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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator
Song of Solomon 7

 

 

Verse 1

Song of Solomon 7:1

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O Prince’s daughter!

Beautiful with sandals

The Great Redeemer, the Heavenly Bridegroom, is now represented under the leading emblem of the Book, as surveying the beauties and excellences of His betrothed bride.
The whole chapter is an apostrophe to her. She is in herself full of conscious unworthiness. But He sees her clothed in the bridal attire of His own righteousness, and instead of upbraiding her for avowed imperfections, He begins with the words, “How beautiful are thy sandalled feet, O Prince’s daughter!”

I. The Church’s or the Believer’s name--“Daughter” and “Prince’s daughter.”

1. She is called “daughter.” This points to the tender relation subsisting between Christ and His people. When Jehovah in the Old Testament speaks most endearingly of His ancient Church, He calls it “The Daughter of Zion.” He employs, indeed, manifold figures, all indicative of strong and ardent attachment. “As one whom his mother comforteth.” “Can a woman forget her sucking child?” “Like as a father pitieth his children.” “I will be a Father unto you.”

2. But again, she is a “Prince’s daughter.” He reminds her of her pedigree. It is no ordinary birth. She is one of the adopted children of the “King of kings.” Their glory is His glory.

II. The subject of commendation: “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes.

1. The shoe, or sandal, in ancient times, and in Oriental countries, was the badge of freedom and honour. The crouching slave never wore a sandal. The unsandalled feet was the badge and mark of subjection, if not of degradation. When the Lord, therefore, in the text speaks of His betrothed bride’s feet being “beautiful with shoes,” what is this but to proclaim that she--type of every believer--is translated from the bondage of corruption into “the glorious liberty of the children of God”?

2. Shoes or sandals were emblems of joy: while the want of these was equally recognized and regarded as a symbol of grief and sorrow. And is not the Christian called to be joyful? Yes, God’s children are indeed, really, and in truth, alone of all, in this sin-stricken world, entitled to the epithet of “happy.”

3. The sandals on the feet speak of activity and duty, and preparedness for Christ’s service. They point to the nature of the journey the believer is pursuing. Though a pleasant road, and a safe road, and a road with a glorious termination, it is at times rough; a path of temptation and trial. Unshod feet would be cut and lacerated with the stones and thorns and briars which beset it. The figure, moreover, suggests, that there can be no loitering or lingering on the way. (J. R. Macduff, D. D.)


Verses 1-13

Verse 5

Song of Solomon 7:5

The King is held in the galleries.

The King is held in the galleries

Christ, the blessed King of Zion, condescends sometimes to be held and detained by His people in the galleries of Gospel-ordinances.

I. I will give some account of this royal King.

1. That he is a King appears from these particulars.

2. As He is a King, so He is the King by way of eminency and excellency.

II. The galleries wherein this royal King trysts and keeps company with His people.

1. I will only mention these few galleries.

2. Why are these ordinances compared to galleries?

III. The holding of the King in the galleries.

1. What does it suppose and imply on the believer’s part?

(i.) By the lively exercise of faith. Hence faith is called an apprehending of Christ, and a cleaving to Him.

(ii.) The soul binds or holds Christ in the galleries by sincere and ardent love.

(iii.) The soul cleaves to Christ by fervent and ardent prayer.

2. What does it imply on Christ’s part?

(i.) He is bound by the cord of His own faithfulness, which He has laid in pawn in the promise.

(ii.) He is bound in the galleries by the cord of His own love.

(iii.) He is bound to them by the bond of marriage.

IV. The application of the doctrine.

1. The first use is of information. Is it so that Zion’s King is sometimes held in the galleries of Gospel-ordinances? Then,

2. By way of trial and examination. You have been in the galleries of the King of Zion; but that is not enough: and therefore let me ask, Have you been in the galleries with the King? and have you been holding the King in the galleries?

3. Use third may be in a short word directed to two or three sorts of persons.


Verses 11-13

Song of Solomon 7:11-13

Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.

