I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem
Of whom, see ( Song of Solomon 1:5 ) . There is some difficulty in these words, whether they are spoken by the church, or by Christ: according to our version, they are the words of the church, and bids fair to be the sense; since they are spoken to the virgins, her companions, that waited on her; and the manner of speech is not by way of command, as by way of adjuration; and the matter, style, and language of it, Christ being the church's love; and the phrase, "till he please", best agrees with his sovereignty and authority, who is at liberty to stay with, and remove from, his people at pleasure; and the context and scope of the place seem to confirm it; the church, enjoying communion with Christ, chooses not that he should be disturbed, and by any means be caused to depart from her. Others think they are the words of Christ, and not without reason; since it was the church that was in Christ's arms, and fallen asleep in them; and the phrase, "my love", is used by Christ concerning his church, ( Song of Solomon 7:6 ) ; and not this, but another, is used by her concerning him; and besides, both the word for "my love", and that which is rendered "he please", are feminine, and best agree with her, "that ye stir not up, the" or "this love, until she please"; so Michaelis F4 interprets and renders the word for "love [by] this lovely one"; the word is very emphatic, the love, the famous love, the well known love F5: add to which, the following words seem to confirm this sense, "the voice of my beloved", which she had heard, adjuring the daughters of Jerusalem. This charge is made, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field;
not that either Christ or his church swore by them; but the words may be descriptive of the persons addressed by the creatures, among whom they were feeding their flocks, or whom they delighted to hunt F6; or were loving and lovely creatures, as they: and the charge is, that they would continue among them, and mind their business, and give no disturbance to Christ or the church; or these creatures are called as witnesses to this charge, which, if not observed, would be brought against them: or the charge is made by all that is dear, these being pleasant and lovely creatures, that they would not interrupt the mutual communion of Christ and his church; or it may be a severe threatening, that, should they disregard the charge, they should become food as common as roes and hinds; and that they should be as cautious of stirring up and awaking the person meant as they would be of starting those timorous creatures. The charge is, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please;
or, "till she please"; if it is the charge of the church, it may lead to observe, that Christ is the object of the church's love; and that she is his resting place; that he may not be disturbed and raised up from it by an unfriendly behavior toward him, or by animosities among themselves; that saints should be very careful that they do not provoke Christ to depart from them; and that communion with him is entirely at his pleasure, when and how long it shall continue; it depends as much upon his sovereign will as the first acts of his grace towards them. But if this is the charge of Christ, not to disturb his church, then it may be observed, that the church is the object of Christ's love, and always continues so; that the church sleeps and takes her rest in Christ's arms; which is not to be understood of a criminal drowsiness and sleep, but of comfortable repose and rest, Christ gives his beloved ones, in communion with himself; that he loves and delights in the company of his people, and would not have them disturbed in their fellowship with him; and though, while grace is in exercise, saints are desirous of enjoying Christ's presence always; yet, when it is otherwise, they become indifferent to it, which provokes Christ to depart from them; and therefore it is said, "till she please": and as this charge is given to the "daughters of Jerusalem", young converts, or weak believers; it suggests, that they are apt to disturb both Christ and his church; to disturb Christ by their impatience and frowardness, like children; hence the church acts the part of a mother charging her children to be quiet, and not disturb her loving husband, while she enjoyed his company; and to disturb the church, through their weakness, not being able to bear the sublime doctrines of the Gospel, and through their ignorance of Gospel order.
F4 Not. in Lowth Praelect. de Poes. Heb. p. 158.
F5 So lovers are frequently called "Amor et Amores", "love and loves", vid. Theocrit. Idyll. 2. & Ovid. Briseis Achilli, v. 12. Plauti Curculio, Act. 2. Sc. 3. v. 78. Miles, Act. 4. Sc. 8. v. 67. Poenulus, Act. 5. Sc. 3. v. 49. Mostell. arg. v. 1. Persa, arg. v. 1.
F6 "Virginibus Tyriis mos est gestare pharetram", Virgil. Aeneid. l. 1.