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    So 2:1-17.

    1. rose--if applied to Jesus Christ, it, with the white lily (lowly, 2Co 8:9), answers to "white and ruddy" (So 5:10). 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 bridegroom (So 2:3); so the "lily" is applied to her (So 2:2),
    - Sharon-- (Isa 35:1, 2). In North Palestine, between Mount Tabor and Lake Tiberias (1Ch 5:16). 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 (Mt 11:29).

    2. Jesus Christ to the Bride (Mt 10:16; Joh 15:19; 1Jo 5:19). Thorns, equivalent to the wicked (2Sa 23:6; Ps 57:4).
    - 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 orange apple (Pr 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 (Jas 1:17).
    - among the sons--parallel to "among the daughters" (So 2:2). He alone is ever fruitful among the fruitless wild trees (Ps 89:6; Heb 1:9).
    - I sat . . . with . . . delight--literally, "I eagerly desired and sat" (Ps 94:19; Mr 6:31; Eph 2:6; 1Pe 1:8).
    - shadow-- (Ps 121:5; 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 (Pr 3:18). Man lost the tree of life (Ge 3:22, 23). Jesus Christ regained it for him; he eats it partly now (Ps 119:103; Joh 6:55, 57; 1Pe 2:3); fully hereafter (Re 2:7; 22:2, 14); not earned by the sweat of his brow, or by his righteousness (Ro 10:1-21). Contrast the worldling's fruit (De 32:32; Lu 15:16).

    4. Historically fulfilled in the joy of Simeon and Anna in the temple, over the infant Saviour (Lu 2:25-38), and that of Mary, too (compare Lu 1:53); typified (Ex 24:9-11). Spiritually, the bride or beloved is led (So 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" (Antiquities, 8:5,2). The transition is from holy retirement to public ordinances, church worship, and the Lord's Supper (Ps 36:8). The bride, as the queen of Sheba, is given "all her desire" (1Ki 10:13; Ps 63:5; Eph 3:8, 16-21; Php 4:19); type of the heavenly feast hereafter (Isa 25:6, 9).
    - his banner . . . love--After having rescued us from the enemy, our victorious captain (Heb 2:10) seats us at the banquet under a banner inscribed with His name, "love" (1Jo 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 (Ro 8:37; 1Co 15:57; Re 3:21). Compare with "over me," "underneath are the everlasting arms" (De 33:27).

    5. flagons--MAURER prefers translating, "dried raisin cakes"; from the Hebrew root "fire," namely, dried by heat. But the "house of wine" (So 2:4, Margin) favors "flagons"; the "new wine" of the kingdom, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
    - apples--from the tree (So 2:3), 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 (2Co 12:7). 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" [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" (Ps 84:2): also Peter, on the mount of transfiguration (Lu 9:33), "Let us make . . . not knowing what he said."

    6. The "stay" she prayed for (So 2:5) is granted (De 33:12, 27; Ps 37:24; Isa 41:16). None can pluck from that embrace (Joh 10:28-30). His hand keeps us from falling (Mt 14:30, 31); to it we may commit ourselves (Ps 31:5).
    - 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 support (Isa 42:21); 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 (So 2:5) found nowhere else; in So 8:3, 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 (Eze 16:43; Eph 4:30; 5:15; 1Th 5:19). In Margin, title of Ps 22:1, 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, Ps 18:33). Here He is resting, but with a repose easily broken (Zep 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 (So 3:5; 8:7), where, as here, the context requires it to be applied to Him, not her. She too is "love" (So 7:6), 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 (Pr 5:19) is included in this image of Jesus Christ.


    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; Joh 10:4); her sleep is not so sinfully deep as in So 5:2.
    - leaping--bounding, as the roe does, over the roughest obstacles (2Sa 2:18; 1Ch 12:8); as the father of the prodigal "had compassion and ran" (Lu 15:20).
    - upon the hills--as the sunbeams glancing from hill to hill. So Margin, title of Jesus Christ (Ps 22:1), "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" (Joh 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" (1Ki 19:11; compare Isa 52:7). Jesus Christ is implied as coming with intense desire (Lu 22:15; Heb 10:7), 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 (Ge 28:16; Re 3:14-20). His usual way; long promised and expected; sudden at last: so, in visiting the second temple (Mal 3:1); so at Pentecost (Ac 2:1, 2); so in visiting an individual soul, Zaccheus (Lu 19:5, 6; Joh 3:8); 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 (Joh 8:56); clearer glimpses were given by John Baptist, but not unclouded (Joh 1:26). The legal wall of partition was not to be removed until His death (Eph 2:14, 15; Heb 10:20). Even now, He is only seen by faith, through the windows of His Word and the lattice of ordinances and sacraments (Lu 24:35; Joh 14:21); not full vision (1Co 13:12); an incentive to our looking for His second coming (Isa 33:17; Tit 2:13).

    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 (Mic 2:10). Not only does the saint wish to depart to be with Him, but He still more desires to have the saint with Him above (Joh 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" (Lu 16:16).

    11. the winter--the law of the covenant of works (Mt 4:16).
    - rain is over-- (Heb 12:18-24; 1Jo 2:8). Then first the Gentile Church is called "beloved, which was not beloved" (Ro 9:25). So "the winter" of estrangement and sin is "past" to the believer (Isa 44:22; Jer 50:20; 2Co 5:17; Eph 2:1). The rising "Sun of righteousness" dispels the "rain" (2Sa 23:4; 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 here implied (Ro 8:19; Re 21:4; 22:3). No more "clouds" shall then "return after the rain" (GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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