Song of Solomon 5:2
I sleep, but my heart wakes: it is the voice of my beloved that knocks, 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) I sleep.—This begins the old story under an image already employed (Song of Solomon 3:1). Here it is greatly amplified and elaborated. The poet pictures his lady dreaming of him, and when he seems to visit her, anxious to admit him. But, as is so common in dreams, at first she cannot. The realities which had hindered their union reappear in the fancies of sleep. Then, when the seeming hindrance is withdrawn, she finds him gone, and, as before, searches for him in vain. This gives opportunity to introduce the description of the charms of the lost lover, and so the end of the piece, the union of the pair, is delayed to Song of Solomon 6:3.

My head is filled with dew.—Anacreon, iii. 10 is often compared to this.

Fear not,’ said he, with piteous din,

‘Pray ope the door and let me in.

A poor unshelter’d boy am I,

For help who knows not where to fly:

Lost in the dark, and with the dews,

All cold and wet, that midnight brews.’”

(Comp. also Propert. i. 16-23; Ovid, Amor. Ii. 19-21.)

Song of Solomon 5:2. I sleep — I was dull and sluggish; but my heart waketh — Yet in my very sleep my thoughts run upon my beloved. It is the voice of my beloved — Between sleeping and waking, I heard his voice; that knocketh — By his word, and providence, and Spirit, at the door of my heart; saying, Open to me — Inviting me to let him into my soul; my sister, my love, &c. — This heap of kind compellations signifies Christ’s fervent affection to his people. My head is filled with dew — While I wait without the door, which signifies his sufferings for the church’s good. My locks with the drops of the night — The dew which falls in the night.5:2-8 Churches and believers, by carelessness and security, provoke Christ to withdraw. We ought to notice our spiritual slumbers and distempers. Christ knocks to awaken us, knocks by his word and Spirit, knocks by afflictions and by our consciences; thus, Re 3:20. When we are unmindful of Christ, still he thinks of us. Christ's love to us should engage ours to him, even in the most self-denying instances; and we only can be gainers by it. Careless souls put slights on Jesus Christ. Another could not be sent to open the door. Christ calls to us, but we have no mind, or pretend we have no strength, or we have no time, and think we may be excused. Making excuses is making light of Christ. Those put contempt upon Christ, who cannot find in their hearts to bear a cold blast, or to leave a warm bed for him. See the powerful influences of Divine grace. He put in his hand to unbolt the door, as one weary of waiting. This betokens a work of the Spirit upon the soul. The believer's rising above self-indulgence, seeking by prayer for the consolations of Christ, and to remove every hinderance to communion with him; these actings of the soul are represented by the hands dropping sweet-smelling myrrh upon the handles of the locks. But the Beloved was gone! By absenting himself, Christ will teach his people to value his gracious visits more highly. Observe, the soul still calls Christ her Beloved. Every desertion is not despair. Lord, I believe, though I must say, Lord, help my unbelief. His words melted me, yet, wretch that I was, I made excuses. The smothering and stifling of convictions will be very bitter to think of, when God opens our eyes. The soul went in pursuit of him; not only prayed, but used means, sought him in the ways wherein he used to be found. The watchmen wounded me. Some refer it to those who misapply the word to awakened consciences. The charge to the daughters of Jerusalem, seems to mean the distressed believer's desire of the prayers of the feeblest Christian. Awakened souls are more sensible of Christ's withdrawings than of any other trouble.Some time may be supposed to have elapsed since the bride's solemn espousals with the king Cant. 4:7-5:1. A transient cloud of doubt or estrangement is now passing over her soul, as by the relation of this dream she intimates to her friends. Ancient allegorical interpreters find here a symbol of the condition and feelings of Israel during the Babylonian captivity, when the glories and privileges of Solomon's Temple were no more, and the manifested presence of the Holy One had been withdrawn. Israel in exile seeks the Lord Sol 5:8, and will find Him again in the second temple Sol 6:3-9.

I sleep, but my heart waketh - A poetical periphrasis for "I dream." Compare the ancient saying: "Dreams are the vigils of those who slumber, hopes are waking dreams."

