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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Song of Solomon 7

 

 

Verse 1

Song of Solomon 7:1 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.

Ver. 1. How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, &c.] Before he had described her from head to foot; now back again, from foot to head, taking in ten parts of his spouse, concerning whom - such was his love - he thought he could never say sufficient. He begins at the lowest and most abject part, the feet, not without admiration of them. O quam pulchri sunt pedes tui! "Oh, how beautiful are thy feet with shoes!" A temporal calling honours our profession; so some understand it. Others make the meaning to be, the Church’s being "shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace"; [Ephesians 6:15] ready pressed to "run with patience the race that is set before her." [Hebrews 12:1] To run is active; to run with patience is passive. This prince’s daughter (Atalanta-like) can only skill of this "running with patience," as being shod with Tachash skin, [Ezekiel 16:10] bestowed upon her by her spouse, as a love token, that is, with sound affections and holy actions. Whereas wicked men are carried captive by the devil, as the Egyptians once were by the Assyrians, [Isaiah 20:4] "naked and barefoot," and so "perish from the way." [Psalms 2:12]

O prince’s daughter.] Thou that hast him for thy father "in whose hands are all the corners of the earth," and is supreme King of the universe. This is such a privilege and preferment as St John stands amazed at. [1 John 3:1] "Behold," saith he, qualem et quantum, "what manner of love the Father hath showed unto us, that we should be called the sons" and daughters "of God Almighty." [2 Corinthians 6:18] All privileges are summed up in this; and in John 1:12 it is called a power or prerogative (a) royal; it is to be of royal blood of heaven; it is to be an heir of God and co-heir with Christ. Kings can make their firstborn only heirs, as Jehoshaphat. [2 Chronicles 21:3] But all God’s children are firstborn, and so "higher than the kings of the earth." [Psalms 89:27]

The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, &c., ] i.e., Thy loins are compassed with the belt of truth; for so some render it, The compassing of thy thighs or loins. And here, if ever, ungirt, unblest. "Gird up therefore the loins of your minds"; [1 Peter 1:13] gird yourselves and serve God. [Luke 17:8] Girding implies readiness, nimbleness, handiness, handsomeness. A loose, discinct, and diffluent mind is unfit for holy actions.


Verse 2

Song of Solomon 7:2 Thy navel [is like] a round goblet, [which] wanteth not liquor: thy belly [is like] an heap of wheat set about with lilies.

Ver. 2. Thy navel is like a round goblet, &c.] There are those who expound this text as the two sacraments. The navel is baptism, that nourisheth newborn babes in the womh of the Church. See hence the use of it, even to infants, who can receive nourishment by the navel, though they can neither take nor chew nor suck meat with hand or mouth. Note this against Anabaptists, saith Mr Cotton upon these words, this navel never wants liquor; there is a continual matter of instruction and comfort to be fetched from baptism against all temptations. A Christian, saith Chrysostom, should never step out of doors, or lie down in his bed, or go into his closet, but he should remember that word, Abrenuncio, I forsake the devil and all his works, &c. Luther tells of a certain holy virgin, that used to quench the devil’s fiery darts with the water of baptism: for as often as she was tempted to do anything not beseeming her profession, she would resist the devil, steadfast in the faith, and stop his mouth with this short but full answer, Christiana sum, I am a Christian; I have been "baptized into the death of Christ"; I have also "put on Christ by baptism"; I am a votary, the vows of God are upon me, &c. But what a horrible shame is that to the Papists, and what a sore stumblingblock must it needs be to the poor Jews that live among them, that in Rome a Jewish maid may not be admitted into the stews of whoredom, unless she will be first baptized? This is related and bewailed by Espencaeus, (a) a moderate Papist.

