Ten acres of vineyard would normally produce 10,000 gallons (37,850 liters) of wine yearly. Isaiah says that the Lord’s judgment upon Israel would be so severe that ten acres of vineyard would produce only one bath, or six gallons (23 liters). See 5:10.
The tinkling of feet mentioned in 3:16 is probably the ankle bracelets many women wore in the ancient world. They were usually made of bronze and were attached permanently.
Pruning hooks (2:4) were used to cut away newly formed leaves and shoots from grape vines. The blade curved into a sharp hook at the tip, allowing it to capture and cut new growth more easily than a straight blade.
The Holy One of Israel is Isaiah’s main title for God. The phrase occurs 25 times in the book, but rarely elsewhere in the Bible. The word “holy” describes the Lord’s absolute moral purity and his being far greater than all that he has created.
Vineyards, fields, and palm trees. The Song of Solomon takes place in a rural setting, and the lovers describe each other using images drawn from this context. The man is a shepherd, and the woman works in her family’s vineyard.
The woman addresses the daughters of Jerusalem four times throughout this book, creating a refrain that ties her “songs” together (2:7; 3:5; 5:8; 8:4). She urges them not to “stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” In other words, they should wait until the appropriate time to enjoy romantic love.
Purple cloth was associated with royalty because the purple dye was very difficult to produce in large quantities. Most of the purple dye came from a shellfish called the murex. It took more than 8,000 murex shellfish to extract one gram of dye.
The man in this love story compared his beloved to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots (1:9). Only the best and most handsome of mares would have been chosen for important processions, and they would have been well-adorned with jewels and ornaments. This was the man’s way of saying that his beloved’s beauty is incomparable.
The peaceful shadows of old age. The righteous will enjoy a long and peaceful old age, like the shadows of evening (8:13). There is no such hope, however, for the wicked.
“Eat, drink, and be merry”? Ecclesiastes advises those who serve God to enjoy his gifts of food, drink, comfort, married life, and honest work (9:7–9; compare 2:24–26; 3:13; 5:19–20).