The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleSong of Solomon 2:3
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so [is] my
beloved among the sons…
As the apple tree, in a garden or orchard,
excels and is preferable to the wild barren trees of a forest F11,
especially it appears so when laden with choice fruit; so the church,
who here returns the commendation to Christ, asserts, that he as much
excels all the "sons", the creatures of God, angels or men: angels, as
the Targum, who, though sons of God by creation, Christ is the Son of
God, in a higher sense; he is their Creator, and the object of their
worship; they are confirmed by him in the estate they are, and are
ministering spirits to him; and he is exalted above them in human
nature: men also, the greatest princes and monarchs of the earth, are
sometimes compared to large and lofty trees; but Christ is higher than
they, and is possessed of far greater power, riches, glory, and
majesty. All the sons of Adam in general may be meant; wicked men, who
are like forest trees, wild, barren, and unfruitful; yea, even good
men, Christ has the pre-eminence of them, the sons of God by adopting
grace; for he is so in such a sense they are not; he is their Creator,
Lord, Head, Husband, and Saviour, and they have all their fruit from
him; and so ministers of the word have their gifts and grace from him,
and therefore Christ excels all that come under this appellation of
sons. Christ may be compared to an apple tree, which is very fruitful;
and, when full of fruit, very beautiful; and whose fruit is very
cooling, comforting, and refreshing. Christ is full of the fruits and
blessings of grace, which are to be reached by the hand of faith, and
enjoyed; and as he is full of grace and truth, he looks very beautiful
and glorious in the eye of faith; and which blessings of grace from
him, being applied to a poor sensible sinner, inflamed by the fiery
law, and filled with wrath and terror, sweetly cool, refresh, and
comfort him. The apple tree has been accounted an hieroglyphic of love,
under which lovers used to meet, and sit under its delightful shade,
and entertain each other with its fruit; to which the allusion may be;
see (Song of Solomon 8:5) ; the apple was sacred to love F12. The Targum renders it,
the pome citron, or citron apple tree; which is a tree very large and
beautiful; its fruit is of a bitter taste, but of a good smell; always
fruit on it; is an excellent remedy against poison, and good for the
breath, as naturalists F13 observe; and so is a fit emblem of Christ,
in the greatness of his person, in the fulness, of his grace, in the
virtue of his blood, and righteousness and grace, which are a sovereign
antidote against the poison of sin; and whose presence, and communion
with him, cure panting souls, out of breath in seeking him; and whose
mediation perfumes their breath, their prayers, whereby they become
grateful to God, which otherwise would be strange and disagreeable;
I sat down under his shadow with great delight:
under the shadow of the
apple tree, to which Christ is compared; whose person, blood, and
righteousness, cast a shadow, which is a protecting one, from the heat
of divine wrath, from the curses of a fiery law, from the fiery darts
of Satan, and from the fury of persecutors, (Isaiah 25:4,5) ; and is a
cooling, comforting, and refreshing one, like the shadow of a great
rock to a weary traveller, (Isaiah 32:2) ; and though the shadow of some
trees, as Pliny F14 observes, is harmful to plants that grow under
them, others are fructifying; and such is Christ; "they that dwell
under his shadow shall revive and grow"… (Hosea 14:7) . "Sitting" here
supposes it was her choice; that she preferred Christ to any other
shadow, looking upon him to be a suitable one in her circumstances,
(Song of Solomon 1:6,7) ; it intimates that peace, quietness, satisfaction, and
security, she enjoyed under him; it denotes her continuance, and desire
of abiding there, (Psalms 91:1) ; for the words may be rendered, "I desired,
and I sat down" F15; she desired to sit under the shade of this tree,
and she did; she had what she wished for; and she sat "with great
delight": having the presence of Christ, and fellowship with him in his
word and ordinances, where Christ is a delightful shade to his people;
and his fruit [was] sweet to my taste;
the fruit of the apple tree, to
which the allusion is. Solon F16 advised the bride to eat a quince
apple before she went into the bridegroom, as leaving an agreeable
savour; and intimating how graceful the words of her mouth should be.
By "his fruit" here are meant the blessings of grace, which are
Christ's in a covenant way, come through his sufferings and death, and
are at his dispose; such as peace, pardon, justification… and fresh
discoveries and manifestations of his love, of which the apple is an
emblem: and these are sweet, pleasant, and delightful, to those that
have tasted that the Lord is gracious; whose vitiated taste is changed
by the grace of God, and they savour the things of the Spirit of God.
F11 "Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi", Virgil. Bucolic.
Eclog. 1. v. 26. "Lenta salix"… Eclog. 5. v. 16.
F12 Scholiast. in Aristoph. Nubes, p. 180. The statue of Venus had
sometimes an apple in one hand, and a poppy in the other, Pausan.
Corinth. sive l. 2. p. 103.
F13 Athenaei Deispnosoph. l. 3. c. 7. p. 83. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 11. c.
53. & 12. c. 3. Solin. Polyhistor. c. 59. Macrob. Saturnal. l. 3. c. 19.
F14 Nat. Hist. l. 17. c. 12.
F15 (ytbvyw ytdmx) "concupivi, et sedi", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus,
F16 Plutarch. Conjug. Praecept. vol. 2. p. 138.
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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=so&chapter=002&verse=003>. 1999.