Thy belly is like an heap of wheat, set about with lilies.] Some understand hereby that other sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, called a "heap of wheat," for its store of excellent nourishment; and said to be "set about with lilies" - that is, with Christians, white and of holy conversation. Basil calls such, stars of the world and flowers of the churches (b) Chrysostom calls them earthly angels, and saith that they were puriores coelo, purer than the heaven in their common conversation, but especially when they came to the Lord’s table - that dreadful (c) table, as he calleth it - whereunto all must come with the best preparation they can make, wash and be clean - wash their hands in innocence before they compass God’s altar, wash their "hearts," [Jeremiah 4:14] their "feet." [John 13:10] "He that is washed (sc., for the outside) needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit"; an allusion to those that, having bathed their bodies, foul their feet by going out of the bath, and so are fain to wash them again. The inwards and the feet in a sacrifice were to be washed above the rest, because the entrails contain the excrements, and the legs tread in the dirt. The soul is apt to gather soil by meddling with earthly things, though lawful; how much more to be defiled with the soot of sin, as if she had "lain among the pots." All Christ’s Nazarites, his votaries, must come to his feast "purer than snow, whiter than milk," &c., [Lamentations 4:7] since at this sacrament they do renew the nuptials of Christ, and take a corporal oath to cleave close to him with full purpose of heart all the days of their lives. As for those that presume to come unpreparedly, that want their wedding garment, they are no otherwise bidden to the feast of the King than Haman was to Queen Esther’s. Sin brought to the Sacrament petitions against a man, as Esther did against Haman at the banquet of wine; [Esther 7:2; Esther 7:6] pick out that time, and he shall find God no less angry than Haman did Ahasuerus. For "this is that which the Lord hath said, I will be sanctified in all them that draw near unto me." Of communicants, God seems to say, as Solomon did of Adonijah, "If he show himself a worthy man, there shall not one hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness be found in him, he shall die." [1 Kings 1:52]


Verse 3

Song of Solomon 7:3 Thy two breasts [are] like two young roes [that are] twins.

Ver. 3. Thy two breasts are like two young roes.] Fresh and lusty, even and equal. Understand the two Testaments; hereunto resembled for their perfect agreement, amiable proportion, and swift running all the world over in a short time. Eusebius saith, that the doctrine of both Testaments was presently after our Saviour’s resurrection carried abroad into all countries, as it were, upon eagle’s wings. The like may be said of Luther and his colleagues in Germany at the first Reformation there, which, as lightning, was soon seen from one end of the heaven to the other. "So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed." [Acts 19:20] {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 4:5"}


Verse 4

Song of Solomon 7:4 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.

Ver. 4. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory.] Most smooth, white, and upright. Some do hereby understand magistrates, that support the State, as the neck doth the head. "I bear up the pillars of it," saith David. Others will have the ministers meant, who, being aloft in the Church, are to the same instead of watch towers or towers of defence. And especially then when they are in their pulpits - called towers in the Hebrew [Nehemiah 8:4] - reading and expounding God’s law unto his people.

Thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon.] Glazed with tears of compunction and compassion - Nam faciles motus mens generosa capit - and well cleared to look into her own heart and life. Tears instead of gems were the ornaments of David’s bed, saith Chrysostom. And surely that sweet singer never sang more melodiously than when his heart was broken most penitentially. [Psalms 6:1-10] [Psalms 51:1-19] Thus birds in the spring sing most sweetly when it rains most sadly; and tears of true contrition are pillulae lucis, pills made on purpose to clear the eyesight. When John wept, the sealed book was set open to him; Lilium lachryma sun seritur. Light is sown for the righteous.

Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon, &c.] Si verborum faciem consideremus, quid poterit magis dici ridiculum? saith Titleman upon the words: If we look upon the outside only of this text, what may seem to have been spoken more ridiculous? Is it so great a commendation to have a nose like a tower? That which we must herehence learn is, that seeing Christ is now risen again, and ascended up into heaven, we ought to bear our noses aloft, as it were, savouring things of the Spirit of Christ, discerning things that are excellent, and by a spiritual sagacity aspiring to eternity.

That looketh toward Damascus.] The chief city of Syria, having its name from the bloody excursions of thieves, as Peter Martyr (a) thinks; or else, as others, from the blood of righteous Abel there spilled, whence the place was called Damsech, "a bag of blood."