The voice - Or, "sound." Compare Sol 2:8, note. She hears him knocking before he speaks.

My undefiled - literally, "my perfect one." Vulgate "immaculata mea." Compare Sol 4:7.

2. Sudden change of scene from evening to midnight, from a betrothal feast to cold repulse. He has gone from the feast alone; night is come; He knocks at the door of His espoused; she hears, but in sloth does not shake off half-conscious drowsiness; namely, the disciples' torpor (Mt 26:40-43), "the spirit willing, the flesh weak" (compare Ro 7:18-25; Ga 5:16, 17, 24). Not total sleep. The lamp was burning beside the slumbering wise virgin, but wanted trimming (Mt 25:5-7). It is His voice that rouses her (Jon 1:6; Eph 5:14; Re 3:20). Instead of bitter reproaches, He addresses her by the most endearing titles, "my sister, my love," &c. Compare His thought of Peter after the denial (Mr 16:7).

dew—which falls heavily in summer nights in the East (see Lu 9:58).

drops of the night—(Ps 22:2; Lu 22:44). His death is not expressed, as unsuitable to the allegory, a song of love and joy; So 5:4 refers to the scene in the judgment hall of Caiaphas, when Jesus Christ employed the cock-crowing and look of love to awaken Peter's sleeping conscience, so that his "bowels were moved" (Lu 22:61, 62); So 5:5, 6, the disciples with "myrrh," &c. (Lu 24:1, 5), seeking Jesus Christ in the tomb, but finding Him not, for He has "withdrawn Himself" (Joh 7:34; 13:33); So 5:7, the trials by watchmen extend through the whole night of His withdrawal from Gethsemane to the resurrection; they took off the "veil" of Peter's disguise; also, literally the linen cloth from the young man (Mr 14:51); So 5:8, the sympathy of friends (Lu 23:27).

undefiled—not polluted by spiritual adultery (Re 14:4; Jas 4:4).

I sleep, Heb. I was asleep, i.e. I was dull, and sluggish, and insensible of his kind expressions and offers of grace.

But my heart waketh; yet in my very sleep my thoughts were running upon my Beloved, as is not unusual in such cases, which at last awakened me. Thus she implies the conflict which was between the flesh and the Spirit, and the Spirit’s victory in the combat.

It is the voice of my Beloved; between sleeping and waking I fancied that I heard his voice.

That knocketh, by his word, and providence, and Spirit, at the door of mine heart, desirous that I would receive him by faith and love. Compare Revelation 3:20. Saying,

Open to me; inviting me to accept of his gracious offers, and to let him in to my soul.

My sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: this heap of kind compellations signifies Christ’s sincere and fervent affection to his people, notwithstanding her manifold imperfections and infirmities. The title of

dove signifies her chastity and constant faithfulness to her Husband, for which doves are famous. How she is undefiled, See Poole "Song of Solomon 4:7".

My head is filled with dew, whilst I wait without thy door. He alludes to the custom of lovers, which oft and willingly suffer such inconveniences for their hopes and desires of enjoying their beloved, and signifies his sufferings for the church’s good.

