Song of Solomon 3:2
I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loves: I sought him, but I found him not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Song of Solomon 3:2. I will rise now — I will immediately apply myself to seek him, without whom my bed can give me no rest, nor comfort; and go about the city — The city of God, the church in which Christ resides. And in the broad ways — Not finding him in private prayer and meditation, I sought him in the places of public assemblies and ordinances; but I found him not — He saw fit still to delay the discoveries of his grace.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.By night - i. e., In the night-hours. 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).

I will rise now; I will immediately apply myself to seek him, without whom my bed can give me no rest nor comfort.

The city; the city of God, the church, in which Christ resides.

In the streets, and in the broad ways: not finding him in private prayer and meditation, I sought him in the places of public assemblies and ordinances; for the people frequently met together in the streets, not only for civil, but for religious ends, 2 Chronicles 32:6 Nehemiah 8:1,3,16 Pr 1:20,21 Lu 13:26.

I found him not; he saw fit still to delay the discoveries of his grace, partly, to chastise my former folly; partly, to try my sincerity and constancy; and partly, that he might be more welcome when he came to me. 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.

I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will {b} seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

(b) Showing that although we are not heard at first, yet we must still continue in prayer, till we feel comfort.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. R.V. rightly inserts I said at the beginning of the verse. It is a vivid presentment of what happened, when her hope of her lover’s presence was disappointed. She said in her dream not I will rise now, but Come let me arise and let me go about in the city. The hortative forms of the verb beautifully express the energy, and perhaps the anxiety, with which she seemed in her dream to seek for him whom her soul loved.

the city] Not necessarily a ‘city’ in our sense of the word, but any place of any size which had defences, as distinct from the mere village. Cp. 2 Kings 17:9, “They built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city,” where ‘cities’ must include the tower of the watchmen. Consequently, Jerusalem need not here be intended; more probably it is either Shulam or some place in the neighbourhood where her lover resided. Thither she had travelled in her dream.

in the streets and in the broad ways] Better, in the streets and in the open spaces. In ancient cities in Palestine the streets were exceedingly narrow, but just within the gates there were wider spaces, as also where the streets began, and where they crossed each other. These all would be called rěchôbôth. As the mention of the watchmen indicates that even for the dreamer the search takes place at night, the streets and squares cannot be referred to as places of public resort. The refrain, but I found him not, expresses well that feeling of distress at the frustration of our efforts which is the chief pain of dreams.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. 11 For, lo! the winter is past,

     The rain is over, is gone.

12 The flowers appear in the land;

     The time of song has come,

     And the voice of the turtle makes itself heard in our land.

13 The fig-tree spices her green figs,

     And the vines stand in bloom, they diffuse fragrance; -

     Rise up, my love, my fair one, and go forth!

The winter is called סתו, perhaps from a verb סתה (of the same root as סתר, סתם, without any example, since סוּת, Genesis 49:11, is certainly not derived from a verb סוּת), to conceal, to veil, as the time of being overcast with clouds, for in the East winter is the rainy season; (Arab.) shataā is also used in the sense of rain itself (vid., D. M. Zeitsch. xx. 618); and in the present day in Jerusalem, in the language of the people, no other name is used for rain but shataā (not metar). The word סתיו, which the Kerı̂ substitutes, only means that one must not read סתו, but סתו, with long a; in the same way עניו, humble, from ענה, to be bowed down, and שׂליו, a quail, from שׂלה, to be fat, are formed and written. Rain is here, however, especially mentioned: it is called gěshěm, from gāshǎm, to be thick, massy (cf. revīvīm, of density). With עבר, to pass by, there is interchanged חלף, which, like (Arab.) khalaf, means properly to press on, and then generally to move to another place, and thus to remove from the place hitherto occupied. In לו הלך, with the dat. ethicus, which throws back the action on the subject, the winter rain is thought of as a person who has passed by. נצּן, with the noun-ending n, is the same as ניסן, and signifies the flower, as the latter the flower-month, floral; in the use of the word, נצּן is related to נץ and נצּה, probably as little flower is to flower. In hǎzzāmīr the idea of the song of birds (Arab. gharad) appears, and this is not to be given up. The lxx, Aquila, Symm., Targ., Jerome, and the Venet. translate tempus putationis: the time of the pruning of vines, which indeed corresponds to the usus loq. (cf. זמר, to prune the vine, and מזמרה, a pruning-knife), and to similar names, such as אסיף ingathering of fruit, but supplies no reason for her being invited out into the open fields, and is on this account improbable, because the poet further on speaks for the first time of vines. זמר (זמּר) is an onomatopoeia, which for the most part denotes song and music; why should זמיר thus not be able to denote singing, like זמרה, - but not, at least not in this passage, the singing of men (Hengst.), for they are not silent in winter; but the singing of birds, which is truly a sign of the spring, and as a characteristic feature, is added

