Song of Solomon 2:4
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Banqueting house.—Marg., house of wine; not the cellar of the palace, nor the banqueting hall of Solomon, nor the vineyard, but simply the place of the delights of love. The comparison of love with wine Is still in the thought. (Comp. Tennyson’s “The new strong wine of love.”)

And his banner . . .—i.e., “and there I felt the sweet sense of a tender protecting love.”

Song of Solomon 2:4-6. He brought me to the banqueting-house — The places in which believers received the graces and blessings of Christ. His banner over me — By the lifting up whereof I was invited to come to him, and to list myself under him; was love — The love of Christ crucified, which, like a banner, is displayed in the gospel. Stay me — Or, support me, keep me from fainting. The spouse speaks this to her bride-maids, the daughters of Jerusalem: or to the bridegroom himself: with flagons — With wine, which is a good cordial: with apples — With odoriferous apples, the smell whereof was grateful to persons ready to faint. By these metaphors understand the application of the promises, and the quickening influences of the Spirit. His left hand — No sooner did I cry out for help, but he was at hand to succour me.2:1-7 Believers are beautiful, as clothed in the righteousness of Christ; and fragrant, as adorned with the graces of his Spirit; and they thrive under the refreshing beams of the Sun of righteousness. The lily is a very noble plant in the East; it grows to a considerable height, but has a weak stem. The church is weak in herself, yet is strong in Him that supports her. The wicked, the daughters of this world, who have no love to Christ, are as thorns, worthless and useless, noxious and hurtful. Corruptions are thorns in the flesh; but the lily now among thorns, shall be transplanted into that paradise where there is no brier or thorn. The world is a barren tree to the soul; but Christ is a fruitful one. And when poor souls are parched with convictions of sin, with the terrors of the law, or the troubles of this world, weary and heavy laden, they may find rest in Christ. It is not enough to pass by this shadow, but we must sit down under it. Believers have tasted that the Lord Jesus is gracious; his fruits are all the precious privileges of the new covenant, purchased by his blood, and communicated by his Spirit; promises are sweet to a believer, and precepts also. Pardons are sweet, and peace of conscience sweet. If our mouths are out of taste for the pleasures of sin, Divine consolations will be sweet to us. Christ brings the soul to seek and to find comforts through his ordinances, which are as a banqueting-house where his saints feast with him. The love of Christ, manifested by his death, and by his word, is the banner he displays, and believers resort to it. How much better is it with the soul when sick from love to Christ, than when surfeited with the love of this world! And though Christ seemed to have withdrawn, yet he was even then a very present help. All his saints are in his hand, which tenderly holds their aching heads. Finding Christ thus nigh to her, the soul is in great care that her communion with him is not interrupted. We easily grieve the Spirit by wrong tempers. Let those who have comfort, fear sinning it away.His banner - As the standard is the rallying-point and guide of the individual soldier, so the bride, transplanted from a lowly station to new scenes of unaccustomed splendor, finds support and safety in the known attachment of her beloved. His "love" is her "banner." The thought is similar to that expressed in the name "Jehovah-nissi" (see the Exodus 17:15 note).4. Historically fulfilled in the joy of Simeon and Anna in the temple, over the infant Saviour (Lu 2:25-38), and that of Mary, too (compare Lu 1:53); typified (Ex 24:9-11). Spiritually, the bride or beloved is led (So 2:4) first into the King's chambers, thence is drawn after Him in answer to her prayer; is next received on a grassy couch under a cedar kiosk; and at last in a "banqueting hall," such as, Josephus says, Solomon had in his palace, "wherein all the vessels were of gold" (Antiquities, 8:5,2). The transition is from holy retirement to public ordinances, church worship, and the Lord's Supper (Ps 36:8). The bride, as the queen of Sheba, is given "all her desire" (1Ki 10:13; Ps 63:5; Eph 3:8, 16-21; Php 4:19); type of the heavenly feast hereafter (Isa 25:6, 9).

his banner … love—After having rescued us from the enemy, our victorious captain (Heb 2:10) seats us at the banquet under a banner inscribed with His name, "love" (1Jo 4:8). His love conquered us to Himself; this banner rallies round us the forces of Omnipotence, as our protection; it marks to what country we belong, heaven, the abode of love, and in what we most glory, the cross of Jesus Christ, through which we triumph (Ro 8:37; 1Co 15:57; Re 3:21). Compare with "over me," "underneath are the everlasting arms" (De 33:27).

