Song of Solomon 3:4
It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) I held him . . .—Bossuet, following Bede, regards this as prophetic of Mary Magdalen (type of the Church) on the morning of the Resurrection.

Song of Solomon 3:4. It was but a little, &c., but I found him — Christ met me, and manifested his love to me. I brought him into my mother’s house — As the spouse here signifies particular believers, so her mother is the universal church, or the true Jerusalem, which hath its rise from above, which is the mother of us all, (Galatians 4:26,) in which Christ and believers are united, and have sweet communion together in holy ordinances, into which believers are said to bring Christ, by faith and prayer. Into the chamber of her that conceived me — Christ is, as it were, the father that begets, and the church, the mother that conceives and brings forth believers.

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.I held him - This begins the fourth stanza. The bride's mother is mentioned again in Sol 6:9; Sol 8:2.4. Jesus Christ is generally "found" near the watchmen and means of grace; but they are not Himself; the star that points to Beth-lehem is not the Sun that has risen there; she hastens past the guideposts to the goal [Moody Stuart]. Not even angels could satisfy Mary, instead of Jesus Christ (Joh 20:11-16).

found him—(Isa 45:19; Ho 6:1-3; Mt 13:44-46).

held him, &c.—willing to be held; not willing, if not held (Ge 32:26; Mt 28:9; Lu 24:28, 29; Re 3:11). "As a little weeping child will hold its mother fast, not because it is stronger than she, but because her bowels constrain her not to leave it; so Jesus Christ yearning over the believer cannot go, because He will not" [Durham]. In So 1:4 it is He who leads the bride into His chambers; here it is she who leads Him into her mother's. There are times when the grace of Jesus Christ seems to draw us to Him; and others, when we with strong cries draw Him to us and ours. In the East one large apartment often serves for the whole family; so the bride here speaks of her mother's apartment and her own together. The mention of the "mother" excludes impropriety, and imparts the idea of heavenly love, pure as a sister's, while ardent as a bride's; hence the frequent title, "my sister—spouse." Our mother after the Spirit, is the Church, the new Jerusalem (Joh 3:5-8; Ga 4:19, 26); for her we ought to pray continually (Eph 3:14-19), also for the national Jerusalem (Isa 62:6, 7; Ro 10:1), also for the human family, which is our mother and kindred after the flesh; these our mother's children have evilly treated us (So 1:6); but, like our Father, we are to return good for evil (Mt 5:44, 45), and so bring Jesus Christ home to them (1Pe 2:12).

I found him; Christ met me, and manifested his love to me, according to his promise made to those that seek him constantly and diligently, Proverbs 8:17 Matthew 7:7, &c.

I held him, and would not let him go, being taught by my late experience how doleful a thing it was to lose him, and how hard it was to find and recover him when he was lost.

Until I had brought him into my mother’s house, that there I might entertain and embrace him, and gain my mother’s consent, and so proceed to the consummation of the marriage. She saith her

mother’s rather than her father’s house, because the men and the women had several and separated apartments in the house. For the mystical meaning, which is the principal sense intended in this book, as the spouse here, and in many other places of this book, signifies particular believers, so her mother is the universal church, or the true Jerusalem, which hath its rise from above, which is the mother of us all, Galatians 4:26, in which Christ and believers are united, and have sweet communion together in holy ordinances, into which believers are said to bring Christ by faith and prayer, and the preparation of their hearts for him, whereby they invite and in some sort engage Christ to go with them into the public assemblies, and there to give them his loves, although otherwise it is Christ who properly brings believers into the church. But all particulars in allegorical scriptures are not to be strictly urged, as all learned interpreters agree, many being added only for the decency of the allegory.

Her that conceived me; Christ is as it were the father that begets, and the church the mother that conceiveth and bringeth forth, believers.

It was but a little that I passed from them,.... Either a small moment of time, as the Targum and Aben Ezra; or a little distance of place, that is, from the watchmen or ministers, from whom she passed; not through disrespect to them, much less contempt of them; nor because she received no benefit at all from them; but her going on shows she did not rest in means, but looked beyond them, and went on further in the exercise of her faith, and hope of finding her beloved: and meeting with him a little after she had passed from the ministers suggests that Christ is not far from his ministers and ordinances; for it follows,

but I found him whom my soul loveth; which she expresses with the utmost exultation and pleasure, which meeting with him must give her, after such long and fruitless searches, and so many disappointments; see John 1:41; and for Christ to show himself, without which there is no finding him, is a proof of the greatness of his love, and of the freeness and sovereignty of it; and that means, though to be used, are not to be depended on; nor should we be discouraged when they fail, since Christ can make himself known without them, as he did here to the church; who says,

