Song of Solomon 7:1

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes,.... It is no unusual thing to describe the comeliness of women by their feet, and the ornaments of them; so Hebe is described by Homer {d} as having beautiful feet, and Juno by her golden shoes: particular care was taken of, and provision made for, the shoes of queens and princesses in the eastern countries; Herodotus {e} tells us, that the city of Anthylla was given peculiarly to the wife of the king of Egypt, to provide her with shoes; which custom, he says, obtained when Egypt became subject to Persia; See Gill on "Esther 2:18". Shoes of a red, or scarlet, or purple colour, were in esteem with the Jews; and so the Targum here is,

"purple shoes:''

the word used is thought by some {f} to signify a colour between scarlet and purple; see Ezekiel 16:10; and also with the Tyrian virgins {g}; and so with the Romans {h}; and with whom likewise white shoes {i} were much in use. That this is said of the church, is plain from the appellation of her,

O prince's daughter! the same with the King's daughter, Psalms 45:13; the daughter of the King of kings; for, being espoused to Christ, his Father is her Father, and his God her God: besides, she is born of him who is the Prince of the kings of the earth, 1 John 2:28; she is both a Prince's wife and a Prince's daughter. It may be rendered, "O noble", or "princely daughter" {k}! being of a free princely spirit, in opposition to a servile one, Psalms 51:12; of a bountiful and liberal spirit, as in, Isaiah 32:5; in distributing temporal things to the necessities of the poor; and in communicating spiritual things to the comfort and edification of others. Some take these to be the words of the daughters of Jerusalem, wondering at the church's beauty, on turning herself to them as they desired: but they are rather the words of Christ; who, observing the church speak so meanly of herself, in order to encourage her, gives a high commendation of her in this and some following verses, and begins with her "feet"; not her ministers, who are "shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace", Ephesians 6:15, and who appear beautiful in the eyes of those who have any knowledge of the good things they publish and proclaim; for they are set in the highest place in the church: but here the lowest and meanest members of the church are meant; whose outward walk, the feet are the instruments of, may be said to be "beautiful with shoes", when they are ready to every good work; when their conversation is ordered aright, is agreeably to the word of God, and as becomes the Gospel of Christ; and which, like shoes, is a fence against the briers and thorns, the reproaches and calumnies, of the world; and when there is such a lustre upon it that it cannot but be seen and observed by spectators, by which they are excited to glorify God, it is so beautiful in the eyes of Christ, that to such he shows the salvation of God;

the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman; a skilful artificer, a goldsmith or jeweller: the allusion seems to be to some ornaments about the knees or legs, wore by women in those times; see Isaiah 3:18; and this may serve to set off the lustre and beauty of the church's conversation. And since it seems not so decent to describe the parts themselves mentioned, the words may rather design the "femoralia", or garments, with which they were covered; and may signify the garments of salvations and robe of Christ's righteousness, whereby the church's members are covered, so that their nakedness is not seen; but with them are as richly adorned bridegroom and bride with their ornaments and which are not the bungling work of a creature, but of one that is God as well as man, and therefore called the righteousness of God. Some have thought that the girdle about the loins is meant, the thighs being put for the loins,

Genesis 46:26; and so may intend the girdle of truth, mentioned along with the preparation of the Gospel of peace the feet are said to be shod with, Ephesians 6:14; and the metaphor of girding is used when a Gospel conversation is directed to, Luke 12:35. But it seems best by these "joints", or "turnings of the thighs" {l}, by which they move more orderly and regularly, to understand the principles of the walk and conversation of saints, as one observes {m}; without which it cannot be ordered aright; for principles denominate actions, good and bad; and the principles of grace, by which believers move in their Christian walk, are as valuable and as precious as jewels, such as faith and love, and a regard to the glory of God; and which are curiously wrought by the finger of God, by his Holy Spirit, who "works in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure", Philippians 2:13.

{d} Odyss. 11. v. 602, 603. "Auratos pedes", Ovid. Amor. l. 3. Eleg. 12.
{e} Euterpe, sivw l. 2. c. 98.
{f} Vid. Braunium de Vest. Sacerd. Heb. l. 1. p. 295, 306.
{g} "Virginibus Tyrriis mos est", &c. Virgil. Aeneid. 1.
{h} Vid. Persii Satyr. 5. v. 169. Virgil. Bucolic. Eclog. 7. v. 32.
{i} "Pes maslus in niveo", &c. Ovid. de Arte Amandi, l. 3. Vid. Martial. l. 7. Epigr. 27.
{k} bydn tb "puella nobills", Castalio; "filia voluntarie", Marckius; "principalis, nobills, et ingenua virgo, sc. filia", so some in Michaelis.
{l} yqwmx "vertebra", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "signat illam agilem versatilem juncturam, qua capite femorum in suis foraminibus expedite moventur", Brightman.
{m} Durham in loc.