Song of Solomon Chapter 5
Song of Solomon 5:1 “I am come into my garden, my sister, [my] spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
This verse should rather have concluded the preceding chapter, being Christ’s answer to the church’s request, which was speedily and exactly granted as she desired. Which shows it was according to the will of Christ, and of which he informs her. For sometimes he is present, when it is not known he is. See how ready Christ is to accept the invitations of his people. What little good there is in us would be lost, if he did not preserve it to himself. He also invites his beloved people to eat and drink abundantly. The ordinances in which they honor him, are means of grace. So ends this day of outward festivity and supreme heart-joy. The first half of the Song of Songs is fitly closed. The second half of the poem commences (SOS 5:2), with a change of tone and reaction of feeling similar to that of (SOS 3:1). It terminates with the sealing (SOS 8:6-7), of yet deeper love.
“I have eaten my honey-comb with my honey; I have drunk my wine, with my milk”: I have eaten of my pleasant fruits, as thou didst desire. I have taken notice of, and delight in, the service and obedience of my people.
“Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved”: The individuals, of which the church consists, are the “friends” who are reconciled to God by the death of Christ. And to himself by his Spirit and grace; and whom he treats as such, by visiting them, and disclosing the secrets of his heart to them (John 15:14). And “beloved”, beloved of God, and by Christ and by the saints there is a mutual friendship and love between Christ and his people. And these he invites to eat of the provisions of his house, of all the fruits of his garden, to which they are welcome. And of his love and grace, and all the blessings of it, which exceed the choicest wine. And of which they may drink freely, and without danger. “Yea, be inebriated with loves”, as the words may be rendered (see Eph. 5:18). With the eastern people, it was usual to bid their guests welcome, and solicit them to feed on the provisions before them. As it is with the Chinese now, the master of the house takes care to go about, and encourage them to eat and drink.
The Scripture above, is not to be taken literally. This has to be the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to the church, because He calls them both sister and spouse.
Matthew 12:50 “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ, throughout the Bible, is the maid child. The Natural Israelite is spoken of as the man child. All believers in Christ are the bride of Christ. All believers are also, the sons of God. This is just showing that male and female alike, belong to God. God had met with Adam in the garden of Eden. The garden of fellowship is restored in heaven for the believer. This speaks of that wonderful fellowship of believers and their God. “Myrrh” is sweet aloes for the wedding bed. This speaks of the union of Christ and His church. Jesus told the apostles, they would not drink wine with Him again until heaven.
Matthew 26:29 “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Friends speaks of sharing His joy.
Verses 5:2-8: Churches and believers, by carelessness and security, provoke Christ to withdraw. We ought to notice our spiritual slumbers and distempers. Christ knocks to awaken us, knocks by his word and Spirit, knocks by afflictions and by our consciences; thus (Rev. 3:20). When we are unmindful of Christ, still he thinks of us. Christ’s love to us should engage ours to him, even in the most self-denying instances; and we only can be gainers by it. Careless souls put slights on Jesus Christ. Another could not be sent to open the door. Christ calls to us, but we have no mind, or pretend we have no strength, or we have no time, and think we may be excused. Making excuses is making light of Christ. Those put contempt upon Christ, who cannot find in their hearts to bear a cold blast, or to leave a warm bed for him. See the powerful influences of Divine grace. He put in his hand to unbolt the door, as one weary of waiting. This betokens a work of the Spirit upon the soul. The believer’s rising above self-indulgence, seeking by prayer for the consolations of Christ, and to remove every hindrance to communion with him.
These actions of the soul are represented by the hands dropping sweet-smelling myrrh upon the handles of the locks. But the Beloved was gone! By absenting himself, Christ will teach his people to value his gracious visits more highly. Observe, the soul still calls Christ her Beloved. Every desertion is not despair. Lord, I believe, though I must say, Lord, help my unbelief. His words melted me, yet, wretch that I was, I made excuses. The smothering and stifling of convictions will be very bitter to think of, when God opens our eyes. The soul went in pursuit of him; and not only prayed, but used means, sought him in the ways wherein he used to be found. The watchmen wounded me. Some refer it to those who misapply the word to awakened consciences. The charge to the daughters of Jerusalem, seems to mean the distressed believer’s desire of the prayers of the feeblest Christian. Awakened souls are more sensible of Christ’s withdrawings than of any other trouble.