Good works is good company

The daughters of Jerusalem had been praising the Church as the fairest among women. They spoke of her with admiring appreciation, extolling her from head to foot. She wisely perceived that it was not easy to bear praise; and therefore she turned aside from the virgins to her Lord, making her boast not of her own comeliness, but of her being affianced to her Beloved: “I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is towards me.” The spouse seems abruptly to break off from listening to the song of the virgins, and turns to her own husband-Lord, communion with whom is ever blessed and ever profitable, and she says to him, “Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. Whether it be the bitterness of woe, or the cloying surfeit of earthly delight, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take the gall from the one and the satiety from the other.

I. First, then, in the matter of self-examination. This is a most desirable and important business, but every believer should desire to have communion with Christ while he is attending to it. Self-examination is of the utmost importance. Well does the spouse suggest that she should see whether the vine flourished, whether the tender grape appeared and the pomegranates budded forth; for our spiritual vineyard needs perpetual watchfulness. While you are attending to this important business, see to it at the same time that you keep up your communion with Christ, for you will never know so well the importance of self-examination as when you see Him. Know His love for you, and all His griefs on your behalf, and you will charge your own heart after this fashion--“See to it, that thou make sure work as to thine interest in Jesus, that thou be really one with Him, that thy faith in Him be genuine, and that thou shalt be found in Him in peace at the day of His appearing.” Self-examination, however, is very laborious work: the text hints at it. It does not say, “Let us go,” but “Let us get up.” Self-examination is ever up-hill work. We need to school ourselves to perform a duty so irksome. But, beloved, if we attempt to examine this, feeling that Christ is with us, and that we are having communion with Him, we shall forget all the labour of the deed. Keep close to the Saviour and the difficulties of self-examination will vanish, and the labour will become light. Self-examination should always be very earnest work. The text says, “Let us get up early.” It has been well observed that all men in Scripture who have done earnest work rose up early to do it. The dew of the morning, before the smoke and dust of the world’s business have tainted the atmosphere, is a choice and special season for all holy work. And yet again, self-examination, it seems to me, is not the simple work that some people think, but is beset with difficulties. I do believe that the most of self-examinations go on a wrong principle. You take Moses with you when you examine yourself, and consequently you fall into despair. I do not want you to look at Christ so as to think less of your sin, but to think more of it; for you can never see sin to be so black as when you see the suffering which Christ endured on its behalf: but I do desire you, dear friends, never to look at sin apart from the Saviour. Examine yourselves, but let it be in the light of Calvary; not by the blazing fires of Sinai’s lightnings, but by the milder radiance of the Saviour’s griefs. It appears, from the words of the spouse, that the work of self-examination should be carried on in detail, if it is to be of real service. It is written, “Let us see if the vine flourish, the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth.” We must not take a general view of the garden, but particularize, and give special attention to each point. Oh! to have our great pattern ever before our eye! Jesus should not be a friend who calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore. Thou hast a difficult road to travel; see, O traveller to heaven, that thou go not without thy Guide. In every case, in every condition, thou needest Jesus; but most of all, when thou comest to deal with thine own heart’s eternal interests. O, keep thou close to Him, lean thy head upon His bosom, ask to be refreshed with the spiced wine of His pomegranate, and then there shall be no fear but that thou shalt be found of Him at the last, without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing.

II. The Church was about to engage in earnest labour, and desires her Lord’s company. It is the business of God’s people to be trimmers of God’s vines. Like our first parents, we are put into the garden of the Lord for usefulness. Observe that the Church, when she is in her right mind, in all her many labours desires to retain and cheerfully to enjoy communion with Christ. Taking a survey of Christ’s Church, you will find that those who have most fellowship with Christ are not the persons who are recluses or hermits, who have much time to spend with themselves, but they are the useful indefatigable labourers who are toiling for Jesus, and who in their toil have Him side by side with them, so that they are workers together with God. Let me, then, try and press this lesson upon you, that when we as a Church, and each of us as individuals, have anything to do for Christ, we must do it in communion with Him. Let me hold up for your imitation some in modern times who by works of faith and labours of love have made us feel that the old spirit of Christianity is not dead. Our beloved friend Mr. George Muller, of Bristol, for instance. There burns a holy devotedness, an intensity of faith, a fervour of perseverance which I would to God we all possessed. May we have more of this, aunt so by keeping close to Jesus, we shall produce better fruits, richer clusters and more luscious grapes than are commonly produced upon those vines which are in a less happy part of the vineyard.

