William Kelly Major Works Commentary
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.Song of Solomon Chapter 5
The last chapter gave the bride inviting her beloved to come into His garden and eat His pleasant fruits. But she must learn more of herself yet: whatever she was in His eyes, He was (sad to say) not everything to her. And if we are apt to think too well of our state, grace deigns to teach us it experimentally. So it will be with the godly Jewish remnant by-and-by, as we are here shown.
"I am come into my garden, my sister 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, beloved one."
"I was asleep, but my heart waked.
The voice of my beloved that knocketh [saying],
Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, mine undefiled;
For my head is filled with dew,
My locks with the drops of the night.
I have put off my coat: how shall I put it on?
I have washed my feet: how shall I defile them?
My beloved put in his hand by the hole [of the door];
And my bowels yearned for him.
I rose to open for my beloved,
And my hands dropped with myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid myrrh.
I opened to my beloved;
But my beloved had turned away-was gone.
My soul went forth when he spoke:
I sought him, but I found him not;
I called him, but he gave me no answer.
The watchmen that go about the city found me,
They smote me, they wounded me;
The keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem,
If ye find my beloved,
That ye tell him, that I am sick of love" (vers. 1-8).
Alas! how readily we understand such experience. The very, and the fullest, assurance of the Saviour's love is apt to induce carelessness in our hearts. When we are assured that we are precious to Him, if we know Him at all, we are earnest and importunate; but when all is fully out in His incomparable grace to us, how readily the flesh creeps in and takes advantage of it as if it were a matter of course! When faith is in lively exercise and the flesh consequently judged by the Spirit that dwells in us, His wondrous words of love act powerfully in drawing out the soul's delight and praise and worship. But there is always for us the danger of that which the bride here is brought to feel and own. She yielded to sloth and circumstances, and truly though she loved Him, she made difficulties, slighted His love, and found to her shame and sorrow that He had withdrawn Himself-was gone!
This painful experience is turned to further profit. The bride is now so moved that she roams the streets of the city in quest of Him, unconscious of the strangeness of her acts in the eyes of those responsible for its order, who know little or nothing of her affection or her sorrow. For this is her secret. They see one abroad at a time when she should be at home. So the love she has, and grief over her folly, expose her to a blame in the eyes of those whose office it is to guard outward propriety, of which she never thought at such a moment. But when she awoke to it, could she deny that all was her own faultiness? She turns in her distress to others from whom she expects a sympathy not to be looked for in the watch or the keepers of the walls; and, not without fruit from that rough dealing, she pours out her heart to her enquiring companions.
"What is thy beloved more than [another] beloved,
Thou fairest among women?
What is thy beloved more than [another] beloved,
That thou dost so charge us?"
"My beloved [is] white and ruddy,
The chiefest among ten thousand.
His head [is] finest gold;
His locks [are] flowing, black as the raven;
His eyes [are] like doves by the water brooks,
Washed with milk, fitly set;
His cheeks [are] as a bed of spices, banks of sweet herbs;
His lips, lilies dropping liquid myrrh;
His hands, gold rings set with beryl;
His body [is] ivory work overlaid (with) sapphires;
His legs, pillars of marble, set on sockets of fine gold;
His aspect, as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars;
His mouth [is] most sweet;
Yea he [is] altogether lovely.
This [is] my beloved, yea this [is] my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem" (vers. 9-16).
The bride can speak freely of the Bridegroom's beauty to others: it is ever her happiness and suited place. And this is not only suitable in itself; but we can see how her own negligence with its bitter consequence made her feel and speak more fully than ever in His praise.
I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.
What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?
My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.