Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
4:1 Behold - These words are evidently spoken by the bridegroom. Fair - Being clothed with my righteousness, and adorned with all the graces of my spirit. Fair - He repeats it both to confirm his assertion, and to shew the fervency of his affection. Dove's eyes - Whereas the beauty of the spouse is here described in her several parts, we need not labour much about the application of each particular to some distinct grace of the church, this being the chief design of the description to shew that compleatness and absolute perfection which the church hath in part received, and shall more fully receive in the future life. Goats - Which in these parts was of extraordinary length, and softness, and comeliness. Mount Gilead - A very fruitful place, fit for breeding all sorts of cattle, and especially of goats, because it was an hilly and woody country.
Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
4:2 A flock - Numerous, and placed in due order. Even - Smooth and even, as also clean and white. Twins - Which seems to denote the two rows of teeth. Barren - Not one tooth is lacking.
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
4:3 Thy speech - Which is added as another ingredient of an amiable person; and to explain the foregoing metaphor. The discourse of believers is edifying and comfortable, and acceptable to God, and to serious men. Temples - Under which he comprehends the cheeks. Pomegranate - In which there is a lovely mixture of red and white.
Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
4:4 Thy neck - This may represent the grace of faith, by which we are united to Christ, as the body is to the head by the neck. By which Christians receive their spiritual food, and consequently their strength and ability for action. The tower - Upright, firm, and strong; and moreover adorned with chains of gold or pearl, or the like ornaments. Of David - Some tower built by David, when he repaired, and enlarged his royal city, and used by him as an armory. Bucklers - Such as are reserved for the use of mighty men. A thousand is put indefinitely for a great number.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
4:5 Lillies - In the fields where lillies grow.
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
4:6 Until - These words are uttered by the bride, chap.2:17, and here returned by the bridegroom as an answer to that request. And this place may be understood of the day of glory, when all shadows and ordinances shall cease. To the hill - To my church upon earth, which was typified by the mountain of Moriah and the temple upon it. This in prophetic writings is called a mountain, and may well be called a mountain of myrrh and frankincense, both for the acceptable services which are there offered to God, and for the precious gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, which are of a sweet smelling savour to God and men. Thus Christ directs believers, where they may find him, namely in his church and ordinances.
Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
4:8 Come - Unto the mountains of myrrh. Look - To the place to which I invite thee to go, which from those high mountains thou mayest easily behold. Of Leopards - From these or other mountains, which are inhabited by lions and leopards. This seems to be added as an argument to move the spouse to go with him, because the places where now she was, were not only barren, but also dangerous.
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
4:9 My sister - So he calls her to shew the greatness of his love, which cannot sufficiently be expressed by any one relation. With one - With one glance. One chain - With one of those other graces and perfections wherewith thou art adorned.
How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
4:10 Fair - How amiable and acceptable to me. Ointments - Of the gifts and graces of God's Spirit, wherewith thou art anointed.
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
4:11 Thy lips - Thy speeches both to me in prayer and praises, and to men for their edification, are highly acceptable to me. Milk - Words more sweet and comfortable than honey or milk. Garments - Of that righteousness wherewith I have adorned thee. Lebanon - Which was very sweet and grateful in regard of the great numbers of sweet - smelling spices and trees which grow on that mountain.
A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
4:12 A garden - For order and beauty, for pleasant walks, and flowers, and fruits. Inclosed - Defended by the care of my providence: and reserved for my proper use. Shut up - To preserve it from all pollution, and to reserve it for the use of its owner, for which reason, springs were shut up in those countries where water was scarce and precious.
Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
4:13 Plants - Believers, which are planted in thee, are like the plants or fruits of an orchard, which are pleasant to the eye, and delicious to the taste or smell, whereby he signifies the variety and excellency of the gifts and graces in the several members of the church. Spikenard - Which he mentions here with camphire, and in the next verse with saffron, because it is mixed with both these, and being so mixed, yields. the more grateful smell.
Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
4:14 All trees - Such trees as produce frankincense.
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
4:15 Living water - Though my spouse be in some sort a fountain shut up, yet that is not so to be understood as if she kept her waters to herself, for she is like a fountain of living or running water, which flows into gardens, and makes its flowers and plants to flourish. The church conveys those waters of life which she receives from Christ to particular believers. Streams - Like those sweet and refreshing rivers which flow down from mount Lebanon, of which Jordan is one.
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
4:16 North wind - These winds may signify the several dispensations of God's spirit. My garden - This verse is spoken by the spouse. And he calls the garden both hers and his, because of that oneness which is between them, chap.2:16. May flow - That my graces may be exercised. Let - Let Christ afford his gracious presence to his church. And eat - And let him delight himself in that service which is given him, both by the religious worship, and by the holy conversation of his people.