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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Song of Solomon 5

 

 

Verse 1

I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

Song of Solomon 5:1-16

Answer to her prayer, while she is still speaking.

I am come - already: her prayer had been, "Let my beloved come" etc.; The Beloved was there before she was aware.

Sister ... spouse - as Adam's was created of his flesh, cut of his opened side, there being none on earth on a level with him; so the bride, out of the pierced Saviour (Ephesians 5:30-32).

Have gathered ... myrrh. His course was already complete: the myrrh, etc. (Matthew 2:11; Matthew 26:7-12; John 19:39), emblems of the indwelling of the anointing Holy Spirit were already gathered. They accompanied the birth and the death of Jesus.

Spice - balsam: aromatic spices.

Have eaten - answering to her "eat" (Song of Solomon 4:16).

Honey-comb - distinguished here from liquid "honey" dropping from tress. The last Supper, here set forth, is one of espousal, a pledge of the future marriage (Song of Solomon 8:14; Revelation 19:9). Feasts often took place in gardens. In the absence of sugar, then unknown, honey was more widely used than with us. His eating honey with milk indicates His true yet spotless human nature, from infancy (Isaiah 7:15), and after His resurrection (Luke 24:42).

My wine (John 18:11) - a cup of wrath to Him, of mercy to us, whereby God's Word and promise become to us "honey" and "milk" (Psalms 19:10; 1 Peter 2:2). "My" answers to "His" (Song of Solomon 4:16). The "myrrh" (emblem, by its bitterness, of repentance), honey and milk (incipient faith), wine (strong faith), in reference to believers, imply that He accepts all their graces, however various in degree.

Eat. He desires to make us partakers in His joy (Isaiah 55:1-2; John 6:53-57).

Drink abundantly - so as to be filled (Ephesians 5:18; contrast Haggai 1:6).

Friends - (John 15:15).

In respect to the Israelite Church, this whole Second Division, from Song of Solomon 5:2 to Song of Solomon 8:14, sets forth the people's sin against the heavenly Solomon, and the judgment with which it is visited. Then the repentance and the reunion brought about with the cooperation of the very daughters to whom Jerusalem herself, the mother, had previously brought salvation: the consequent re-establishment of Zion as the center of the kingdom of God in the new and unchangeable covenant of love.


Verse 2

I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

I sleep, but my heart waketh ... (saying), Open to me. Sudden change of scene from evening to midnight, from a betrothal feast to cold repulse. He has gone from the feast alone: night is come. He knocks at the door of His espoused; she hears, but in sloth does not shake off half-conscious drowsiness: namely, the disciples' torpor (Matthew 26:40-43), 'the spirit willing the flesh weak' (cf. Romans 7:15-23). Not total sleep. The lamp was burning beside the slumbering wipe virgin, but wanted trimming (Matthew 25:5-7). It is His voice that rouses her (Jonah 1:6; Revelation 3:20). Instead of bitter reproaches, He addresses her by the most endearing titles "my sister, my love," etc. Compare His thought of Peter after the denial (Mark 16:7).

Dew - which falls heavily in summer nights in the East (see Luke 9:58). Dew - which falls heavily in summer nights in the East (see Luke 9:58).

Drops of the night - (Psalms 22:2; Luke 22:44.) His death is not expressed, as unsuitable to the allegory, a song of love and joy. Song of Solomon 5:4 refers to the scene in the judgment hall of Caiaphas, when Jesus Christ employed the cock-crowing and look of love to awaken Peter's sleeping conscience, so that his "bowels were moved for" His Lord (Luke 22:61-62); Song of Solomon 5:5-6, to the disciples with "myrrh," etc. (Luke 24:1; Luke 24:5), seeking Jesus Christ in the tomb, but finding Him not, for He has "withdrawn Himself" (John 7:34; John 13:33); Song of Solomon 5:7, to the trials by "watchmen" extending through the whole night of His withdrawal - i:e., from Gethsemane to the resurrection. They took off the "veil" of Peter's disguise; also literally the linen cloth was taken from the young man, doubtless a disciple of Jesus (Mark 14:51). Song of Solomon 5:8 refers to the sympathy of friends (Luke 23:27).