Verse 5

Song of Solomon 7:5 Thine head upon thee [is] like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king [is] held in the galleries.

Ver. 5. Thine head upon thee is like Carmel.] This head is Christ himself, for he is the sole head of his Church: "God hath put all things under his feet" - hence he is here compared to Carmel, because he is high over all - "and given him to be head over all things" - that is, over all persons - "to the Church." [Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22] Angels are under Christ as a head of government, of influence, of confirmation, not of redemption, as the saints are. The angels are great friends to the Church, but not members of it. [Hebrews 2:16] The Church Christ sanctified and washed with his blood. [Ephesians 5:26] Not so the angels. He was but a poor patron of the Pope’s headship that said - and, as he thought, very wisely too - that he had read in some vocabulary that Cephas signified a head, therefore Peter was head of the Church. But if that should have been granted him, yet it would not follow that the Pope is therefore so too; for Bellarmine, (a) a better scholar by far, is forced to say, Forte non est de iure divino Rom. pontificem Petro succedere, perhaps it is not by any divine right that the Pope succeedeth Peter. And again, Rom. pontificem Petro succedere non habetur expresse in Scripturis, it is not expressly set down in the Scriptures that the Pope succeedeth Peter.

And the hair of thine head like purple.] Which was the colour of kings and princes. The saints - called here the hair of the Church’s head for their number or multitude - are "princes in all lands"; [Psalms 45:16] yea, they are kings in righteousness, as Melchisedec was a king, but somewhat obscure. Compare Matthew 13:17, Luke 10:24. "Many righteous," saith one, "Many kings," saith the other, "have desired to see those things that ye see," &c.

The king is held in the gallaries,] i.e., There is no king in the world wo great and glorious but might find in his heart to be tied to these walks, and to be held prisoner in the sight of thee and thy bravery; like as King James, coming first into the public library at Oxford, and viewing the little chains wherewith each book there is tied to its place, wished that if ever it were his destiny to be a prisoner, that library might be his prison, those books his fellow prisoners, those chains his fetters. [Psalms 138:4-5; Psalms 119:72] (b) The Psalmist shows by prophesying that even kings, coming to taste the excellence of the comforts of godliness, and to feel the power of God’s Word, should sing for joy of heart, and greatly acknowledge the excelling glory of Christ’s spouse the Church. See David’s desire. [Psalms 27:4 Psalms 84:1-12] Constantine and Valentinian, two emperors, called themselves Vasallos Christi, as Socrates reports, the vassals of Christ. And Theodosius, another emperor, professed that it was more honour and comfort to him to be membrum ecclesiae, quam caput imperii, a member of the Church, than head of the empire. Nay, Numa, second king of Rome, though but a heathen, held it a higher honour to serve God than to reign over men. (c) Some interpreters by the king here understand Christ, coveting the Church’s beauty, [Psalms 45:11] and held fast bound unto her in the bands of pure affection, of spiritual wedlock.


Verse 6

Song of Solomon 7:6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

Ver. 6. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights.] Emphatica haec admodum sunt, cum toties exclamatio ponatur, saith one. This is a most emphatic exclamation, proceeding from admiration, and importing that all he could say of her was too little. Well might the prophet say, "As the bridegroom rejoiceth over his bride, so doth thy God over thee." [Isaiah 62:5] Hence he can make no end here of commending her; but, having finished one praise, he presently begins another. This yields infinite matter of comfort to the saints, that Christ loves them so dearly, prizeth them so highly, praiseth them so heartily. Howbeit, let not them hereupon "turn again to folly," [Psalms 85:8] or give way to carnal security. Laetemur in domino, sed caveamus a recidivo. Argue not from mercy to liberty - that is the devil’s logic - but from mercy to duty, as those good souls do. [Ezra 9:13-14] Having received such and such, both privative and positive favours, should we again break thy commandments? There is so much unthankfulness and disingenuity in such an entertainment of mercy, that holy Ezra thinks heaven and earth would be ashamed of it. "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" saith the apostle. [Romans 6:1] And it is as if he should say, that were most unreasonable, and to a good heart, impossible. A man may as well say the sea burns, or fire cools, as that assurance of Christ’s love breeds careless and loose living. They that hold so, know not the compulsive power of Christ’s love, [2 Corinthians 5:14] nor what belongs to the life of God [Ephesians 4:18]


Verse 7

Song of Solomon 7:7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters [of grapes].