Song of Solomon 5:2 “I sleep, but my heart waketh: [it is] the voice of my beloved that knocketh, [saying], Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, [and] my locks with the drops of the night.”
Like persons that are half awake, half asleep. Christ and the church having feasted together at his invitation, she soon after fell asleep, as the disciples did after a repast with their Lord. Yet not so fast asleep but that she was sensible of it. For this was not the dead sleep of sin, in which unconverted men are, and are insensible of. Nor a judicial slumber some are given up unto, and perceive it not. Yet a frame of spirit unbecoming saints, and displeasing to Christ. Though consistent with grace, which at such a time is not, or very little, in exercise; they are slothful in duty, and backward to it. The phrase is sometimes used to describe a sluggish, slothful man; they are indifferent and lukewarm about divine things. They content themselves with the bare externals of religion, without the lively exercise of grace. And without fervency and spirituality in them, and seem willing to continue so (see Matt. 25:6).
“It is the voice of my beloved”: In the assistance of the Gospel, which is to be distinguished from the voice of a stranger, even when dull and sleepy under hearing it, and little affected with it. Christ was the church’s beloved still, had an affection for him, though not thoroughly awaked by his voice, but sleeps on still. This method failing, he takes another, or repeats the same with an additional circumstance.
“That knocketh, saying, “open to me”: Which is to be understood not so much of his knocking by the ministry of the word to awaken her out of sleep, but in a providential way. By taking in his hand the rod of affliction, or scourge of persecution, and lashing therewith in order to bring her out of her carnal security (see Rev. 3:20). And he not only knocked but called.
“Saying, open to me”: Open the door unto me, and let me in. So lovers are represented as at the door or gate to get admittance, and know not which to call the hardest and cruel, the door or their lover. There is an emphasis on the word “me”! Me, thy Lord, thy head, thy husband, thy friend, that loves thee so dearly; to whom her heart was shut, her affections contracted. Her desires towards him relaxed; wherefore he implores her to “open” to him, which denotes an enlarging of her affections to him. An exercise of grace on him, an expression of the desires of her soul unto him; which yet could not be done without efficacious grace exerted (as in SOS 5:4). But, the more to win upon her, he gives her good words, and the most endearing titles, expressive of love and relation.
“My sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled”: Which are all made use of before, excepting the last (see SOS 1:9). That is, “my undefiled”, which she was, not as a descendant of Adam, nor as in herself, but as washed in the blood of Christ. Justified by his righteousness, and sanctified by his Spirit. And as having been enabled by divine grace to preserve her chastity, and keep the “bed undefiled” (Heb. 13:4). Not guilty of spiritual adultery among all her infirmities, even idolatry and superstition (see Rev. 14:4). Or “my perfect one”; not in a legal, but in an evangelical sense, being completely redeemed, perfectly justified, fully pardoned, and sanctified in every part, though not to the highest degree. And perfect in Christ, though not in herself. Other arguments follow to engage her attention to his request.
“For my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night”: Through standing so long at the door, in the night season, waiting to be let in. So lovers represent their case in such circumstances, as dealt very hard with. By which may be meant the sufferings of Christ, either in the persons of his ministers, who are exposed to the rage and reproach of men for ministering in his name to the church. Or which he endured in his own person, in his estate of humiliation. And particularly in the night he was betrayed, and during the time of darkness he hung upon the cross. When he bore the sins of his people, and his Father’s wrath; compared to “dew”, and “drops of the night”. Because of the multitude of them he endured in soul and body, and because so uncomfortable to human nature. Though as dew is useful and fructifying to the earth, so were these the means of many fruits and blessings of grace, and of bringing many souls to glory. Now though these arguments were expressed in the strongest, moving, and melting language, yet were ineffectual.
We see from this, that when the body is asleep, the spirit of man is still active. The Lord does knock at our door to get us saved. We must allow Him to come in. “Undefiled” is the same as a chaste virgin in;
2 Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Both words indicate they have not worshipped false gods. We see what Jesus said about knocking in the next verse.
Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
The spirit of mankind must answer that knock of the Lord, and be saved. The spirit must over-rule the flesh. To open the door to Christ is an act of our own free will.
Ephesians 5:14 “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
Song of Solomon 5:3 “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?”
In order to lie down on her bed at night, and take her ease. Meaning her conversation garments, which she had not been careful of to keep, but had betook herself to carnal ease and rest, and was off her watch and guard (Neh. 4:23). And being at ease, and free from trouble, affliction, and persecution, was unwilling to arise and go with her beloved. Lest she should meet with the same trials and sufferings as before, for the sake of him and his Gospel. Which may be greatly the sense of her next words.
