Song of Solomon 3:5
I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that you stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
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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.See Sol 2:7 note. 5. So So 2:7; but there it was for the non-interruption of her own fellowship with Jesus Christ that she was anxious; here it is for the not grieving of the Holy Ghost, on the part of the daughters of Jerusalem. Jealously avoid levity, heedlessness, and offenses which would mar the gracious work begun in others (Mt 18:7; Ac 2:42, 43; Eph 4:30).

Canticle III.—(So 3:6-5:1)—The Bridegroom with the Bride.

Historically, the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth.

This verse is repeated from Song of Solomon 2:7, where it is explained. The spouse exhorts herself and all her fellow members to be very circumspect, lest by any unkind or provoking carriage they should give Christ any cause to depart from them. He is supposed to allude to the custom of awakening the bridegroom and bride by songs and musical instruments. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,.... Which are either the words of Christ, adjuring the young converts not to disturb the church; who had now Christ in her arms, taking repose with him, being wearied with running about in search of him: or they are the words of the church; who having experienced a long absence of Christ, and having been at much pains in search of him, and now had found him, was very unwilling to part with him; and fearing these young converts should by any unbecoming word or action provoke him to depart, she gives them a solemn charge;

by the roes and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please; See Gill on Sol 2:7.

{d} I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

(d) Read Geneva So 2:7

5. As in ch. Song of Solomon 2:7. Probably here as there the significance of the adjuration is, that after such a demonstration of her deep-seated love the daughters of Jerusalem should not seek to arouse in her love for another by mere extraneous solicitations.Verse 5. - I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awaken love, until it please. This is the refrain which divides the poem. We thus perceive that the whole of the preceding passage has been uttered by the bride in the presence of the ladies. There is no occasion to connect a refrain very closely with the words which go before it. Like the ancient Greek chorus, it may express a general sentiment in harmony with the pervading feeling of the whole composition. In this case it seems to be a general note of praise, celebrating the preciousness of pure, spontaneous affection. There have been several beautiful and celebrated imitations of this first part of Solomon's Song, though they all fall far short of the original. Paul Gerhard has caught its spirit; Laurentius has copied it in his Advent Hymn. Watts, in bk. 1:66-78 of his 'Divine gongs;' 'Lyra Germanica;' Schaff's 'Christian Song;' and Miss Havergal, in some of her compositions, will furnish examples. Delitzsch quotes an ancient Latin imitation -

"Quando tandem venies, meus amor?
Propera de Libano, dulcis amor!
Clamat, amat, sponsula. Veni, Jesu;
Dulcis veni Jesu."
This ends Part II., which sets before us the lovely beginning of this ideal love. We must then suppose that the writer imagines himself in Jerusalem, as though one of the court ladies, at the time that Solomon the king returns from the north, bringing with him his bride elect. We pass, therefore, from the banqueting chamber, and recall the scenes which accompanied the arrival of Shulamith at Jerusalem. The remainder of the poem is simply the celebration of married love, the delight of the bridegroom in the bride and of the bride in her husband. The whole book concerns a bride, and not one who is about to be made a bride. Here the dream which is introduced is not the dream of a lover awaiting the beloved one, but the dream of a young wife whose bridegroom tarries. The third part is the nuptial rejoicings; the fourth part is the reminiscence of love days or of the early married life; and the fifth part, which is a conclusion, is a visit of Solomon and his bride to the country home of the latter, pointing to the depth and reality of the influence which this pure maiden had upon his royal nature. There now follows a cantiuncula. Shulamith comes forward, and, singing, salutes her beloved. Their love shall celebrate a new spring. Thus she wishes everything removed, or rendered harmless, that would disturb the peace of this love:

15 Catch us the foxes, the little foxes,

     The spoilers of the vineyards;

     For our vineyards are in bloom!

16 My beloved is mine, and I am his;

     Who feeds his flock among the lilies.

