvest every two years, contains the aromatic substances. It was imported from India and Ceylon, where it originates, first by the Persians and Mesopotamians, and then by sea to Egypt, via Ethiopia or southern Arabia. History records many fanciful stories told about the origins of cinnamon.
   Considered in ancient times to be one of the most exquisite of fragrances, sweet cinnamon was a perfume of seduction. Mixed with myrrh and aloe, women in love would sprinkle their bed with it.
   Cinnamon has a slightly pungent, spicy aroma redolent of burning and a somewhat bitter flavor.
4.14  frankincense...

Boswellia carterii Birdw
Hebrew: lebonâh and ketôreth
Septuagint: libanos and thumiama
Vulgate: thus and incensum
Middle Ages: olibanum

   Note that in Hebrew, the word for frankincense, lebonâh, literally means milk-white, while the Egyptian term s-ntr may be translated as that which makes god known.
   A tree found growing in tropical regions, a member of the Burseraceae family, its height ranges from three to six meters. Its gum resin, frankincense, the amle incense of the ancient world, is a milky liquid which, following incision, exudes from the bark. It hardens into yellowish droplets, known as frankincense tears. Ti was long imported from Southern Arabia, from the kingdom of Sheba and from Hadramawt, on the backs of camels following desert trails.
   Many scenes on the walls of Egyptian temples depict the collection, transport and use of Boswellia and its resin. Present in numerous pharmacopoeia, frankincense has long been prescribed, especially for its haemostatic properties.
   The purest grade of frankincense is used without processing as incense for burning. Note that the term incense once referred exclusively to frankincense. It has only quite recently come to refer to any pleasant smelling fumigation.
   The Egyptian associated it with unrivalled symbolic properties : a substance which revealed god, it sanctified rituals and offerings.
   More generally, it symbolized the divine, the father and the diurnal, in contrast with myrrh, with which it was often associated. These two substances, along with royal gold, were the gifts of the three Magi to baby Jesus (Matthew 2,11).
   In ritual ceremonies, the smoke of frankincense is both an instrument of meditation with the divinity and a protective screen which maintains a safe distance from God, whom no mortal man shall see and live (Leviticus 16, 12-13 and Exodus 33,20).
   Frankincense gives off a warm, slightly citrine perfume, balsamic par excellence, still used in modern perfumery for its oriental notes.
4.14  myrrh...

   In the Semitic languages, the word mör or mur, from which myrrh is derived, means that which is bitter.
   Bitter myrrh is to be distinguished from sweet myrrh, which was in reality the plant opoponax (Hercules’ allheal).
   Myrrh is a gum-oil resin extracted from various varieties of the genus Commiphora, trees with grayish bark, growing mainly along the coasts of the Red Sea. Exuded through natural splits or artificial incisions, the liquid, initially milky and yellow-white, hardens into irregular reddish-brown drops when it is exposed to air. Myrrh, like frankincense, has always been consumed in large quantities, both in the preparation of domestic and religious incense and in perfumed oils and unguents. Symbolically, myrrh has often represented femininity, associated with the mystery of night, in contrast with frankincense, representing solar, the diurnal and the active.
   The Egyptians imported it from the mythical land of Punt, probably in fact Somalia and Sudan. Queen Hatshepsut (1504-1483 BC) brought thirty or so frankincense and myrrh tress by boat in great baskets and tried, without great success, to make them grow in Egypt. Inscriptions in Saqqarah, the first references to this desire to master the growing of divine aromatic substances, date from the 10th dynasty, a thousand years before Hatshepsut, and refer to a similar expedition.
   With a marvelous perfume reputed to be among the best in the world, myrrh is the substance which is referred to the most often in the texts. The Song of Songs constantly praises the sweetness of its perfume (1,13; 3,6; 4, 6-14; 5,1; 5,5; 5,13). Twelve centuries after the Exodus, myrrh was a gift given by one of the three Magi to baby Jesus.
   In medical terms, myrrh has antiseptic and sedative properties.
   The aroma of myrrh is warm, fragrant, aromatic and slightly pungent; it is bitter to the taste.
4.14  aloes...

   Translated from the Hebrew word, 'ahalim)
   This was a fragrant wood (Num. 24:6; Ps. 45:8; Prov. 7:17 ), the Aquilaria agallochum of botanists, or, as some suppose, the costly gum or perfume extracted from the wood.
   It is found in China, Siam, and Northern India, and grows to the height sometimes of 120 feet. This species is of great rarity even in India. There is another and more common species, called by Indians aghil. Europeans have given it the name of Lignum aquile, or eagle-wood. Aloewood was used by the Egyptians for embalming dead bodies. Nicodemus brought it (pounded aloe-wood) to embalm the body of Christ (John 19:39); but whether this was the same as that mentioned elsewhere is uncertain.
   The “bitter aloes” of the apothecary is the dried juice of the leaves Aloe vulgaris.
4.16b  I suspect that "his garden" has little to do with vegetables.