Song of Solomon 1:12

While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

While the King sitteth at his table,.... These are the words of the church, relating what influence the presence of Christ, her Lord and King, had upon the exercise of her graces, while he was keeping the nuptial feast, on account of his marriage with her. He was anointed King of saints from eternity, before his incarnation, when he was rejoicing before God his Father, as if at a feast; and while he was thus distant, the faith, hope, desire, and expectation of the saints, were exercised on him, as their Lord and King, that was to come: when he did come, he came as a King, as was foretold of him, though his kingdom was not of this world; and while he was here, the Gospel of the kingdom of heaven was preached, and emitted a sweet savour in Judea: and when he went up to heaven, after his resurrection, he was declared Lord and Christ, and sat down at the right hand of God, "in his circuit" {f}, or at his round table; alluding to such the ancients used, and great personages fed on, peculiar to themselves {g}; being encircled by angels and glorified saints: and in the mean while, before his second coming as King, when he will appear as such in a more glorious manner, he sits down at his table, in the ordinance of the supper, feasting with, entertaining, and welcoming his church and people. When as follows, she says,

my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof: or "nard", of which there are many sorts; but that which grows in spikes is reckoned the best, and from thence is called "spikenard": it was a chief ingredient in ointments, as Pliny says {h}; see John 12:3; and was much used at festivals, to anoint guests with; and with which their head and hair being anointed, gave a fragrant smell, and therefore used to make them acceptable {i}: in Syria, at royal banquets, as this here was, it was usual to go round the guests, to sprinkle them with Babylonian ointment {k}. This may have respect to the grace of the Spirit in the church, comparable to the most excellent ointment; and which grace being in exercise in her, both before and after the incarnation of Christ, and since his ascension to heaven, and while he grants his presence in Gospel ordinances, is very delightful and acceptable to Christ; or this spikenard, according to some {l}, may be meant of Christ himself, just as he is said to be "a bundle of myrrh" in Song of Solomon 1:13, and "a cluster of camphire", in Song of Solomon 1:14; and as ointments were used at feasts, and the church was at one with Christ, and as he was both master and feast, so he was the ointment of spikenard to her; and it is as if she should say, my beloved is at table with me; he is my food, and he is my spikenard {m} I need no other; he is instead of spikenard, myrrh, cypress, or any unguents made of these: his person is exceeding precious; his graces, of ointments, have a delightful savour in them; his sacrifice is of a sweet odour; his garments of righteousness and salvation smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia; he is all in all.

{f} wbomb "in circuitu suo", Montanus, Piscator, Michaelis.
{g} Vid. Cuperi Observ. l. 1. c. 2. p. 13.
{h} Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 12.
{i} "Illius puro destillant tempora nardo", Tibullus, l. 2. Eleg. 2. v. 7. & 1. 3. Eleg. 7. v. 31. "Madidas nardo comas", Martial. l. 3. Ep. 56. "tinge caput nardi folio", ibid. "Assyriaque nardo potemus uncti", Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 11. v. 16, 17. Vid. Ovid. de Arte Amandi, l. 3.
{k} Athenaei Deipnosoph. l. 15. c. 13. p. 692.
{l} Theodoret, Sanctius, and Marckius.
{m} "Tu mihi stacte, tu cinnamomium", &c. Planti Curculio, Act. 1. Sc. 2. v. 6.