I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
Rose. If applied to Jesus Christ, it, with the white lily (emblem of His lowliness), answers to "white and ruddy" Rose. If applied to Jesus Christ, it, with the white lily (emblem of His lowliness), answers to "white and ruddy" (Song of Solomon 5:10). But it is rather the meadow-saffron; the Hebrew means radically a plant with a pungent bulb, inapplicable to the rose. х chªbatselet (H2261), from chaamee`, pungent, and baatseel, a bulb: the Colchicum autumnale.] So the Syriac. It is of a white and violet colour (Gesenius). But see note, Isaiah 35:1, for the narcissus. It is rather the bride who thus speaks of herself, as lowly, though lovely, in contrast with the lordly "apple" or citron tree, the Bridegroom (Song of Solomon 2:3); so the "lily" is applied to her (Song of Solomon 2:2).
Sharon - (Isaiah 35:1-2.) In North Palestine, between Mount Tabor and Lake Tiberias (1 Chronicles 5:16): The Septuagint and Vulgate translate it 'a plain;' though they err in this, the Hebrew Bible not elsewhere favouring it, yet the parallelism to valleys shows that, in the proper name Sharon, there is here a tacit reference to its meaning of lowliness. Beauty, delicacy, and lowliness, are to be in her as they were in Him (Matthew 11:29).
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
Daughters - of men, not of God; not "the virgins," answering in parallelism to "thorns." 'If thou art the lily of Jesus Christ, take heed lest by impatience, rash judgments, and pride, thou thyself become a thorn' (Luther).
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
Apple - generic term; including the golden citron, pomegranate, and orange apple (Proverbs 25:11). He combines the shadow and fragrance of the citron with the sweetness of the orange and pomegranate fruit. The foliage is perpetual: throughout the year a succession of blossoms, fruit, and perfume.
Among the sons - parallel to "among the daughters." He alone is ever fruitful among the fruitless wild trees (Hebrews 1:9).
Shadow - (Isaiah 4:6.) Jesus Christ interposes the shadow of His cross between the blazing rays of justice and us sinners. Lamentations 4:20 is the type. Fruit - faith plucks it (Proverbs 3:18). Man lost the tree of life, (Genesis 3:1-24.) Jesus Christ has regained it for him: he eats it partly now (Psalms 119:103; John 6:55; John 6:57); fully hereafter (Revelation 2:7): not earned by the sweat of his brow, or by his righteousness, (Romans 10:1-21.) Compare Hosea 14:6-9, Contrast the worldling's fruit (Luke 15:16).
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
He brought me to the banqueting house - Hebrew, 'house of wine.' Historically fulfilled in the joy of Simeon and Anna in the temple over the infant Saviour, and that of Mary too (cf. Luke 1:53); typified. Exodus 24:9-11; also in the erection of the temple of Solomon, the spiritual banqueting house of Israel. Spiritually, the bride or beloved is led (Song of Solomon 2:4) first into the King's chambers, thence is drawn after Him, in answer to her prayer; is next received on a grassy couch under a cedar kiosk; and at last in a 'banqueting hall,' such as Josephus says Solomon had in his palace, 'wherein all the vessels were of gold.' The transition is from holy retirement to public ordinances-the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament Church, and in the New Testament Church worship and the Lord's Supper (Psalms 36:8). The bride, as the Queen of Sheba, is given "all her desire" (Psalms 63:5): type of the heavenly feast hereafter (Isaiah 25:6; Isaiah 25:9).
His banner ... love. After having rescued us from the enemy, our victorious "Captain" (Hebrews 2:10) seats us at the bauquet, under a banner inscribed with His name, "love" (1 John 4:8). His love conquered us to Himself. This banner rallies round us the forces of Omnipotence as our protection. It marks to what country we belong-heaven, the abode of love; and in what we most glory-the cross of Jesus Christ, through which we triumph (Romans 8:37). Compare with "over me," "underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27).
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
Flagons. Maurer prefers the translation ( 'ªshiyshowt (H809)) 'dried raisin cakes,' from the Hebrew root ['eeysh] fire-namely, dried by heat. But the 'house of wine' (margin, Song of Solomon 2:4) favours "flagons" (so the Hebrew, 1 Chronicles 16:3; Hosea 3:1): the "new wine" of the kingdom, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Apples - from the tree (Song of Solomon 2:3) so sweet to her, the promises of God: literally, 'straw me with apples:' let my bed (the same Hebrew as "the bottom" of the bed or chariot, Song of Solomon 3:10) be strewn with apples, the scent of which shall refresh me.
