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Here is the same subject prosecuted through the greater part of this chapter as the former, namely, the beauty of the church as in the eyes of her Husband. Towards the close of it, the church humbly professeth her hope and faith in Jesus.
How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman. (2) Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies. (3) Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins. (4) Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus. (5) Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
This chapter opens with an address of Christ to his Church, which is replete with the same warm expressions of love; for there is no change in Christ. Having loved his own which are in the world, he loveth them to the end. John 13:1 . Here is a new name, or title, by which the Lord is pleased to distinguish her, for he calls her, O Prince's daughter: perhaps in allusion to what scripture hath said of the church of Christ at large, and of all believers in particular. Thus in one of the Psalms the church is called the King's daughter. Psalms 45:10-16 . And moreover, the church, and every individual of the church, is such being children of God by adoption and by grace. John 1:12-13 . And indeed, when Christ condescended to marry our nature, he made that nature royal. Isaiah 54:5 . I will not detain the Reader with following up every description which Christ here gives his church, for it would lead into too extensive a subject. Some of the things here said in this, and the following verses concerning the Church's beauty, have been said before; see Song of Solomon 7:3 , compared with Song of Solomon 4:5 : but it is somewhat remarkable that the church should have commended Christ under ten several particulars, and that the Lord Jesus should have thought proper in celebrating the beauty of his church, to have taken exactly the same number of heads to dwell upon. Some of these features are very plain and expressive, and cannot be mistaken, if construed agreeably to the general analogy of scripture. By the feet of the church, no doubt, intended the ministers of the gospel of Christ, whose feet on the mountains are said to be beautiful in their publishing peace. Isaiah 52:7 . And the head, like Carmel, intimating how high, in consequence, of the church's union with Christ, she is exalted. He is the head of his body the church, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1:23 . By the King being held in the galleries, seems to imply how closely allied Jesus is to his church; and that when the church lays hold of Christ in the galleries of ordinances, or his promises; or, in short, in any of the covenant-engagements, the church may, and by his grace, by virtue of her interest in his blood and righteousness, will detain him. Genesis 32:26 .
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! (7) This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. (8) I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples; (9) And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
We have in these verses the gracious Lord still taking delight in the beauties and graces of his church. Under several very interesting similitudes these things are said by him. And it is impossible to take into consideration these united views of Jesus's love, and the church's undeserving, without being struck with astonishment at the contemplation of the unsearchable riches of his grace! The prophet Zephaniah hath a beautiful passage much to the same amount, as is expressed in one of these verses, of Christ's resting in his love, and in his delights, Zephaniah 3:17 . If what naturalists say of the palm-tree be correct, the figure Jesus useth of this tree in making a comparative statement to the church, is uncommonly beautiful and striking. And as the palm trees were very common in Judea, there should seem to be no doubt of the correctness of their account. It is said that the palm tree differs from other trees in this striking particularity; that it doth not live by its roots, but its head. Whether this be so, or not, I cannot determine: but certain it is, the church of Christ hath Christ for her head, as well as her root. In fruitfulness the church resembles the palm-tree, and in height, and verdure, for it is an ever-green. It is exceedingly prolific, and so is the church. And what so lofty, so exalted, as the church of Christ. Most elegantly, as well as true, doth the Psalmist speak of God's people in allusion to this tree, when it is said by him, That the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, he shall grow, like the cedar in Lebanon. Psalms 92:12 . And sure I am that if it be true, as it is said, the palm tree flourisheth the more it is trodden under; nothing can be more descriptive of Christ's church, for in all ages the more it hath been persecuted, the more glorious it hath risen. And hence, those now in glory; who have come out of great tribulation, are clothed with white robes, and have palms in their hands: Revelation 7:9 . I must not wholly overlook what the Redeemer hath said in these verses, of the blessed effects which he himself here setteth forth, of his granting the church his presence. He goeth with her by his grace he taketh hold of her, and thereby causeth all his gifts and mercies to be received by her, that, like the best wine, it is swallowed with delight; so that it hath an infinite and divine effect; causing even the sleeping soul and the sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, to speak. Oh! how blessed is it to the church, and to every believer of the church, to know and enjoy Christ. Well might the church cry out, Thy love is better than wine. Song of Solomon 1:2 .
I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
Here we have, once again, the church rejoicing; in the consciousness that she is the property of Jesus. And here she adds a delightful consideration to that consciousness, that the desire of her Lord is toward her. And indeed, of all subjects in redemption, this, which is one of the highest, is the plainest, and most evident. Had not Christ desired the church, never would he have given himself for her; had be not desired her, never would he have bought her with so vast a price; neither would he have endured the cross, and despised the shame, but for his everlasting glory, and a zeal to his Father's honor in her salvation. And, indeed, in the gift of the Father of the church to Christ, we are told that Jehovah granted him his heart's desire, and would not withhold the request of his lips. Psalms 21:2 . Reader! how blessed is it to see this, and to trace it in the history of the church at large! And oh how blessed, when you and I can trace the same in the history of our own souls!