III. The Church desires to give to Christ all that She produces. She has “all manner of pleasant fruits,” both “new and old,” and they are laid up for her Beloved. We have some new fruits. I hope we feel new life, new joy, new gratitude: we wish to make new resolves and carry them out by new labours. Our heart goes up in new prayers, and our soul is pledging herself to new efforts. But we have some old things too. There is our first love: a choice fruit that! and Christ delights in it. There is our flint faith: that simple faith by Which, having nothing, we become possessors of all things. There is our joy when first we knew the Lord; let us revive it. Old things! why we have the old remembrance of the promises. How faithful has God been! Old sins we must regret, but then we have had repentances which He has given us, by which we have wept our way to the Cross, and learned the merit of His blood. We have fruits, both new and old; but here is the point--they are all to be for Christ. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

A call for revival

I. The fact which is implied in the text, that love is the great motive for action in the cause of Christ. This love has about it certain marked peculiarities.

1. It is first a love which realizes the person of the Beloved. Jesus must be to us no historical personage who was once on earth, but is now dead and powerless; he must be an actual person living still in our midst.

2. The love here spoken of was well assured of the affection of its Beloved. Note the verse which precedes our text, “I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is towards me.” A Christian is never strong for service when he does not know whether Christ loves him or not. Strive then for a well-assured sense of the Saviour’s love. Be not content till you possess it, for it will be health to your spirit and marrow to your bones: it will be a girdle of strength to your loins and a chain of honour about your neck.

3. The love of the spouse lived in fellowship with the Well-beloved. “Come, my Beloved, let us go, let us lodge, let us get up, let us see. There will I give Thee my loves.” True love to Jesus grows stronger and stronger in proportion as it abides in Him. If we have abounding love to Jesus we can prosper under disadvantages, but if we have it not we have lost the great secret of success. It yokes us with the strong Son of God, and so makes our infirmities to be but opportunities for the display of His power.

4. This love leads the Church to hold all things in joint possession with Christ. Observe that word, “at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits.” Love to Jesus constrains us to make over all that we hold to Him, while faith appropriates all that Jesus has to itself.

5. The love which is the great motive to Christian action is a love which looks to Jesus for united operation. It is, “Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field, let us get up early to the vineyard.” All is well when the Redeemer leads the way. Be not afraid, for you go in good company. Who among us will be afraid to do anything or go anywhere if Jesus saith, “I will go with you?”

II. Love leads us to go afield in the service of Jesus. “Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field.”

1. A loving Church spontaneously puts herself upon widened service. She has a large heart towards her Lord, and longs to see Him reign over all mankind. She does not wait to hear again and again the Macedonian’s cry, “Come over and help us,” but she is prompt in mission enterprise.

2. The spouse, when she said, “Let us go forth into the field,” knew that the proposal would please her Lord; for the nature of Christ is a large and loving one, and, therefore, He would bless the far-off ones. His is no narrow heart; His thoughts of love are far-reaching, and when the Church says, “Let us go forth into the field,” truly her Lord is not backward to accept the invitation.

3. The spouse is evidently prepared for any discomfort that may come as the result of her labour. She must needs leave the fair palaces of her royal husband and lodge in rustic cottages. Poor lodgings there for Solomon’s fair spouse; but what cares she?

4. The spouse is quite ready, to continue in this uncomfortable service. She says, “I will lodge in the villages,” there will she abide a while, not paying a flying visit, but stopping until the good work is done, for which her Lord and she went forth. Oh, get ye out, ye Christians, into the distant fields of labour. For our Master s sake, and in His strength and company, we must compass sea and land for His redeemed ones. Only, if any of you go, do not try to go alone. Stop until you breathe the prayer, “My Beloved, let us go. You go in vain when you go not with the Master, but when you have secured His company, then go and welcome, for you shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing your sheaves with you.”