Banqueting-house, Heb. house of wine, or, by a common synecdoche, of feasting. By which he understands the places in which, or the means and instruments by which, believers receive the graces and blessings of Christ, to wit, the Holy Scriptures, ministers, and public assemblies, and all Christ’s institutions.

His banner over me; or, to or towards me; by the lifting up or displaying whereof I was invited and encouraged to come in to him, and to list myself under him, as soldiers are by the lifting up of a banner or ensign, of which see Isaiah 11:10 49:22.

Was love; the love of Christ crucified, which, like a banner, is displayed in the gospel, whereby sinners are drawn and engaged to come to Christ: see John 3:14 12:32 2 Corinthians 5:14. The motto or device of Christ’s banner was not like those of other great generals, a lion, or leopard, or eagle, but love, by which alone Christ made all his conquests. He brought me to the banqueting house,.... Or "into" it (q). The "house of wine" (r), as it is literally in the original; either the "wine cellar" (s), as some, where stores of it were kept; or, the "place of fasting" (t), as others, and, as we render it, a "banqueting house"; where it was distributed and drank; a banquet of wine being put for a feast, and here the nuptial feast; and may design the Gospel feast in the house of God, where there is plenty of the wine of Gospel truths, and provisions of rich food, with which believers are sweetly refreshed and delightfully regaled: and to be brought hither, under the drawings and influences of divine grace, is a special privilege, a distinguishing layout; and show a great condescension in Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, to take his people by the hand, as it were, and introduce them into his house, so well furnished, and to a table so well spread: and so the church relates it as an instance of divine favour, and as a fresh token of Christ's love to her; which further appears by what follows: the covenant of grace and the Scriptures of truth may be thought of as a banqueting house, well stored with blessings, and promises, and rich provisions; which, to be led and let into, is a singular kindness;

and his banner over me was love; signifying, that she was brought into the banqueting house in a grand, stately, and majestic manner, with flying colours; the motto on which inscribed was "love"; the allusion may be to the names of generals being inscribed on the banners of their armies; so Vespasian's name was inscribed on the banners throughout his armies (u). Christ's name, inscribed on his, was "love", his church's love; and by which his company or band was distinguished from all others, even by electing, redeeming, calling love. It may signify the security and protection of the saints, while in the house of God, and enjoying communion with him, being under the banner of love, with which they are encompassed as a shield; and it may denote the very manifest and visible displays of it, which the church now experienced.