Ver. 7. This thy stature is like to a palm tree.] This thy whole stature and feature of body, that hath been already portrayed and described particularly and piecemeal, is "like to a palm tree," strong and straight, fresh and flourishing, so that thou mayest say with the palm in the emblem, Nec premor, nec perimor. Pliny, Aristotle, Plutarch, and Gellius have written of the palm tree, that it is always green, bearing pleasant fruit; and that it will not bow downward or grow crooked, though heavy weights be hanged upon it. The Church is all this and more; ever green, even in the winter of affliction, when the oak loseth her leaves {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 1:16"} full of the "fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." [Philippians 1:11] {See Trapp on "Philippians 4:14"} {See Trapp on "Philippians 4:11"} Neither can she be long kept under by any pressure of persecution or heavy affliction, Premi potest, opprimi non potest. As Paul, when stoned, started up with Sic petitur caelum, sic, sic oportet intrare. Tyrants might curse the saints, as he did that cried out to those ancient confessors, O miseri, num vobis desunt restes et rupes? O wretches, cannot you hang or drown yourselves, but that I must be thus troubled with you to put you to death? - but crush them they never could. The valour of the patients, the savageness of the persecutors, have striven together, till both, exceeding nature and belief, bred wonder and astonishment in beholders and readers. Hence Trajan forbade Pliny to seek after Christians; but if any were brought to him, to punish them. Antoninus Pius set forth an edict in Asia, that no Christian should be persecuted; for, said he, it is their joy to die - they are conquerors, and do overcome you, &c.

Trucidabantur et multiplicabantur, saith Augustine of the ancient martyrs: they were martyred, and yet they were multiplied. Plures efficimur quoties metimur, saith Tertullian, the more we are cropped, the more we are increased; as the lily is increased by its own juice that flows from it. (a) Hence [Revelation 7:9] the saints that by their victorious faith overcame the world, are brought in with palm branches in their hands, in token of victory. Plutarch tells us that the Babylonians made three hundred and sixty commodities of the palm tree, and did therefore very highly honour it. The world hath a great deal of benefit by the Church, could they but see it; for absque stationlbus non staret mundus, were it not for the saints, "a short work would the Lord make upon the earth, and cut it short in righteousness." [Romans 9:28] And great is the gain of godliness, even a hundredfold here, and life eternal hereafter. Who would not then turn spiritual merchant? who would not pass from strength to strength, and "flourish in God’s house like a palm tree," [Psalms 92:12] till he attain to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ? [Ephesians 4:13]

And thy breasts to clusters of grapes.] Not well fashioned only, {as Ezekiel 16:7} but full strutting with milk, yea, with wine, plenty and dainty, to lay hunger and slake thirst, to nourish and cherish her children, even as the Lord doth the Church. [Ephesians 5:29] {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 4:5"}


Verse 8

Song of Solomon 7:8 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;

Ver. 8. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, &c.] I said it, and I will do it; for Christi dicere est facere, together with Christ’s word there goes forth a power, as it did. [Luke 5:17] David said he "would confess his sins," and "take heed to his ways," [Psalms 32:5; Psalms 39:1] and accordingly he did it. Shall Christ purpose and promise mercy to his people, and not perform it? Is he yea and nay? [2 Corinthians 1:19] Can he say and unsay? Doth not the constant experience of all ages fully confute any such fond conceit of him? The saints will not lie, [Isaiah 63:8] Christ cannot. [Titus 1:2] (a) He will not suffer his faithfulness to fail, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips. [Psalms 89:33] All his sayings are the issue of a most faithful and right will, void of all insincerity and falsehood. Now when Christ promiseth to climb his palm tree, and to take hold of the boughs thereof, he meaneth that he will dwell most familiarly with his Church, even in the branches thereof, pruning and trimming it, and accepting the fruits of his Spirit in his spouse. Or thus, he will so join himself unto his Church, as he may cause her to be fruitful; he will lay hold on her boughs, which are very fit and apt to climb, so covertly and elegantly noting the work of spiritual generation. The effect follows.

