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O that - The church here expresses her desire of a stricter union, and closer communion with Christ. Without - In the open streets.
Instruct me - Or, where she did instruct or educate me. I would - My gifts and graces should all be employed to serve and glorify thee.
Who - This and the next clause are the words of the bridegroom, who proposes the question, that he may give the answer following. Her beloved - He speaks of himself in the third person, which is usual in the Hebrew language. I raised - When thou wast dead in trespasses and in the depth of misery. Under - Under my own shadow; for she had compared him to an apple tree, and declared, that under the shadow of the tree she had both delight and fruit, chap. 2:3, which is the same thing with this raising up. There - Under that tree, either the universal or the primitive church, did conceive and bring thee forth.
Set me - These are undoubtedly the words of the bride. Let thy heart be constantly set upon me. He seems to allude to the engraven tablets which are frequently worn upon the breast, and to the signet on a man's arm or hand, which they prized at a more than ordinary rate, and which are continually in their sight. For love - My love to thee. Jealousy - Or, zeal; my ardent love to thee. Cruel - Heb. hard, grievous and terrible, and sometimes ready to overwhelm me; therefore have pity upon me, and do not leave me. Fire - It burns and melts my heart like fire.
Many waters - My love to thee cannot be taken off, either by terrors and afflictions, which are commonly signified in scripture by waters and floods; or by temptations and allurements. Therefore, give me thyself, without whom, and in comparison of whom, I despise all other persons and things.
We - These are still the words of the bride. The present church, which was that of the Jews, speaks of a future church, which was to consist of the Gentiles, which she calls little, because she was the younger sister, and then scarce had a being; and she calls her sister to intimate that the Gentile-church should be admitted to the same privileges with the Jews. She hath - No grown and full breasts, as virgin have when they are ripe for marriage, Ezekiel 16:7. This signifies the present state of the Gentiles, which as yet were not grown up, and wanted the milk or food of life, as for itself, so also for its members. When spoken for - In order to her marriage. How shall we supply that defect?
If - This seems to be Christ's answer to the foregoing question of the Jewish church. Christ engages himself to provide for her, as suits best with her condition. If the Gentiles when they are converted shall be like a wall, strong and firm in faith; We, my Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost, as the principal builders, and my ministers as workers with, and under us, will build upon her a palace of silver, will add more strength and beauty to her, will enlarge and adorn her; and if she be as a door, which is weaker than a wall; if she be weak in faith, yet we will not therefore reject her, but we will inclose or (as many others render the word) strengthen or fortify her with boards of cedar, which are not only beautiful, but also strong and durable.
I am - These seem to be the words of the Jewish church. O Lord, by thy grace I am what thou wouldst have my sister to be, and therefore humbly hope, according to thy promise to her in that case, thou wilt build upon me a palace of silver. Towers - Which stand out from and above the wall, and are an ornament and defence to it. Then - When by his grace I was made a wall, he was well-pleased with me, and with his own workmanship in me.
Baal-hamon - A place not far from Jerusalem. A thousand - Whereby he signifies both the vast extent of the vineyard which required so many keepers, and its singular fertility.
My vineyard - My church, which is here opposed to Solomon's vineyard. Possibly we may ascribe the first clause to Christ, and the latter to the spouse: such interlocutions being familiar in this book. Mine - This repetition is very emphatical, to shew that Christ had a more eminent title to his vineyard, the church, than Solomon had to his vineyard, because it was purchased not by his money, but by his blood. Before me - Is under my own eye and care. Thou - These words are the church's return to Christ, who is here called Solomon, as he was chap. 3:9,11, as elsewhere he is called David. Dost thou, O Christ, keep thine own vineyard, which Solomon did not? Then surely it is meet that thou shouldst receive as large a revenue from thy vineyard, as he did from his. Two hundred - Though the chief revenue is justly given to thee, yet thy ministers, who serve thee in thy vineyard, are allowed by thee to receive some encouragement for their service.
Thou - Christ speaks here to his spouse. The gardens - Not in the wilderness of the world, but in the church, the garden of God. He saith, gardens, because of the many particular congregations, into which the church is divided. Companions - The friends of the bride and bridegroom. Hearken - Diligently observe all thy words towards me. Cause me - When I am gone from thee, let me hear thy prayers, and praises, and the preaching of my gospel in the world.
Make haste - Seeing we must part for a time, make haste, O my beloved bridegroom, and speedily finish the work which thou hast to do in the world, that so thou mayest take me to thyself, that I may live in thine everlasting embraces.
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