Sick of love - the highest degree of sensible enjoyment that can be attained here. It may be at an early or late stage of experience. Paul (2 Corinthians 12:2-7). In the last sickness of J. Welch he was overheard saying, 'Lord, hold thine hand; it is enough: thy servant is a clay vessel, and can hold no more.' Inmost cases this intensity of joy is reserved for the heavenly banquet. Historically, Israel had it when the Lord's glory filled the tabernacle, and afterward the temple, so that the priests could not stand to minister. So the Christian Church on Pentecost. The Bride addresses Christ mainly, though in her rapture she uses the plural, "Stay (ye) me," speaking generally. So far from asking the withdrawal of the manifestations which had overpowered her, she asks for more: so "fainteth for" (Psalms 84:2): also Peter, on the mount of transfiguration, "Let us make ... not knowing what he said" (Luke 9:33).
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
His left hand. The "stay" she prayed for (Song of Solomon 2:5) is granted (Deuteronomy 33:12; Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 37:24; Isaiah 41:10). None can pluck from that embrace (John 10:28-30). His hand keeps us from falling (Matthew 14:30-31): to it we may commit ourselves (Psalms 31:5).
His right hand. The "left" is the inferior hand, by which the Lord less signally manifests His love than by the right: the secret hand of ordinary providence, as distinguished from that of manifested grace, the "right." They really go together, though sometimes they seem divided: here both are felt at once. Theodoret takes the left hand as referring to judgment and wrath; the right to honour and love. The hand of justice no longer is lifted to smite, but is under the head of the believer to support (Isaiah 42:21). The hand of Jesus Christ, pierced by justice for our sin, supports us. The charge (Song of Solomon 2:7) not to disturb the beloved occurs thrice; but the sentiment here, "His left hand," etc., nowhere else fully; which accords with the intensity of joy (Song of Solomon 2:5) experienced in the first love of Israel, the New Testament Church, and the individual believer (Jeremiah 2:2). In Song of Solomon 8:3 it is only conditional, "should embrace," not "doth."
I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
I charge you ... stir not up ... my love. Not an oath "by the roes," but a solemn charge to act as cautiously as the hunter would with the wild roes, which are proverbially timorous. He must advance with breathless circumspection if he is to take them; so he who would not lose Jesus Christ and His Spirit, which is easily grieved and withdrawn, must be tender of conscience and watchful (Ezekiel 16:43). In margin, title of Psalms 22:1-31, Jesus Christ is called the 'hind of the morning,' hunted to death by the dogs, and rising again at dawn (cf. Song of Solomon 2:8-9, where He is represented as bounding on the hills). (Psalms 18:33). Here He is resting, but with a repose easily broken (Zephaniah 3:17). It is thought a gross rudeness in the East to awaken one sleeping, especially a person of rank.
My love - in Hebrew, feminine for masculine, the abstract for concrete, Jesus Christ being the embodiment of love itself (Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 8:4), where, as here, the context requires it to be applied to Him, not her. She, too, is "love" (cf. 7:6), because His love calls forth her love. Presumption in the convert is as grieving to the Spirit as despair. The lovingness and pleasantness (Proverbs 5:19) of the hind and roe is included in this image of Jesus Christ.
The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
The voice - an exclamation of joyful surprise, evidently after a long silence. The restlessness of sin (Song of Solomon 2:7) and the fickleness on her part had disturbed His rest with her, which she had professed not to wish disturbed 'until He should please.' He left her, but in sovereign grace unexpectedly heralds His return. She awakes, and at once recognizes His voice: her sleep is not so sinfully deep as in Song of Solomon 5:2.
Leaping - bounding, as the roe does, over the roughest obstacles; as the Father of the prodigal "had compassion and ran."