Now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine.] Whatsoever they have been heretofore, now at this time, and for ever hereafter, they shall be delightful to me, and nourishable to thy children, who shall "suck and be satisfied." [Isaiah 66:11] Albeit some interpreters of good note conceive that all this is nothing else but a figurative description of Christ’s perfect conjunction with his Church in the kingdom of heaven, and of the unspeakable pleasure which Christ will take in her for ever.

And the smell of thy nose like apples,] i.e., The breath that comes out of thy nostrils is sweet as spice apples. The breath that the Church draweth into her lungs, and sends out again, is the spirit of grace, without which she can as little live as we can without air. This sweet spirit is the joy of her heart and the breath of her nostrils, and thereby she draws many into her company. If that be true that one here noteth, that the fruit of the palm partaketh of the nature both of the grape, having a sweet and pleasant juice, and of the apple, for pleasant meat, it may well signify that the Word of God is both meat and drink to the soul.


Verse 9

Song of Solomon 7:9 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.

Ver. 9. And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine.] Her word and doctrine (for the palate is an instrument of speech), often before commended by Christ, and here again, like as she comes over it in him the second time. [Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of Solomon 4:16] {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 4:13"} {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 4:16"} This he resembleth to the best and most generous wine. Such the word of God’s grace is to those that have spiritual palates, that do not carry fel in aure, - their galls in their ears (as some creatures are said to do), that have their ears healed (as Demosthenes said of his Athenians), and their inward senses habitually exercised to discern good and evil. The doctrine of the Church seems to some bitter and grievous; it goeth down like the waters of Marah, or that water that caused the curse in case of jealousy. [Numbers 5:12-31] It becomes a savour of death unto them, as the viper is killed with palm branches, and vultures with oil of roses. (a) But this is merely their own fault; for "doth not my word do good to them that are good?" saith the Lord. [Micah 2:6] Excellently St Augustine, Adversarius est nobis, quamdiu sumus et ipsi nobis: quamdiu tu tibi inimicus es, inimicum habebis sermonem Dei, - God’s Word is an enemy to none but to such as are enemies to themselves, and sinners against their own souls. This holy word in the mouths of God’s ministers is like Moses’s rod, which, while held in his hand, flourished, and brought forth almonds; but, being cast to the ground, it became a serpent. The application is easy. {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 1:2"}

For my beloved.] These are Christ’s words; but he speaks as if the Church spake, to show her great affection, that had dedicated all her good things to him. Some read it thus, which "goeth straight to my well beloved"; q.d., It is such excellent wine as I would wish it, or send it even to the dearest and best friend I have, even to her that I love as myself, if not before myself. Or thus, "which springs and sparkles in the cup." See Proverbs 23:31.

Causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.] "Utterance" is called a "gift," [1 Corinthians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:7] and dumb Christians are blame worthy as well as dumb ministers. We should all strive to a holy ability and dexterity of savoury discourse. And for this end the word of Christ should dwell richly in us in all wisdom: our hearts should indite a good matter, that our tongues might be as the pen of a ready writer. Let there be a good treasure within our hearts, and the law of kindness will soon be in our lips; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Graceless men are gagged by the devil; they cannot so much as lisp out one syllable of good language; if they attempt it, they show themselves but bunglers, and say Sibboleth for Shibboleth; you may soon see they speak by rote, and not by experience. But those that have well drunk of this wine of the Word, made effectual by the Spirit, talk lustily, yea, their tongues never cease talking and preaching forth the praises of him who hath drawn them out of darkness into his marvellous light: they speak "as the Spirit gives them utterance." [Acts 2:4; Acts 2:11; Acts 2:14] Those that were in a dead sleep of sin, are soon set to work to "awake and sing." [Isaiah 26:19] This should stir us up to study the Word of God, and therehence to learn language. The ll9th Psalm is by David set before it as a poem of commendation, mentioning it in every verse, testimonies, laws, statutes, &c. Like as when a book is set forth, verses of commendation are oft prefixed. Such another, but far shorter, is that in Psalms 19:7-11. The Holy Ghost doth so much the more highly there extol it, because men are wont to have it in very light account, and to hold it a disparagement to be eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures.


Verse 10

Song of Solomon 7:10 I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.

Ver. 10. I am my beloved’s.] I see I am so, saith the spouse, by that ample commendation that he hath now again given me, notwithstanding all my former failings in duty towards him. There fall out some faliings out between married couples sometimes; but then they fall in again: they cannot agree together haply so well at first, but being well pieced again, they love better than before. So is it here. The sins we commit make no change in Christ, no substantial alteration. For, first, Upon the same grounds he chose us, he loves us still. He chose us freely, because he would; he chose us for his love, and loves us for his choice. Secondly, There is the same bent of mind and frame of heart towards him remains in us still. And therefore, as there is a transient act of sin passeth from us, so a transient act of chastisement for sin may pass from him. Christ "looked upon Peter," after his denial, with the same familiarity as before. Jehoshuah the high priest, though he were so ill-clothed, and had Satan at his right hand to accuse him, yet he "stood before the angel." [Zechariah 3:1] Christ did not abhor his presence nor reject his service. Ephraim, repenting after his revolt, is re-entertained with all sweetness. [Jeremiah 31:20] {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 2:16"} {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 6:3"}

And his desire is towards me.] His desirous affection; he loves me as passionately as any woman doth her dearest husband; [Genesis 3:16] his love to me is wonderful, passing the love of women. "His desire is so toward me," that, as Livia, by obeying her husband Augustus, commanded him, and might have what she would of him, so may I of Christ. Compare Genesis 4:7, Isaiah 45:11. The Church here well understood the latitude of that royal charter, and makes it a prop to her faith and a pledge for her perseverance.


Verse 11

Song of Solomon 7:11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.

Ver. 11. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field.] Being now fully assured of Christ’s love, she falls to praying. She makes five requests unto him in a breath as it were: (1.) That he would "come"; (2.) "Go forth with her into the field"; (3.) "Lodge with her in the villages"; (4.) "Get up early to the vineyards"; (5.) "See if the vine flourish, pomegranates bud," &c. And further promiseth that there she will "give him her loves." Assurance of Christ’s love is the sweetmeats of the feast of a good conscience, said Father Latimer. Now, it were to be wished that every good soul, while it is banqueting with the Lord Christ by full assurance, as once Esther did with Ahasuerus, would seasonably bethink itself what special requests it hath to make unto him, what Hamans to hang up, what sturdy lusts to subdue, what holy boons to beg, &c. How sure might they be to have what they would, even to the whole of his kingdom! Suitors at court observe their mollissima fandl tempora, their fittest opportunities of speaking, and they speed accordingly. A courtier gets more many times by one suit than a tradesman can do with twenty years’ painstaking. So a faithful prayer, made in a fit season, "in a time when God may be found," as David hath it, [Psalms 32:6] is very successful. Beggary here is the best trade, as one said. Common beggary is indeed the easiest and poorest trade: but prayer is the hardest and richest. The first thing that she here begs of him is, that he would "come," and that quickly, and this we all daily pray, "Thy kingdom come," both that of grace and the other of glory. The Jews also, in their expectation of a Messiah, pray almost in every prayer they make, "Thy kingdom come," and that "Bimherah Bejamenu," quickly, even in our days, that we may behold the King in his beauty. Let our hearts’ desire and prayer to God be for those poor seduced souls that they may be saved; and the rather because "they have a zeal of God and his kingdom, but not according to knowledge," [Romans 10:1-2] as also because their progenitors prayed hard for us; and so some take it to be the sense of the spouse’s second request here, "Let us go forth into the field," that is, into the world, for the field in the parable is the world; [Matthew 13:38] let us propagate the gospel all abroad, and send forth such as may "teach all nations," [Matthew 28:19] and reveal "the mystery that hath been kept secret since the world began, that obedience may be everywhere yielded to the faith." [Romans 16:25-26]

