Thou that dwellest in the gardens
These are the words of Christ to the church, describing her by her habitation, and may be rendered, "O thou, inhabitress of the gardens" F9; the word used being in the feminine gender, which determines the sense of it, as belonging to the church: but the Septuagint version renders it by a word in the masculine gender; and so Ambrose F11, who interprets the words as spoken by the church to Christ; though he observes that Symmachus and Aquila interpret them as the words of Christ to the church. By the "gardens" are meant particular congregations, the dwelling places of the church, and where she has work to do by her ministers, to plant, water, prune, and dress the gardens; and of particular believers, whose business it is to attend on the ministry of the word, and other ordinances; and dwelling here may denote diligence and constant attendance here, and which is approved of by Christ, and well pleasing to him: and it is honourable, as well as profitable and delightful, to have a place in these gardens, and especially an abiding one; and indeed those, to whom Christ gives a place and a name here, are in no danger of being turned or driven out, as Adam was from Eden; the companions hearken to thy voice;
meaning either the divine Persons, the Father and the Holy Ghost, as Piscator; the companions of Christ, of the same nature, perfections, and glory with him; who listen to what the church and true believers say to them and to one another, ( Malachi 3:16 ) ; or the angels, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra, the friends of Christ and his people, who hearken to the conversation of believers, in private and public; and especially to the Gospel, preached in the assembly of the saints, ( Ephesians 3:10 ) ( 1 Peter 1:12 ) ; or rather the daughters of Jerusalem, who all along attend the bride in this Song, and are the virgins her companions, ( Psalms 45:14 ) ; and it is a title that belongs to all truly gracious souls, ( Psalms 122:8 ) ( 119:63 ) ; who hearken to the voice of the church, to the Gospel, preached by her ministers; which is a joyful sound, and gives great delight and pleasure; cause me to hear [it];
that is, her voice; so sweet and charming to him, as in ( Song of Solomon 2:14 ) ; her voice in prayer and praise; in speaking of him, his person, offices, and grace, to others, and confessing his name before men. Some render the words, "preach me" F12; and then the sense is, seeing the companions flock unto thee, and listen with great attention and pleasure to thy voice, take the opportunity of preaching me unto them; let my person, righteousness, and grace, be the subject of thy ministry: and which was done in the first times of the Gospel, by the apostles; has been, more or less, ever since, by faithful ministers; and will be continued until the second coming of Christ, prayed for in ( Song of Solomon 8:14 ) .
F9 (tbvwyh) "quae habitas", V. L. Pagninus, Brightman, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Michaelis; "quae sedes", Cocceius.
F11 Enarrat. in Psal. lxxii. octon. 22. p. 1068.
F12 (yneymvh) "in praedica me", Junius & Tremellius.