The drops of the night; the dew which falls in the end of the night, or towards the morning, whence it is called morning dew, Hosea 6:4. I sleep, but my heart waketh,.... Like persons that are half awake, half asleep, whom Cicero (x) calls "semisomni". Christ and the church having feasted together at his invitation, she soon after fell asleep, as the disciples did after a repast with their Lord; yet not so fast asleep but that she was sensible of it; for this was not the dead sleep of sin, in which unconverted men are, and are insensible of; nor a judicial slumber some are given up unto, and perceive it not, yet a frame of spirit unbecoming saints, and displeasing to Christ; though consistent with grace, which at such a time is not, or very little, in exercise; they are slothful in duty, and backward to it; the phrase is sometimes used to describe a sluggish, slothful man (y); they are indifferent and lukewarm about divine things, content themselves with the bare externals of religion, without the lively exercise of grace, and without fervency and spirituality in them, and seem willing to continue so; See Gill on Matthew 25:6; but the church here was not so overcome with sleep but her "heart was awake". Jarchi, and some ancient Jewish writers (z), interpret this and the former clause of different persons; the former, "I sleep", of the bride; this, "my heart waketh", of the bridegroom; and then the sense is, though I am in a sleepy frame, he who is "my heart", a phrase used by lovers (a), my soul, my life, my all, he never slumbers nor sleeps, he watches over me night and day, lest any hurt me; but both clauses are rather to be understood of the same person differently considered, as having two principles of grace and corruption, as the church has, which are represented as two persons; see Romans 7:18; as the carnal part in her prevailed, she was the "sleeping I"; as the new man, or principle of grace appeared, her "heart was awake"; for, notwithstanding her sleepy frame, she had some thoughts of Christ, and stirring of affection to him; Some convictions of her sin, and some desires of being in her duty perhaps, though overpowered by the fleshly part; the spirit was willing, but the flesh weak. Christ's response to his church in this case follows, and is observed by her; he spoke to her so loud, that though sleepy she heard him, and owns it,

it is the voice of my beloved: in the ministration of the Gospel, which is to be distinguished from the voice of a stranger, even when dull and sleepy under hearing it, and little affected with it. Christ was the church's beloved still, had an affection for him, though not thoroughly awaked by his voice, but sleeps on still; this method failing, he takes another, or repeats the same with an additional circumstance,

that knocketh, saying, "open to me": which is to be understood not so much of his knocking by the ministry of the word to awaken her out of sleep, but in a providential way, by taking in his hand the rod of affliction, or scourge of persecution, and lashing therewith in order to bring her out of her carnal security; see Revelation 3:20; and he not only knocked but called,

saying, open to me, open the door unto me, and let me in; so lovers are represented as at the door or gate to get admittance, and know not which to call most hard and cruel, the door or their lover (b): there is an emphasis on the word "me"; me, thy Lord, thy head, thy husband, thy friend, that loves thee so dearly; to whom her heart was shut, her affections contracted, her desires towards him languid; wherefore he importunes her to "open" to him, which denotes an enlarging of her affections to him, an exercise of grace on him, an expression of the desires of her soul unto him; which yet could not be done without efficacious grace exerted, as in Sol 5:4; but, the more to win upon her, he gives her good words, and the most endearing titles, expressive of love and relation,

my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled, which are all made use of before, excepting the last; see Sol 1:9; that is, "my undefiled", which she was, not as a descendant of Adam, nor as in herself, but as washed in the blood of Christ, justified by his righteousness, and sanctified by his Spirit; and as having been enabled by divine grace to preserve her chastity, and keep the "bed undefiled", Hebrews 13:4; not guilty of spiritual adultery among all her infirmities, even idolatry and superstition; see Revelation 14:4; or "my perfect one" (c); not in a legal, but in an evangelical sense, being completely redeemed, perfectly justified, fully pardoned, and sanctified in every part, though not to the highest degree; and perfect in Christ, though not in herself: other arguments follow to engage her attention to his request;

for head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night; through standing so long at the door, in the night season, waiting to be let in; so lovers represent their case in such circumstances, as dealt very hardly with (d): by which may be meant the sufferings of Christ, either in the persons of his ministers, who are exposed to the rage and reproach of men for ministering in his name to the church; or which he endured in his own person, in his estate of humiliation; and particularly in the night he was betrayed, and during the time of darkness he hung upon the cross, when he bore the sins of his people, and his Father's wrath; compared to "dew", and "drops of the night", because of the multitude of them he endured in soul and body, and because so uncomfortable to human nature; though as dew is useful and fructifying to the earth, so were these the means of many fruits and blessings of grace, and of bringing many souls to glory; now though these arguments were expressed in the most strong, moving, and melting language, yet were ineffectual.

