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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Song of Solomon 2

 

 


Verses 1-17

Song of Solomon 2:1. Sharon was a fertile district not far from Nazareth. 1 Chronicles 27:29. Isaiah 33:9; Isaiah 65:10.

Song of Solomon 2:6. His left hand is under my head, conferring all temporal favours. His right hand administers all divine consolations; yea, sustains me while I run the heavenly course.

Song of Solomon 2:7. I charge you, oh ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, “the startling antelope and the timid deer; if ye disturb, if ye discompose his complete affection till (affection) itself shall desire it.” TAYLOR. These words occur in Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 8:4; and it would seem, exactly in the same sense.

Song of Solomon 2:12. The voice of the turtle is heard in our land. The voice of the swallow, as many would read, which announces by its welcome tweetlings, that the spring is come with all its reviving charms. We have in England about twenty birds of passage, which come as harbingers of the approach of summer.

Song of Solomon 2:15. Take us the foxes. Hebrews the shualim, as in 15:4; which properly means the foxes; yet the jackals, and other depredators of the vineyards and fruiteries, may be understood. These are the words of the bride, the bridegroom being asleep.

Song of Solomon 2:17. Be thou like a roe—on the mountains of Bether; a range of hills lying north of the road to Cæsarèa. Some read craggy mountains, where the wild goats, the chamois, and the deer rebounded in the chase. The roe discovers the finest actions of nature in flying from danger, and seeking the cooling streams, while the affrighted goat aims at the craggy mountains, where he can leap from rock to rock, and leave his pursuers far behind.

REFLECTIONS.

The preseding chapter exhibits the spouse longing for her Lord’s return, and the conversation which ensued. Here she is conducted into the banqueting house, after their walk in the gardens, and after selecting flowers in the perfection of bloom. I am, says the king, the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the vallies. He was more to Pharaoh’s daughter than the rose she carried in her bosom; and his beauty and fragrance far surpassed those of the sweetest flowers.

While yet in the garden, he compares his beloved to the lily among thorns; for she was hated of her mother’s children, and envied by the daughters of Jerusalem. So the church, the beauteous lily of christian piety, has flourished among the piercing thorns of pagan persecution; and often among the corrupted creeds and superstitious rituals of the church of Rome. Yea, God has caused the earth to help the woman; and the thorns, whose end is burning, to protect the church. The queen, in return, compares her Lord to the apple-tree, which seems to surpass all others in usefulness to man: she sat under his shadow with great delight. The lovers of devotion in warm climates sought solitude in the shade. Under the oak of Mamre, Abraham was often blessed; under the figtree Nathaniel had a blessed morning, which prepared his heart for a sight of the Saviour. Happy is that people, allowed to sit under their vine and figtree undisturbed by wicked men. Oh what a shadow is Christ: what breezes of balm and spicy fragrance are wafted by the Holy Spirit on devout souls, and what delicious fruits do they taste in the garden of God!

The princely banquet follows. Here the queen, seeing the magnificence of the hall, the delicious quality of the viands, the splendour of his ministers, eclipsed by the glory of the king, faints like the queen of the south, or like the apostles on the mount. Here she is comforted with cordials, and revived with fruits: here she is supported by the king, and encouraged by a sight of David’s banner, so terrific to all his foes, but to her a canopy of love. Now, besides the ordinary comforts of the Holy Ghost, Acts 9:31; there are in private and public devotion, sometimes such overshadowings of the divine favour as cannot be uttered in human words. “I have been so happy,” says Ambrose, “in devotion, that I have thought my soul caught up into the third heaven, and praising God with hosts of angels.” Those seasons leave a most sanctifying serenity on the soul, which reposes on the Lord’s arm, and is emboldened by the banner of his triumphant cross.

The scenes of the day close by sleep at night; and in the care which the spouse evinces that her weary lord might enjoy a peaceful repose, women are taught to refresh and comfort their husbands, when they return from the fatigues of labour and of business. Here properly the chapter should end with the duties of the day. Verse the eighth opens with a morning scene, and in the reviving season of the spring. The king rising early, which no one will doubt who considers his works, returns at a proper hour to invite the queen to walk in the pleasure grounds. He approaches from the gardens the wall of her house, he looks in at the lattice, and says, rise up my love, my fair one, and come away. The arguments he uses are, that the winter is past; the rainy season, (with us the snow) is gone. Hence the church is instructed by the seasons in the service of her God. During the winter of afflictions and trials we should take root in all the passive virtues, and in the exercise of faith. We should revive as the spring, we should put on beauty as the summer, and bring forth the golden fruit of autumn, correspondent to the culture of God.

The church must be roused from lethargy, and the supineness of a winterly state. Rise up my love, my fair one: it is high time to awake out of sleep. Rise, shine, for thy light is come. Thy God and king is calling thee, with all the alluring titles of grace. Oh how moving is his voice, how inviting the glory to which we are called! And if the balmy fragrance of the spring, if the warblers of the grove, and the voice of the turtle, a bird of passage which knows her season in the heavens, be so inviting to enjoy the charms of spring, how much more should the voice of Christ, the drawings of his Spirit, and the invitations of ministers allure us to rise from slumber, that we may walk in the light of his countenance, and taste the joys of his kingdom.

The church, seeing the depredations committed by the foxes in the vineyard, implores that they may be taken in the gins or nets prepared for that purpose. And what animal could more strikingly represent false teachers, and false professors? They spoil the vine by the daily influence of their maxims, temper and spirit. They misguide the rising age by their principles, they prejudice the public against piety by their worldly and unsanctified spirit, and they burden the church by the aversions they betray to experimental religion. The same may be observed with regard to indwelling sin. Here the little foxes of pride, self-love, and low desire have their covert. These are the cubs which must be taken while young; for all sin is the easiest to be vanquished in its first rising. Then the soul enjoys the sanctifying rest of God’s people; and then she can say, My beloved is mine, and I am his; yea, I am his for ever, by every bond and every tie. He is my all in all; my Creator, my shepherd, my rock, and my God. He is my way, the truth, and the life. He is made of God to me wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption. I am his by every vow which worms of dust can make or pay to God.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/song-of-solomon-2.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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