|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:2-6 The church, or rather the believer, speaks here in the character of the spouse of the King, the Messiah. The kisses of his mouth mean those assurances of pardon with which believers are favoured, filling them with peace and joy in believing, and causing them to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost. Gracious souls take most pleasure in loving Christ, and being loved of him. Christ's love is more valuable and desirable than the best this world can give. The name of Christ is not now like ointment sealed up, but like ointment poured forth; which denotes the freeness and fulness of the setting forth of his grace by the gospel. Those whom he has redeemed and sanctified, are here the virgins that love Jesus Christ, and follow him whithersoever he goes, Re 14:4. They entreat him to draw them by the quickening influences of his Spirit. The more clearly we discern Christ's glory, the more sensible shall we be that we are unable to follow him suitably, and at the same time be more desirous of doing it. Observe the speedy answer given to this prayer. Those who wait at Wisdom's gate, shall be led into truth and comfort. And being brought into this chamber, our griefs will vanish. We have no joy but in Christ, and for this we are indebted to him. We will remember to give thanks for thy love; it shall make more lasting impressions upon us than any thing in this world. Nor is any love acceptable to Christ but love in sincerity, Eph 6:24. The daughters of Jerusalem may mean professors not yet established in the faith. The spouse was black as the tents of the wandering Arabs, but comely as the magnificent curtains in the palaces of Solomon. The believer is black, as being defiled and sinful by nature, but comely, as renewed by Divine grace to the holy image of God. He is still deformed with remains of sin, but comely as accepted in Christ. He is often base and contemptible in the esteem of men, but excellent in the sight of God. The blackness was owing to the hard usage that had been suffered. The children of the church, her mother, but not of God, her Father, were angry with her. They had made her suffer hardships, which caused her to neglect the care of her soul. Thus, under the emblem of a poor female, made the chosen partner of a prince, we are led to consider the circumstances in which the love of Christ is accustomed to find its objects. They were wretched slaves of sin, in toil, or in sorrow, weary and heavy laden, but how great the change when the love of Christ is manifested to their souls!
Verse 2-ch. 2:7. - Part I. MUTUAL LOVE. Song of Shulamith in the royal chambers. Chorus of ladies, daughters of Jerusalem. Verse 2. - Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Whether we take these words as put in the lips of the bride herself, or of the chorus as identifying themselves with her, is of little consequence. It is certain that the idea intended to be expressed is that of delight in the approach of the royal bridegroom. The future is used optatively, "Let me be taken up into the closest fellowship and embrace." All attempts to dispense with the amatory phraseology are vain. The "kisses" must be interpreted in a figurative sense, or the sacred character of the whole book must be removed. The words may be rendered, with one of his kisses; i.e. the sweetness of his lips is such that one kiss would be rapture. Some have thought that allusion is intended to the custom among idolaters referred to in Job 31:27, "My mouth hath kissed my hand;" but the meaning is simply that of affection. The great majority of Christian commentators have regarded the words as expressive of desire towards God. Origen said, the Church of the old dispensation longing after higher revelations, as through the Incarnation, "How long shall he send me kisses by Moses and the prophets? I desire the touch of his own lips." It is dangerous to attempt specific applications of a metaphor. The general truth of it is all that need be admitted. If the relation between God and his people is one that can be set forth under the image of human affection, then there is no impropriety in the language of Solomon's Song. "To kiss a kiss" (נָשָׁק נְשִׁקָה) is the ordinary Hebraic form (cf. "to counsel a counsel"). Thy love is better than wine. The plural is used, "loves," as in the word "life" (חַיִים) - the abstract for the concrete, perhaps in order to indicate the manifestation of love in many caresses. The change from the third person to the second is common in poetry. The comparison with wine may be taken either as denoting sweetness or exhilarating effects. The intoxicating power of wine is but rarely referred to in Scripture, as the ordinary wine was distinguished from strong drink. Some, as Hitzig and Bottcher, would read יַשְׁקֵנִי, changing the pointing, and translating, "Let him give me to drink;" but there is no necessity for a reading so forced and vulgar. The Septuagint, altering the vowels of the word "love," turn it into "breasts," and must therefore have supposed it addressed to the