“How shall I put it on?” Which suggests an apprehension of difficulty in doing it, it being easier to drop the performance of duty than to take it up again. And shows slothfulness and sluggishness, being loath and not knowing how to bring herself to it. And an aversion of the carnal and fleshly part unto it. Yea, as if she thought it was unreasonable in Christ to desire it of her, when it was but her reasonable service. Or as if she imagined it was dangerous, and would be detrimental to her rest, and prejudicial to her health.
“I have washed my feet”: As persons used to do when coming off of a journey, and about to go to bed. Being weary; as she was of spiritual exercises, and of the observance of ordinances and duties. And so betook herself to carnal ease, and from which being called argues.
“How shall I defile them?” By rising out of bed, and treading on the floor, and going to the door to let her beloved in. As if hearkening to the voice of Christ, obeying his commands, and taking every proper step to enjoy communion with him, would be defiling her. Whereas it was the reverse of these that did it: from the whole it appears, that not only these excuses were idle and frivolous, but sinful. She slighted the means Christ made use of to awaken her, by calling and knocking. She sinned against light and knowledge, sleeping on, when she knew it was the voice of her beloved. She acted a disingenuous part in inviting Christ into his garden, and then presently fell asleep. And then endeavored to shift the blame from herself, as if she was no ways culpable. But what was desired was either difficult, or unreasonable, or unlawful. She appears guilty of great ingratitude, and discovers the height of folly in preferring her present ease to the company of Christ.
Sometimes, we are walking through life doing alright. It seems the furthest thing from our mind, is coming to Christ. This is speaking of someone who is satisfied, not realizing his need for a Savior. To answer that call, he would have to put on his coat and shoes. Complacency about salvation perhaps, could be disastrous. Today is the day of salvation. In fact, this very moment is the moment of salvation.
Song of Solomon 5:4 “My beloved put in his hand by the hole [of the door], and my bowels were moved for him.”
To remove the bolt or bar which kept him from entering in. By the “door” is meant the door of her heart, which was in a great measure shut against Christ, through the prevalence of corruption. And the “hole” in it shows that it was not entirely shut up, there was a little love broke out from her to him. A little light broke in from him upon her; but her heart was much narrowed and straitened. Her grace low in exercise, yet there was some faith, some love, etc. Wherefore Christ takes the advantage of the little hole or crevice there was, and “put in his hand”; which is to be understood of powerful and efficacious grace, and the exertion of it on her. Which is as necessary to awake a drowsy saint, and reclaim a backsliding professor. And to quicken to the exercise of grace, and performance of duty, as to the conversion of a sinner (Acts 11:22). And this is a proof of the greatness of Christ’s love to his church. That notwithstanding her rude carriage to him, he does not utterly forsake her, but left something behind that influenced her. As well as of his mighty power, in that what calls, knocks, raps, good words, and melting language, could not do, his hand did at once.
“And my bowels were moved for him”: The passions of her soul; her grief and sorrow for sin, in using him in so ill a manner. Her shame for being guilty of such ingratitude. Her fear lest he should utterly depart from her. Her love, which had been chill and cold, now began to kindle and appear in flames. Her heart, and the desires of it, were in motion towards him; and a hearty concern appeared that he should be used so unfriendly by her. That his company and communion with him should be slighted, who had so greatly loved her, and endured so much for her.
This is speaking of the Lord trying to enter, but the door to our heart is bolted shut like this door. The Lord may woo us several times trying to get us to come to Him. The sad thing is, at sometime He will stop trying. We must come to the Lord, while the invitation is still there. “My bowels were moved for Him”, means that her heart was stirred within her. It is speaking of her innermost being. Many times people are touched by a sermon, and their heart is tender toward the Lord. If they do not come to the Lord right then, the Spirit of the Lord may not touch them and draw them the next time they come to church. (Verse 4 above), is speaking of the extreme measures the Lord takes to get you saved.
Song of Solomon 5:5 “I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped [with] myrrh, and my fingers [with] sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.”
As soon as touched by the hand of mighty grace, she not only resolved to rise, but actually rose. And that directly, not being easy to lie any longer on her bed of carnal security. Being now made heartily and thoroughly willing to let in her beloved, who she supposed was still at the door. But in that she was mistaken. However, she met with a rich experience of his grace and goodness.