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. (12) Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
The church is following up the sweet truth she had delivered in the foregoing verse, with putting forth in these an invitation to Christ. Jesus had before invited her to arise, and go with him. Song of Solomon 2:10 , etc. And the church now in return invites her Lord. By the field, some have supposed is meant the scriptures, concerning which, if so, the sense of the church's invitation of Christ to go forth in the study of the word with her, is, that without his gracious instruction by his Holy Spirit, she could not read them profitably. By lodging in the villages, hath been thought, is intended the inviting Christ to the private communion and fellowship of saints. And by getting up early to the vineyards, is meant the public congregation of the faithful. And the motives, or intentions, immediately expressed by the church, seem without difficulty to give countenance to this interpretation of the passage. The church saith, her wishes for Christ to accompany her into the fields, and to lodge in the villages, and get up early to the vineyards, is, to see how the vine flourished, and whether the tender grape did appear; meaning the state of Jesus's family, amidst the various ages, characters, and diversities the Lord had appointed among them. And there, in the word, in sweet private communion, and in public worship, will I hope (saith the church,) to tell my Lord how much and how greatly I love him. Reader, let you and I copy after the church in this most lovely employment. Wherever we are, however engaged in the church or in the house, in the field or in the city, at home or abroad, let us invite the Lord Jesus to be ever with us, Oh! Lord, if thou wilt but condescend to make one in our midst, surely I may then promise as the church did: There will I give thee my loves.
The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
The mandrakes we read of in the early ages of the church, it should seem was an highly desired fruit. With the present of some Leah purchased the company of her husband from Rachel: see Genesis 30:14-15 . But of what property or quality I stay not to enquire, but as the church here professeth to her Lord, that they gave a smell, and that with these she had also laid up for him all manner of pleasant fruits, we may gather from the whole how ardently she longed for sweet communion with Jesus, and what blessedness she was hoping for, from his spiritual company. But what was, and is, and ever must be, during a life of grace, most pleasant to the Lord Jesus, are the fruits of his own most Holy Spirit. These are the mandrakes, the lovely flowers of Jesus; for they are his by original gift, and by his purchased redemption. He hath planted them by sovereign grace at our gates. Oh Lord! how blessed is it to have them, even the fruits of faith and love, with all the graces of thy Holy Spirit. Come then, Lord, I would say for myself and Reader, let us go forth, blessed Jesus; and do thou lodge with us, and grant us to lodge with thee. All, Lord, is thine, and of thine own do we give thee.
BLESSED and all-lovely Lord Jesus! is it possible that thy church can be so fair in thine eyes, as that her very feet are beautiful to her Lord? Surely, Lord, it is thou that must have made her so; for when thou camest from heaven to seek and save thy people, thou didst find the whole nature of man sunk and degraded by sin and uncleanness. But now thou hast washed thy church in thy blood and adorned her with thy spotless garment of righteousness, she is indeed the king's daughter, all glorious within. And seeing then, that it is in thee, and by thee, and from thee, that all the beauties and loveliness of thy church are derived; methinks I would hold thee in the galleries of thy grace, and plead and wrestle with my God and Saviour, with an earnestness not to be resisted by my Lord; but like the Father of the seed of Jacob, tell thee, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
And doth my Lord regard the supplication of his poor petitioner? Doth Jesus indeed say to me, as to the church of old, that he will go up to the palm-tree, and that he will take hold of the boughs thereof? Doth Jesus say, that he will give me the best wine, that shall go down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak. Oh! thou, gracious condescending Lord! if thou will thus pour out of the sweet influences of thy Spirit, thy love will be better to me than wine, for by it my poor dead soul, under all her dying circumstances, will revive; and I shall go forth and speak of thy love, thy truth and righteousness. While Jesus is with me and blessing me, I shall feel such an enlargement of heart, that my mouth will spread abroad thy name, and make mention of thy righteousness, even thine only. And surely, Lord, I may hope this, I may look for these sweet visits of thy love, for thou hast taken me into the nearest covenant-connections with thee, for I am thine, and thy desire is towards me. Yes! Precious, precious Lord! thy desire hath been towards thy people from everlasting. And what it was from everlasting so must it be to everlasting. Thou hast all along desired the salvation of all the Father hath given thee. Thou hast waited to be gracious. Thou hast longed for the hour of redemption appointed for every individual soul for whom thou hast died. Thou art now continually desiring to manifest thyself to them. And, Lord, I am fully persuaded that the desire of thy soul will not be fully satisfied, until thou hast brought all, and everyone of them unto thyself in glory. Oh! the unspeakable felicity of that day, when thou shalt have brought home thy whole church, that where thou art, there they shall be also.
Come, Lord, then I beseech thee, for thou art my beloved, come with me into the fields of thy holy word, and let us lodge together in the villages of the saints, and get up to the vineyards of thy churches; for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah is thy pleasant plant. All must flourish in thee, O Lord, which are branches in thee; both grapes and pomegranates, young believers and old saints, will put forth their graces, when excited by thy quickening and reviving influence. There, Lord, doth my soul desire to tell thee how exceedingly I love thee, and how ardently I long after thee. O! that the mandrakes may be perfumed with the fragrancy of thy incense, and all the fruits of the Spirit may be in such lively exercise in my soul, that I may show forth thy praises, and manifest thy glory to all around.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent