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The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible

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Song of Solomon 5:12

His eyes [are] as [the eyes] of doves
the church's eyes are said to be, (Song of Solomon 1:15) (4:1) ; which are her ministers, endowed with dove like gifts in measure, as Christ is without measure, in fulness; but these are Christ's eyes, which may signify his omniscience, who has seven eyes, (Zechariah 3:9) (4:10) ; especially as that has respect unto and is concerned with his people in a way of grace and mercy, and so must look very beautiful in their view: his eyes are like "doves' eyes"; not fierce and furious, but loving and lovely; looking upon his people, under all their trials and afflictions, with sympathy and concern, to deliver them out of them: and like the eyes of doves

by rivers of waters:
Sanctius thinks the allusion is to the humours in which the eye is enclosed, and, as it were, swims in; hence the eyes are called "natantia lumina", by Virgil F8; but it denotes eyes like those of doves, quick and lively, as clean as milk white doves, as if they had been "washed in milk"; clear and perspicuous, sharp sighted, and behold all persons and things, in all places, and at once; and as doves look only to their mates, so Christ's eyes of love are only on his church; he looks to none but her with his eye of special and peculiar love. Moreover, his eyes are like the eyes of doves "by the rivers of waters"; which denotes the fixedness and constancy of them: doves, by the river side, keep their eyes fixed on the purling streams, and in drinking, as Pliny F9 observes, do not erect their necks, and lift up their heads, but, keeping their eyes upon the water, drink a large draught, in the manner the beasts do; and they delight in clean water, of which they drink, and with which they wash F11: Christ, being greatly delighted with his people, has fixed his eyes on them, and he never withdraws them from them; for these waters may point at the object of Christ's love, even Gospel churches, consisting of such as are justified and sanctified by his grace, compared to "clean water"; among whom the doctrines of the Gospel are powerfully preached, the ordinances purely administered, the waters of the sanctuary flow, by which souls are delighted and refreshed; and to these Christ looks, (Isaiah 66:2) ; and his eyes being like doves' eyes,

washed with milk,
may denote the purity of them, being purer eyes than to behold iniquity; and the meekness and mildness of them, not red and wrathful, but full of mercy, pity, and compassion, as if they had been washed with milk. And they are said to be,

fitly set;
or "sitting in fulness" F12; such as exactly fill up their holes; are set neither too, high nor too low; neither sunk in too much, nor stand out too far; but are like precious stones, in an enclosure of gold or silver, to which the allusion is; as diamonds set in a ring; or as the precious stones in the high priest's breast plate, which exactly filled the cavities made for them, and hence are called "stones of fulness", (Exodus 25:7) (28:17,20) ; or, "set by fulness" F13; that is, by full channels of water, where doves delight to be; and may denote the fulness of grace, and the flows of it, by which Christ sits and dwells, and leads his people to, (Revelation 7:17) ; or, "setting upon fulness" F14; on the world, and the fulness of it, which is his, and he gives as much of it to his people as he think fit; and on the vast numbers of persons and things in it, and the vast variety of actions done therein; which shows the extensiveness of his omniscience: and on the "fulness" of time, fixed by him and his Father, for his coming into the world, to do the great work of redemption in it; and which, before it came, he was looking, waiting, and watching, and as it were longing till it came: and on his "fulness", the church, which is the fulness of him that filleth all in all, until he has gathered them all in, and filled them with all the gifts and graces of the Spirit, designed for them: and on the "fulness" of the Gentiles, until they are all brought in: and on his own "fulness"; both personal, "the fulness of the Godhead", which he had his eyes upon, when he undertook the work of redemption, and which supported him in it, and carried him through it; and upon his dispensatory "fulness", or fulness of grace, as Mediator, to supply the wants of his people, under all their straits and difficulties, temptations and afflictions: all which must make him exceeding lovely in the eyes of his people.


F8 Aeneid. l. 5. So Ovid. Fast. l. 6. "animique oculique natabant".
F9 Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 34.
F11 Varro de Rustic. c. 3. s. 7.
F12 (talm le) "siti insitione", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F13 "Ad plenitudinem", Tigurine version, Bochart; "juxta plenitudinem", Vatablus; so some in Brightman; "juxta fluenta plenissima" V. L. Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.
F14 "Super plenitudinem", Montanus, Mercerus.


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 5:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <>. 1999.


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