bride. The word is connected with the Arabic, and runs through the languages, dodh (cf. Dada, Dido, David). Perhaps the reference to wine, as subsequently to the ointments, may be explained by the fact that the song is supposed to be sung while wine is presented in the chamber, and while the perfumes are poured out in preparation for the entrance of the royal bridegroom. We can scarcely doubt that the opening words are intended to be the utterance of loving desire on the part of the bride in the presence of the daughters of Jerusalem. Some have suggested that vers. 1-8 are from a kind of responsive dialogue, but the view of the older interpreters and of Ewald, Hengstenberg, Weissbach, and others of the moderns, seems more correct, that all the first seven verses are in the mouth of Shulamith, and then ver. 8 comes in naturally as a chorus in reply to the song of the bride. The use of the plural, "We will run after thee," etc., is easily explicable. The bride is surrounded by her admiring companions and attendants. They are congratulating her on the king's love. She speaks as from the midst of the company of ladies.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,.... That is, Solomon; Christ, the antitype of Solomon, the church's beloved; or it is a relative without an antecedent, which was only in her own mind, "let him"; him, whom her thoughts were so much employed about; her affections were so strongly after; and whose image was as it were before her, present to her mind: and "the kisses of his mouth", she desires, intend some fresh manifestations and discoveries of his love to her; by some precious word of promise from his mouth, applied to her; and by an open espousal of her, and the consummation of marriage with her. It may be rendered, "with one of the kisses of his mouth" (n); kisses with the ancients were very rare, and used but once when persons were espoused, and as a token of that; and then they were reckoned as husband and wife (o): on which account, it may be, it is here desired; since it was after this we hear of the spouse being brought into the nuptial chamber, and of the keeping of the nuptial feast, Sol 1:4;
for thy love is better than wine; or "loves" (p); which may denote the abundance of it; the many blessings of grace which flow from it; and the various ways in which it is expressed; as well as the high esteem the church had of it. This is said to be "better than wine"; for the antiquity of it, it being from everlasting; and for the purity of it, being free from all dregs of dissimulation and deceit on the part of Christ, and from all merit, motives, and conditions, on the part of the church; for its plenty, being shed plenteously in the hearts of believers, and who may drink abundantly of it; and for its freeness and cheapness, being to be had without money and without price; and it is preferable to wine for the effects of it; which not only revives and cheers heavy hearts, but quickens dead sinners, and comforts distressed saints; and of which they may drink plentifully, without hurt, yea, to great advantage.
(n) "uno tantum, vel altero de osculis oris sui", Michaelis; so Gussetius, p. 446. (o) Salmuth. in Pancirol. Memorab. Rer. par. 1. tit. 46. p. 215. (p) "amores tui", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. him—abruptly. She names him not, as is natural to one whose heart is full of some much desired friend: so Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre (Joh 20:15), as if everyone must know whom she means, the one chief object of her desire (Ps 73:25; Mt 13:44-46; Php 3:7,8).
kiss—the token of peace from the Prince of Peace (Lu 15:20); "our Peace" (Ps 85:10; Col 1:21; Eph 2:14).
of his mouth—marking the tenderest affection. For a king to permit his hands, or even garment, to be kissed, was counted a great honor; but that he should himself kiss another with his mouth is the greatest honor. God had in times past spoken by the mouth of His prophets, who had declared the Church's betrothal; the bride now longs for contact with the mouth of the Bridegroom Himself (Job 23:12; Lu 4:22; Heb 1:1, 2). True of the Church before the first advent, longing for "the hope of Israel," "the desire of all nations"; also the awakened soul longing for the kiss of reconciliation; and further, the kiss that is the token of the marriage contract (Ho 2:19, 20), and of friendship (1Sa 20:41; Joh 14:21; 15:15).
thy love—Hebrew, "loves," namely, tokens of love, loving blandishments.
wine—which makes glad "the heavy heart" of one ready to perish, so that he "remembers his misery no more" (Pr 31:6, 7). So, in a "better" sense, Christ's love (Hab 3:17, 18). He gives the same praise to the bride's love, with the emphatic addition, "How much" (So 4:10). Wine was created by His first miracle (Joh 2:1-11), and was the pledge given of His love at the last supper. The spiritual wine is His blood and His spirit, the "new" and better wine of the kingdom (Mt 26:29), which we can never drink to "excess," as the other (Eph 5:18; compare Ps 23:5; Isa 55:1).
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