Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.CHAPTER 5
The Bridegroom answers the invitation extended to Him when the bride had said, “Let my Beloved come into His (not her) garden.” He says, “I am come into My garden, My sister, My spouse.” She is both “sister and spouse.” When He speaks of her as sister, He owns the national relationship. In Matthew 12:46-50 He disowned that relationship because they rejected the offer of the kingdom, but now it is reestablished and the godly portion of Israel becomes the spouse. In His garden, the product of His love and His death, He finds now His enjoyment, His joy and His satisfaction. He invites others to come and partake. “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, beloved ones.”
But there is no response here from the side of the bride. She exhibits slothfulness. He is seen now standing outside; His head is filled with the night dew and standing at the door He knocks (See Revelation 3:20. The comment on this difficult portion of the Song, as given in the Synopsis of the Bible, is especially helpful.
“Alas, what hearts are ours! We turn again to ourselves as soon as we are comforted by the testimony of the Lord’s love. The Bridegroom’s sensitive and righteous heart acts upon her word, and He retires from one who does not listen to His voice. She arises to learn of her own folly, and the just delicacy, with respect to herself, of His ways whom she had slighted. How often, alas! do we act in the same manner with regard to the voice of His Spirit and the manifestations of His love! What a dreadful loss, but, through grace, what a lesson! She is chastised by those who watch for the peace of Jerusalem. What had she to do in the streets at night, she whom the Bridegroom had sought at home? And now her very affection exposes her to reproof, the expression of its energy placing her in a position that proved she had slighted her Beloved. If we are not in the peaceful enjoyment of the love of Christ, where He meets with us in grace, the very strength of our affection and our self-condemnation causes us to exhibit this affection out of its place, in a certain sense, and brings us into connection with those who judge our position. It was right discipline for a watchman to use towards a woman who was wandering without, whatever might be the cause. Testimonies of her affection to her Beloved at home, the love of her own heart, do not concern the watchman. Affection may exist; but He has to do with order and a becoming walk. Nevertheless her affection was real and led to an ardent expression of all that her Beloved was to her--an expression addressed to others, who ought to understand her; not to the watchman, but to her own companions. But if sloth had prevented her receiving Him in the visitations of His love, her heart, now disciplined by the watchman and turned again to her Beloved, overflowing with His praises, being taught of God, knows where to find Him.”
The words recorded in Song of Solomon 5:9 are no doubt addressed to the bride by the rest of the nation. How beautiful is her answer! She speaks of Him as “the chiefest among ten thousand.” Here is symbolical language. White tells us of His holiness; ruddy reminds us of His love, so fully expressed in the shedding of His blood. His cheeks were once smitten; Grace is in His lips; the belly speaks of His bowels of mercy; His eyes are the eyes of love; the gold is the symbol of His Deity; the hair is the symbol of His perfect humanity. After giving ten features of His beauty, she has exhausted herself and in ecstasy cries out, as thousands upon thousands in every generation have done, “Yea, He is altogether lovely ... this is my friend.” Blessed are all who can repeat these words and who can say, “This is my friend.”