Let us lodge in the villages.] That is, In the particular churches; for, vilissimus pagas, est palatium eburneum, in quo est pastor et credentes aliqui, saith Luther, (a) the poorest village is to Christ and his spouse an ivory palace, if there be but in it a godly minister and some few believers. Melanchthon, going once upon some great service for the Church of Christ, and having many fears of the good success of his business, was much cheered up and confirmed by a company of poor women and children whom he found praying together for the labouring Church, and casting it by faith into Christ’s everlasting arms. (b)


Verse 12

Song of Solomon 7:12 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.

Ver. 12. Let us get up early to the vineyards.] Heb., Let us morning it. Manicemas (that is, Gellius’ (a) word), Let us be up early and at it. Here she promiseth not to be found henceforth unready, drowsy, sluggish, but night and day to watch and attend that hour, and to inquire and learn out all the signs and tokens when she may come to be perfectly knit to Christ. But it is worthy of our observation that she would neither go any way nor do anything without Christ’s company, for she had lately felt the grief of being without him, though but "for a small moment," as the prophet hath it. She had felt herself that while in the suburbs of hell as it were. She therefore holds him as fast as the restored cripple did Peter and John; [Acts 3:11] she cleaves as close to him as Ruth did to Naomi; or Elisha did to his master Elijah, when now be knew he should be taken from his head. [2 Kings 2:2] She seems here to speak to Christ as once Barak did to Deborah, "If thou wilt go with me, then I will go; but if thou wilt not go with me, I will not go." [ 4:8] And whereas she seemeth, as the forwarder of the two, to excite and exhort Christ to "get up early to visit the vines," &c., we may not imagine any unwillingness in him to the performance of his office as "shepherd and bishop of our souls," [1 Peter 2:25] or any need on his part to be quickened and counselled by her, as Manoah was by his wife, or Aquila by Priscilla, whence she is set before him, [Romans 16:3] for "who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?" [Isaiah 40:13] But the Church requesteth these things of Christ for her own encouragement and further benefit; that having his continual presence and fellowship, she may the more cheerfully and successfully go on with her duty. So when we press God with arguments in prayer, it is not so much to persuade him to help us, "for the Father himself loveth you," [John 16:27] saith Christ, and needs no arguments, σποι δοντα και αυτον οτσυνειν, (b) to incite or entice him to show us mercy, as to persuade our own hearts to more faith, love, humility, &c., that we may be in a capacity to receive that mercy that of his own accord he hath for us, and even waits to confer upon us. [Isaiah 30:18] Look how a man that would make a bladder capacious to hold sweet spices, blows it and rubs it, and blows it, and rubs it many times over to make it hold the more: so it is here. And as when a man that is in a ship plucks a rock, it seems as if he plucked the rock nearer the ship, whenas in very deed the ship is plucked nearer the rock: so when God’s people think they draw God to them with their arguments, in truth they draw themselves nearer to God, who sometimes ascribeth that to us which is his own work, that we may abound more and more. Certum est nos facere quod facimus, sed ille facit ut faciamus. (c) True it is that we do what we do, but it is he that giveth us to do what we do in his service. The bowls of the candlestick had no oil but that which dropped from the olive branches.