I held him, and would not let him go; which on the part of the church is expressive of her faith in him, signified by laying hold on him, his person, righteousness, grace, and strength, Proverbs 3:18; and of her strong affection to him, grasping and embracing him in her arms of faith and love; and of her fear and jealousy lest he should depart from her again; and of her steady resolution to hold him, whatever was the consequence of it: and, on his part, it intimates a seeming offer to be gone; and a gracious allowance to lay hold on him; and his wonderful condescension to be held by her; and the delight and pleasure he took in the exercise of her faith upon him; for it was not against but with his will he was held by her; and this she determined to do, and not let go her hold,

until, says she,

I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chambers of her that conceived me; the allusion is to the tents and apartments women had in former times, distinct from their husbands, Genesis 24:67; and all this may be understood either of the visible church, and the ordinances of it, the mother of all true believers, where they are born again, brought up and nourished; and where Christ may be said to be brought, when his name is professed, his Gospel is embraced, and his ordinances are submitted to; and here the church is desirous of introducing Christ, that she with others might magnify him, and praise him for all the instances of his grace and goodness, and have communion with him: or else the heart, and the inmost recesses of it, may be meant; where the incorruptible seed of divine grace is cast; where the new creature; conceived, born, and brought up, until it becomes a perfect man; and where Christ is desired to be, and to dwell by faith, and saints may have uninterrupted communion with him: unless the heavenly mansions are intended, the house of the Jerusalem above, the mother of us all; where saints long to be with Christ, enjoy him, and never lose his presence more; till then the church resolves to hold him fast in the arms of faith, hope, and love, and not let him go.

It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. It was but a little that I passed from them] i.e. Hardly had I gone from them when I found him whom my soul loveth.

I held him] Rather, I laid hold on him.

and would not let him go] Better, either as Oettli, I did not let him go until, &c., or as Driver, Tenses, § 42 β and § 85 note, I would not let him go until, &c. In the former case the impf. form is held to be an impf. consec., though the consec. waw has been separated from its verb by the negation. Cp. Psalm 8:6 and Job 33:4. Bringing him to her mother’s house must signify that he was to be her acknowledged lover.

Verse 4. - It was but a little that I passed from them, when I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. This verse plainly points to the search referred to in the previous verse being limited to the neighbourhood of Shulamith's home. The lover was not far off, though he had delayed his coming. Possibly it is a real occurrence which is related. In that case we must suppose that the night was not very far advanced. But the hypothesis of a dream is the most natural explanation. The word cherer, which is used of the house, denotes the inner part, penetralia. The modesty of the last clause is very beautiful. The mother would, of course, at that time be in her sleeping chamber. There alone would the maiden receive her lover at such a time. The mother would gladly welcome the young man, and thus the love which Shulamith declares is set upon the ground of perfect chastity and homely purity. The object of this little episode introduced by the bride into her song as she lies in the arms of Solomon is to show that, ecstatic and intense as her devotion is, it is not the lawless affection of a concubine, but the love of a noble wife. The religious emotions are always presented to us in Scripture, not as wild fanaticism or superficial excitement, but as pure offering of the heart which blends with the highest relations and interests of human life, and sanctifies home and country with all their ties and obligations. The mother and the child are one in the new atmosphere of bridal joy. No religion is worthy of the name which does not bring its object into the chamber of her who conceived us. We love all that are bound with us in life not the less, but the more, because we love Christ supremely. We revere all that is just and holy in the common world the more, and not the less, because we worship God and serve the Lord. What a rebuke to asceticism, monasticism, and all unsocial religion! Song of Solomon 3:44 Scarcely had I passed from them,

   When I found him whom my soul loveth.

   I seized him, and did not let him go

   Until I brought him into the house of my mother,

   And into the chamber of her that gave me birth.

כּמעט equals paululum, here standing for a sentence: it was as a little that I passed, etc. Without שׁ, it would be paululum transii; with it, paululum fuit quod transii, without any other distinction than that in the latter case the paululum is more emphatic. Since Shulamith relates something experienced earlier, אחזתּי is not fitly rendered by teneo, but by tenui; and ארפּנּוּ dna ;iune לאו, not by et non dimittam eum, but, as the neg. of וארפנו, et dimisi eum, - not merely et non dimittebam eum, but et non dimisi eum. In Genesis 32:27 [26], we read the cogn. שׁלּח, which signifies, to let go ("let me go"), as הרפּה, to let loose, to let free. It is all the same whether we translate, with the subjective colouring, donec introduxerim, or, with the objective, donec introduxi; in either case the meaning is that she held him fast till she brought him, by gentle violence, into her mother's house. With בּית there is the more definite parallel חדר lellar, which properly signifies (vid., under Sol 1:4), recessus, penetrale; with אמּי, the seldom occurring (only, besides, at Hosea 2:7) הורה, part.f. Kal of הרה fo la, to conceive, be pregnant, which poetically, with the accus., may mean parturire or parere. In Jacob's blessing, Genesis 49:26, as the text lies before us, his parents are called הורי; just as in Arab. ummâni, properly "my two mothers," may be used for "my parents;" in the Lat. also, parentes means father and mother zeugmatically taken together.

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