Undefiled - not polluted by spiritual adultery (Revelation 14:4; James 4:4).


Verse 3

I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

I have put off my coat - trivial excuses (Luke 14:18). Dislike of the trouble of rising: as in Luke 11:7.

Coat - Hebrew, kutaan


Verse 4

My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

Put in his hand by the hole. A key in the East is usually a piece of wood with pegs in it, corresponding to small holes in a wooden bolt within, and is put through a hole in the door, and thus draws the bolt. So Jesus Christ "puts forth His hand (namely, His Spirit,) by (Hebrew, min (Hebrew #4480), from; so in Song of Solomon 2:9) the hole;" in "chastening" (Psalms 38:12; Revelation 3:14-22, evidently drawn from this passage), and other unexpected ways letting Himself in (Luke 22:61-62).

Bowels ... moved for him - it is His, which are first troubled for us and which cause ours to be troubled for him Bowels ... moved for him - it is His, which are first troubled for us and which cause ours to be troubled for him (Hosea 11:8).


Verse 5

I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

Dropped with myrrh - the best proof a bride could give her lover of welcome was to anoint herself (the back of the hands especially, as being the coolest part of the body) profusely with the best perfumes, the holy anointing oil of the priest, (Exodus 30:23; Esther 2:12; Proverbs 7:17); "sweet-smelling" is in the Hebrew, rather, 'spontaneously exuding' from the tree, and therefore the best. She designed also to anoint Him, whose "head was filled with the drops of night" (Luke 24:1). The myrrh typifies bitter repentance, the fruit of the Spirit's unction (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

Handles of the lock - sins which closed the heart against Him.


Verse 6

I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

Withdrawn. He knocked when she, was sleeping; for to have left her then would have ended in the death sleep; He withdraws now that she is roused, is she needs correction (Jeremiah 2:17; Jeremiah 2:19), and can appreciate and safely bear it now, which she could not then. 'The strong He'll strongly try' (1 Corinthians 1:13). The admonition, Psalms 45:10, similarly hints at a disturbance of the marriage relation between Israel and her Lord.

Failed when he spake - rather, because of his speaking; at the remembrance of His tender words. The word is often inefficacious at the time when it is preached; but afterward in times of trial the Spirit of God recalls it to our memory, and we long for the visitation of the Lord in grace, which we did not value enough at the time. Let us take heed to the warning in Luke 17:22.

No answer - (Lamentations 3:44.) Weak faith receives immediate comfort (Luke 8:44); strong faith is tried with delay (Matthew 15:22).


Verse 7

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

Watchmen. Historically, the Jewish priests, etc. (see the note at Song of Solomon 5:2); spiritually, ministers (Isaiah 62:6; Hebrews 13:17), faithful in 'smiting' (Psalms 141:5), but (as she leaves them, Song of Solomon 5:8) too harsh; or perhaps, unfaithful; disliking her zeal wherewith she sought Jesus Christ, first, with spiritual prayer, 'opening' her heart to Him, and then in charitable works "about the city;" miscalling it fanaticism (Isaiah 66:5), and taking away her veil (the greatest indignity to an Eastern lady), as though she were positively immodest. She had before sought Him by night in the streets, under strong affection, and so, without rebuff from "the watchmen," found Him immediately; but now, after sinful neglect, she encounters pain and delay. God forgives believers, but it is a serious thing to drew on His forgiveness; so the growing reserve of God toward Israel observable in Judges, as His people repeat their demands on His grace.


Verse 8

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.

Daughters of Jerusalem. She turns from the unsympathizing watchmen to humbler persons, not yet themselves knowing Him, but in the way toward it. The proud scribes answer to the harsh "watchmen;" the despised disciples of the lower and meaner chum answer to "the daughters of Jerusalem," So historically; His secret friends in the night of His withdrawal (Luke 23:27-28). Enquirers may find ("if ye find") Jesus Christ before she who has grieved His Spirit finds Him again.

Tell - in intercessory prayer (James 5:16).

Sick of love - from an opposite cause (Song of Solomon 2:5) to that of excess of delight at His presence; now excess of pain at His absence.