“And my hands dropped with myrrh”: Dropped from the Bridegroom’s hand upon the door in great abundance, when he put it into the hole of the door (SOS 5:4). And consequently, upon her hands and fingers when she touched the door to open it. By which she signifies that Christ, though he withdrew himself from her, yet left a sweet savor behind him. Infusing into her, and stirring up in her, the graces of the Spirit, such as repentance, which is bitter as myrrh, and earnest desire after Christ.
“And my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock”: The myrrh run over her hands and fingers as she was drawing back the lock. Which may denote that her grace was now in exercise and on the flow, in great abundance. Which put her on her duty, and which became odorous and acceptable to Christ. Or it may signify myrrh brought and left there by Christ. And may express the abundance of grace from him, communicated by him, to draw and allure her to him. To supple and soften her hard heart, to take off the stiffness of her will, and the rustiness of her affections, and make the lock of unbelief draw back easier, and so open a way for himself into her heart. And to excite grace in her, her faith and love, and cause her to come forth in exercise on him. And her hands and fingers “dropping” herewith shows that all the grace a believer has is from Christ. From whom, in the way of his duty, he receives a large measure of it. While the church was on her bed of sloth there was no flow of sweet smelling myrrh. But, now she is up and doing her duty, her hands and fingers are overflowed with it.
This is speaking of the sweetness involved in coming to the Lord. The beautiful, unconditional love that He has for those who receive Him is mentioned here. There is so much love and forgiveness, that it pours like liquid.
Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
Song of Solomon 5:6 “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, [and] was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”
Which was what he desired, and was done in virtue of his putting in his hand by the hole of the door. Or by the exertion of his efficacious grace, working in her both to will and to do, without which it would not have been done. Namely, her heart dilated, the desires and affections of her soul enlarged towards Christ, and every grace drawn forth and exercised on him. And though the heart of a believer is sometimes shut to Christ, yet when it is opened, it is only patent to him. The church thought Christ was still at the door, and might be the more confirmed in it by what she found on the handles of the lock. But lo, her mistake.
“But my beloved had withdrawn himself”: And was gone: this was a sad disappointment! She expected to have seen him, and been received in his arms and embraced in his bosom; but instead of that, he was gone out of sight and hearing. This withdrawing was to chastise her for her former carriage, and to show her more the evil of her sin, and his resentment of it. To try the truth and strength of her grace to inflame her love the more, and sharpen her desires after his presence. To prize it more when she had it, and be careful not to lose it.
“My soul failed when he spake”: Or “went out”; not out of her body, but she fell into a swoon, and was as one dead; for a while. And this was “at” or “through his word”, as it may be rendered. Through what he said when he turned about and departed, expressing his resentment at her behavior. Or rather at the remembrance of his kind and tender language he used when he first called her to arise, “saying, open to me, my sister, my spouse” (SOS 5:2). And when she called to mind how sadly she had slighted and neglected him, it cut her to the heart, and threw her into this fainting fit.
“I sought him, but I could not find him”: In the public ordinances of his house (see notes on SOS 3:2).
“I called him, but he gave me no answer”: Called him by his name as she went along the streets and broad ways of the city, where she supposed he might be. Praying aloud, and most earnestly and fervently, that he would return to her. But had no answer, at least not immediately. And thus be treated in the same manner she had treated him. He had called to her and she disregarded him, and now she calls to him, and he takes no notice of her. But this was not in a way of vindictive wrath and punishment (as in Prov. 1:24); but of chastisement and correction.
This is like coming to the Lord one day too late. He had come and knocked at her door, but the virgin had not answered in time. The soldiers, who crucified Jesus, realized He was the Son of God when the earth quaked and the darkness came upon the earth. It was too late; they had already crucified Him.
Song of Solomon 5:7 “The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.”
The governors of the church (as SOS 3:3). Who, though by their place and office they be obliged to comfort and protect the faithful, do frequently discourage and oppress them. As they manifestly did both in the days of Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and the other holy prophets. And in the time of Christ and his apostles, and in different other ages.
“They smote me, they wounded me”: The intention is to show into what evil she fell by having to seek her beloved instead of being with him. She is mistaken and misjudged. She is smitten and wounded with reproaches and false accusations, as though she were a guilty and evil minded woman. She is subjected to abuse and ill treatment from those who should be her guardians.
