Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.
6:1 Gone - From thee.
My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
6:2 Is gone - The spouse had hitherto been at a loss for her beloved, but having diligently sought him, now at last she meets with a gracious answer from God, directing her where to find him. The garden may signify the church catholic, and the gardens, as it follows, as also the beds, the particular assemblies of the faithful, in which Christ affords his presence. Spices - In which the gifts and graces of God's spirit, fitly compared to spices, grow. To feed - To refresh and delight himself. Lillies - Which may denote either, particular believers, whom Christ gathers to himself in his church; or, the prayers and praises of his people in the publick congregations.
I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
6:4 Thou - These are the words of Christ, who had now again manifested himself to his church. Tirzah - A very pleasant city, the royal seat of the kings of Israel. Jerusalem - Which was beautiful both for its situation, and for its goodly buildings. Terrible - To her enemies, whom God will certainly destroy.
Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.
6:5 Turn away - It is a poetical expression, signifying how beautiful the church was in Christ's eyes. Thy hair - This clause, and the whole following verse are repeated from, chap.4:1,
2. And this repetition is not vain but confirms what was said before, that the churches miscarriage had not alienated Christ's affection from her.
Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.
As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.
There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.
6:8 Threescore - A certain number for an uncertain. The sense seems to be this, there are many beautiful queens and concubines in the world, in the courts of princes, but none of them is to be compared with my spouse.
My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
6:9 But one - The only beloved of my soul, my only spouse. The only one - She is as dear and as precious to me as only children use to be to their parents, and especially to their mothers. Daughters - Called virgins, ver.8. Praised - As more beautiful and worthy than themselves.
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
6:10 Who - These are the words of the queens and concubines. Who, what manner of person is this, how excellent and glorious! Morning - As the morning light, which coming after the darkness, is very pleasant and amiable.
I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.
6:11 I went - When I went away from thee these are the words of the bridegroom. Valley - Which being low, and well watered is very fruitful. To see - What beginnings or appearances there were of good fruits or works among believers.
Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
6:12 Or ever - I was surprized with a vehement desire of my spouse, which is to be understood figuratively, and so as to agree with the majesty and omnisciency of Christ. Ammi - nadib - Eager in my desire, and swift in my motion towards the church. Ammi - nadib is supposed to be some eminent charioteer then well known, and famous for his speed in driving chariots.
Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.
6:13 Return - Christ recalls his spouse, who as when Christ was gone, she pursued after him, so now when Christ was coming to her, she was ready to wander from him. Return - This word is repeated four times, to signify both Christ's passionate love to her, and her backwardness. Shulamite - This title signifies, the wife of Solomon, thus called after her husband's name, and as Christ is called by the name of Solomon, so the church is fitly described by the title of Solomon's wife. May look - That I and my companions may contemplate thy beauty. What - But what do you my friends expect to discover in her? Christ proposes the question, that they might take special notice of this as a very remarkable thing in her. The company - Whereby he intimates that this one spouse was made up of the whole multitude of believers. Two armies - Confederate together, and so this may signify the union of Jews and Gentiles, and the safety and strength of the church, which is compared to a numerous host, distributed into two armies.