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Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
I should not have paused at this word, but for the better apprehension of what the church saith of "holding the king in the galleries." (Song of Song of Solomon 7:5) The proper idea of the gallery in the eastern buildings is necessary, in order to enter into the sense of this passage. Dr. Shaw in his Travels, page 274-5, tell us, that the court in the summer-season, among persons of rank, is sheltered from the heat, or inclemency of the weather, by a velum umbrella, or veil; which being expanded upon ropes from one side of the parapet wall to the other, may be folded or unfolded at pleasure. The Psalmist seems to have an allusion to this, when speaking of the covering above, he describes the Lord as "spreading out the heavens like a curtain." (Psalms 104:1-35) This court is, for the most part, surrounded with a cloister or colonnade, over which there is a gallery erected of the same dimensions with the cloister, having a balustrade of carved or latticed work. From the cloister and gallery, there is a passage into large and spacious chambers. It should seem, therefore, that by the act of"holding the king in the galleries"is meant, that here the church detained Jesus for sweet communion and fellowship. And here they had frequent meetings, unnoticed and unknown to others; in which the Lord opened to his church the secrets of his love, in leading her into the chambers of his covenant mercy and grace; and the church held him fast in those galleries, not suffering him to depart until "that she had brought him whom her soul loved, as she saith elsewhere, into her mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived her." (Song of Song of Solomon 3:4)
That this is the sense of the expression of "holding the king in the galleries" seems plain, from another consideration; namely, that the word held signifies being bound as a prisoner with chains and fetters. And this corresponds to the whole passage; yea, to the whole song. For while the church is made blessed in Christ, as her Head, which is said to be upon her "like Carmel, and the hair of her head like purple;" meaning, that Christ being the Head of his body the church, high, like the lofty mount Carmel, all the innumerable members on him beautiful as the purple coloured hair, the most lovely and valued among eastern women, the Lord praises his church with saying, "How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse! thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck." (Song of Song of Solomon 4:9)
The reader will indulge me, I hope, with barely adding, that if such was the sweet result of Jesus being held by the church in the galleries of old, surely, believers now ought to take confidence and delight to detain the Lord in the galleries of ordinances; from whence, while they hold him fast by the lively actings of faith and prayer, like the wrestlings of their father Jacob of old, (See Genesis 32:26) they may be led by him into the chambers of rich communion, in the high privilege of near and familiar enjoyment of all covenant blessings. It is by these gracious acts the Lord acknowledgeth the church, and, consequently, every individual of the church to be his bribe, when as the church elsewhere saith, "The king hath brought me into his chambers." (Song of Song of Solomon 1:4) For there Jesus manifesteth himself to his people otherwise than he doeth to the world. (John 14:21-22) And until that he brings them home to the marriage-supper of the Lamb in heaven, while upon earth, having espoused them to himself, he brings them by faith into his chambers, opens to them more and more of his unsearchable riches, gives a foretaste of the glory hereafter to be revealed, and by the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit, induceth all those blessed effects in the soul which the apostle Peter so delightfully describes: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8)
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Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Gallery'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/pmd/g/gallery.html. London. 1828.