|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-5 It was hard to the Old Testament church to find Christ in the ceremonial law; the watchmen of that church gave little assistance to those who sought after him. The night is a time of coldness, darkness, and drowsiness, and of dim apprehensions concerning spiritual things. At first, when uneasy, some feeble efforts are made to obtain the comfort of communion with Christ. This proves in vain; the believer is then roused to increased diligence. The streets and broad-ways seem to imply the means of grace in which the Lord is to be sought. Application is made to those who watch for men's souls. Immediate satisfaction is not found. We must not rest in any means, but by faith apply directly to Christ. The holding of Christ, and not letting him go, denotes earnest cleaving to him. What prevails is a humble, ardent suing by prayer, with a lively exercise of faith on his promises. So long as the faith of believers keeps hold of Christ, he will not be offended at their earnest asking, yea, he is well pleased with it. The believer desires to make others acquainted with his Saviour. Wherever we find Christ, we must take him home with us to our houses, especially to our hearts; and we should call upon ourselves and each other, to beware of grieving our holy Comforter, and provoking the departure of the Beloved.
Verse 2. - (I said) I will rise now, and go about the city, in the streets and in the broad ways; I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. Delitzsch renders, "So I will arise, then." The words of the maiden are quite inconsistent with the hypothesis of a shepherd lover, for in that case she would seek him, not in the streets, but outside the city. Some think the city referred to is Jerusalem, with its markets and streets - the royal city (cf. Proverbs 7:11). If it is a dream, it will be unnecessary to decide to what city the words refer. The idea of the speaker would seem to be either that she was at the time within the walls of the city referred to, or that she was in some dwelling near. But a dream is not always consistent with the real circumstances of the dreamer. Taking it as a reminiscence of first love, it seems better to understand the city as only imaginary, or some neighbouring town in the north.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will rise now,.... Perceiving she had taken a wrong method, and therefore unsuccessful, she fixes on another; and, in the strength of divine grace, determines to pursue it, and "now", at once, immediately, without any delay, "rise" from her bed of sloth and ease, and forego her carnal pleasures, in pursuit of her beloved; which showed the sincerity of her love to him;
and go about the city; not the city of Jerusalem, though there may be an allusion to it; but the spiritual city, of which saints are fellow citizens, where they dwell, and where the word is preached, and the ordinances are administered: and "going about" it, as she proposed, showed her diligence and industry in seeking him: and the night being an unseasonable time to walk about a city, especially for women, this is a further proof of her great love to Christ, in that she not only exposed herself to reproach and scandal, but to harm and danger also; but being fired with love, and fearless of danger (k), and set on finding her beloved, she resolved to proceed, whatever she suffered. Hence she sought him
in the streets, and in the broad ways; that is, of the city, such as commonly are in cities; so Troy is described (l) as a city, having broad ways in it; and also Athens (m): meaning the public ordinances of the Gospel, where he takes his walks, and often shows himself; in seeking him here, she was right, though she did not succeed;
I will seek him whom my soul loveth; her love was still the same, not abated, more likely to be increased through disappointment; nor was she discouraged, but was determined to go on seeking, till she found him;
I sought him, but I found him not; this was to chastise her for her former negligence; to try her faith, love, and patience; and to show that even the best means, though to be used, are not to be depended on; and that Christ has his own time and way to make himself known to his people, which depends on his sovereign will.
(k) "Audacem faciebat amor". Ovid. Metamorph. l. 4. Fab. 4. (l) Homer. Iliad. 2. v. 29, 66, 141, 329. & 14. v. 88. Odyss. 22. v. 230. (m) Ib. Odyss. 7. v. 80.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Wholly awake for God (Lu 14:18-20; Eph 5:14). "An honest resolution is often to (the doing of) duty, like a needle that draws the thread after it" [Durham]. Not a mere wish, that counts not the cost—to leave her easy bed, and wander in the dark night seeking Him (Pr 13:4; Mt 21:30; Lu 14:27-33).
the city—Jerusalem, literally (Mt 3:5; Joh 1:19), and spiritually the Church here (Heb 12:22), in glory (Re 21:2).
broad ways—open spaces at the gates of Eastern cities, where the public assembled for business. So, the assemblies of worshippers (So 8:2, 3; Pr 1:20-23; Heb 10:25). She had in her first awakening shrunk from them, seeking Jesus Christ alone; but she was desired to seek the footsteps of the flock (So 1:8), so now in her second trial she goes forth to them of herself. "The more the soul grows in grace, and the less it leans on ordinances, the more it prizes and profits by them" [Moody Stuart] (Ps 73:16, 17).
found him not—Nothing short of Jesus Christ can satisfy her (Job 23:8-10; Ps 63:1, 2).
Song of Solomon 3:2 Parallel Commentaries
Song of Solomon 3:2 NIV
Song of Solomon 3:2 NLT
Song of Solomon 3:2 ESV
Song of Solomon 3:2 NASB
Song of Solomon 3:2 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible