THE SONG OF SOLOMON CHAPTER 2.
The Mutual Love of Christ and the Church.
THE BRIDE PROTESTS THE FERVOR OF HER LOVE. — V. 1. I am the rose of Sharon, the wild flowers of this plain being noted for their beauty, and the lily of the valleys, the elegant red lily of Palestine being referred to. The Bridegroom readily agrees to this comparison. V. 2. As the lily among thorns, so is My love among the daughters, surpassing them to such an extent that their dingy stalks were not even noticed. And the bride, inflamed by His praise, calls out: v. 3. As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, surpassing them all in desirability, so is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight, literally, “In His shadow delighted I to sit,” more than satisfied with His companionship, and His fruit was sweet to my taste, she enjoyed all His gifts and blessings. V. 4. He brought me to the banqueting-house, the apartment set apart for the drinking of wine, the banquet-hall, and His banner over me was love, which protected and comforted her at all times. V. 5. Stay me with flagons, rather, with grapes or raisin-cakes, a refreshing confection of the Orient; comfort me with apples, whose refreshment also was delightful; for I am sick of love, her love is so ardent that she feels weak from its powerful reaction upon her entire body and therefore needs refreshment of some kind. V. 6. His left hand is under my head, in a fond caress, and His right hand doth embrace me. V. 7. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, in a very strong objurgation, 1 Sam. 17, 55; 2 Sam. 11, 11, by the roes and by the hinds of the field, fit symbols of tender and ideal love, that ye stir not up nor awake my Love till he please, literally, “awaken love till it please,” all frivolous coquetry in the relation toward Christ being excluded.
The meaning is again clear. The Church praises the beauty which she has received from the Lord, and He not only agrees to her description, but even places her in contrast to the base growths of false churches, which try to sap the life of the Church with their doctrines of works. In an ecstatic monolog the bride now sets forth the excellencies of Christ, the safety of His protection, the richness of His blessings, the thought of which so fills her heart with bliss that it cannot contain it all. It is the great mystery of the relation between Christ and His Church, Eph. 5, 32. At such times, which are occasionally granted to the Church, the Lord does not wish her to be disturbed. The Church is in His keeping, even as she jealously watches over every indication of a false expression of affection toward Him.
THE MUTUAL CALL OF LOVE. — V. 8. The voice of my Beloved! So Shulamith calls out, anxiously awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom. Behold, He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skipping, or bounding, upon the hills, in an excess of youthful vigor and strength. V. 9. My Beloved is like a roe, the Palestinian gazelle, or a young hart. Behold, He standeth behind our wall, that of her home; He looketh forth at the windows, that is, through the windows, showing Himself through the lattice, eagerly searching for His bride. V. 10. My Beloved spake and said unto me, or, “speaks and says to me,” Rise up, My love, My companion, My fair one, and come away, leaving the house. V. 11. For, lo, the winter, the season of clouds, the time of rain, is past, the rain is over and gone, so that the in-clemencies of the season no longer keep people in the houses; v. 12. the flowers appear on the earth, they are seen in the land with the coming of spring; the time of the singing of birds is come, for the mating songs of the various birds called for a similar response on the part of men, and the voice of the turtle, that is, the turtle-dove, the harbinger of spring, is heard in our land; v. 13. the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, rather, “spices its fruit,” for the latent figs of autumn now matured, and the vines with the tender grape, being in blossom, give a good smell, fill the air with their rich fragrance. Arise, My love, My companion, My fair one, and come away. V. 14. O My dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, secure and protected, in the secret places of the stairs, the ladders of rock or the cliffs, let Me see thy countenance, her entire form, let Me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. And the bride yields to His entreaties, saying, v. 15. Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines, injuring the roots and gnawing the young shoots; for our vines have tender grapes, literally, “our vineyards are in bloom.” V. 16. My Beloved is mine, the bride has the full right to Him and all His gifts and blessings, and I am His, in a happy surrender of faith; He feedeth among the lilies, wherever He abides, joy and loveliness are about Him. V. 17. Until the day break, namely, that of eternity, and the shadows, those of this present world with its manifold troubles, flee away, turn, my Beloved, to visit and remain with the bride, and be Thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether, on cleft mountains, symbols of youthful vigor and strength.
The Church, having gained inner strength through the blessings of the Gospel, is now ready to heed the call of Christ. She sees Him approaching in the full vigor of His merciful power, He comes to visit her, to call her forth to enjoy the beauties which He has prepared, and to be active in His interest. He tells her that the period of afflictions is past for the time being, that a new and favorable time of grace has dawned. His invitation and appeal is clothed in the gentlest and most appealing words, irresistible to the heart filled with true faith. And the Church responds by calling upon its own members, especially its pastors and teachers, to stop the destructive work of false prophets, who make use of every new awakening in the Church to do damage to Christ’s vine. At the same time the Church affirms her loyalty to Christ and her trust in His love and power, knowing that His merciful presence is in the midst of His believers. And all this is done in the certainty of the Lord’s final return to lead His bride to the eternal marriage-feast in heaven.