Song of Solomon 8:4
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
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(4) I charge you.—See Note, Song of Solomon 2:6-7.

8:1-4 The church wishes for the constant intimacy and freedom with the Lord Jesus that a sister has with a brother. That they might be as his brethren, which they are, when by grace they are made partakers of a Divine nature. Christ is become as our Brother; wherever we find him, let us be ready to own our relation to him, and affection for him, and not fear being despised for it. Is there in us an ardent wish to serve Christ more and better? What then have we laid up in store, to show our affection to the Beloved of our souls? What fruit unto holiness? The church charges all her children that they never provoke Christ to withdraw. We should reason with ourselves, when tempted to do what would grieve the Spirit.That ye stir not up - literally, as in the margin. For "my love" read as before love. The omission of "the roes and hinds" here is noticeable. Hebrew scholars regard this charge here and elsewhere Sol 2:7; Sol 3:5 as an admonition to Israel not to attempt obtaining a possession of, or restoration to, the promised land, and union or reunion there with the Holy One, before being inwardly prepared for it by the trials of the wilderness and the exile. This interpretation comes very near to what appears to be the genuine literal meaning (see Sol 2:7 note). They suppose the words here to be addressed by Messiah to Israel in "the wilderness of the people" Ezekiel 20:35, in the latter day, and the former words Sol 3:5 by Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. 3, 4. The "left and right hand," &c., occurred only once actually (So 2:6), and here optatively. Only at His first manifestation did the Church palpably embrace Him; at His second coming there shall be again sensible communion with Him. The rest in So 8:4, which is a spiritual realization of the wish in So 8:3 (1Pe 1:8), and the charge not to disturb it, close the first, second, and fourth canticles; not the third, as the bridegroom there takes charge Himself; nor the fifth, as, if repose formed its close, we might mistake the present state for our rest. The broken, longing close, like that of the whole Bible (Re 22:20), reminds us we are to be waiting for a Saviour to come. On "daughters of Jerusalem," see on [683]So 7:10.

Canticle V.—(So 8:5-14)—From The Call of the Gentiles to the Close of Revelation.

This verse is here repeated again, from Song of Solomon 2:7 3:5, See Poole "2:7", See Poole "Song of Solomon 3:5". I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up,

nor awake my love, until he please. The phrase, "by the roes and by the hinds of the field", used in Sol 2:7; is here omitted; not as if the charge was less vehement and earnest here, for the form of expostulation seems rather to express more earnestness: for the words may be rendered, "why will ye", or "why should ye stir up, and why awake my love?" (i) being apprehensive they were about to do it; and which she dissuades from, as unreasonable and dangerous, and might be prejudicial to them as well as to her. The allusion is to virgins, that sung songs at marriages; one in the evening, lulling to sleep; and another in the morning, awaking and stirring up from it (k).

(i) "cur", Montanus, Schmidt. (k) Vid. Theocrit. Idyll. 18.

{c} I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not, nor awake my love, until he please.

(c) Read So 3:5.

4. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem] Rather, as in R.V., I adjure you … nor awaken love, until it please. This verse is a repetition of Song of Solomon 2:7 and Song of Solomon 3:5 with the difference that, instead of im = that … not, we have here mah = why. The A.V. translates this mah as ‘not.’ Cp. Job 31:1, where an interrogative mah is translated οὐ by the LXX and non by the Vulg. But in form our clause is interrogative, ‘Why would ye stir up or awake love until it should please?’ i.e. you see it was quite unnecessary to try to rouse love before its time. Your experience must teach you how vain it has been to attempt to arouse it prematurely, and how certain it would be to awake at the proper time.Verse 4. - I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awaken love, until it please. This, of course, as the refrain of the song, must be taken as a general sentiment. Love is its own lord. Let it have free course. Let it perfect itself in its own best way. The form of the adjuration is abbreviated in this case. The omission of the words, "By the roes and by the hinds of the field," is not without its significance. Is it not intended to intimate that the natural love, to which reference was made by the introduction of the beautiful wild creatures of the field, is now no more in the thoughts of the bride, because it has been sublimated into the higher sisterly love of which she has been speaking? She is not merely the lovely woman on whom the king dotes because of her personal beauty; she is his companion and dearest friend. He opens his heart to her. He teaches her. He lifts her up to his own level. She participates in his royal dignity and majesty. The ἔρως of her first estate of love is now exalted into the ἀγάπη, which is the grace never to be without its sphere, abiding forever. We must not press too closely the poetic form of the song. Something must be allowed for the framework in which the main ideas are set before us. It may not be possible to answer the question - Who are intended to be symbolized by the daughters of Jerusalem? There is no necessity to seek further into the meaning of the whole poem than its widest and most general application. But the daughters of Jerusalem are in a lower position, a less favoured relation to the bridegroom, than the bride herself. We may, therefore, without hesitation, accept the view that by the adjuration is intended the appeal of the higher spiritual life against all that is below it; the ideal love calling upon all that is around it and all that is related to it to rise with it to perfection. The individual soul is thus represented claiming the full realization of its spiritual possibilities. The Church of God thus remonstrates against all that hinders her advancement, restrains her life, and interrupts her blessedness. Jerusalem has many daughters. They are not all in perfect sympathy with the bride. When they listen to the adjurations of the most spiritual, the most devoted, the most heavenly and Christ-like of those who are named by the Name of the Lord, they will themselves be lifted up into the bridal joy of "the marriage supper of the Lamb." 11 Up, my lover, we will go into the country,

