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Song of Songs 3:6 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all powders of the merchant?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Who [is] this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “What is this coming up from the wilderness Like columns of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all scented powders of the merchant?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Who [is] this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Who is this, [she] that cometh up from the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all powders of the merchant? ...
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— [THEY] Who is this, coming up out of the wilderness, like pillars of smoke,—with perfume of myrrh, and frankincense, besides all the aromatic powder of the merchant?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Who [is] this coming up from the wilderness, Like palm-trees of smoke, Perfumed [with] myrrh and frankincense, From every powder of the merchant?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, and of all the powders of the perfumer?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Who [is] this that commeth out of the wildernes like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrhe and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Who is this that comes up from the wilderness as pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the perfumer?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Who [is] this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Who x4310
(4310) Complement
An interrogitive pronoun of persons, as H4100 is of things, who? (occasionally, by a peculiar idiom, of things); also (indefinitely) whoever; often used in oblique construction with prefix or suffix.
[is] this x2063
(2063) Complement
Irregular feminine of H2089; this (often used adverbially).
that cometh 5927
{5927} Prime
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
out of x4480
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
the wilderness 4057
{4057} Prime
From H1696 in the sense of driving; a pasture (that is, open field, whither cattle are driven); by implication a desert; also speech (including its organs).
like pillars 8490
{8490} Prime
From the same as H8558; a column, that is, cloud.
of smoke, 6227
{6227} Prime
From H6225; smoke, literally or figuratively (vapor, dust, anger).
perfumed 6999
{6999} Prime
A primitive root (rather identical with H7000 through the idea of fumigation in a close place and perhaps thus driving out the occupants); to smoke, that is, turn into fragrance by fire (especially as an act of worship).
<8794> Grammar
Stem - Pual (See H8849)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 194
with myrrh 4753
{4753} Prime
From H4843; myrrh (as distilling in drops, and also as bitter).
and frankincense, 3828
{3828} Prime
From H3826; frankincense (from its whiteness or perhaps that of its smoke).
with all x4480
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
(3605) Complement
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
powders 81
{0081} Prime
Feminine of H0080.
of the merchant? 7402
{7402} Prime
A primitive root; to travel for trading.
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Song of Songs 3:6

Canticle III. — (Song 3:6-5:1) — The Bridegroom with the Bride

_ _ Historically, the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth.

_ _ New scene (Song of Songs 3:6-11). The friends of the Bridegroom see a cortege approach. His palanquin and guard.

_ _ cometh out — rather, “up from”; the wilderness was lower than Jerusalem [Maurer].

_ _ pillars of smoke — from the perfumes burned around Him and His bride. Image from Israel and the tabernacle (answering to “bed,” Song of Songs 3:7) marching through the desert with the pillar of smoke by day and fire by night (Exodus 14:20), and the pillars of smoke ascending from the altars of incense and of atonement; so Jesus Christ’s righteousness, atonement, and ever-living intercession. Balaam, the last representative of patriarchism, was required to curse the Jewish Church, just as it afterwards would not succumb to Christianity without a struggle (Numbers 22:41), but he had to bless in language like that here (Numbers 24:5, Numbers 24:6). Angels too joyfully ask the same question, when Jesus Christ with the tabernacle of His body (answering to “His bed,Song of Songs 3:7; John 1:14, “dwelt,” Greek “tabernacled,” John 2:21) ascends into heaven (Psalms 24:8-10); also when they see His glorious bride with Him (Psalms 68:18; Revelation 7:13-17). Encouragement to her; amid the darkest trials (Song of Songs 3:1), she is still on the road to glory (Song of Songs 3:11) in a palanquin “paved with love” (Song of Songs 3:10); she is now in soul spiritually “coming,” exhaling the sweet graces, faith, love, joy, peace, prayer, and praise; (the fire is lighted within, the “smoke” is seen without, Acts 4:13); it is in the desert of trial (Song of Songs 3:1-3) she gets them; she is the “merchant” buying from Jesus Christ without money or price (Isaiah 55:1; Revelation 3:18); just as myrrh and frankincense are got, not in Egypt, but in the Arabian sands and the mountains of Palestine. Hereafter she shall “come” (Song of Songs 3:6, Song of Songs 3:11) in a glorified body, too (Philippians 3:21). Historically, Jesus Christ returning from the wilderness, full of the Holy Ghost (Luke 4:1, Luke 4:14). The same, “Who is this,” etc. (Isaiah 63:1, Isaiah 63:5).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Song of Songs 3:6

