1. rose--if applied to Jesus Christ, it, with the white lily (lowly,
answers to "white and ruddy"
But it is rather the meadow-saffron: the Hebrew means
radically a plant with a pungent bulb, inapplicable to the
rose. So Syriac. It is of a white and violet color
[MAURER, GESENIUS, and WEISS]. The bride thus speaks of herself as lowly though
lovely, in contrast with the lordly "apple" or citron tree, the
so the "lily" is applied to her
(Isa 35:1, 2).
In North Palestine, between Mount Tabor and Lake Tiberias
Septuagint and Vulgate translate it, "a plain"; though
they err in this, the Hebrew Bible not elsewhere favoring 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
2. Jesus Christ to the Bride
Thorns, equivalent to the wicked
daughters--of men, not of God; not "the virgins." "If thou art the
lily of Jesus Christ, take heed lest by impatience, rash judgments, and
pride, thou thyself become a thorn" [LUTHER].
3. Her reply.
apple--generic including the golden citron, pomegranate, and
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
among the sons--parallel to "among the daughters"
He alone is ever fruitful among the fruitless wild trees
I sat . . . with . . . delight--literally, "I eagerly desired and
Isa 4:6; 25:4; 32:2).
Jesus Christ interposes the shadow of His cross between the blazing
rays of justice and us sinners.
fruit--Faith plucks it
Man lost the tree of life
(Ge 3:22, 23).
Jesus Christ regained it for him; he eats it partly now
Joh 6:55, 57;
(Re 2:7; 22:2, 14);
not earned by the sweat of his brow, or by his righteousness
Contrast the worldling's fruit
4. Historically fulfilled in the joy of Simeon and Anna in the temple,
over the infant Saviour
and that of Mary, too (compare
Spiritually, the bride or beloved is led
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" (Antiquities, 8:5,2). The transition
is from holy retirement to public ordinances, church worship,
and the Lord's Supper
The bride, as the queen of Sheba, is given "all her desire"
Eph 3:8, 16-21;
type of the heavenly feast hereafter
(Isa 25:6, 9).
his banner . . . love--After having rescued us from the enemy, our
seats us at the banquet under a banner inscribed with His name,
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
Compare with "over me," "underneath are the everlasting
5. flagons--MAURER prefers translating, "dried raisin cakes"; from
the Hebrew root "fire," namely, dried by heat. But the "house of
Margin) favors "flagons"; the "new wine" of the kingdom, the
Spirit of Jesus Christ.
apples--from the tree
so sweet to her, the promises of God.
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
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" [FLEMING, Fulfilling of the
Scriptures]. In most cases this intensity of joy is reserved for
the heavenly banquet. Historically, Israel had it, when the Lord's
glory filled the tabernacle, and afterwards the temple, so that the
priests could not stand to minister: so in 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"
also Peter, on the mount of transfiguration
"Let us make . . . not knowing what he said."
6. The "stay" she prayed for
(De 33:12, 27;
None can pluck from that embrace
His hand keeps us from falling
(Mt 14:30, 31);
to it we may commit ourselves
left 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, equivalent to judgment and wrath; the
right, equivalent to honor and love. The hand of justice no
longer is lifted to smite, but is under the head of the believer to
the hand of Jesus Christ pierced by justice for our sin supports us.
The charge not to disturb the beloved occurs thrice: but the sentiment
here, "His left hand," &c., nowhere else fully; which accords with the
intensity of joy
found nowhere else; in
it is only conditional, "should embrace," not "doth."
7. by the roes--not an oath 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
Eph 4:30; 5:15;
In Margin, title of
Jesus Christ is called the "Hind of the morning," hunted to
death by the dogs (compare
So 2:8, 9,
where He is represented as bounding on the hills,
Here He is resting, but with a repose easily broken
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
(So 3:5; 8:7),
where, as here, the context requires it to be applied to Him, not her.
She too is "love"
for His love calls forth her love. Presumption in the convert is as
grieving to the Spirit as despair. The lovingness and
pleasantness of the hind and roe
is included in this image of Jesus Christ.
--JOHN THE BAPTIST'S MINISTRY.
8. voice--an exclamation of joyful surprise, evidently after a long
silence. The restlessness of sin and fickleness in her had disturbed His
rest with her, which she had professed not to wish disturbed "till He
should please." He left her, but in sovereign grace unexpectedly heralds
His return. She awakes, and at once recognizes His voice
(1Sa 3:9, 10;
her sleep is not so sinfully deep as in
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. So
Margin, title of Jesus Christ
"Hind of the morning" (type of His resurrection). 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, through "the friend of the bridegroom"
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"
Jesus Christ is implied as coming with intense desire
disregarding the mountain hindrances raised by man's sin.
9. he standeth--after having bounded over the intervening space like
a roe. He often stands near when our unbelief hides Him from us
His usual way; long promised and expected; sudden at last: so, in
visiting the second temple
so at Pentecost
(Ac 2:1, 2);
so in visiting an individual soul, Zaccheus
(Lu 19:5, 6;
and so, at the second coming
(Mt 24:48, 50;
2Pe 3:4, 10).
So it shall be at His second coming
(1Th 5:2, 3).
wall--over the cope of which He is first seen; next, He looks
through (not forth; for He is outside) at the windows,
glancing suddenly and stealthily (not as English Version,
"showing Himself") through the lattice. The prophecies, types, &c.,
were lattice glimpses of Him to the Old Testament Church, in spite of
the wall of separation which sin had raised
clearer glimpses were given by John Baptist, but not unclouded
The legal wall of partition was not to be removed until His death
(Eph 2:14, 15;
Even now, He is only seen by faith, through the windows of His
Word and the lattice of ordinances and sacraments
not full vision
an incentive to our looking for His second coming
10, 11. Loving reassurance 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
Not only does the saint wish to depart to be with Him, but He still
more desires to have the saint with Him above
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"
11. the winter--the law of the covenant of works
rain is over--
Then first the Gentile Church is called "beloved, which was not
So "the winter" of estrangement and sin is "past" to the believer
The rising "Sun of righteousness" dispels the "rain"
Ps 126:5; Mal 4:2).
The winter in Palestine is past by April, but all the showers were not
over till 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
Re 21:4; 22:3).
No more "clouds" shall then "return after the rain"
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