Verse 9

What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

What (is) thy beloved more than (another) beloved? Her own beauty, through the Lord's comeliness put upon her, so that her 'renown went forth among the pagan,' and her love-sickness for Him, elicit now their inquiry (Matthew 5:16): heretofore "other lords beside Him had dominion over them;" thus they had seen "no beauty in Him."


Verse 10

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

My beloved is white and ruddy. The believer is 'ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh a reason of the hope that is in him with meekness and fear' (1 Peter 3:15).

White and ruddy - health and beauty. So David, i:e., beloved, Messiah's forefather after the flesh, and type (1 Samuel 17:42). "The Lamb" is at once His nuptial and sacrificial name, characterized by white and red: white, His spotless manhood (Revelation 1:14). The Hebrew ( tsach (Hebrew #6703)) for white is properly illuminated by the sun, "white as

the light" (cf. Matthew 17:2); red, in His blood-dyed garment, as slain (Revelation 5:6; Revelation 19:13). Angels are white, not red; the blood of martyrs does not enter heaven. His alone is seen there (Isaiah 63:1-3).

Chiefest (dagul) - literally, a standard-bearer; i:e., as conspicuous above all others as a standard-bearer is among hosts (Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 55:4; Hebrews 2:10; Job 33:23 : cf. the type, 2 Samuel 18:3). The chief of sinners needs the "chiefest" of Saviours. Psalms 45:2; Lamentations 4:7, the "Nazarites" being types of Him, in that they "were purer than snow ... whiter than milk ... more ruddy in body than rubies"


Verse 11

His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

Head ... gold - the Godhead of Jesus Christ, as distinguished from His heel, i:e., manhood, which was "bruised" by Satan; both together being one Christ, "the head of every man." Also His sovereignty; as Nebuchadnezzar, the supreme king, was "the head of gold." The highest creature, compared with Him, is brass, iron, and clay. He is Preciousness itself (Greek, 1 Peter 2:7).

Bushy - curled, token of headship. In contrast with her flowing locks (Song of Solomon 4:1), the token of her subjection to Him. The Hebrew [ taltaliym (Hebrew #8534)] means (Maurer) (pendulous as) the branches of a palm, which, when in leaf, resemble waving plumes of feathers. So Septuagint and Vulgate, and similarly Arabic and Syriac, from Hebrew, taalah, to hang. Cocceius, Mercer, etc., take it as a frequentative, from te'el, a heap, and taalal (Hebrew #8524), to heap. Crisped curls. This seems preferable, as the contrast is between His crisped curls as a man, and her flowing locks as a woman.

Black - implying youth: no 'grey hairs' (Psalms 102:27; Psalms 110:3-4; contrast Hosea 7:9). Jesus Christ was crucified in the prime of vigour and manliness. In heaven, on the other hand, His hair is "white," He being the Ancient of days (Daniel 7:9). These contrasts, often concur in Him (Song of Solomon 5:10), "white and ruddy;" hero the "raven" (Song of Solomon 5:12), the "dove," as both with Noah in the ark, emblems of judgment and mercy.


Verse 12

His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

As the eyes of doves - rather, as doves (Psalms 68:13).

By the rivers of waters, washed with milk - bathing in "the rivers;" combining in their "silver" feathers the whiteness of milk with the sparkling brightness of the water trickling over them. So "the Spirit of God descended like a dove" (Matthew 3:16) upon Jesus, as "He went up straightway out of the water. The "milk" may allude to the white around the pupil of the eye. The "waters" refer to His eye as the fountain of tears of sympathy (Ezekiel 16:5-6). Vivacity, purity, and love are the three features typified.

Fitly set - as a gem in a ring; as the precious stones in the high priest's breastplate. So the Syriac. The Hebrew is sitting upon fullness; i:e., the eyes not sunk in their sockets. Or we may translate as the Vulgate, Septuagint, Ethiopic and Arabic, '(the doves) sitting at the fullness of the stream,' by the full stream, (cf. Revelation 5:6, "Lo, a Lamb having seven eyes:" "seven," expressing full perfection; Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10).