Upon the hills - as the sunbeams glancing from hill to hill. Historically, the coming of "the kingdom of heaven" (the gospel dispensation), announced by John Baptist, is meant: it primarily is the garden or vineyard, the bride is called so in a secondary sense. "The voice" of Jesus Christ is indirect, being heard through "the friend of the Bridegroom" (John 3:29), John the Baptist. Personally, He is silent during John's ministration, who awoke the long slumbering Church with the cry, "Every hill shall be made low," in the spirit of Elias on the 'rent mountains' (1 Kings 19:11; cf. Isaiah 52:7). Jesus Christ is implied as coming with intense desire (Luke 22:15), disregarding the mountain hindrances raised by man's sin. Solomon saw in the restoration of God's favour to Israel, as shown in the bringing up of the ark to Zion under David, and especially in the erection of the temple, and the uniting together in it of the ark and the brasen altar of the tabernacle, so long separated during God's alienation from His people (2 Chronicles 1:3-6; 2 Chronicles 4:1-22; 2 Chronicles 5:1-14; 2 Chronicles 6:1-42), a type of the coming perfect union of God and His people in Messiah, the anitypical ark and temple.
My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
He standeth - after having bounded over the intervening space like a roe. He often stands near when our unbelief hides Him from us (Genesis 28:16; Revelation 3:19-20). His usual way: long promised and expected, sudden at last; so in visiting the second temple (Malachi 3:1); so at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47); so in visiting an individual soul, Zaccheus (Luke 19:5-6; John 3:8). So shall it be at His second coming (Matthew 24:48; Matthew 24:50; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). Wall - over the cope of which He is first seen.
He looketh forth at (literally, from; Hebrew, min (H4480 )) the windows - glancing suddenly and stealthily [Hebrew, meetsiyts (H6692), to bud or bloom forth, answering to the image (Song of Solomon 2:12). So Messiah, the rod of the stem of Jesse, sprouted forth to the view of the believing Israelite behind the wall of types.] English version.
Showing himself through (Hebrew, min (H4480 ), from) the lattice. The reality here overrules the allegory. Strictly, the Bridegroom was outside the wall in the image, but in the reality He is inside; and from the windows, and from the lattice of types, He glanced forth to the view of the Israelite (cf. the phrase with Genesis 26:8; Proverbs 7:6). The prophecies, types, etc., were lattice glimpses of Him to the Old Testament Church, in spite of the wall of separation which sin had raised (John 8:56): clearer glimpses were given by John the Baptist, but not unclouded (John 1:26). The "wall" primarily is the legal 'fence' (Isaiah 5:2, margin) that went round the Old Testament vineyard, the Israelite Church-namely, its law, moral and ceremonial, behind which believers got a glimpse of Christ (Hebrews 10:1). The legal wall of partition was not to be removed until His death (Hebrews 10:20). Even now He is only seen by faith, through the windows of His Word, and the lattice of ordinances, and sacraments (John 14:21); not full vision (1 Corinthians 13:12): an incentive to our looking for His second coming (Isaiah 33:17).
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
My beloved spake ... come away. Loving re-assurance given by Jesus Christ to the bride, lest she should think that He had ceased to love her, on account of her unfaithfulness, which had occasioned His temporary withdrawal. He allures her to brighter than worldly joys (Micah 2:10). Messiah woos Israel to Gospel hopes from her past attachment to legalism. Not only does the saint wish to depart, to be with Him, but He still more desires to have the saint with Him above (John 17:24). Historically, the vineyard or garden of the King, here first, introduced, is "the kingdom of heaven preached" by John the Baptist, before whom "the Law and the Prophets were." The type in Solomon's days was the return of God to Israel in favour, after His estrangement from them during the latter period of the Judges, and during Saul's reign.
Verse 11. The winter is past - the law of the covenant of works (Matthew 4:16).
Rain is over - (1 John 2:8.) Then first the Gentile Church is called "beloved, which was not beloved" (Romans 9:25.). So "the winter" of estrangement and sin is "past" to the believer (Isaiah 44:22; Jeremiah 50:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The rising "Sun of Righteousness." dispels the "rain" (2 Samuel 23:4; Psalms 126:5; Malachi 4:2). The winter in Palestine was past by April, but all the showers were not over until May. The time described here is that which comes directly after these last showers of winter. In the highest sense the coming resurrection and deliverance of the earth from the past curse is here implied (Romans 8:19): No more 'clouds' shall then 'return after the rain' (Ecclesiastes 12:2): 'the rainbow round the throne' is the 'token' of this.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
Flowers - tokens of anger past, and of grace come. 'The summoned bride is welcome,' say some Fathers: 'to weave from them garlands of beauty, wherewith she may adorn herself to meet the King.' Historically, the flowers, etc., only give promise; the fruit is not ripe yet: suitable to the reaching of John the Baptist, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand;" not yet fully come.
