Song of Solomon4:14

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saffron, calamus


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and cinnamon, with all the frankincense trees,

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with myrrh

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and aloes

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and all the finest spices.

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by specific acts which revive, and enhance, by a delicacy that refreshes others,

by all the facets of intimate communion, by all that is healing and pleasant, and by the ability to revive someone’s spirit.



Nard is used twice in a row; it is the last word of verse 13 and the first word of verse 14. Why would the writer do that? Probably for emphasis. Is there any difference between the two uses? Yes. The first one is plural, the second one is singular. The two “choice fruits” mentioned in verse 13 are plural, but starting with this use of “nard” the plants named are singular. I take this difference as a hint that the daughters were talented in the general skills of refreshing others and that they gave special attention to each specific opportunity to refresh someone, just like their mother did. They cared equally about the singular opportunities and the general opportunities.


Calamus is a type of reed, that is why it was a picture of something delicate.


Frankincense was a highly prized commodity in ancient times, often commanding a higher price than gold. It was used in many healing ointments, as well as other uses, such as masking the bad odors of dead bodies during burial.


Myrrh fits with the other plants that are refreshing because it promotes healing in several ways. Although it was known to heal and uplift, and it helps preserve any aromatic oil it was mixed with. However, it must be admitted that the word “Myrrh” in the Bible could refer to a number of things and might not be the plant we call myrrh. However, all the aromatic oils mentioned here have healing and refreshing qualities, so this one probably did too, whichever plant it was referring to.


This may have been different from the aloe we know because it was sometimes spoken of as a tree having wood. Whatever it was , it had a strong and pleasant odor.


This long sentence says, in effect, “Honey, you don’t need to worry about our girls; they are developing into young women that know how to refresh and revive someone’s spirit. They are a breath of fresh air in my life, and I know they will do the same for their husbands some day.” If my speculation is correct, it was the Shulammite who wanted to write this song in the first place because she wanted their daughters to have the kind of marriage relationship that she and Solomon had. He is telling her that she has nothing to worry about. In doing so he is giving her a compliment, saying, “Don’t worry about the girls, Honey, they’re turning out just like you.”