Bible Commentary

Song of Solomon 5

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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Verse 1

[1] I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

I come — This is the bridegroom's answer.

I have — I have eaten of my pleasant fruits, I have taken notice of, and delight in the service and obedience of my people.

O friends — Believers are here encouraged with freedom and chearfulness to eat and drink their spiritual food.

Verse 2

[2] 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 night.

Asleep — I was dull, and sluggish.

But — Yet in my very sleep my thoughts were running upon my beloved.

It is — Between sleeping and waking, I heard his voice.

Knocketh — By his word, and providence, and spirit, at the door of my heart.

Open — Inviting me to let him into my soul.

My love — This heap of kind compellations signifies Christ's fervent affection to his people.

With dew — While I wait without thy door, which signifies his sufferings for the church's good.

The drops — The dew which falls in the night.

Verse 3

[3] I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

My coat — My day clothes, as persons use to do when they go to rest.

How — It is inconvenient and troublesome to do it at this time.

Washed my feet — Which the eastern people commonly did when they went to bed.

Verse 4

[4] My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

By the hole — He assayed to open the door. When his word would not prevail, his spirit, which is called the finger of God, Luke 11:20, wrought inwardly upon my conscience.

Were moved — With compassion for him and his sufferings, and with affection to him.

Verse 5

[5] I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

I rose — I went forth to receive him.

Dropped — With oil or ointment made of myrrh, which dropped from the bridegroom's hand upon the door in great abundance, when he put it into the hole of the door, and consequently upon her hands and fingers when she touched the door to open it. By which she signifies, that Christ, though he withdrew himself from her, yet left a sweet savour behind him.

The handles — Heb. with myrrh passing or flowing upon the handles of the lock, which place the bridegroom had touched when he attempted to open it.

Verse 6

[6] I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

With-drawn — Denied me his comfortable presence, as a just punishment for my former neglect.

Faded — Heb. went out of me: I fainted and was ready to die away, for those endearing expressions related, verse 2, which then I did not heed.

I sought — By diligent enquiry and importunate prayer.

Verse 7

[7] The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

Watch-men — The governors of the church, who, though by their place they are obliged to comfort the faithful, do frequently discourage them.

Smote — With bitter calumnies and persecutions.

The keepers — The same with the watchmen, whose office it is to keep the gates and walls of the city.

My vine — Which was an ornament of her sex, and an ensign of her relation to Christ. And so the taking of this veil away, signifies their contemptuous usage of her, and endeavours to represent her, as one that had no relation to Christ.

Verse 8

[8] I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.

O daughters — The church having passed the watchmen, proceeds in the pursuit of her beloved, and enquires of every particular believer whom she meets concerning him.

Tell him — That I am ready to faint for want of his presence.

Verse 9

[9] What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

What is — Wherein doth he excel them? Believers might ask this, that they might be more fully informed of it.

Verse 10

[10] My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

White — The white may denote his pure and spotless innocency, and the ruddy colour his bloody passion.

Verse 11

[11] His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

As gold — It shines like gold, by reason of the crown of pure gold upon his head. We need not aim at a distinct application of this and the following particulars, unto some special excellency of Christ, because such things are mere conjectures, and the only design of this description is, to set forth the beauty of Christ under the notion of a most amiable person, in whom there is no defect or blemish, from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet.

Verse 12

[12] His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

Of doves — Lovely and pleasant, chaste and innocent.

Rivers — Where they delight to abide.

Milk — Doves of a milk white colour.

Verse 13

[13] His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

Cheeks — His face or countenance, an eminent part whereof is the cheeks.

Spices — Of aromatic flowers which delight both the eye with a pleasant prospect, and the smell with their fragrancy.

Lillies — Beautiful and pleasant.

Verse 14

[14] His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

Beryl — Beautiful, and precious, and richly adorned, as it were with gold rings set with precious stones.

Belly — Which seems to be here used, for the whole body, reaching from the neck to the bottom of the belly.

Saphires — Of a pure and bright white colour, intermixt with blue veins; for some saphires are of a bright blue colour.

Verse 15

[15] His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

Marble — White, and strait, and well shaped and strong.

Gold — His feet are compared to gold, for their singular brightness, for which they are compared to fine-brass, Revelation 1:15.

Countenance — Heb. his aspect or appearance, his form or person.

Lebanon — In respect of its cedars, tall, and upright, and stately.

Verse 16

[16] His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

Altogether — Not to run out into more particulars.

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