“The keepers of the walls took away my veil from me” Here false teachers are meant as before, as appears from their abuse of the church. Taking away her veil from her, such as women wore for ornament, or as a sign of modesty or as a token of subjection to their husbands (Isa. 3:23; Gen. 24:65). And may here design either their falsely accusing her good conduct, which was her outward covering. Or their attempt to take away from her the doctrine of Christ’s imputed righteousness, which is her covering, the wedding garment, the nuptial robe.
The watchmen were the spiritual leaders, who were to warn the people. They not only did not tell the people this was their Messiah, they actually smote Jesus. He was wounded by them for our transgressions. The veil in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom, when Jesus was crucified. The temple and the bride are both uncovered.
Song of Solomon 5:8 “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I [am] sick of love.”
Young converts, as before observed. Who, upon the hideous outcry the church made in the streets, came to her to know what was the matter, whom she after related. This shows the humility and condescension of the church, in desiring the assistance of weaker saints in her present case. And her earnestness and resolution to make use of all ways and means she could to find her beloved. And it becomes saints to assist to one another; and conversation with one another, even with weak believers.
“If ye find my beloved”: Who had but little knowledge of him, and communion with him, since at present he was yet to be found by them. And it was possible, notwithstanding, that they might find him before she did, as Christ showed himself to Mary Magdalene, before he did to the disciples.
“That ye tell him that I am sick of love”: Only this one thing, which was most on her heart and uppermost in her mind, and under which she must die, if not relieved. “Tell him that I am sick with love”; and that for him. Through his absence, and her eager longing after him, and the discoveries of his love to her. And which, though not incurable, nor a sickness unto death, for Christ suffers none to die through love to him, yet is a very painful one. And is to be known by a soul’s panting after Christ. And its jealousy of his love, and by its carefulness, diligence, and industry, to enjoy the manifestations of it. Of this love sickness (see notes on SOS 2:5).
This is a call for the daughters of Jerusalem to join the church in search of Jesus.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Verses 5:9-16: Even those who have little acquaintance with Christ, cannot but see amiable beauty in others who bear his image. There are hopes of those who begin to inquire concerning Christ and his perfections. Christians, who are well acquainted with Christ themselves, should do all they can to make others know something of him. Divine glory makes him truly lovely in the eyes of all who are enlightened to discern spiritual things. He is white in the spotless innocence of his life, ruddy in the bleeding sufferings he went through at his death. This description of the person of the Beloved, would form, in the figurative language of those times, a portrait of beauty of person and of grace of manners. But the aptness of some of the allusions may not appear to us. He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all that believe. May his love constrain us to live to his glory.
Song of Solomon 5:9 “What [is] thy beloved more than [another] beloved, O thou fairest among women? what [is] thy beloved more than [another] beloved, that thou dost so charge us?”
The same title Christ gives her (SOS 1:8); and from whom these daughters seem to have taken it. And, in giving it to her, might be assured they were right, since he, who knew her perfectly well, so calls her. In what sense she was so fair (see notes on SOS 1:8). And this they used, to show their esteem of her, and that they were willing to do all the service they could for her. And what made them so attentive to her charge, and so desirous of knowing her beloved. But with a true believer in Christ, he is preferable to them all. To riches, pleasures and honors; to all creatures, and creature enjoyments; and self, in every sense of it, is parted with for him. He is fairer, wiser, and richer, than all others. And this question is repeated by the daughters;
“What is thy beloved more than another beloved?” To show their surprise it the charge given them. The suspicion they had of peculiar excellences in her beloved. And to declare their seriousness and earnestness to know more of Christ. And their importunity to have a speedy answer; and the rather for what follows.
“That thou dost so charge us?” So awfully and solemnly, so seriously and strictly, with so much warmth and vehemence.
These are the unsaved wanting a reason to follow Jesus. They want to know what is so much better about what He offers, than what the false gods offer. Tell us why you believe Him to be better, and we might follow too, is what they are saying?
Song of Solomon 5:10 “My beloved [is] white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.”
This, and the following verses, contain the church’s answer to the question of the daughters. She first gives a general description of her beloved, and then descends to particulars. The description of him in general is, that he is “white and ruddy”. Having the whiteness of the lily, and the redness of the rose (SOS 2:1); which make a perfect beauty. It may denote, in general, his fairness, beauty, and glory. Being, as a divine Person, the brightness of his Father’s glory. As man; fairer than the children of men. As the Mediator, full of grace and truth; and in all his offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King, and in all the relations he stands in to his, as Father, Husband, Brother, and Friend, he appears most lovely and amiable.
