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Song of Solomon 2:14

Song of Solomon 2:14

O my dove
An epithet sometimes used by lovers F17, and is a new title Christ gives to his church, to express his affection for her and interest in her; and to draw her out of her retirement, to go along with him. The dove is a creature innocent and harmless, beautiful, cleanly, and chaste; sociable and fruitful, weak and timorous, of a mournful voice, and swift in flying; all which is suitable to the church and people of God: they are harmless and inoffensive in their lives and conversations; they are beautiful through the righteousness of Christ on them, and the grace of the Spirit in them; they are clean through the word Christ has spoken, and having their hearts purified by faith; they are as chaste virgins espoused to Christ, and their love to him is single and unfeigned; they cleave to him, are fruitful in grace and good works; and the church being espoused to Christ brings forth many souls unto him in regeneration; saints carry on a social worship and delight in each other's company; they are weak and timorous, being persecuted and oppressed by the men of the world; and mourn for their own sins and others, and often for the loss of Christ's presence; and are swift in flying to him for safety and protection. Under this character the church is said to be in the clefts of the rock,
the usual place where the dove makes its nest, ( Jeremiah 48:28 ) ; or retires to it for safety F18. Adrichomius says {s}, there was a stone tower near Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of Olives, called "petra columbarum", "the rock of the doves", where often five thousand were kept at once, to which there may be an allusion here; or else it may have respect to the place where doves are forced to fly when pursued by the hawk, even into a hollow rock, as described by Homer F20; and may be expressive of the state of the church under persecution, when obliged to flee into holes and corners, and caves of the earth; when the Lord is a hiding place to her, in his love, and grace, and power; and particularly Christ is the Rock of his people, so called for height, strength, and duration, and they are the inhabitants of this Rock; and who was typified by the rock in the wilderness, and particularly by that into the clefts of which Moses was put, when the glory of the Lord passed before him: moreover, the clefts of this rock may design the wounds of Christ, which are opened for the salvation of men; and where saints dwell by faith, and are secure from every enemy F21. The Ethiopic version is, "in the shadow of the rock", to which Christ is compared, ( Isaiah 32:2 ) ; and so the Septuagint version, "in the covering of the rock", which is no other than the shade of it. Likewise the church is said to be in the secret [places] of the stairs;
Christ is the stairs or steps by which saints ascend up to God, have access to and communion with him; and the secret places may have respect to the justifying righteousness of Christ, and atonement by him, hidden to other men, but revealed to them; and whither in distress they betake themselves, and are sheltered from sin, law, hell, and death, and dwell in safety. Though as such places are dark and dusty, and whither the dove, or any other creature, may in danger betake itself, so upon the whole both this and the preceding clause may design the dark, uncomfortable, and solitary condition the church was in through fear of enemies; in which situation Christ addresses her, saying, let me see thy countenance,
or "face"; and encourages her to appear more publicly in, his house and courts for worship, and present herself before him, and look him full in the face, and with open face behold his glory, and not be shamefaced and fearful; not to be afraid of any thing, but come out of her lurking holes, and be seen abroad by himself and others, since the stormy weather was over, and everything was pleasant and agreeable; let me hear thy voice;
in prayer to him and praise of him, commending the glories and: excellencies of his person, and giving thanks to him for the blessings of his grace; for sweet [is] thy voice;
pleasant, harmonious, melodious, having a mixture of notes in it, as the word signifies; and so exceeds the voice of a natural dove, which is not very harmonious: Herodotus F23 makes mention of a dove that spoke with a human voice; and such a voice Christ's dove speaks with, and it is sweet; that is, pleasant and delightful to him, who loves to hear his people relate the gracious experiences of his goodness, and speak well of his truths and ordinances; prayer is sweet music to him, and praise pleases him better than all burnt offerings; and thy countenance [is] comely;
fair and beautiful, and therefore need not cover her face, or hang down her head, as if ashamed to be seen, since she was in the eye of Christ a perfection of beauty.


FOOTNOTES:

F17 "Mea columba", Plauti Casina, Act. 1. Sc. 1. v. 50. Doves were birds of Venus; her chariot was drawn by them, Chartar. de Imag. Deor. p. 218. Vid. Apulci Metamorph. l. 6.
F18 "Quails spelunca subito commota columba, cui domus et dulces latebroso in pumice nidi", Virgil. Aeneid. 5. v. 213.
F19 Theatrum Terrae S. p. 171.
F20 Iliad. 21. v. 493, 494.
F21 "In tegimento petrae", i.e. "tuta praesidio passionis meae et fidei munimento", Ambros. de Isaac, c. 4. p. 281.
F23 Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 55.
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