Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee
Which the Targum refers to the Lord's appearance to Moses in the bush; (See Gill on Ezekiel 16:6); behold, thy time [was] the time of love;
which the Targum explains of the time of redemption of the people of Israel out of Egypt, which was an instance of the great love of God unto that people; and which time was fixed by him; and when it was come, at the exact and precise time, the redemption was wrought; see ( Genesis 15:13 Genesis 15:14 ) ( Exodus 12:40 Exodus 12:41 ) ; and so there is a set time for the calling and conversion of God's elect, who are therefore said to be called according to purpose; and, when that time comes, all means are made to concur to bring it about: and this is a time of love; for though the love of God to his people is before all time, yet it is manifested in time; and there are particular times in which it is expressed unto them; and the time of conversion is one of them; and indeed it is the first time that there is a manifestation and application of the love of God made to the souls of his people: and this is a "time of loves" F15; as it is in the original text; denoting the large abundance of it which is now shown forth; and the various acts of it now done; as bringing of them out of a most miserable condition, out of a horrible pit; plucking them as brands out of the burning; quickening them when dead in sin; speaking comfortably to them, and applying pardoning grace and mercy to their souls: and it may include both the love of God to his people, and their love to him; for now is the love of their espousals, and the kindness of their youth, ( Jeremiah 2:2 ) ; the grace of love is now implanted, to God and Christ, to his people, word, worship, and ordinances, which before had no place in them: and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness;
the Lord espoused the people of Israel to himself in the wilderness, after he had brought them out of Egypt, and took them under the wings of his protection; both which this phrase may be expressive of; see ( Ruth 3:9 ) . Some understand this of his giving them the spoils of the Egyptians, and also the law: it may very well be applied to the righteousness of Christ, which is often compared to a garment, for which the skirt, a part, is put; and this is put on as a garment, and answers all the purposes of one; and particularly covers the nakedness of men, which their own righteousness will not do; this the Lord spreads over his people, and covers them with; and being clothed with this, they shall not be found naked: yea, I sware unto thee;
to his love expressed to his people, and to his covenant he entered into with them, neither of which shall ever be removed; and this makes to their abundant comfort; see ( Psalms 89:3 Psalms 89:35 ) ( Isaiah 54:9 Isaiah 54:10 ) ( Hebrews 6:13-18 ) ; and entered into covenant with thee, saith the Lord God;
as he did with the people of Israel at Horeb, and which was a sort of a marriage contract with them; see ( Deuteronomy 29:1 ) ( Jeremiah 31:32 ) ; the covenant of grace was made from everlasting with Christ, and the elect in him; but is made manifest at conversion, when the Lord makes himself known unto them as their covenant God; leads them to Christ the Mediator of it; sends his Spirit down into their hearts, to make them partakers of the grace of it; and shows them their interest in the blessings and promises of it; all which may be meant by the phrase here used: and thou becamest mine;
as Israel did at the time before mentioned, became the Lord's peculiar people, and were avouched as such by him, ( Exodus 19:5 ) ; so, in conversion, those who before were secretly the Lord's by electing and redeeming grace, become openly his by calling and sanctifying grace.
F15 (Mydwd te) "tempus amorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius.