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The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible

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Song of Solomon 4:2

Thy teeth [are] like a flock [of sheep]
That is, like the teeth of a flock of sheep; as her eyes were like the eyes of doves, and her hair like the hair of goats: and Galen long ago observed, that human teeth are much like the teeth of sheep, in figure, order, and structure, as well as are small and white; neatly set, innocent and harmless, not ravenous and voracious, cropping herbs and grass only {w}; the whiteness of the teeth is chiefly intended, in which the beauty of them lies, for which they are sometimes compared F24 to Parian marble for whiteness. The Targum interprets these teeth of the priests and Levites; but it is much better to understand them of the ministers of the Gospel: teeth are bony, solid, firm, and strong, sharp to cut and break the food, and prepare it for the stomach: all which well agree with ministers; who are strong in the Lord, and in his grace, to labour in the word and doctrine; to oppose gainsayers, withstand Satan's temptations; bear the reproaches of the world, and the infirmities of weaker saints; and remain firm and unmoved in their ministry; unshaken by all they meet with, from without and from within: they are sharp to rebuke such who are unsound in the faith, or corrupt in their morals, and to penetrate into Gospel truths; to cut and rightly divide the word of truth, and break the bread of life to others, and so chew and prepare spiritual food for souls; not raw and crude; not hard and difficult of digestion, but plain and easy to be understood. And they are like to a flock of sheep,

[that are even] shorn;
on which no wool is left, sticking out here and there; which is another good property of teeth, that are of equal size and bigness, do not stand out, nor rise up one above another; and are as if they had been "cut [and] planed, [and made] alike" F25, as some render the word: which may denote the equality of Gospel ministers in power and authority; one having no superiority over another; all having the same mission and commission, employed in the same work, preaching the same Gospel; and though their gifts are different, yet there is a harmony and agreement in the doctrines they preach;

which came up from the washing;
white and clean, which is another property of good teeth; as the teeth of sheep be, and they themselves are, when just come up out of the washing pit: this may signify the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which are necessary to ministers of the word, in order to preach it; and more especially the purity of their lives and conversations, in which they should be examples to the flock;

whereof everyone bear twins, and none [is] barren among them;
the figures are just and beautiful; it is common with sheep to bear twins, or more, in the eastern countries, as the philosopher observes F26; frequent mention is made of goats bearing twins F1: these may answer to the two rows of teeth, and the word for "teeth" is in the dual number; and when these are white and clean, and equal, are well set, and not one wanting, none rotten, nor shed, nor fallen out, look very beautiful. This may express the fruitfulness and success of Gospel ministers, in bringing many souls to Christ; and was particularly true of the apostles, and first ministers of the Gospel, who were instrumental in the conversion of many; and who bore twins to Christ, Jews and Gentiles; and none were without their usefulness. Likewise all this may be understood of believers in general, and of meditation and faith in them; by meditation they feed upon Christ, his Gospel, doctrines, and promises; they chew the end, and ruminate on the word of God; and are equal, alike partakers of the same grace, and blessings of it; and are sanctified, and, in some measure, cleansed, from the pollution of their minds and actions; ascend heavenwards in their thoughts, desires, and affections; and are not "barren" and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ and his Gospel; and generally, through meditation, bring forth the "twins" of prayer and praise: by faith also they feed on Christ and his grace; and which is "alike", precious faith in all, as to nature and quality; is "pure", sincere, and unfeigned; is always fruitful, and bears the "twins" of love to Christ, and of love to his saints; and is not "barren", but attended with the fruits of righteousness.


F23 In Salazar apud Marckium in loc.
F24 Theocrit. Idyll. 6. v. 37, 38.
F25 (twbwuq) "caesae vel dedolatae", Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. I. 2. c. 45. col. 493. "aequarum", Junius & Tremellius; "statura aequalium", Cocceius.
F26 Aristot. de Animal. Hist. l. 6. c. 19.
F1 Theocrit. Idyll. 1. v. 25. & 3. v. 34. & 5. v. 54. & 8. v. 44.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 4:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <>. 1999.


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