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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Song of Solomon 6

 

 

Verses 1-13

Song of Solomon 6:1. Whither is thy beloved gone? These are words of the ladies of honour, tenderly interested for their princess in a moment of anxiety.— That we may seek him with thee. Thus should the soul enquire after Christ, and so should the faithful associate in prayer for the reviving influences of his presence; for no earthly good can supply his absence.

Song of Solomon 6:2. My beloved is gone down into his garden, where every beauty of nature is joined with works of art. The bride knew where the Lord was. So Christ walks in his garden, the church, and amid the seven golden candlesticks. He cheers the heavens with his presence, and casts his kind regards on earth. Oh Zion, thy Lord is not far off. He is only in the garden, and will soon return: he is gone to see how the vine flourishes.

Song of Solomon 6:3. I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. Solomon here admits that a man can have but one wife. His court of women was therefore an oriental court of policy to ensure the throne; but experience proves that it often overturns the throne, and occasions the excision of the whole reigning family. The quarrels, the revolts and cruelties of so many jealous brothers, endanger the peace and safety of the nation.—But the true spirit of the text is to console the church with the doctrine of assurance. Under transient clouds she is not to doubt. The ever-shining sun is bright behind the cloud, the light will shine again, and the Lord will soon return.

Song of Solomon 6:4. Thou art beautiful, oh my love, as Tirzah, a city of Ephraim. Tir in the Hebrew and the Gothic, sister tongues, designates the superlative degree, as tireadig, most blessed. Tyrconnel, the most knowing, or enlightened of God. Tirshatha, the governor.—Comely as Jerusalem, the joy of the whole earth, whose hills were adorned with mansions and rural graces. The Hebrews could boast of Tirzah, the French of Montpelier, and the English of Bath, as the most beautiful cities in the world. But all their beauties are thrown into the shade, when compared with the moral grandeur of the city of God.— Terrible as an army with banners. A queen may have her court, and her powers; but these words unaptly apply to a woman. The church however has power with God, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against her.

Song of Solomon 6:7. As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples. This beautiful fruit has a particular rouge on one side, as also in its sections; and might on that account be preferred as an emblem of unspotted innocence.

Song of Solomon 6:10. Who is she that looketh forth as the morning; which presents the most enchanting vision, and fills the mind with contemplation, after presenting us with a new day, and all the glories and beauties of nature. Fair as the full-orbed moon, which cheers the night; and clear as the sun, whose splendour is a shadow of the supreme Being; she is therefore clothed with Christ, the sun of righteousness. Terrible also as an army with banners. All that meddle with Zion, shall meddle to their hurt: the armies of heaven are at her command. When the root of Jesse shall spread his branches, and display his banners, in Him shall the gentiles trust. The danger is great when we provoke the anger of the church.

Song of Solomon 6:12. The chariots of Amminadib. He is thought to have been a captain general, distinguished, like Jehu, for pursuing his foes.

Song of Solomon 6:13. Return, return, oh Shulamite; return, return. Hebrews שׁולמית Shulamith, is given by our critics as the feminine of Solomon; as Agrippina, the wife of Agrippa; Chaia, the wife of Chaius; it being the ancient custom of princesses to assume the names of their husbands. This is the voice of the bridegroom to the bride. Of course this verse should not have been divided from the verses in the following chapter. The Chaldaic reading refers the text to the Hebrew church: Return, return, oh congregation of Israel: return to Jerusalem.

REFLECTIONS.

The church is here presented as exulting in the grace and glory of Christ, walking in all the delights of communion with God, and the full assurance of his love.

The Messiah recounts her graces, and the excellencies of her regenerate character; he recounts them in enlivened figures, which are suggested by the accomplishments and ornaments of a princess. Moses by other similies does the same. “As the eagle rejoices over her young, and flutters over them, and bears them up on her wings, so will thy God rejoice over thee.”

At the tenth verse, he brings the portrait to the true sublime. The church looks like the welcome light of morning, when the light is cheered by retiring shades, and by the incense of nature exhaled in the early dews. She is pleasant as the moon, with all her influences to cheer the night; glorious as the sun to rule the day; and terrible as an army with banners, having all the powers of heaven, and the gentiles in her train. Every christian should try to be such a character of glory, beauty, and innocence in the eyes of the Lord.

We have next the call to the gentile church to return to the Lord. Return, return, oh Shulamite; that is, oh woman, the perfection of beauty. This cannot be restricted to Pharaoh’s daughter, because the two armies seen in the church refer to the two great armies, the jewish and the gentile converts to Christ.

We have here much cause to blame the Arian writers, who divide this book into the seven days of Solomon’s marriage-feast. If that were all, why did the holy prophets admit this book into the sacred volume; and why do the prophets and apostles admit the marriage of the Lamb, in characters so prominent? We have no proof that Pharaoh’s daughter was the only child of her mother. But the church of Christ is incontestibly the only daughter of the Father and Lord of all.

If we are not to look higher than Solomon’s wife; if Quintilian has censured Homer and Virgil for extravagant uses of figures; what would he have said of the royal scribe for saying of a woman, that she was like a flock of sheep, each ewe bearing twins! This delicately applies to the church of the gentiles, whose children are more numerous than those of the Jews, the married wife.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 6:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/song-of-solomon-6.html. 1835.

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