She riseth also while it is yet night
That is, before the ascent of the morning, as Aben Ezra explains it, before break of day; a great while before day, as Christ is said to rise to pray, ( Mark 1:35 ) ; while it was yet dark; so the church here: which shows her affection for her family, her care of her children, and fervent zeal for her husband's interest and good; a different frame of spirit this from that of hers in ( Song of Solomon 5:2 Song of Solomon 5:3 ) ; and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens;
in allusion to a daily stated allowance F17 of food given to such; and spiritually may be meant, by her "household" or family, the same with the family of Christ, that is named of himself, which consists of various persons, fathers, young men, and children; and by her "maidens" the ministers of the word; see ( Proverbs 9:3 ) ; who are stewards in the family, and have the food for it put into their hands to dispense; it is by these the church gives meat to her household feeds them with knowledge and understanding, with the wholesome words of Christ, with the good doctrines of the Gospel; these have a certain portion given them, and they rightly cut and divide the word of truth, and give to everyone their portion of meat in due season, according to their age and circumstances; milk indeed to babes and meat to strong men; see ( Luke 12:42 ) . The Targum renders the word for "portion [by] service": understanding not a portion of food, but of work, a task set them, and so the word is used in ( Exodus 5:14 ) . The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "works", which may be very well applied to the work and service of the Gospel ministry, and the several parts of it.
F17 "Gauldetque diurnos, ut famulae, praebere cibos", Claudian. de Bello Gild. v. 71, 72.