As the lily among thorns, so [is] my love among the
] These are manifestly the words of Christ concerning his church, whom he calls "my love", (See Gill on Song of Solomon 1:9); and was his love still, though in such company, and in such an uncomfortable condition. In what sense she is comparable to a lily has been shown in ( Song of Solomon 2:1 ) ; but here she is compared to one among "thorns": by which may be meant wicked men, comparable to thorns for their unfruitfulness and unprofitableness; for their being hurtful and pernicious to good men; and for their end, which is to be burned; especially persecutors of religion, who are very distressing to the saints who dwell among them; see ( 2 Samuel 23:6 ) ; and her being among such serves for a foil, to set off her excellency the more: and the simile is designed, not so much to observe that Christ's lily grows among thorns, as to show that the church is as preferable to such persons as a lily is to thorns; which is justly remarked by Carolus Maria de Veil; and which sense the comparison requires, as appears by the reddition, so is "my love among the daughters": the nations and men of the world, and even carnal professors, members of the visible church, whom she as much exceeds in beauty, grace, and fruitfulness, as the lily exceeds thorns. Ainsworth thinks the "woodbind" or "honeysuckle" is meant, which grows in thorn hedges, and is sometimes called "lilium inter spinas", as Mercer observes; this is indeed of a sweet smell, yet very weak, and cannot support itself; and therefore twists and wraps itself about other trees, their twigs and branches, "convolvens se adminiculis quibuscunque", as Pliny F8 says; hence we call it "woodbind", and for the same reason its name in Greek is "periclymenon"; so saints are of a sweet fragrance to Christ, and, weak in themselves, cannot support themselves; yet they twine about Christ, lean on him, and are upheld by him, and depend on him for all good things. But it is the same word as in ( Song of Solomon 2:1 ) , and may be rendered "lily" here as there; and not a "rose", as it is in the Targum, from which it is there distinguished. The lily is often mentioned in this love song; it is said to be the delight of Verus F9. Some call it "ambrosia".
F8 Nat. Hist. l. 27. c. 12.
F9 Nicander apud Athenaeum, l. 15. c. 8. p. 683.