The time of ... singing - the rejoicing at the advent of Jesus Christ. Gregory Nyssenus refers the voice of the turtle dove to John the Baptist. It with the olive branch announced to Noah that "the rain was over and gone" (Genesis 8:11). So John the Baptist, spiritually. Its plaintive 'voice' answers to his preaching of repentance now in the seasonable "time" (Jeremiah 8:6-7; Luke 3:8-9). Vulgate and Septuagint translate (Hebrew, zaamiyr (H2158)), 'The time of pruning,' namely, spring (John 15:2). So Gesenius. The mention of the 'turtle's' cooing better accords with our text. The turtle is migratory (Jeremiah 8:7), and 'comes' early in May; emblem of love, and so of the Holy Spirit. Love, too, shall be the keynote of the "new song" hereafter (Isaiah 35:10; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 14:3; Revelation 19:6). In the individual believer now, joy and love are here set forth in their earlier manifestations (Mark 4:28).
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Putteth forth - rather, ripens; literally, makes red х chaanªTaah (H2590)]: or else seasons. The unripe figs, which grow in winter, begin to ripen in early spring, and in June are fully matured (Winer).
Vines with the tender grape - rather, 'the vines in flower;' literally, a flower, in apposition with "vines" (Maurer). However, the Hebrew cªmaadar (H5563) here may well be taken with the English version, as referring to the first stage, when the grape is very small and tender, the flower having just fallen. Boser is the grape in a further stage of growth: Hanab, the ripe grape. The vine flowers were so sweet that they were often put, when dried, into new wine to give it flavour. Applicable to the first manifestations of Jesus Christ, "the true Vine," both to the Church, and to individuals: as to Nathanael under the fig tree (John 1:48).
Arise ... - His call, described by the bride, ends as it began (Song of Solomon 2:10): it is a consistent whole; 'love' from first to last.
O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
O my dove - here expressing endearment: and the defenseless innocence of the Church (Psalms 74:19). Doves are noted for constant attachment emblems, also, in their soft, plaintive note, of softened penitents (Isaiah 59:11): other points of likeness are their beauty, typifying the change in the converted (Psalms 68:13); the dove-like spirit breathed into the saint by the Holy Spirit, whose emblem is the dove; the message of peace from God to sinful men, as Noah's dove, with the olive branch, intimated that the flood of wrath was past; timidity fleeing with fear from sin and self to the cleft Rock of Ages (margin, Isaiah 26:4); gregarious, flocking together to the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 60:8); harmless simplicity (Matthew 10:16).
That art in the clefts - the refuge of doves from storm and heat (Jeremiah 48:28; contrast a different use of the "clefts" by the wicked Jeremiah 49:16). Gesenius translates the Hebrew from a different root, 'the refuges.' But see, for "clefts" (a different Hebrew term). Exodus 33:18-23. It is only when we are in Christ Jesus (Psalms 27:5; Isaiah 33:16) that our 'voice is sweet (in prayer, Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 4:11; Matthew 10:20; Galatians 4:6: because it is His voice in us; also in speaking of Him, Malachi 3:16); and our countenance comely' (Exodus 34:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Contrast the clefts in which the proud hide themselves (Jeremiah 49:16).
Stairs (Ezekiel 38:20, margin) - a steep rock, broken into stairs or terraces. It is in "secret places" and rugged scenes that Jesus Christ woos the soul from the world to Himself (Micah 2:10). So Jacob amidst the stones of Bethel; Moses at Horeb; so Elijah (1 Kings 19:9-13); Jesus Christ with the three disciples on a "high mountain apart," at the transfiguration; John in Patmos. 'Of the eight beatitudes, five have an afflicted condition for their subject. As long as the waters are on the earth, we dwell in the ark; but when the land is dry, the dove itself will be tempted to wander' (Jeremy Taylor). Jesus Christ does not invite her to leave the rock, but in it (Himself), yet in holy freedom, to lay aside the timorous spirit, look up boldly as accepted in Him, pray, praise, and confess Him (in contrast to her shrinking from being looked at, Song of Solomon 1:6); still, though trembling, the voice and countenance of the soul in Jesus Christ are pleasant to Him. The Church found no cleft in the Sinaitic legal rock, though good in itself, wherein to hide; but in Jesus Christ stricken by God for us as the rock smitten by Moses, there is a hiding grace (Isaiah 32:2). She praised His "voice" (Song of Solomon 2:8; Song of Solomon 2:10): it is thus, that her voice also, though tremulous, is "sweet" to Him here.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Transition to the vineyard, often formed in "stairs" (Song of Solomon 2:14) or terraces, in which, amidst the vine leaves, foxes hid.