If the king is now, on this visit of the beloved, engaged in hunting, the call: "Catch us," etc., if it is directed at all to any definite persons, is addressed to those who follow him. But this is a vine-dresser's ditty, in accord with Shulamith's experience as the keeper of a vineyard, which, in a figure, aims at her love-relation. The vineyards, beautiful with fragrant blossom, point to her covenant of love; and the foxes, the little foxes, which might destroy these united vineyards, point to all the great and little enemies and adverse circumstances which threaten to gnaw and destroy love in the blossom, ere it has reached the ripeness of full enjoyment. שׁעלים comprehends both foxes and jackals, which "destroy or injure the vineyards; because, by their holes and passages which they form in the ground, loosening the soil, so that the growth and prosperity of the vine suffers injury" (Hitzig). This word is from שׁעל (R. של), to go down, or into the depth. The little foxes are perhaps the jackals, which are called tǎnnīm, from their extended form, and in height are seldom more than fifteen inches. The word "jackal" has nothing to do with שׁוּעל, but is the Persian-Turkish shaghal, which comes from the Sanscr. crgâla, the howler (R. krag, like kap-âla, the skull; R. kap, to be arched). Moreover, the mention of the foxes naturally follows 14a, for they are at home among rocky ravines. Hitzig supposes Shulamith to address the foxes: hold for us equals wait, ye rascals! But אחז, Aram. אחד, does not signify to wait, but to seize or lay hold of (synon. לכד, Judges 15:4), as the lion its prey, Isaiah 5:29. And the plur. of address is explained from its being made to the king's retinue, or to all who could and would give help. Fox-hunting is still, and has been from old times, a sport of rich landowners; and that the smaller landowners also sought to free themselves from them by means of snares or otherwise, is a matter of course, - they are proverbially as destroyers, Nehemiah 3:35 [Nehemiah 4:3], and therefore a figure of the false prophets, Ezekiel 13:4. מחבּ כּרם are here instead of מחבּלי הכּרם. The articles are generally omitted, because poetry is not fond of the article, where, as here (cf. on the other hand, Sol 1:6), the thoughts and language permit it; and the fivefold m is an intentional mere verborum sonus. The clause וּכר סמדר is an explanatory one, as appears from the Vav and the subj. preceding, as well as from the want of a finitum. סמדר maintains here also, in pausa, the sharpening of the final syllable, as חץ, Deuteronomy 28:42.

The 16th verse is connected with the 15th. Shulamith, in the pentast. song, celebrates her love-relation; for the praise of it extends into Sol 2:15, is continued in Sol 2:16, and not till Sol 2:17 does she address her beloved. Luther translates:

My beloved is mine, and I am his;

He feeds (his flock) among the roses.

He has here also changed the "lilies" of the Vulgate into "roses;" for of the two queens among the flowers, he gave the preference to the popular and common rose; besides, he rightly does not translate הרעה, in the mid. after the pascitur inter lilia of the Vulgate: who feeds himself, i.e., pleases himself; for רעה has this meaning only when the object expressly follows, and it is evident that בּשּׁו cannot possibly be this object, after Genesis 37:2, - the object is thus to be supplied. And which? Without doubt, gregem; and if Heiligst., with the advocates of the shepherd-hypothesis, understands this feeding (of the flock) among the lilies, of feeding on a flowery meadow, nothing can be said against it. But at Sol 6:2., where this saying of Shulamith is repeated, she says that her beloved בּגּנּים feeds and gathers lilies. On this the literal interpretation of the qui pascit (gregem) inter lilia is wrecked; for a shepherd, such as the shepherd-hypothesis supposes, were he to feed his flock in a garden, would be nothing better than a thief; such shepherds, also, do not concern themselves with the plucking of flowers, but spend their time in knitting stockings. It is Solomon, the king, of whom Shulamith speaks. She represents him to herself as a shepherd; but in such a manner that, at the same time, she describes his actions in language which rises above ordinary shepherd-life, and, so to speak, idealizes. She, who was herself a shepherdess, knows from her own circle of thought nothing more lovely or more honourable to conceive and to say of him, than that he is a shepherd who feeds among lilies. The locality and the surroundings of his daily work correspond to his nature, which is altogether beauty and love. Lilies, the emblem of unapproachable highness, awe-inspiring purity, lofty elevation above what is common, bloom where the lily-like (king) wanders, whom the Lily names her own. The mystic interpretation and mode of speaking takes "lilies" as the figurative name of holy souls, and a lily-stalk as the symbol of the life of regeneration. Mary, who is celebrated in song as the rosa mystica, is rightly represented in ancient pictures with a lily in her hand on the occasion of the Annunciation; for if the people of God are called by Jewish poets "a people of lilies," she is, within this lily-community, this communio sanctorum, the lily without a parallel.

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