_ _ These are the words of the daughters of Jerusalem, to whom the charge was given, Song of Songs 3:5. They had looked shily upon the bride because she was black (Song of Songs 1:6); but now they admire her, and speak of her with great respect: Who is this? How beautiful she looks! Who would have expected such a comely and magnificent person to come out of the wilderness? As, when Christ rode in triumph into Jerusalem, they said, Who is this? And of the accession of strangers to the church she herself says, with wonder (Isaiah 49:21), Who has begotten me these? 1. This is applicable to the Jewish church, when, after forty years' wandering in the wilderness, they came out of it, to take a glorious possession of the land of promise; and this may very well be illustrated by what Balaam said of them at that time, when they ascended out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, and he stood admiring them: From the top of the rocks I see him. How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob! Numbers 23:9; Numbers 24:5. 2. It is applicable to any public deliverance of the church of God, as particularly of Babylon, the Old Testament and the New Testament Babylon; then the church is like pillars of smoke, ascending upwards in devout affections, the incense of praise, from which, as from Noah's sacrifice, God smells a sweet savour; then she is amiable in the eyes of her friends, and her enemies too cannot but have a veneration for her, and worship at her feet, knowing that God has loved her, Revelation 3:9. Sometimes the fear of the Jews was upon their neighbours, when they saw that God was with them of a truth, Esther 8:17. 3. It is applicable to the recovery of a gracious soul out of a state of desertion and despondency. (1.) She ascends out of the wilderness, the dry and barren land, where there is no way, where there is no water, where travellers are still in want and ever at a loss; here a poor soul may long be left to wander, but shall come up, at last, under the conduct of the Comforter. (2.) She comes up like pillars of smoke, like a cloud of incense ascending from the altar or the smoke of the burnt-offerings. This intimates a fire of pious and devout affections in the soul, whence this smoke arises, and the mounting of the soul heaven-ward in this smoke (as Judges 13:20), the heart lifted up to God in the heavens, as the sparks fly upward. Christ's return to the soul gives life to its devotion, and its communion with God is most reviving when it ascends out of a wilderness. (3.) She is perfumed with myrrh and frankincense. She is replenished with the graces of God's Spirit, which are as sweet spices, or as the holy incense, which, being now kindled by his gracious returns, sends forth a very fragrant smell. Her devotions being now peculiarly lively, she is not only acceptable to God, but amiable in the eyes of others also, who are ready to cry out with admiration, Who is this? What a monument of mercy is this! The graces and comforts with which she is perfumed are called the powders of the merchant, for they are far-fetched and dear-bought, by our Lord Jesus, that blessed merchant, who took a long voyage, and was at vast expense, no less than that of his own blood, to purchase them for us. They are not the products of our own soil, nor the growth of our own country; no, they are imported from the heavenly Canaan, the better country.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Song of Songs 3:6

Who — The persons speaking seem to be the daughters of Jerusalem, who upon occasion of the bride's speech to them, make this reply. The person spoken of is the spouse. Wilderness — Believers were to be called, not only out of the holy land, which was as the garden of God, but also out of the Gentile — world, which in prophetical writings is frequently described under the notion of a wilderness. Pillars — Being conducted out of the wilderness as by a pillar of smoak going before them, as the Israelites were led through the wilderness to Canaan, by a pillar of cloud and fire. Perfumed — The spouse is said to be thus perfumed, for her excellent virtues and religious services which are pleasant and acceptable to God, and for the merits and graces of Christ, which are a sweet savour to God, wherewith she is enriched and beautified. Of merchants — Which are fetched by the merchants from Arabia, or other remote parts.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Song of Songs 3:6

Who [is] this that cometh out of the (e) wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

(e) This refers to the Church of Israel which was led in the wilderness for forty years.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Song of Songs 8:5 Who [is] this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth [that] bare thee.
Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, [and] to prove thee, to know what [was] in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
Jeremiah 2:2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land [that was] not sown.
Jeremiah 31:2 Thus saith the LORD, The people [which were] left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
Revelation 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.
Revelation 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Probably the clouds of incense arising from the palanquin, which seemed like pillars of smoke.
Exodus 13:21-22 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: ... He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, [from] before the people.
Joel 2:29-31 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. ... The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Acts 2:18-21 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: ... And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. ... Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.


Song of Songs 1:3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name [is as] ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
Song of Songs 1:13 A bundle of myrrh [is] my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
Song of Songs 4:12-14 A garden inclosed [is] my sister, [my] spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. ... Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
Song of Songs 5:5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped [with] myrrh, and my fingers [with] sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
Song of Songs 5:13 His cheeks [are] as a bed of spices, [as] sweet flowers: his lips [like] lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. ... To the one [we are] the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who [is] sufficient for these things?
Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Ex 13:21. Dt 8:2. So 1:3, 13; 4:12; 5:5, 13; 8:5. Is 43:19. Jr 2:2; 31:2. Jol 2:29. Ac 2:18. 2Co 2:14. Php 4:18. Col 3:1. Rv 5:8; 12:6, 14.

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The merchant of Song of Songs 3:6 is a travelling trader. Our Christ is a merchant who desires to have daily, even moment by moment transactions with His loving seekers.
- Frank Pytel (4/2/2017 5:56:15 AM)
In Song of Songs 1:13, the Beloved Christ was a bag of myrrh, hung about the loving seeker’s neck, which she wore through the night between her breasts of faith and love. Yet in 3:6, the loving seeker was perfumed with myrrh. The One she held as a bag around her neck, progressively penetrates and perfumes her with myrrh. Her union with Him and His fragrant death, is deepened as He inwardly saturates her, then is spread forth through her to all around (2 Cor. 2:15).
- Frank Pytel (3/27/2017 7:47:44 AM)
The question that the daughters of Jerusalem asked of the loving seeker, “Who is this”, is also referred to our Beloved Christ in his first and second appearance. In Matthew 21:10, as Jesus rode upon a donkey to enter the city days before he would be crucified, the whole city cried out, “Who is this”. In Isaiah 63:1, the Beloved Christ is seen coming in judgment and the cry is again “Who is this”. While those around asked “Who is this”, the Beloved Jesus asked “Who do men say that I am”. His desire is that we would see Him, not with a natural or religious idea, but as He is! A revelation of the Father is the only way to have such a blessing that unveils the person of the Beloved Christ. Beloved Christ, save us from our traditional view of you, and open our eyes to see you as you are.
- Frank Pytel (3/22/2017 8:26:15 AM)
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