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The Daughters of Jerusalem.
( Son_6:1 ).
1. Whither is thy beloved gone,
Thou fairest among women?
Whither is thy beloved turned aside?
And we will seek him with thee.
The lovely description of the Bridegroom: raises a further question in the minds of the daughters of Jerusalem. They had inquired, "What is thy beloved more than another beloved?" Now they ask, "Whither is thy beloved gone?" The full revival of the bride's affections lies in the answer to these two questions. If our love to Christ has grown cold, let us but answer the two questions, "Who is He?" and "Where is He?" and once again, as we are occupied with Him, our cold hearts will be warmed with the glow of His love.
( Son_6:2-3 ),
2. My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices.
To feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.
3. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine:
He feedeth [his flock] among the lilies.
The bride has dwelt with rapture on the perfections of the Bridegroom, and occupation with Him has so quickened her intelligence that she can at once tell whither the Beloved is gone. She had sought him in the city but he was not there. "My Beloved," she says, "is gone down into his garden," a fragrant spot where he can feed and gather lilies. There are none that minister to the heart of Christ in this world but "His own which are in the world." With them is all His delight. There only He finds the bed of spices. The garden of the Lord is composed of His loved ones, and the restored soul knows full well that Christ can be found with His people. It was thus with the two disciples of Emmaus. When restored they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem ( Luke 24 ).
4. Thou art fair, my love, as Tirzah,
Comely as Jerusalem,
Terrible as troops with banners:
Step by step the bride is led on until she finds herself in the presence of the Bridegroom, and at last hears his voice. The first words that fall on her astonished ears are, "Thou art fair, my love." What more touching to the heart that has wandered and grown cold than to be drawn again into His presence; there to realise, in all its sweetness, that, in spite of an our wanderings it can still say, "I am His and He is mine," and to hear those words pregnant with grace to a restored soul, "Thou art fair, my love." Just when the heart is ready to reproach itself with having wandered from such a Saviour, at the very moment when the restored soul is so sensible of its own unworthiness, how sweet to hear Him say, "Thou art fair, my love." When my heart may well feel how truly I have merited a word of reproach, how touching to be greeted with a word of appreciation. Do we not recall a scene like this on the Lord's resurrection day. His own were gathered behind closed doors and "Jesus Himself stood in the midst." Some of them had slept in the hour of His agony, all of them had forsaken Him in the presence of His enemies and fled from Him in the day of battle. We may well ask, therefore, will He be against them in this the day of His victory? Ah no I the first words He utters are "Peace unto you."
The Bridegroom continues to express the attraction he finds in the one who had cost him so much. Earth's fairest cities, and the world's bravest display are pressed into service to figure the beauty of the bride.
5. Turn away shine eyes from me,
For they overcome me.
Thy hair is as a flock of goats
On the slopes of Gilead.
6. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep
Which go up from the washing;
Which have all borne twins,
And none is barren among them.
7. As a piece of pomegranate are thy temples
Behind thy veil.
In spite of her wanderings the thoughts of the Bridegroom towards his bride have not changed. The same figures are used to describe her perfections as in a former canticle. (4: 1-3). She is thus assured there is no change in his heart.
8. There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines,
And virgins without number:
9. My dove, mine undefiled, is but one;
She is the only one of her mother,
She is the choice one of her that bore her.
The daughters saw her, and they called her blessed;
The queen and the concubines, and they praised her.
Here the Bridegroom no longer speaks to the bride, though he speaks about her. He is not content to assure the heart of the bride of his unchanging love and appreciation, but he goes further; he will vindicate her before others. All the world shall know that he has loved her, and that she has a unique place in his affections. There may be other queens and other wives, but his bride holds a supreme place in his affections. None can compare with her, and by unfolding before others all that she is to him, he secures the praise of the world for his bride. Thus will it be with restored Israel among the nations in a day to come. And thus will it be when at last the wanderings of the church are over, according to those touching words of the Lord, "I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." And is it otherwise with a restored soul? Not only is failing Peter restored in secret to communion with the Lord. but he is publicly owned and honoured in the service of the Lord.
The Daughters of Jerusalem.
10. Who is she that looketh forth as the dawn,
Fair as the moon, clear as the sun,
Terrible as troops with banners.