III. Love labours also at home. Nearer the palace there were vineyards, and the spouse said, “Let us get up early to the vineyards.”

1. Note, then, that the Church does her work at home as well as abroad. When she loves her Lord she works with zeal, she gets up early. All men in Holy Scripture who loved God much rose early to worship Him. We never read of one saint engaged upon sacred service who rose late. Abraham rose early, David rose early, Job rose early, and so did they all. It is put here as the very type and symbol of an earnest, vigorous service of Christ.

2. Notice that God’s people, when they are awake, first look well to the Church. “Let us see if the vine flourish.” The Church is Christ’s vine. Let us take stock of it.

3. Then the Church looks after the little ones. “Let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear.” No earnest Church forgets the children of her Sabbath school, and every other agency for the young will be sure to be well minded.

4. Then the Church also takes notice of all inquiries. “Let us see whether the pomegranates bud forth.” If a Church be alive, there will be always many to observe where the first tear of repentance is glistening.

IV. Love in a Church brings forth all its stores for the beloved. The Church of God has in herself, through the rich love of her Husband, all manner of pleasant fruits. Some of these fruits are new, and oh, how full of savour they are. Our new converts, thank God for them, what a freshness and power there is about their love! Then there are old fruits, the experience of believers who are ripening for heaven, the well-developed confidence which has been tried in a thousand battles, and the faith which has braved a lifetime of difficulties. These old fruits--the deep love of the matron to Christ, the firm assurance of the veteran believer--there is a mellowness about them which the Lord delights in. All these choice things ought to be laid up. Every good thing in a Church is meant to be stored up, not to be despised and forgotten; and the point of all is that all in the Church ought to be laid up for our Beloved. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Standing corn

I want you to go with me in thought and spirit while I try to reproduce the lessons taught me in the rustling language of the standing corn. “Let us go forth into the field.”

I. Here are revelations from God. I feel myself to be in the presence of my Creator; and all the questionings of doubt, and all the vain philosophies of the sceptic, vanish like the morning mist. My intellect, my conscience, my heart, my instinct if you will, prompts with remembrance of a present God. In this bright field of waving corn I see His power. What mighty forces are here at work! I see His wisdom. What harmony in the whole operations, with never a collision, accident, or blunder! What exact adaptation of means to an end! I am led to say with Cowper, “There lives and works a soul in all things, and that soul is God.” I see His goodness. Not only has its wise Contriver had in view its useful service, but He has clothed it with rare, refreshing beauty. I see His faithfulness. After the desolating flood, God declared that hence on for ever “summer and seedtime, autumn and harvest should not cease.” Since then thousands of years have passed, stars have fallen, mountains have been engulfed, nations have perished, mighty changes have been wrought, but this rich, ripe field of standing corn in every waving stem declares the steadfast faithfulness of God.

II. Life comes out of death. Out of death and decay come life and beauty! Behold, I show you a mystery! A few months ago this bright field of teeming life was a graveyard, and every individual grain died, and was buried here, in sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection. In due time the trumpet of the spring winds announced the grand arising day, and here the dead-alive are standing arrayed in bright raiment and clad in a glory that excelleth. Standing here, the mystery of the resurrection, it is true, remains, but the impossibility dies out for ever! The cemetery is the field of God. I hear the winds of heaven making music through the standing corn; and this is the burden of their song, “Sown in dishonour and raised in glory!”

III. Like comes forth from like. This heavy crop of wheat is all the outcome of scattered wheat, and no other kind of plant could possibly arise. As the tall corn rustles beneath the light autumnal wind I hear it say, “What a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

IV. Much comes from little. In a small compass of bag and basket was the seed-corn contained! What spacious yard, capacious barn, and extensive granary will be required to hold the vast result! Mark you, it would have been much the same had cockle, tares, or darnel been scattered on the soil. Little seeds bring great harvests, in some thirty--, in some sixty--, and in some a hundred-fold. “Despise not the day of small things.”