(x) Familiar. Epist. l. 7. Ephesians 1. (y) "Qui vigilans dormiat", Plauti Pseudolus, Acts 1. Sc. 3. v. 151. (z) Pesikta in Jarchi, & Tanchama in Yalkut in loc. (a) "Meum mel, meum cor", Plauti Poenulus, Acts 1. Sc. 2. v. 154, 170, 175. "Meum corculum, melliculum", ibid. Casina, Acts 4. Sc. 4, v. 14. (b) "Janua vel domina", &c, Propert. Eleg. 16. v. 17, 18, 19. (c) , Sept. "perfecta mea", Montanus, Tigurine version, Marckius; "integra mea", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis. (d) "Me mediae noctes", &c. Propert. ut supra. (Eleg. 16.) v. 22, &c.

{b} 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 {c} night.

(b) The spouse says that she is troubled with the cares of worldly things, which is meant by sleeping.

(c) Declaring the long patience of the Lord toward sinners.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. I sleep, but my heart waketh] This clause states the circumstances under which the succeeding action takes place. As the dream is narrated at a later time, the participles should be rendered by the past tense, I was sleeping, but my heart was awake.

it is the voice of, &c.] Rather, Hark! my love is knocking.

my sister] Oettli says Solomon never calls the Shulammite by this intimate name. Budde thinks it significant that he does not here call her kallâh = ‘bride.’ Evidently he thinks that a post-nuptial word, but it is not necessarily so.

my undefiled] Rather, ‘my perfect’ or ‘immaculate one.’

filled with dew] The dew in Palestine is often very heavy. Cp. Jdg 6:38. From the fact that he about whom she dreamed is imagined to be in such a case, it is probable that the shepherd lover rather than Solomon is the object of her thoughts, and that she dreams of him as coming to her mother’s house.

Chap. Song of Solomon 5:2 to Song of Solomon 6:3. A Dream

On the hypothesis we have adopted, a night must be supposed to intervene between Song of Solomon 5:1-2. After the interview with the king and that with her lover night came; and as she slept she dreamed one of those troubled dreams consisting of a series of efforts frustrated, which so often follow on an agitated day. On the following morning she narrates the dream to the ladies of the court. Song of Solomon 5:2-7 relate the dream. In Song of Solomon 5:8 the Shulammite, having just awaked and being still under the influence of her dream, asks the ladies, if they should find her lost lover, to tell him she is sick from love. In Song of Solomon 5:9 they reply, asking with surprise what there is in her lover that moves her in such a fashion. In Song of Solomon 5:10-16 she gives a description of her lover as he dwells in her brooding imagination, and concludes in triumph, “This is my beloved and this is my friend.” In ch. Song of Solomon 6:1, the court ladies ask eagerly whither this model of manly beauty is gone, and to this, in Song of Solomon 5:2-3, the Shulammite replies vaguely and evasively, and claims her lover for herself alone. Now all this is quite in place if a love-tale is being presented in a series of songs, but in a collection of verses to be sung at weddings in general it is impossible that the bride could be made to speak thus. Such references to pre-nuptial love would be not only unbecoming, but impossible. But in still another way this song is fatal to Budde’s popular-song theory. In such a collection of wedding songs there is, of course, no connexion between the various lyrics. Each of them stands by itself, and there is no possibility of action of a dramatic kind on the part of the bride and bridegroom such as we undeniably have here. But Budde meets that by pointing out that Wetzstein reports a case in which a poet of the region where he discovered the wasf wrote a poem for a particular wedding. In that, before a description of the bride’s ornaments and person, an account is given of the agricultural processes by which the wealth expended on her trousseau had been obtained. But, besides the fact that in the case cited as parallel to this, the poem was not a popular song, but a poem prepared for the special occasion, the addition to the wasf there is a very legitimate extension of the description, and has none of the dramatic element in it. The dramatic element here is very pronounced, and is evidently intended to give unity and movement to the whole poem.Verse 2-ch. 8:4. - Part IV. REMINISCENCES OF LOVE DAYS. The bridegroom rejoicing in the bride. Verse 2. - The bride's reminiscence of a love dream. I was asleep, but my heart waked, 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, my locks with the drops of the night. There is a resemblance between this account of what was apparently a dream, and that which is related in Song of Solomon 3:1-4; but the difference is very clear. In the former case the lover is represented as dismissed for a season, and then the relenting heart of the maiden sought after him and found him. In this case he "stands at the door and knocks," coming in the night; and the maiden rises to open, but finds him gone, and so is drawn after him. The second dream is much more vivid and elaborate, and seems to be an imitation and enlargement of the other, being introduced apparently more for the sake of dwelling on the attractions of the beloved one and his preciousness in the eyes of the maiden than in self-reproach. Is it not possible that the poem originally concluded at Song of Solomon 5:1 with the marriage, and that the whole of the latter half was an amplification, either by Solomon himself, the author of the first half, or by some one who has entered into the spirit of the song? This would explain the apparent repetition, with the variations. But, at all events, the second part certainly is more from the standpoint of married life than the first. Hence the bride speaks at great length, which she does not in the earlier portion. Delitzsch thinks that this second love dream is intended to represent what occurred in early married life; but there are two objections to that - first, that the place is evidently a country residence; and secondly, that such an occurrence is unsuitable to the conditions of a royal bride. It is much more natural to suppose that the bride is recalling what occurred in her dream when the lover, having been sent away until the evening, as on the former occasion, returned, and in the night knocked at the door. "My heart waked" is the same as "My mind was active." The "heart" in Hebrew is the inner man, both intellect and feeling. "I was asleep, but I was thinking" (cf. Cicero, 'De Divinatione,' 1:30). The lover has come off a long journey over the mountains, and arrives in the night time. The terms with which he appeals to his beloved are significant, denoting

