|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:14-17 The church is Christ's dove; she returns to him, as her Noah. Christ is the Rock, in whom alone she can think herself safe, and find herself easy, as a dove in the hole of a rock, when struck at by the birds of prey. Christ calls her to come boldly to the throne of grace, having a great High Priest there, to tell what her request is. Speak freely, fear not a slight or a repulse. The voice of prayer is sweet and acceptable to God; those who are sanctified have the best comeliness. The first risings of sinful thoughts and desires, the beginnings of trifling pursuits which waste the time, trifling visits, small departures from truth, whatever would admit some conformity to the world; all these, and many more, are little foxes which must be removed. This is a charge to believers to mortify their sinful appetites and passions, which are as little foxes, that destroy their graces and comforts, and crush good beginnings. Whatever we find a hinderance to us in that which is good, we must put away. He feedeth among the lilies; this shows Christ's gracious presence among believers. He is kind to all his people. It becomes them to believe this, when under desertion and absence, and so to ward off temptations. The shadows of the Jewish dispensation were dispelled by the dawning of the gospel day. And a day of comfort will come after a night of desertion. Come over the mountains of Bether, the mountains that divide, looking forward to that day of light and love. Christ will come over every separating mountain to take us home to himself.
Verse 16. - My beloved is mine, and I am his; he feedeth (his flock) among the lilies. These are the words of the bride. The latter clause is repeated in Song of Solomon 6:2, with the addition, "in the gardens," and it is evident that Solomon is lovingly regarded as a shepherd, because Shulamith delights to think of him as fully sympathizing with her simple country life. She idealizes. The words may be taken as either the response given at the time by the maiden to the invitation of her lover to come forth into the vineyards, or as the breathing of love as she lies in the arms of Solomon. Lilies are the emblem of purity, lofty elevation above that which is common. Moreover, the lily stalk is the symbol of the life of regeneration among the mystical mediaevalists. Mary the Virgin, the Rosa mystica, in ancient paintings is represented with a lily in her hand at the Annunciation. The people of God were called by the Jewish priests "a people of lilies." So Mary was the lily of lilies in the lily community; the sanctissima in the communio sanctorum. There may be an allusion to the lily forms around Solomon in his palace - the daughters of Jerusalem; in that ease the words must be taken as spoken, not in remembrance of the first love, but in present joy in Solomon's embrace. Some would render the words as simply praise of Solomon himself, "who, wherever he abides, spreads radiancy and loveliness about him," or "in whose footsteps roses and lilies ever bloom." At least, they are expressive of entire self-surrender and delight. She herself is a lily, and the beloved one feeds upon her beauty, purity, and perfection.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My beloved is mine, and I am his,.... These are the words of the church; who, having had such evidences of Christ's love to her, and care of her, expresses her faith of interest in him, and suggests the obligations she lay under to observe his commands. The words are expressive of the mutual interest had property Christ and his church have in each other: Christ is the church's, by the Father's gift of him to her, to be her Head, Husband, and Saviour; and by the gift of himself unto her, to be her Redeemer and ransom price; and by marriage, having espoused her to himself, in righteousness and lovingkindness; and by possession, he living and dwelling in her, by his Spirit and grace: the church also acknowledges herself to be his, as she was, by the Father's gift of her to Christ, as his spouse and bride, his portion and inheritance; and by purchase, he having bought her with his precious blood; and by the conquest of her, by his grace in effectual calling; and by a voluntary surrender of herself unto him, under the influence of his grace: hence all he is, and has, are hers, his person, fulness, blood, and righteousness; and therefore can want no good thing. Moreover, these words suggest the near union there is between Christ and his church; they are one in a conjugal relation, as husband and wife are one; which union is personal, of the whole person of Christ to the whole persons of his people; it is a spiritual one, they having the same Spirit, the one without measure, the other in measure; it is a vital one, as is between the vine and its branches; and it is a mysterious one, next to that of the union of the three Persons in the Godhead, and of the two natures in Christ; it is an indissoluble one, the everlasting love of Christ being the bond of it, which call never be dissolved; and from this union flow a communication of the names of Christ to his church, conformity to him, communion with him, and an interest in all he has. Likewise these phrases express the mutual affliction, complacency, and delight, Christ and his church have in each other; he is beloved by his church, and she by him; she seems to have a full assurance of interest in him, and to make her boast of him; excluding all other beloveds, as unworthy to be mentioned with him: of whom she further says,
he feedeth among the lilies; which is either an apostrophe to him, "O thou that feedest", &c. thou only art my beloved; or is descriptive of him to others, inquiring who he was, and where to be seen: the answer is, he is the person that is yonder, feeding among the lilies; either recreating and delighting himself in his gardens, the churches, where his saints are, comparable to lilies; See Gill on Sol 2:1, and See Gill on Sol 2:2; or feeding his sheep in fields where lilies grow: and it may be observed, it is not said, he feedeth on, or feeds his flock with lilies, but among them; for it is remarked (y), that sheep will not eat them: or the sense may be, Christ feeds himself, and feeds his people, and feeds among them, as if he was crowned with lilies, and anointed with the oil of them; as was the custom of the ancients at festivals (z), thought to be here alluded to by some who read the words, "that feeds"; that is, sups in or with lilies, being anointed and crowned with them. The lily is a summer flower (a); the winter was now past, Sol 2:11.
(y) Tuccius in Soto Major in loc. (z) Vid. Fortunat. Schacc. Eleochrysm. Sacr. l. 1. c. 28. p. 137. (a) Theophrast. apud Athenaeum in Deipnosoph. l. 15. c. 7. p. 679.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. mine … his—rather, "is for me … for Him" (Ho 3:3), where, as here, there is the assurance of indissoluble union, in spite of temporary absence. So 2:17, entreating Him to return, shows that He has gone, perhaps through her want of guarding against the "little sins" (So 2:15). The order of the clauses is reversed in So 6:3, when she is riper in faith: there she rests more on her being His; here, on His being hers; and no doubt her sense of love to Him is a pledge that she is His (Joh 14:21, 23; 1Co 8:3); this is her consolation in His withdrawal now.
I am his—by creation (Ps 100:3), by redemption (Joh 17:10; Ro 14:8; 1Co 6:19).
feedeth—as a "roe," or gazelle (So 2:17); instinct is sure to lead him back to his feeding ground, where the lilies abound. So Jesus Christ, though now withdrawn, the bride feels sure will return to His favorite resting-place (So 7:10; Ps 132:14). So hereafter (Re 21:3). Ps 45:1, title, terms his lovely bride's "lilies" [Hengstenberg] pure and white, though among thorns (So 2:2).
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