Foxes - generic term, including jackals. They eat only grapes, not the vine flowers; but they need to be driven out Foxes - generic term, including jackals. They eat only grapes, not the vine flowers; but they need to be driven out in time, before the grape is ripe. She had failed in watchfulness before (Song of Solomon 1:6). now, when converted, she is the more jealous of subtle sins (Psalms 139:23.) In spiritual winter certain evils are frozen up, as well as good; in the spring of revivals these start up unperceived-crafty, false teachers, spiritual pride, uncharitableness etc., (Psalms 19:12; Matthew 13:26; Hebrews 12:15.) 'Little' sins are parents of the greatest (Ecclesiastes 10:1; 1 Corinthians 5:6). Historically, John the Baptist spared not the fox-like Herod, who gave vine-like promise of fruit at first (Mark 6:20), at the cost of his life; nor the viper-Sadducees, etc.; nor the varied subtle forms of sin (Luke 3:7-14). Typically, in Solomon's days, when Israel had revived from her past religious and national deadness, there was danger of her old sins creeping in again by small beginnings, as indeed they did toward the close of his reign, (1 Kings 11:1-43.)
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
Mine ... his - rather, 'is for me ... for Him.' Hosea 3:3, where, as here, there is the assurance of indissoluble union, in spite of temporary absence. Next verse, entreating Him to return, shows that He has gone, perhaps through her want of guarding against the 'little sins.' The order of the clauses is reversed in Song of Solomon 6:3, when she is riper in faith: there she rests more on her being His; here, on His being her's; and no doubt her sense of love to Him is a pledge that she is His (John 14:21; John 14:23): this is her consolation in His withdrawal now.
Feedeth - as a "roe," or gazelle (Song of Solomon 2:17).
Among the lilies. Instinct is sure to lead him back to His feeding ground, where the lilies abound. So Jesus Christ, though now withdrawn, the bride feels sure will return to His favorite resting-place (Song of Solomon 7:10). So hereafter (Revelation 21:3). Psalms 45:1-17, title, terms His lovely brides 'lilies' (namely, the nations about to be received into the kingdom of the heavenly Solomon: cf. Song of Solomon 4:5; Song of Solomon 6:2), pure and white, though among thorns (Song of Solomon 2:2).
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.
Day break ... shadows flee away. Night is the image of the present world (Romans 12:12). 'Behold men as if dwelling in, a subterranean cavern' (Plato, 'Republic,' 7: 1).
Until - i:e., Before that, etc. Break - rather, breathe: referring to the refreshing breeze of dawn in the East; or to the air of life, which distinguishes morning from the death-like stillness of night. Maurer takes this verse of the approach of night, when the breeze arises after the heat of day (cf. margin, Genesis 3:8, with Genesis 18:1), and the "shadows" are lost in night (Psalms 102:11): thus our life will be the day; death, the night (John 9:4). So Sanctus. It was at night the marriage feast took place (Genesis 29:23; Matthew 25:3; Matthew 25:6). The English version better accords with Song of Solomon 3:1. 'By night' (Romans 13:12).
Turn - to me.
Bether - Mountains of Bithron, separated from the rest of Israel by Jordan, not far from Bethabara, where John baptized and Jesus was first manifested. Rather, as margin, of divisions, and Septuagint, mountains intersected with deep valleys hard to pass over, separating the bride and Jesus Christ. In Song of Solomon 8:14 the mountains are of spices, on which the roe feeds, not of separation; for at His first coming He had to overpass the gulf made by sin between Him and us (Zechariah 4:6-7); in His second, He will only have to come down from the fragrant hills above, to take home his prepared bride. Historically, in the ministry of John the Baptist, Christ's call to the bride was not, as at a later period (Song of Solomon 4:8), "Come with me," but "come away" - namely, to meet me (Song of Solomon 2:2; Song of Solomon 2:10; Song of Solomon 2:13); Sitting in darkness (Matthew 4:16), she 'waited,' and 'looked' eagerly for Him, the 'great light' (Luke 1:79): at His rising, the "shadows" of the law (Colossians 2:16-17) were to "flee away." So we wait for the second coming, when means of grace, so precious now, shall be superseded by the Sun of righteousness (1 Corinthians 13:10; 1 Corinthians 13:12). The Word is our light until then (2 Peter 1:19).