Verse 13

His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

Cheeks , [ l


Verse 14

His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

Rings set with ... beryl - Hebrew, Tarshish; so called from the city Tartessus. It answers to the ancient chrysolite, gold in colour, our topaz, one of the stones on the high priests breastplate, also in the foundation of New Jerusalem, (Revelation 21:1-27.) 'Are as' is plainly to be supplied. See in Song of Solomon 5:13 a similar ellipsis. Not as Moody Stuart, 'have gold rings.' The hands bent in are compared to beautiful rings, in which beryl is set, as the nails are in the fingers. Burrowes explains the rings as cylinders used as signets, such as are found in Nineveh, and which resemble fingers. A ring is the token of sonship. A slave was not allowed to wear a gold ring. He imparts His sonship and freedom to us (Galatians 4:7); also of authority (Genesis 41:42). He seals us in the name of God with His signet (Revelation 7:2-4; cf. below, Song of Solomon 8:6, where she desires to be herself a signet-ring on His arms); so "graven on the palms," etc. - i:e., on the signet-ring in His hand (Isaiah 49:16; contrast Haggai 2:23 with Jeremiah 22:24).

Belly. Moody Stuart translate 'body.' The Hebrew [ mee`aayw (Hebrew #4578)] is elsewhere "bowels;" namely, His compassion (Psalms 22:14; Isaiah 63:15; Jeremiah 31:20).

Bright - literally, elaborately wought, so as to shine; so His "prepared" body (Hebrews 10:5; the "ivory palace" of the king (Psalms 45:8 ); spotless, pure, as the bride's "neck is as a tower of ivory" (Song of Solomon 7:4).

Sapphires - spangling in the girdle round Him (Daniel 10:5). "To the pure all things are pure." As in statuary to the artist, the partly undraped figure is suggestive only of beauty, free from indelicacy, so to the saint the personal excellencies of Jesus Christ, typified under the ideal of the noblest human form. However, since the bride and bridegroom are in public, the usual robes on the person, richly ornamented, are presupposed (Isaiah 11:5). Sapphires indicate His heavenly nature (so John 3:13, "is in heaven"), even in His humiliation, overlying or cast "over" His ivory human body (Exodus 24:10). Sky-blue in colour, they imply the height and depth of the love of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:18).


Verse 15

His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

Pillars - strength and steadfastness. Contrast man's "legs" (Ecclesiastes 12:3). Allusion to the temple pillars, Jachin (He shall establish) and Boaz (in it is strength) (1 Kings 5:8-9; 1 Kings 7:21), the "cedars" of "Lebanon." Contest man's legs. in which there is no lasting strength (Psalms 147:10; Ecclesiastes 12:3). Jesus Christ's "legs" were not broken on the cross, though the thieves' were: on them rests the weight of our salvation. Sockets of fine gold - His sandals, answering to the bases of the pillars; "set up from everlasting." From the head (Song of Solomon 5:11) to the feet, He is "of fine gold." He was tried in the fire and found without alloy.

Countenance - rather, His aspect, including both mien and stature (cf. margin, 2 Samuel 23:21 with 1 Chronicles 11:23). From the several parts she proceeds to the general effect of the whole person of Jesus Christ.

Lebanon - so called from the white limestone rocks.

Excellent - Hebrew, Bachur-literally, choice; i:e., fair and tall as the cedars of Lebanon, (Ezekiel 31:3, etc.) Majesty is the prominent thought (Psalms 21:5). Also the cedar's duration (Hebrews 1:11); greenness (Luke 23:31); and refuge afforded by it (Ezekiel 17:22-23).


Verse 16

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

His mouth is most sweet - literally, 'His palate is sweetnesses; yea, all over lovelinesses;' i:e., He is the essence of these qualities. "Mouth;" so Song of Solomon 1:2 : not the same as "lips" (Song of Solomon 5:13); His breath (Isaiah 11:4). "All over" - all the beauties scattered among creatures are transcendently concentrated in Him (Colossians 1:19).

My beloved - for I love Him.

My friend - for He loves me (Proverbs 18:24). Holy boasting, (Psalms 34:2; 1 Corinthians 1:31.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/song-of-solomon-5.html. 1871-8.

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Friday, December 13th, 2019
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