V. Fruit comes from labour. This field of waving wheat is the farmer’s fee for hard and willing work. You will find the truth hold good in your own daily labour, your handicraft, your profession, or your trade. You will find, too, that diligent effort will bring into your bosom rich sheaves of saving grace; that hard labour in the Church or the school, Christ’s great field of toil, will bring harvests of spiritual success.

VI. With progress comes maturity. As you look at this field now, remember what it was. From the day the life-germs broke through their decaying shells, advancement has been the order of the day, flint the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear, then the ripe and mellow grain ready for the garner. Little by little, higher and greener, stronger and riper, ever maturing, ever progressing, until the stage of perfection is reached at last. It is so in the moral world. Constant progression in evil fits the sinner at last for the hopeless destiny of the oven and the fire. Growth in grace brings maturity of Christian character. Faith and hope and love grow stronger, brighter as the years go by. The life grows purer and more like the great Exemplar as the harvest-time draws near, until the shock of corn is garnered, being made meet for the paradise of God.

VII. Advantage comes from trial. As you look upon this sea of waving glory you remember that once it was as naked as the highway. Think of the bitter winds that swept it, the biting frosts, the drenching rains, the cutting ploughshare, the tearing harrow, the crushing roller, and all the severity of discipline required. Then came the hard fortunes of the tender plant, scorched and tossed, and battered by wind and sun, until it lay limp, flaccid, and yellow on the ungenial ground; and yet all these adverse seemings had a part in producing the golden glory that waves in triumph now. It is just so in the Lord’s spiritual and human field; crosses, trials, reverses, and disappointments are all necessary preliminaries and preparatories to the joy of harvest.

VIII. Destiny comes from character. By and by the reapers will put in the sickle. What for? In order that the prostrate crop may be trodden under foot or bundled for the fire? No, no. It is wheat, precious and good, therefore its destiny is the barn, and even the gleanings shall be gathered and housed with care. The weeds, the thistles, these are noxious and must feel the fire. Their character is bad, and that decides their destiny. O men and women! your character shall decide yours.

IX. Fruition comes from faith. Many months ago, the farmer set to work here, but he could exercise but small control; for aught he knew the land might have lost its fertility, or the seed might have lost its germinating power. Perhaps the sun might forbear to shine, or the rain to fall. There might be no return for all his anxious care. But he had faith: faith in the soil, faith in the seed, faith in the sun, faith in the sure processes that he could neither control nor understand. He had faith and patience, too, and all this sterling gold is his reward, Learn the lesson: God’s promise cannot fail. No good deed is lost. Incorruptible seed cannot die.

X. The seen comes from the unseen. The buried corn was hidden. What was going on beneath the surface was hidden from human ear and eye. What is going on? You do not know. What kind of seed is it? You cannot tell. How much will there be from it? You cannot possibly predict. It is all secret, hidden--as secret, my friend, as the thoughts of your heart, as the secret sins of your life, as the germ or bias of evil in your nature. It is as secret, Christian, as the depth of your loyalty and love, the private deeds of godly sacrifice, brave endurance, pious beneficence, closet prayers. But wait a while; the secret of the soil is revealed; the day hath declared it: and this fair field is the answer for all the world to read. “There is nothing hidden that shall not be known.”

XI. Gain comes from opportunity. If the farmer had let the ploughing season pass, if he had permitted the sowing season to slip by, no such glorious sight as this golden treasure would have gladdened his eye. No; he caught the season while it lasted, he seized the opportunity while he had it. Last winter was the parent of this success; last spring was the foster-mother of this field of corn. He turned to use the precious present; he put out to usury the golden now; and this is the usury that has come of it, this golden guerdon, this wealth of grain. Don’t you hear every bended head, as the bright field shimmers in the wind, saying “What thine hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, etc.”?

XII. All comes from God. That’s the crowning lesson. His the soil, the seed, the sower, the sun, the success. All are the absolute gift of His gracious providence and tender love. (J. J. Wray.)
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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Song of Solomon 7:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/song-of-solomon-7.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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