Song of Solomon 1:17

The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

The beams of our house are cedar,.... Or "houses" {k}; where their bed was, and where they had fellowship and communion together. By which may be meant particular congregations or churches, in which houses Christ has a property, being of his building and beautifying; where he takes up his rest and residence, and where he feeds and feasts with his people, and to the privileges of which all the saints have a right: and by the "beams" of these houses may be intended the ministers of the word, who are pillars here, as James, John, and Cephas, were; and who are the means of supporting and strengthening such communities, by their excellent doctrines and exemplary lives: or common saints may be meant, who are also beams and pillars in the churches of Christ; and serve greatly to support, strengthen, and cement the spiritual building, fitly framed together: and these being of "cedar" wood, of a pleasant smell, and durable, may denote their gratefulness and acceptableness to Christ and his church, in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty; and of their continuance and perseverance therein, having in them the incorruptible and immortal seed of divine grace; see Psalms 92:12;

and our rafters of fir; which Pliny says {l} is the best and strongest wood for roofing and raftering: by these may be meant the ordinances of the Gospel, which are that to the churches as "rafters" are to a house, the means of supporting and strengthening it; so by the ordinances saints are supported in their spiritual state, and by them their spiritual strength is renewed; and these being said to be of "fir", which is a pleasant and lasting wood, may signify the delight that is had in ordinances, and the continuance of them. Some render the word by "cypress" {m}; which is also of a pleasant smell {n}, and very durable, never admits of worms, nor ever rots, nor is ever sensible of old age {o}; and so may denote the pleasure that saints take in ordinances, and the long continuance of them, as of the present ones, which will remain until the second coming of Christ. Some think the "brutine" tree {p} is meant, which Pliny calls "bruta" {q}; and is near in sound to the word here used, is much like the cypress, and of a sweet smell, like cedar; it grows beyond Pasitigris, on Mount Zagras. Some will have it to be the tree of paradise; and, so applied to ordinances, may signify the same as before. The word for "rafters" is elsewhere rendered "gutters" and "troughs" for water; and some {r} render it so here, and are so called from water running in them: and as the grace of God is often expressed by water, this is commonly conveyed in the use of ordinances; these are the canals in which it runs. Moreover the same word is translated "galleries", in Song of Solomon 7:5; which, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe, were buildings in high houses in which men walked from house to house, or from one end of the house to the other; and might be called by this name, from their droning along the sides of houses, and seem to be like our "balconies": now ordinances are the galleries or "walking places" {s}, where Christ and his people walk and converse together.

{k} wnytb "domorum nostrarum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c. "aedium nostrarum", Marckius.
{l} Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 42.
{m} Mytwrb kuparissoi, Sept. "cypressina", V. L. Tigurine version; so David de Pomis, and others.
{n} Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 33. euwdei kuparissw, Theocrit. Epigram. 4. v. 7.
{o} Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 33. 40, 49.
{p} "E brutis", Junius & Tremellius, Ainsworth, Brightman, Marckius; "brutiua", Cocceius, Michaelis.
{q} Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 17.
{r} wnyjhr "canales nostri"; so some in Vatablus, Tigurine version; "impluvium nostruim", Hiller. de Keri & Kethib, p. 84.
{s} "Ambulachra nostra", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Marckius, Michaelis.