“The chiefest among ten thousand”: Whether angels or men. He is the Creator of angels, the object of their worship. And has a more excellent name and nature than they, to whom they are subject, and are ministering spirits. He is superior to men, good and bad, high and low. Lord of all, King of kings, and Head of saints, and has the pre-eminence over all creatures. Or the sense is, Christ is a more excellent standard bearer than all others. There may be ten thousand persons that carry a flag, but none to be compared with him, for comeliness, strength, and courage. Or he is lifted up, as a standard, above others, angels and men. As he was upon the cross, and now, in the ministry of the word, that souls may gather unto him, and enlist themselves in his service (see Isa. 11:10).
This white is bright like a shining light. Jesus is the Light of the world. Ten thousand is speaking of a vast amount so large you could not number them. There is no other like Jesus.
Song of Solomon 5:11 “His head [is as] the most fine gold, his locks [are] bushy, [and] black as a raven.”
Here the church enters into a particular description and commendation of her beloved, which continues to the end of the chapter. And she begins with his “head”, which she compares to the finest gold. And this being the best and finest, is used to express the superlative excellence of Christ. For it may be rendered, “the gold of gold”, there is none like it. By Christ’s “head” some understand the Father of Christ, said to be the Head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3). Not as Christ is a divine Person, but as man and Mediator; who, as such, was subject to his Father, supported and upheld by him. And who, for his excellent glory, is compared to the finest gold, there being no glory like his.
“His locks are bushy, and black as a raven”: Being like “locks” of hair beautifully set, as when congregated and united together in Gospel order. Are an ornament to Christ the Head, and afford a delightful sight to spectators (Col. 2:5). And these being like “crisped” or “curled” hair, as some render the word, may denote the hardiness and strength of believers. To perform duty, withstand enemies, and endure hardness, as good soldiers of Christ. Curled hair being the hardest and strongest. But it seems best to understand by them the administrations of Christ’s kingly office; which are executed with the utmost prudence, vigor, and strength. For curled hair is a sign of a dry brain, which produces acuteness and sharpness of wit, as well as of vigor, strength, and courage. And which, how dark and obscure they may seem to be, and to carry in them severity to enemies. Yet being managed with wisdom, as before observed, and also according to the rules of justice and equity. And look very beautiful when made manifest, and are admired by the saints (Rev. 15:3).
The fine gold symbolizes God. This is speaking of the One we call Jesus. He is the Son of God.
Song of Solomon 5:12 “His eyes [are] as [the eyes] of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, [and] fitly set.”
The church’s eyes are said to be (SOS 1:15); which are her ministers, endowed with dove like gifts in measure. As Christ is without measure, in fullness. But these are Christ’s eyes, which may signify his omniscience, who has seven eyes (Zech. 3:9).
“By rivers of waters”: Christ, being greatly delighted with his people, has fixed his eyes on them, and he never withdraws them from them. For these waters may point at the object of Christ’s love, even Gospel churches, consisting of such as are justified and sanctified by his grace, compared to “clean water”. Among whom the doctrines of the Gospel are powerfully preached, and the ordinances purely administered. And the waters of the sanctuary flow, by which souls are delighted and refreshed. And to these Christ looks (Isa. 66:2). And his eyes being like doves’ eyes.
“Washed with milk”: May denote the purity of them, being purer eyes than to behold iniquity. And the meekness and mildness of them, not red and wrathful, but full of mercy, pity, and compassion. As if they had been washed with milk.
His eyes are filled with compassion and love. The white of the eye was so white, it appeared to have been washed in milk. Those who drink strong drink and live rowdy lives have blood-shot eyes. This is speaking of wholesomeness to the fullest extent, with the eyes of white. His eyes were strong, but full of devotion to His bride (church).
Song of Solomon 5:13 “His cheeks [are] as a bed of spices, [as] sweet flowers: his lips [like] lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.”
Which may intend the presence of Christ with his people in his word and ordinances. Often called his “face”, which he shows, and they seek after, which nothing is more desirable. Walking in the light of his countenance is preferable to walking among spicy beds, where fragrant plants and odoriferous flowers grow. Or the cheeks, being the seat of modesty and blushing, may denote the great humility of Christ, seen in his assumption of our nature, throughout the whole course of his life. And especially at his death, and which renders him very delightful to his people.