(Note: It is true that besides in this passage zāmǎr, of the singing of birds, is not demonstrable, the Arab. zamar is only used of the shrill cry of the ostrich, and particularly the female ostrich.)

to this lovely picture of spring? Thus there is also suitably added the mention of the turtle-dove, which is a bird of passage (vid., Jeremiah 8:7), and therefore a messenger of spring. נשׁמע is 3rd:pret.: it makes itself heard.

The description of spring is finished by a reference to the fig-tree and the vine, the standing attributes of a prosperous and peaceful homestead, 1 Kings 5:5; 2 Kings 18:31. פּג (from פּנג, and thus named, not from their hardness, but their delicacy) are the little fruits of the fig-tree which now, when the harvest-rains are over, and the spring commences with the equinox of Nisan, already begin to assume a red colour; the verb חנט does not mean "to grow into a bulb," as Bttch. imagines; it has only the two meanings, condire (condiri, post-bibl. syn. of בּשׁל) and rubescere. From its colour, wheat has the name חטּה equals חנטה; and here also the idea of colour has the preference, for becoming fragrant does not occur in spring-in the history of the cursing of the fig-tree at the time of the Passover, Mark (Mark 11:13) says, "for the time of figs was not yet." In fig-trees, by this time the green of the fruit-formation changes its colour, and the vines are סמדר, blossom, i.e., are in a state of bloom (lxx κυπρίζουσαι; cf. Sol 7:13, κυπρισμός) - it is a clause such as Exodus 9:31, and to which "they diffuse fragrance" (Sol 2:13) is parallel. This word סמדר is usually regarded as a compound word, consisting of סם, scent, and סמדר, brightness equals blossom (vid., Gesen. Thes.); it is undeniable that there are such compound formations, e.g., שׁלאנן, from שׁלה and שׁאן; חלּמישׁ, from (Arab.) ḥams, to be hard, and hals, to be dark-brown.

(Note: In like manner as (Arab.) karbsh, corrugare, is formed of karb, to string, and karsh, to wrinkle, combined; and another extension of karsh is kurnash, wrinkles, and mukarnash, wrinkled. "One day," said Wetstein to me, "I asked an Arab the origin of the word karnasa, to wrinkle, and he replied that it was derived from a sheep's stomach that had lain over night, i.e., the stomach of a slaughtered sheep that had lain over night, by which its smooth surface shrinks together and becomes wrinkled. In fact, we say of a wrinkled countenance that it is mathal alkarash albayt." With right Wetstein gathers from this curious fact how difficult it is to ascertain by purely etymological considerations the view which guided the Semites in this or that designation. Samdor is also a strange word; on the one side it is connected with sadr, of the veiling of the eyes, as the effect of terror; and on the other with samd, of stretching oneself straight out. E. Meier takes סמדר as the name of the vine-blossom, as changed from סמסר, bristling. Just as unlikely as that סמד is cogn. to חמד, Jesurun, p. 221.)

But the traditional reading סמדר (not סמדר) is unfavourable to this view; the middle ā accordingly, as in צלצל, presents itself as an ante-tone vowel (Ewald, 154a), and the stem-word appears as a quadril. which may be the expansion of סדּר, to range, put in order in the sense of placing asunder, unfolding. Symm. renders the word by οἰνάνθη, and the Talm. idiom shows that not only the green five-leaved blossoms of the vine were so named, but also the fruit-buds and the first shoots of the grapes. Here, as the words "they diffuse fragrance" (as at 7:14 of the mandrakes) show, the vine-blossom is meant which fills the vineyard with an incomparably delicate fragrance. At the close of the invitation to enjoy the spring, the call "Rise up," etc., with which it began, is repeated. The Chethı̂b לכי, if not an error in writing, justly set aside by the Kerı̂, is to be read לכי (cf. Syr. bechi, in thee, levotechi, to thee, but with occult i) - a North Palestinism for לך, like 2 Kings 4:2, where the Kerı̂ has substituted the usual form (vid., under Psalm 103 introd.) for this very dialectic form, which is there undoubtedly original.

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