Whether the tender grape appear.] Heb., Open, and so prove itself to be a grape, which in the bud can hardly be discerned. True grace may be doubted about as long as it is small and feeble. Weak things are oft so obscured with their contraries that it remaineth uncertain whether they be or no. He that cried out, and that with tears, "I believe, Lord, help mine unbelief" [Mark 9:24] - that is, my weak faith - could not well tell whether he had any faith at all or not. Add growth to grace, and it will be out of question. Meanwhile that is a sweet promise, "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy buds." [Isaiah 44:3] And again, "Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it, so will I do for my servants’ sake, that I may not destroy them all." [Isaiah 65:8]

And the pomegranates bud forth.] {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 4:13"}

There will I give thee my loves,] i.e., The fruition of my graces, and fruits of thy faith, thanks, good works, &c. And this is that which Christ requireth of us all - viz., that we bestow all our loves upon him, even the liveliest and warmest of our affections. Love him we must truly, that there be no halting, and totally, that there he no halving. Hold him we must "better, dearer to us than ten sons," &c., and communicate all our loves to him as best worthy. What he gives us back again we may bestow upon others; we may love other things, but no otherwise than as they convey love to us from Christ, and may be means of drawing our affections unto Christ. We must love all things else as they have a beam of Christ in them, and may lead us to him; accounting that we rightly love ourselves no further than we love the Lord Jesus Christ with a love of complacence.


Verse 13

Song of Solomon 7:13 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.

Ver. 13. The mandrakes give a smell.] Loves and mandrakes grow both upon one Hebrew root and Tremellius renders it not mandrakes, but lovely flowers, yielding a savour pleasant to the eye, and sweet to the smell. The Chaldee paraphrast calleth it balsam. ( Legesis August. lib. xxii. contra Faust. Manichaeum, cap. lvi.; Jun. in Genesis 30:14; Drus. in fine Comment. in Ruth). Aben Ezra saith that mandrakes are fragrant, and yield a pleasant savour; that they have head and hands like unto a man. But how they should be good to cause conception he wondereth, since by nature they are cold. Augustine saith that he made trial, and could not find any such operation to be in them, and that Rachel coveted them merely for their rarity, beauty, and sweetness. There is enough of these in the Church to draw all hearts unto her; but that many men have brawny breasts and horny heart strings.

And at our gates are all manner of pleasants] Or, Delicacies, precious and pleasant commodities whether fruits, metals, gems, jewels, quicquid in deliciis habetur, whatsoever is excellent and exquisite in any kind; this is the import of the Hebrew word. There is nothing of any worth but it is to be found in the Church. Her wise merchants, not content with the pearl of price, seek out other "goodly pearls," common gifts, which also have their use and excellence, [Matthew 13:45-46] they "learn to maintain good works, or honest professions for necessary uses; these things are good and profitable to men" [Titus 3:8; Titus 3:14] Some think that the Holy Ghost here alludeth to the order of old, and still in use, of strawing the wedding house doors with sweet smelling flowers; others to the customs of those that have orchards, to lay up their fruits over the gate house.

New and old.] As a good storer, that hath plenty and variety wherewith to please all palates, new for delights, and old for wholesomeness. The good scribe, well instructed to the kingdom of heaven, "throweth out (a) of his treasury things new and old," - new for the unlearned, and old for the stronger stomach. Some delight in the sweetness of things, as in new wine. David tells them the Word is sweeter than live honey dropping from the honeycomb. Others say "the old is better," are all for profit, as elder people; he tells them there it is better than gold. [Psalms 19:10] In the Church’s storehouse men shall be sure to meet with all that heart can wish, or need require.

Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved!] Propter te, Domine, propter te, "Because of you, O God, because of you," is the Church’s motto. As all his springs are in her, and all his offices and efficacies for her, so all that she has and is, is only for him, and a great deal more she could beteem him. Let Ephraim, that "empty" vine, "bear fruit to himself," [Hosea 10:1] and those hypocrites [Zechariah 7:5] fast to themselves; Christ’s hidden ones hide all for him, set up and seek him in all they do or suffer, are wholly devoted to his whole service. (b)

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 7:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/song-of-solomon-7.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 5th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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