Behold, thou [art] fair, my love
These are the words of Christ, commending the beauty and comeliness of the church, expressing his great affection for her, and his high esteem of her; of her fairness and beauty, (See Gill on Song of Solomon 1:5), (See Gill on Song of Solomon 1:8); of the title of Christ's love, as given her by him, (See Gill on Song of Solomon 1:9); a "behold" is prefixed to this account her, as a note of attention, to consider her complete comeliness in Christ, and not pore on her own blackness; and as a note of admiration, that she who was so black and uncomely in herself should be so fair and beautiful in his eyes, through his blood, righteousness, and grace; and as a note of asseveration, assuring her of the truth of it, which she might be apt to call in question; and, to prevent which, it is also repeated, behold, thou [art] fair;
exceeding fair, really so, both inwardly and outwardly; both with respect to justification and sanctification; thou [hast] doves' eyes;
or "eyes like doves" F4; these are taken notice because much beauty lies in the eyes, either in the size or colour of them F5; similes taken from doves are frequently used in this sacred poem, both with respect to the bride and bridegroom; see ( Song of Solomon 2:14 ) ( 4:1 ) ( Song of Solomon 5:2 Song of Solomon 5:12 ) ( 6:9 ) ; and it may easily be observed, that this creature furnishes much matter for poets F6, which they apply to lovers: and here the eyes of the bride are compared to the eyes of doves; meaning either the ministers of the Gospel, who are to the church what eyes are to the body; are set in the more eminent part in the church, to order, guide, and direct the members of it; to watch over them, lest any hurt come to them, and give warning of danger; to hold forth the word of light to them, and instruct them how to behave in the church and in the world: and they may be compared to the eyes of doves, for their clearness and perspicuity in discerning Gospel truths; and for their sincerity and simplicity, uprightness and faithfulness, in preaching them; and for the dove like gifts of the Spirit, whereby they are qualified for it; and for, their meekness and humility; or rather the eyes of her understanding are meant, being spiritually enlightened; and particularly the eye of faith by which believers take a view of Christ, of his glory, fulness, and suitableness, and look to him alone for life and salvation. And it may be compared to the eyes of doves for the clearness and quickness, of it, being the evidence of things not seen; and, for its singleness and chastity, the dove looks only to its mate, and destroys those that look with lustful eyes on others F7; believers, being espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ, look only to him as their beloved, to him only for acceptance, righteousness, pardon, and eternal life; and for its modesty and humility, excluding all boasting in the creature, and giving all glory to Christ; and for its beautifulness in the sight of Christ, so that he is even ravished with it, ( Song of Solomon 4:9 ) .
F4 (Mynwy Kynye) "oculi tui veluti columbarum", Pagninus, Munster, so Ben Melech.
F5 So Juno is called "the large-eyed Juno", and Minerva "the blue-eyed goddess", and Chryseus "the black-eyed maid", Homer. Iliad. 1. v. 99, 206, 551.
F6 Vid. Barthii Animadv. ad Claudian. in Nupt. Honor. Ode 4. v. 21.
F7 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 34. Aelian. Hist. Animal. l. 3. c. 5. p. 44.