Wesley's Notes on the Bible
By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
3:1 By night - When others compose themselves to sleep, my affections were working towards him. I sought - I sought for Christ's gracious and powerful presence. I sought - This repetition denotes her perseverance and unweariedness in seeking him. Found him not - For he had withdrawn the manifestations of his love from me, either because I had not sought him diligently, or because I had abused his favour.
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.
3:2 The city - The city of God, the church in which Christ resides. Broadways - Not finding him in private prayer, and meditation, I sought him in the places of public assemblies and ordinances. Found not - He saw fit still to delay the discoveries of his grace.
The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?
3:3 The watch - men - The ministers of Christ, and rulers of the church. Go about - To prevent disorders and dangers. Him - She does not name him, because she thought it needless, as supposing a person of such transcendent excellency could not be unknown to men in that capacity. Their answer is not mentioned, either because they gave her no satisfactory answer, or because by their silence she gathered that they were unable to inform her; and being eager in the pursuit, she would not lose time.
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.
3:4 Found him - Christ met me, and manifested his love to me. 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, Gal 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. Conceived me - Christ is as it were the father that begets, and the church the mother that conceives and brings forth believers.
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.
Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
3:6 Who - The persons speaking seem to be the daughters of Jerusalem, who upon occasion of the bride's speech to them, make this reply. The person spoken of is the spouse. Wilderness - Believers were to be called, not only out of the holy land, which was as the garden of God, but also out of the Gentile - world, which in prophetical writings is frequently described under the notion of a wilderness. Pillars - Being conducted out of the wilderness as by a pillar of smoak going before them, as the Israelites were led through the wilderness to Canaan, by a pillar of cloud and fire. Perfumed - The spouse is said to be thus perfumed, for her excellent virtues and religious services which are pleasant and acceptable to God, and for the merits and graces of Christ, which are a sweet savour to God, wherewith she is enriched and beautified. Of merchants - Which are fetched by the merchants from Arabia, or other remote parts.
Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.
3:7 Behold - The bride - men continue their speech, and from the admiration of the bride, proceed to the admiration of the bridegroom. Bed - The bed seems to denote the church, which is comely through Christ's beauty, and safe by his protection, in which Christ is glorified, and believers enjoy sweet fellowship with him. Solomon's - Which is the bed, not of an ordinary man, but of a great king, whom Solomon typifies, and who is greater than Solomon. Threescore - Very many, the certain number being put for an uncertain. He alludes to Solomon's guard, whereby he designs all those creatures, whether angels, princes, ministers, or others, whose ministry God uses for the protection of his church.
They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.
3:8 Every man - Is prepared and ready to fight, to prevent those dangers which are frequent in the night season. The night may denote the whole time of this life, which may well be called night in respect of that ignorance and error wherewith it is attended, (as the future life is compared to day) this life being the only time wherein such a guard is necessary.
King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
3:9 A chariot - In which the royal bridegroom and bride might ride together in state. By this chariot he seems to understand the word of Christ dispensed by his ministers, whereby Christ rides triumphantly in the world, and believers are carried into heavenly glory. Of Lebanon - Of cedars, which wood being incorruptible, doth fitly signify the word of the gospel, which endureth forever, 1Pet 1:25.
He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.
3:10 He made - There is no necessity that either this or the following particulars should be distinctly applied to several things in the gospel; this in the general may suffice, that as all the particulars are added to shew the perfection and beauty of the chariot, so they do imply that Christ's word is every way amiable and perfect. The bottom - The under and lower part. Whereby he may seem to understand the foundation of the word and promises, which is either God's covenant, or Christ's mediation, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. Covering - The uppermost part of it. Midst - The inward parts. Paved - Covered and adorned. Love - The love of Christ to the sons of men. For the daughters - For their delight and comfort, who all bear a part in this marriage.
Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.
3:11 Go - The church bids particular believers go forth to see this sight. Solomon - The Messiah, of whom Solomon was an illustrious type. The crown - Which being applied to Solomon, may design that garland or crown which was usually worn in nuptial solemnities: but being applied to Christ, it denotes the honour that was given him, which though principally done by his Father, yet is here ascribed to his mother, the universal church, which in respect to his humanity may be called his mother, because he was born in, and of her, and one of her members. In the day - When the church is married to him, which is done when the covenant is confirmed between them, or when persons are converted to Christ, and more compleatly when they are received by Christ into his immediate fellowship in the kingdom of glory. Gladness - When he rejoiceth over his bride.