O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove
By which is meant the church, see ( Song of Solomon 2:14 ) ( 5:2 ) ( 6:9 ) , which is comparable to this creature for its cleanness and purity, for its amiableness and beauty, for its harmlessness and innocence, for its modesty and meekness, for its affection and chastity to its mate, for its mournful and bemoaning voice for the loss of it, for its being a timorous and fearful creature, a weak one, and exposed to the prey of others; all which is true of the church, and may be applied to it: the Targum is,
``do not deliver the souls of them that teach thy law;''the word having some affinity with "torah", the law; but Jarchi says, that Jonathan, in his Targum (which is not now extant) interprets it a turtle; the Syriac version, by the change of a letter, renders it, "the soul that confesseth thee": and the Arabic version, by a like change, and the addition of a letter, "the soul that knows thee"; all which, indeed, is applicable to the church of God; but our version expresses the true sense of the word, with which agree Jarchi, Kimchi, Ben Melech, and others: and it is a prayer of the church for herself; that the life of her members, their corporeal life (for not the soul, the better part, and its eternal concerns, are meant, which are safe in Christ's hands), might not be delivered
unto the multitude of the wicked,
or "to the beast" F7; to persecutors comparable to lions and bears, and particularly the Romish antichrist, often called the beast in ( Revelation 11:8 ) ( Revelation 13:1 Revelation 13:11 ) ( 17:3 ) , do not deliver
``to the people, who are like to the beasts of the field, the souls of:''forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever;
the church of God is a congregation of men gathered out of the world by effectual grace, and consists chiefly of such who are literally poor, and all of them are spiritually so, and are sensible of it; for the most part they are a poor and "afflicted" F8 people, as the word may be also rendered, which the church is made up of; and may seem by themselves and others to be forgotten of God, when under divine desertions, or under afflictions, and immediate help is not given; but they are not forgotten, and still less for ever; see ( Isaiah 49:14-16 ) .
F7 (tyxl) "ferae", Montanus, Piscator; "bestiae", Musculus, Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; "bestiis", V. L.
F8 (Kyyne) "afflictorum tuorum", Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator