The graces of the church. (1-9) The delight of the church in Christ. (10-13)
Verses 1-9 The similitudes here are different from what they were before, and in the original refer to glorious and splendid clothing. Such honour have all his saints; and having put on Christ, they are distinguished by their beautiful and glorious apparel. They adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. Consistent believers honour Christ, recommend the gospel, and convince and awaken sinners. The church resembles the stately and spreading palm; while her love for Christ, and the obedience resulting therefrom, are precious fruit of the true Vine. The King is held in the galleries. Christ takes delight in the assemblies and ordinances of his people; and admires the fruit of his grace in them. When applied to the church and to each faithful Christian, all this denotes that beauty of holiness, in which they shall be presented to their heavenly Bridegroom.
Verses 10-13 The church, the believing soul, triumphs in its relation to Christ, and interest in him. She humbly desires communion with him. Let us walk together, that I may receive counsel, instruction, and comfort from thee; and may make known my wants and my grievances to thee, with freedom, and without interruption. Communion with Christ is what all that are made holy earnestly breathe after. And those who would converse with Christ, must go forth from the world. Wherever we are, we may keep up communion with God. Nor should we go where we cannot in faith ask him to go with us. Those who would go abroad with Christ, must begin early in the morning of their days; must begin every day with him, seek him early, seek him diligently. A gracious soul can reconcile itself to the poorest places, if it may have communion with God in them; but the most delightful fields will not satisfy, unless the Beloved is there. Let us not think to be satisfied with any earthly object. Our own souls are our vineyards; they should be planted with useful trees. We should often search whether we are fruitful in righteousness. Christ's presence will make the vine flourish, and the tender grapes appear, as the returning sun revives the gardens. If we can appeal to him, Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee; if his Spirit witness with our spirit, that our souls prosper, it is enough. And we must beg of him to search and try us, to discover us to ourselves. The fruits and exercises of graces are pleasant to the Lord Jesus. These must be laid up, and always ready; that by our bringing forth much fruit, he may be glorified. It is all from him, therefore it is fit it should be all for him.
Solomon 7:1-13 .
1. thy feet--rather, "thy goings" ( Psalms 17:5 ). Evident allusion to Isaiah 52:7 : "How beautiful . . . are the feet of him . . . that publisheth peace" (Shulamite, Solomon 6:13 ).
shoes--Sandals are richly jewelled in the East ( Luke 15:22 , Ephesians 6:15 ). She is evidently "on the mountains," whither she was wafted ( Solomon 6:12 ), above the daughters of Jerusalem, who therefore portray her feet first.
daughter--of God the Father, with whom Jesus Christ is one ( Matthew 5:9 ), "children of (the) God" (of peace), equivalent to Shulamite ( Psalms 45:10-15 2 Corinthians 6:18 ), as well as bride of Jesus Christ.
prince's--therefore princely herself, freely giving the word of life to others, not sparing her "feet," as in Solomon 5:3 , Exodus 12:11 . To act on the offensive is defensive to ourselves.
joints--rather, "the rounding"; the full graceful curve of the hips in the female figure; like the rounding of a necklace (as the Hebrew for "jewels" means). Compare with the English Version, Ephesians 4:13-16 Colossians 2:19 . Or, applying it to the girdle binding together the robes round the hips ( Ephesians 6:14 ).
cunning workman--( Psalms 139:14-16 , Ephesians 2:10 , Ephesians 22:5:29 Ephesians 22:30 Ephesians 22:32 ).
2. navel--rather, "girdle-clasp," called from the part of the person underneath. The "shoes" ( Solomon 7:1 ) prove that dress is throughout presupposed on all parts where it is usually worn. She is "a bride adorned for her husband"; the "uncomely parts," being most adorned ( 1 Corinthians 12:23 ). The girdle-clasp was adorned with red rubies resembling the "round goblet" (crater or mixer) of spice--mixed wine (not "liquor," Solomon 8:2 , Isaiah 5:22 ). The wine of the "New Testament in His blood" ( Luke 22:20 ). The spiritual exhilaration by it was mistaken for that caused by new wine ( Acts 2:13-17 , Ephesians 5:18 ).
belly--that is, the vesture on it. As in Psalms 45:13 Psalms 45:14 , gold and needlework compose the bride's attire, so golden-colored "wheat" and white "lilies" here. The ripe grain, in token of harvest joy, used to be decorated with lilies; so the accumulated spiritual food ( John 6:35 , 12:24 ), free from chaff, not fenced with thorns, but made attractive by lilies ("believers," Solomon 2:2 , Acts 2:46 Acts 2:47 , Acts 5:13 Acts 5:14 , in common partaking of it). Associated with the exhilarating wine cup ( Zechariah 9:17 ), as here.
3. The daughters of Jerusalem describe her in the same terms as Jesus Christ in Solomon 4:5 . The testimonies of heaven and earth coincide.
twins--faith and love.
4. tower of ivory--In Solomon 4:4 , Jesus Christ saith, "a tower of David builded for an armory." Strength and conquest are the main thought in His description; here, beauty and polished whiteness; contrast Solomon 1:1-17 .
fishpools--seen by BURCKHARDT, clear ( Revelation 22:1 ), deep, quiet, and full ( 1 Corinthians 2:10 1 Corinthians 2:15 ).
Heshbon--east of Jordan, residence of the Amorite king, Sihon ( Numbers 21:25 , &c.), afterwards held by Gad.
Bath-rabbim--"daughter of a multitude"; a crowded thoroughfare. Her eyes ( Solomon 4:1 ) are called by Jesus Christ, "doves eyes," waiting on Him. But here, looked on by the daughters or Jerusalem, they are compared to a placid lake. She is calm even amidst the crowd ( Proverbs 8:2 , John 16:33 ).
tower of Lebanon--a border-fortress, watching the hostile Damascus. Towards Jesus Christ her face was full of holy shame towards spiritual foes, like a watchtower ( Habakkuk 2:1 , 13:37 , Acts 4:13 ), elevated, so that she looks not up from earth to heaven, but down from heaven to earth. If we retain "nose," discernment of spiritual fragrance is meant.
5. upon thee--the headdress "upon" her.
Carmel--signifying a well-cultivated field ( Isaiah 35:2 ). In Solomon 5:15 He is compared to majestic Lebanon; she hero, to fruitful Carmel. Her headdress, or crown ( 2 Timothy 4:8 , 1 Peter 5:4 ). Also the souls won by her ( 1 Thessalonians 2:19 1 Thessalonians 2:20 ), a token of her fruitfulness.
purple--royalty ( Revelation 1:6 ). As applied to hair, it expresses the glossy splendor of black hair (literally, "pendulous hair") so much admired in the East ( Solomon 4:1 ). While the King compares her hair to the flowering hair of goats (the token of her subjection), the daughters of Jerusalem compare it to royal purple.
galleries--(so Solomon 1:17 , Margin; Revelation 21:3 ). But MAURER translates here, "flowing ringlets"; with these, as with "thongs" (so LEE, from the Arabic translates it) "the King is held" bound ( Solomon 6:5 , Proverbs 6:25 ). Her purple crowns of martyrdom especially captivated the King, appearing from His galleries ( Acts 7:55 Acts 7:56 ). As Samson's strength was in his locks ( Judges 16:17 ). Here first the daughters see the King themselves.
6. Nearer advance of the daughters to the Church ( Acts 2:47 , 5:13 , end). Love to her is the first token of love to Him ( 1 John 5:1 , end).
delights--fascinating charms to them and to the King ( Solomon 7:5 , Isaiah 62:4 , Hephzi-bah). Hereafter, too ( Zephaniah 3:17 , Malachi 3:12 , Revelation 21:9 ).
7. palm tree--( Psalms 92:12 ). The sure sign of water near ( Exodus 15:27 , John 7:38 ).
clusters--not of dates, as MOODY STUART thinks. The parallelism ( Solomon 7:8 ), "clusters of the vine," shows it is here clusters of grapes. Vines were often trained (termed "wedded") on other trees.
8. The daughters are no longer content to admire, but resolve to lay hold of her fruits, high though these be. The palm stem is bare for a great height, and has its crown of fruit-laden boughs at the summit. It is the symbol of triumphant joy ( John 12:13 ); so hereafter ( Revelation 7:9 ).
breasts--( Isaiah 66:11 ).
the vine--Jesus Christ ( Hosea 14:7 , end; John 15:1 ).
nose--that is, breath; the Holy Ghost breathed into her nostrils by Him, whose "mouth is most sweet" ( Solomon 5:16 ).
apples--citrons, off the tree to which He is likened ( Solomon 2:3 ).
9. roof of thy mouth--thy voice ( Proverbs 15:23 ).
best wine--the new wine of the gospel kingdom ( Mark 14:25 ), poured out at Pentecost ( Acts 2:4 Acts 2:13 Acts 2:17 ).
for my beloved--( Solomon 4:10 ). Here first the daughters call Him theirs, and become one with the bride. The steps successively are ( Solomon 1:5 ) where they misjudge her ( Solomon 3:11 ); Solomon 5:8 , where the possibility of their finding Him, before she regained Him, is expressed; Solomon 5:9 ( Solomon 6:1 , Song of Solomon 7:6 Song of Solomon 7:9 , John 4:42 ).
causing . . . asleep to speak--( Isaiah 35:6 , Mark 5:19 Mark 5:20 , Acts 2:47 , Ephesians 5:14 ). Jesus Christ's first miracle turned water into "good wine kept until now" ( John 2:10 ); just as the Gospel revives those asleep and dying under the law ( Proverbs 31:6 , Romans 7:9 Romans 7:10 Romans 7:24 Romans 7:25 , 8:1 ).
10. Words of the daughters of Jerusalem and the bride, now united into one ( Acts 4:32 ). They are mentioned again distinctly ( Solomon 8:4 ), as fresh converts were being added from among enquirers, and these needed to be charged not to grieve the Spirit.
his desire is toward me--strong assurance. He so desires us, as to give us sense of His desire toward us ( Psalms 139:17 Psalms 139:18 , Luke 22:15 , Galatians 2:20 , 1 John 4:16 ).
11. field--the country. "The tender grape (MAURER translates, flowers) and vines" occurred before ( Solomon 2:13 ). But here she prepares for Him all kinds of fruit old and new; also, she anticipates, in going forth to seek them, communion with Him in "loves." "Early" implies immediate earnestness. "The villages" imply distance from Jerusalem. At Stephen's death the disciples were scattered from it through Judea and Samaria, preaching the word ( Acts 8:4-25 ). Jesus Christ was with them, confirming the word with miracles. They gathered the old fruits, of which Jesus Christ had sown the seed ( John 4:39-42 ), as well as new fruits.
lodge--forsaking home for Jesus Christ's sake ( Matthew 19:29 ).
12. ( 1:35 , John 9:4 , Galatians 6:10 ). Assurance fosters diligence, not indolence.
13. mandrakes--Hebrew, audaim, from a root meaning "to love"; love apples, supposed to exhilarate the spirits and excite love. Only here and Genesis 30:14-16 . Atropa mandragora of LINNÆUS; its leaves like lettuce, but dark green, flowers purple, root forked, fruit of the size of an apple, ruddy and sweet-smelling, gathered in wheat harvest, that is, in May (Mariti, ii. 195).
gates--the entrance to the kiosk or summer house. Love "lays up" the best of everything for the person beloved ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 , Philippians 3:8 , 1 Peter 4:11 ), thereby really, though unconsciously, laying up for itself ( 1 Timothy 6:18 1 Timothy 6:19 ).