The Bridegroom has said that the daughters should bless the bride and the queens should praise her, and now they unite to celebrate her glories. The Bridegroom had used the fairest cities of earth to set forth her beauty, and now the daughters of Jerusalem use the most glorious objects in the heavens to express their praise of the restored bride. All trace of failure and wandering days are passed, and she comes forth fresh as the morning, pure as the light of the moon, and glorious as the sun.
(6: 11, 12).
11. I went down into the garden of nuts,
To see the verdure of the valley,
To see whether the vine budded,
Whether the pomegranates blossomed.
The canticle closes with the Bridegroom's satisfaction as he sees of the fruit of the travail of his soul. Our Beloved has been into the valley of death to secure His bride. We too, like the bride of the Song, have been, in our wilderness journey, into the valley of humiliation, but at last Christ will gather "the fruits of the valley." He will take His place in His garden, in the midst of His own, and find fruit sweet to His taste. Time was when He came into the midst of His earthly people seeking fruit but finding none. When He comes seeking fruit in the day of His glory, will He find fruit? Will the vines bud and the pomegranates blossom? The answer immediately comes -
12. Before I was aware
My soul set me upon the chariots of my willing people.
His willing people at once yield to Him the place of victory and glory. They set Him upon the chariots. They can say in the language of the Psalm, "In thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness." Time was when the bride repelled the Bridegroom, but now He is received with acclaim. He may indeed work so wondrously that His people will receive the praise of all the world but, after all, it is He who is the victor. He is the One that is exalted to the chariots of His willing people. Restored Israel will say "He hath done this" ( Psa_22:31 ). The glorified church will cast their crowns before Him, saying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord." All the redeemed, whether earthly or heavenly, will at last unite to exalt the Lord. In different times and in different ways the Lord will be set upon the chariots of His willing people.
Canticle 5 . Son_6:13-8:4 .
The Witness and Communion of Love.
The previous Canticle closes with the restored bride in happy communion with the Bridegroom in the garden of nuts. In this Canticle two scenes pass before us. In the first, the bride is displayed before the daughters of Jerusalem in all the comeliness the King has put upon her ( Son_6:13-7:5 ). In the second, the Bridegroom and the bride are found in happy and unrestrained communion ( Son_7:6-8:4 ).
The bride, having been restored, becomes a witness to the affections of the Bridegroom before others. This witness is maintained by a walk in communion with the Bridegroom. So with ourselves, the fruits of restoration are seen in the display of the moral beauties of Christ, and this can be only maintained by a walk in communion with Christ. It was thus in the history of restored Peter. In the early part of Acts 4 . he is before the world in a way that leads them to discern that he "had been with Jesus" and in the latter part of the chapter he retires to his "own company" to hold sweet communion with the Lord"
The Daughters of Jerusalem.
13. Return, return, O Shulamite;
Return, return, that we may look upon thee.
The scene opens with the daughters of Jerusalem calling upon the bride to return. They had already heard from her lips the rapturous description of the Bridegroom, awakening in their hearts desires after the Bridegroom; then, apparently, she left them to join her Beloved in the garden of spices, and now they plead with her to return. Possibly the secret of their plea is the desire to learn more of the Bridegroom, and who so fitted to witness of the Bridegroom as the bride, for now they recognise she is in relation with the King. For the first time they speak of her as the Shulamite - the name of Solomon in its feminine form.
13. What would ye look upon in the Shulamite!
In reply to the call of the daughters of Jerusalem the bride expresses wonder that they should desire to look upon her.
The Daughters of Jerusalem.
( Son_6:13 ; Son_7:1-5 ).
13. As it were the dance of two camps.
This appears to be the answer of the daughters of Jerusalem. The text may be translated, "As it were the dance of Mahanaim." The allusion is probably to the day when Jacob left the land of Mesopotamia to go to the promised land with his wives, his children, his servants and all his goods. In the way "the angels of God met him; and when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim" (i.e., two hosts or camps). There the heavenly and the earthly host met, and here the Bridegroom and the bride have met in the garden of the King, and the daughters say, in the language of figure, "We would see the effect of this meeting." How good when others can see the effect of our having been "with Jesus." In response the bride stands before them in all her beauty, and with great delight the daughters of Jerusalem describe her loveliness.
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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 6". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19