“His lips like lilies dropping sweet smelling myrrh”: By which are meant the words of Christ, which drop from his lips; which are like lilies, for their purity, thinness, and beautiful color. The words of Christ are pure words, free from all pollution, deceit, and human mixtures. Nor are his lips big with his own praises, but with expressions of regard for his Father’s glory. And are very pleasant, gracious, and graceful. But the phrase, “dropping sweet smelling myrrh”, is not in construction with “lilies”, but with “lips”. Signifying, that the lips or words of Christ were like the lilies; not so much or not only for their thinness and color, as for the sweet smell of them, very odorous, grateful, and acceptable. As are the doctrines of peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation, to sensible souls, delivered in the ministry of the word. The manner of which delivery of them is expressed by “dropping”; gradually, by little and little, as Christ’s church and people can bear them. Seasonably, and at proper times, as their wants require constantly, as while Christ was here or, earth, so now he is in heaven. By his ministers, in all ages, to the end of the world. And yet sweetly and gently refreshing, and making fruitful (see Deut. 32:2). Moreover, the kisses of Christ’s lips, or the manifestations of his love, may be taken into the sense of this clause. Which together with the grateful matter and graceful manner of his words, render him very acceptable to his church (see SOS 1:2). And such a sentiment is expressed, in much the same language, by others.
This is speaking of a very wholesome look. Everything about Him was desirable. He even smelled of sweet odors.
Revelation 21:23 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof.”
Song of Solomon 5:14 “His hands [are as] gold rings set with the beryl: his belly [is as] bright ivory overlaid [with] sapphires.”
Beryl is with great propriety mentioned, because it was usual to wear it on the fingers. This was one of the precious stones in the breastplate of the high priest, a type of Christ (Exodus 28:20). One of the pearl foundations of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:20). The appearance of the wheels in Ezekiel’s vision was like it (Ezek. 1:16). The body of the glorious person, seen by Daniel, is said to be as that (Dan. 10:6). So that it is no wonder the hands of Christ should be compared to gold rings set with it. And never do the hands of Christ appear as thus described, and look more beautiful and lovely, than when he is beheld as grasping, holding, and retaining his people in his hands, out of which they never be plucked. And who are as so many gold rings, jewels, pearls, and precious stories, in his esteem. And as holding the bright stars, the ministers of the word there, who sparkle in their gifts and graces, like so many gems. And particularly this may be expressive of the munificence and liberality of Christ, in the distribution of his gifts and graces to his people. So freely and generously, so largely and plenteously, and so wisely and faithfully, as he does. And a beautiful sight it is, to the eye of faith, to behold him with his hands full of grace, and a heart ready to distribute it.
“His belly is as bright ivory, overlaid with sapphires”: Which most of the ancient interpreters understand of the human nature of Christ, described by one part of it, because of its frailty and weakness in itself. And is compared to bright ivory. Partly because of its firmness and constancy in suffering, and partly because of its purity, holiness, and innocence. And is said to be “overlaid with sapphires”, because of its exaltation and glory at the right hand of God. And to an overlay or enamel of “sapphires”, for the riches, worth and value of it. Or rather to the ephod with the breastplate, in which were twelve precious stones, and among these the sapphire. And which may represent Christ, as the great High Priest, bearing all his elect upon his heart in heaven. Having entered there, in their name, to take possession of it for them, until they are brought into the actual enjoyment of it.
Jesus is the Right Hand of God. He is the Doer of the Godhead. His hands are representing the Godhead in their work. “Gold” symbolizes God. The “ivory” speaks of the extreme whiteness, or righteousness. The sapphire is blue. It shows His heavenly character. The white and the blue mingled like this speaks of His holiness.
Song of Solomon 5:15 “His legs [are as] pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance [is] as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.”
“His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold”: Or legs, being the instruments of walking, may intend either his ways of love, grace, and mercy, in the covenant before time, in favor of his people. And which, like marble pillars, are pure, firm, and constant, and like such, in golden sockets, glorious and excellent. Or his walk and conversation, when incarnate and in his state of humiliation; which was always upright, even, and constant. And upon which were a beauty, glory, and luster, answerable to the comparisons here used. Or his walks in the churches, his golden candlesticks. Among whom he delights to be, and to whom his presence is desirable, beautiful, and glorious.
