- Christ speaks of himself and his church, verse 1, 2.
- The church declares the delightful fellowship she had with Christ, verse 3, 4.
- Rejoices in his favour, and takes care that nothing may displease him, verse 5-7 Triumphs in his love and gracious call, verse
- 8-13. Christ's care of the church, verse 14, 15.
- Her faith and hope in him, verse 16, 17
I - These are the words of the bridegroom. He compares himself to the rose and lilly, for fragrancy and beauty. Sharon, was a very fruitful place, and famous for roses.
Among - Compared with thorns, which it unspeakably exceeds in glory and beauty. So - So far, doth my church or people, excel all other assemblies. The title of daughter, is often given to whole nations. These are Christ's words, to which the spouse makes the following reply.
The apple-tree - Whose fruit is very pleasant and wholesome. The trees - Which are barren. I sat - I confidently reposed myself under his protection. His fruit - The benefits which I received by him, remission of sins, faith, grace, and assurance of glory.
Banquetting house - The places in which believers receive the graces and blessings of Christ. His banner - By the lifting up whereof I was invited to come to him, and to list myself under him. Love - The love of Christ crucified, which, like a banner, is displayed in the gospel.
Stay me - Or, support me, keep me from fainting. The spouse speaks this to her bride-maids, the daughters of Jerusalem: or to the bridegroom himself. Flaggons - With wine, which is a good cordial. Apples - With odoriferous apples, the smell whereof was grateful to persons ready to faint. By this understand the application of the promises, and the quickening influences of the Spirit.
His hand - No sooner did I cry out for help, but he was at hand to succour me.
I charge you - This is spoken by the bride. By the roes - By the example of those creatures, which are pleasant and loving in their carriage towards one another. Nor awake - That you do not disturb nor offend him. 'Till - Never, as this word, until, in such phrases, is commonly used. For neither can sin ever please him, nor can the church bear it that Christ should ever be offended.
The voice - Christ's voice, the word of grace revealed outwardly in the gospel, and inwardly by the Spirit of God. Leaping - He saith, leaping and skipping, to denote that Christ came readily, and swiftly, with great desire and pleasure and adds, upon the mountains and hills, to signify Christ's resolution to come in spite of all difficulties.
Like a roe - In swiftness. He is coming to me with all speed and will not tarry a moment beyond the proper season. He standeth behind - And while he doth for wise reasons forbear to come; he is not far from us. Both this and the following phrases may denote the obscure manner of Christ's manifesting himself to his people, under the law, in comparison of his discoveries in the gospel. The window - This phrase, and that through the lattess, intimate that the church does indeed see Christ, but, as through a glass, darkly, as it is said even of gospel-revelations, 1 Corinthians 13:12, which was much more true of legal administrations.
Spake - Invited me outwardly by his word, and inwardly by his Spirit. Rise up - Shake off sloth, and disentangle thyself more fully from all the snares of this world. Come - Unto me, and with me; follow me fully, serve me perfectly, labour for a nearer union, and more satisfying communion with me.
The winter - Spiritual troubles arising from a deep sense of the guilt of sin, the wrath of God, the curse of the law; all which made them afraid to come unto God. But, saith Christ, I have removed these impediments, God is reconciled; therefore cast off all discouragements, and excuses, and come to me.
The flowers - The communications of God's grace, the gifts, and graces, and comforts of the Holy Spirit, are vouchsafed unto, and appear in believers, as buds and blossoms do in the spring. The turtle - This seems particularly to be mentioned because it not only gives notice of the spring, but aptly represents the Spirit of God, which even the Chaldee paraphrast understands by this turtle, which appeared in the shape of a dove, and which worketh a dove-like meekness, and chastity, and faithfulness, in believers.
Her figs - Which it shoots forth in the spring.
My dove - So the church is called, for her dove-like temper, and for her dove-like condition, because she is weak, and exposed to persecution, and therefore forced to hide herself in rocks. The stairs - In the holes of craggy and broken rocks, which resemble stairs. Let me see - Be not afraid to appear before me. Hear - Thy prayers and praises. For - Thy person and services are amiable in my sight.
Take us - The bridegroom gives this charge to his bridemen or friends. By whom he understands those magistrates and ministers to whom, under Christ, the custody of the vineyards, the churches, principally belong. These he commands to take the foxes, to restrain them from doing this mischief. Foxes - The disturbers of the vineyard, or the church, seducers or false teachers. Little foxes - This he adds for more abundant caution, to teach the church to prevent errors and heresies in the beginnings. Spoil vines - Which foxes do many ways, by gnawing and breaking the little branches and leaves, by digging holes in the vineyards, and so spoiling the roots. Tender grapes - Which are easily spoiled, if great care be not used to prevent it.
My beloved - These are the words of the bride, who having come to him upon his gracious invitation, now maketh her boast of him. He feedeth - Abideth and refresheth himself amongst his faithful people, who are compared to lillies, verse 2.
Until - Until the morning of that blessed day of the general resurrection, when all the shadows, not only of ignorance, and sin, and calamity, but even of outward administrations, shall cease. Turn - Return to me. For although Christ had come to her, and she had gladly received him, yet he was gone again, as is here implied, and evidently appears from the following verse. Which sudden change is very agreeable to the state of God's people in this world, where they are subject to frequent changes. A roe - In swiftness; make haste to help me. Of Bether - A place in the land of promise, where it seems those creatures were in great abundance.