(1) equal rank - my sister;

(2) free choice - my love;

(3) purity, simplicity, and loveliness - my dove;

(4) entire devotion, undoubting trust - my undefiled. Tammanthi, "my perfection," as Arabic tam, teim, "one devoted to another." as a servant.

Similar passages are quoted from heathen love poetry, as Anacreon, 3:10; Propertius, 1:16-23; Ovid, 'Amor.,' 3:19, 21. The simple meaning of the dream is that she is full of love by night and by day. She dreamed that she was back in her old country home, and that her lover visited her like a shepherd; and she tells how she sought him, to show how she loved him. When we are united to the Saviour with the bonds of a pledged affection, we lose the sense of self-reproach in the delight of fellowship, and can even speak of our own slowness and backwardness only to magnify his grace. We delight to acknowledge that it was his knocking that led us to seek after him, although we had to struggle with the dull heart; and it was not until it was moved by his approach, by his moving towards us, that we hastened to find him, and were full of the thought of his desirableness. There are abundant examples of this same interchange of affection in the history of the Church's revivals and restorations. The praise is sensuous, but it has a moral consecration.

12 A garden locked is my sister-bride;

     A spring locked, a fountain sealed.

גּן (according to rule masc. Bttch. 658) denotes the garden from its enclosure; גּ (elsewhere נּלּה ere), the fountain (synon. מבּוּע), the waves bubbling forth (cf. Amos 5:24); and מעין, the place, as it were an eye of the earth, from which a fountain gushes forth. Luther distinguishes rightly between gan and gal; on the contrary, all the old translators (even the Venet.) render as if the word in both cases were gan. The Pasek between gan and nā'ul, and between gal and nā'ul, is designed to separate the two Nuns, as e.g., at 2 Chronicles 2:9; Nehemiah 2:2, the two Mems; it is the orthophonic Pasek, already described under Sol 2:7, which secures the independence of two similar or organically related sounds. Whether the sealed fountain (fons signatus) alludes to a definite fountain which Solomon had built for the upper city and the temple place,

(Note: Vid., Zschocke in the Tbinger Quartalschrift, 1867, 3.)

we do not now inquire. To a locked garden and spring no one has access but the rightful owner, and a sealed fountain is shut against all impurity. Thus she is closed against the world, and inaccessible to all that would disturb her pure heart, or desecrate her pure person.

(Note: Seal, חותם, pers. muhr, is used directly in the sense of maiden-like behaviour; vid., Perles' etymol. Studien (1871), p. 67.)

All the more beautiful and the greater is the fulness of the flowers and fruits which bloom and ripen in the garden of this life, closed against the world and its lust.

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