(q) "in", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Marckius, Michaelis. (r) "domum vini", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (s) "Cellam vinariam", Tigurine version. (t) "Locum convivii", Junius & Tremellius. (u) Suetonii Vita Vespasian. c. 6.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love] Such expressions as ‘banqueting house’ and ‘his banner’ suggest a regal magnificence which could not belong to any kindness or hospitality which a rustic lover could shew to his loved one. But the first expression is simply house of wine, which has no such necessary association with splendour as ‘banqueting house.’ The name might, as far as we know, be applied to any place where wine was hospitably set forth for guests, and some plausibly suggest that it means here some tent in the vineyard where the watchers refreshed and rested themselves. On the other hand, it is quite possible that Beth-hayyayin may be a proper name (cp. Beth-hakkerem, ‘house of the vineyard,’ Jeremiah 6:1). Bruston renders it so, and suggests that it is the name of the village, near the Shulammite’s village, where the shepherd lover dwelt. Others think that it is to be taken figuratively, as meaning that his love intoxicates her. The word translated ‘banner’ is deghel, and it was supposed to be used of the banner which preceded the tribes in their march through the wilderness. But this has been disputed on plausible grounds by Gray in The Jewish Quarterly Review, Oct. 1898, who thinks the word means ‘company’ in Numbers 2:3; Numbers 10:14. Cheyne, however, Jew. Quart. Rev., Jan. 1899, would retain ‘banner’ as a possible meaning of the word, and if we do so the meaning of the phrase may be, as Gesen. Thes. suggests, “I follow the banner of love which my friend bears before me as soldiers follow the military standard and never desert it.” If the ‘house of wine’ be taken figuratively, as the tree with its shadow and its fruit in the previous verse must be, this gives quite a satisfactory meaning. The Shulammite was brought by her lover to the place where the wine of love was dispensed, and the standard he bore aloft was love. The best parallel to our passage is given in Lane’s Arabic Dictionary s.v. ‘uqab, where a saying of Abu Dhu-eyb describing wine is quoted. “It has a banner which guides the generous, like as the military banner guides and attracts warriors.” This gives an exact parallel and makes the simile clear. The lover is the possessor of the only wine she cares for. Cp. Ben Jonson’s Song to Celia,

“Drink to me only with thine eyes,

And I will pledge with mine,

Or leave a kiss but in the cup

And I’ll not look for wine.”

She comes to him for the ‘drink divine’ which she desires, and the flag which draws her and is a sign that it is there is his love. It was the custom in Arabia for the wine seller to hoist a flag and keep it flying so long as he had any wine to sell, but it may be doubted whether there is any reference to such a custom here.Verse 4. - He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love; literally, to the house of the wine. Not, as some, "the house of the vines" - that is, the vineyard. The Hebrew word yayin corresponds with the AEthiopic wain, and has run through the Indo-European languages. The meaning is - To the place where he royally entertains his friends. Hence the reference which immediately follows to the protection with which the king overshadows his beloved. He covers me there with his fear-inspiring, awful banner, love, which, because of its being love, is terrible to all enemies. The word which is used for "banner" (דֶּגֶל) is from a root "to cover," that which covers the shaft or standard; the pannus, "the cloth," which is fastened to a shaft (cf. pennon). Her natural fear and bashfulness is overcome by the loving presence of the king, which covers her weakness like a banner. Some versions render it as an imperative. There can be no doubt of the meaning that the banner is the military banner, as the word is always so used (see Psalm 20:6; Numbers 1:52; Numbers 2:2). Perhaps there is a reference to the grandeur and military strength in which the young bride felt delight as she looked up at her young husband in his youthful beauty and manly vigour. The typical significance is very easily discovered. It would be straining it too much to see any allusion to the ritual of the Christian sacraments; but whether we think of the individual soul or of the people of God regarded collectively, such delight in the rich provisions of Divine love, and in the tender guardianship of the Saviour over those whom he has called to himself, belong to the simplest facts of believing experience. In this ardour of loving devotion, she must appear to the king so much the more beautiful.

15 Lo, thou art fair, my love.

     Lo, thou art fair; thine eyes are doves.

This is a so-called comparatio decurtata, as we say: feet like the gazelle, i.e., to which the swiftness of the gazelle's feet belongs (Habakkuk 3:19); but instead of "like doves," for the comparison mounts up to equalization, the expression is directly, "doves." If the pupil of the eye were compared with the feathers of the dove (Hitz.), or the sprightliness of the eye with the lively motion hither and thither of the dove (Heiligst.), then the eulogium would stand out of connection with what Shulamith has just said. But it stands in reference to it if her eyes are called doves; and so the likeness to doves' eyes is attributed to them, because purity and gentleness, longing and simplicity, express themselves therein. The dove is, like the myrtle, rose, and apple, an attribute of the goddess of love, and a figure of that which is truly womanly; wherefore ימימה (the Arab. name of a dove), Columbina, and the like names of women, columba and columbari, are words of fondness and caressing. Shulamith gives back to Solomon his eulogium, and rejoices in the prospect of spending her life in fellowship with him.

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