“His countenance is as Lebanon”: His shape, form, personage, appearance, and demeanor. Which was a goodly mountain on the north of Judea. High, pleasant, and set with fruitful and fragrant trees, and made a very delightful appearance. To which Christ may be compared for his height, being higher than the kings of the earth, than the angels of heaven, and then of the heavens themselves. And for pleasantness, being more glorious and excellent than that or any other mountain. And for the fruitful and fragrant trees of righteousness that grow upon him, have their root in him, and their fruitfulness from him. And which diffuse a grateful odor, by their graces and good works, to Christ and his saints. And who himself more especially, like this mountain, emits a fragrant smell. In his person, grace, righteousness, and sacrifice, to all passers-by, and true believers in him. It is added;
“Excellent as the cedars”: Which grew on Lebanon; being the choicest, and preferable to all others. To which Christ may be compared, for tallness, stateliness, fragrancy, and durableness. Especially the former, which is always thought to add gracefulness and majesty to men (see note on 1 Sam. 9:2).
The pillars of marble show great strength, and also righteousness. The gold socket shows this held together by God. The bridegroom was not only handsome beyond compare, but was holy as well. The “cedars” show strength and endurance.
Song of Solomon 5:16 “His mouth [is] most sweet: yea, he [is] altogether lovely. This [is] my beloved, and this [is] my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”
Or sweetness itself; yea, exceeding sweet. That is, the words of his month, and the doctrines of the Gospel. The precious promises of it, the kind invitations given, and the comfortable things spoken in it. Yea, the commands of Christ in his word are not grievous, but pleasant and delightful. And nothing is more common with lovers than to admire each other’s voice (see SOS 2:14). And may be applied to the voice of the Gospel, which is sweet, delightful, charming, and alluring. Being a voice of love, grace, mercy, peace, pardon, life, and salvation. Some interpret it of the breath of his mouth; which being “most sweet”, and recommends him to the affections of his people. And may design the expressions of his love to them, and his intercession for them.
“Yea, he is altogether lovely”: In his person, offices, people, word, and ordinances. His loveliness is perfect, nothing wanting in it; He is so to all, to his Father, angels, and saints. Or, he is “all desires”; exceeding desirable, having all excellences, perfections, and fullness in him.
“This is my beloved”: Whom she had often called so; and still was her beloved. For though she had suffered much for him, nothing could separate from her love to him. And she adds another endearing character.
“And this is my friend”: Which appeared by his espousal of her. By his becoming a surety for her; and by his assumption of her nature, and suffering in her room and stead. By paying her debts, and purchasing her person. By entering into heaven in her name, and taking possession of it for her, acting the part of an advocate on her account. By gracious visits to her, and familiar converse with her. By granting her large supplies of grace, and affording her help and relief in all times of need. By giving good and wholesome counsel to her, and by disclosing the secrets of his heart unto her (John 15:15). And he is such a friend that sticks closer than a brother. That loves at all times; is constant and faithful.
“O ye daughters of Jerusalem”: Is not this enough to describe my beloved to you, to distinguish him from all others? can you blame me for my affection to him, making such a strict inquiry after him, and giving such a solemn charge to you concerning him? is it not enough to draw out your love unto him, and set you seeking after him with me?
Psalms 8:1 “O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.”
Psalms 19:10 “More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
Psalms 45:2 “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.”
This is the bride (church), telling the daughters of Jerusalem of their great loss. He is our Friend. He is our Savior. He is our Bridegroom.
He is all good things wrapped up into One.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”
Jesus, our Bridegroom, is all of them.
Song of Solomon Chapter 5 Questions
- Who is verse 1 speaking of?
- Who is spoken of as the maid child throughout the Bible?
- Who is spoken of as the man child?
- Who are the bride of Christ?
- What is the garden of verse 1?
- What is “myrrh”?
- I sleep, but my heart ___________.
- What is “undefiled” the same as?
- The spirit must over-rule the _________.
- What is verse 3 speaking of?
- When is the day of salvation?
- What is verse 4 speaking of?
- What does “My bowels were moved for Him” mean?
- The Jews rejected Jesus as their _________.
- Who were the watchmen in verse 7?
- He was wounded for our _____________.
- What were the unsaved saying in verse 9?
- The “white”, in verse 10, is like what?
- Fine gold symbolizes ________.
- His eyes are filled with _______________ and _________.
- The white of the eye was so white, it looked like what had happened to it?
- His cheeks are as a bed of ____________.
- Who is the Doer of the Godhead?
- Ivory speaks of extreme _____________.
- What do pillars of marble show?
- The “cedar” shows __________.
- What are some of the things Jesus is to us?
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