     Lodge in the villages.

Hitzig here begins a new scene, to which he gives the superscription: "Shulamith making haste to return home with her lov." The advocate of the shepherd-hypothesis thinks that the faithful Shulamith, after hearing Solomon's panegyric, shakes her head and says: "I am my beloved's." To him she calls, "Come, my beloved;" for, as Ewald seeks to make this conceivable: the golden confidence of her near triumph lifts her in spirit forthwith above all that is present and all that is actual; only to him may she speak; and as if she were half here and half already there, in the midst of her rural home along with him, she says, "Let us go out into the fields," etc. In fact, there is nothing more incredible than this Shulamitess, whose dialogue with Solomon consists of Solomon's addresses, and of answers which are directed, not to Solomon, but in a monologue to her shepherd; and nothing more cowardly and more shadowy than this lover, who goes about in the moonlight seeking his beloved shepherdess whom he has lost, glancing here and there through the lattices of the windows and again disappearing. How much more justifiable is the drama of the Song by the French Jesuit C. F. Menestrier (born in Sion 1631, died 1705), who, in his two little works on the opera and the ballet, speaks of Solomon as the creator of the opera, and regards the Song as a shepherd-play, in which his love-relation to the daughter of the king of Egypt is set forth under the allegorical figures of the love of a shepherd and a shepherdess!

(Note: Vid., Eugne Despris in the Revue politique et litteraire 1873. The idea was not new. This also was the sentiment of Fray Luis de Leon; vid., his Biographie by Wilkens (1866), p. 209.)

For Shulamith is thought of as a רעה shepherdess, Sol 1:8, and she thinks of Solomon as a רעה shepherd. She remains so in her inclination even after her elevation to the rank of a queen. The solitude and glory of external nature are dearer to her than the bustle and splendour of the city and the court. Hence her pressing out of the city to the country. השׂדה is local, without external designation, like rus (to the country). כּפרים (here and at 1 Chronicles 27:25) is plur. of the unused form כּפר (constr. כּפר, Joshua 18:24) or כּפר, Arab. kafar (cf. the Syr. dimin. kafrûno, a little town), instead of which it is once pointed כּפר, 1 Samuel 6:18, of that name of a district of level country with which a multitude of later Palest. names of places, such as כּפר נחוּם, are connected. Ewald, indeed, understands kephārim as at Sol 4:13 : we will lodge among the fragrant Al-henna bushes. But yet בּכּף cannot be equivalent to תּחת הכפרים; and since לין (probably changed from ליל) and השׁכים, Sol 7:13, stand together, we must suppose that they wished to find a bed in the henna bushes; which, if it were conceivable, would be too gipsy-like, even for a pair of lovers of the rank of shepherds (vid., Job 30:7). No. Shulamith's words express a wish for a journey into the country: they will there be in freedom, and at night find shelter (בכף, as 1 Chronicles 27:25 and Nehemiah 6:2, where also the plur. is similarly used), now in this and now in that country place. Spoken to the supposed shepherd, that would be comical, for a shepherd does not wander from village to village; and that, returning to their home, they wished to turn aside into villages and spend the night there, cannot at all be the meaning. But spoken of a shepherdess, or rather a vine-dresser, who has been raised to the rank of queen, it accords with her relation to Solomon, - they are married, - as well as with the inexpressible impulse of her heart after her earlier homely country-life. The former vine-dresser, the child of the Galilean hills, the lily of the valley, speaks in the verses following.

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