The Song of Solomon 1:7-10
Commentary, Henry Law- 1879
1:7. "Tell me, O You whom my soul loves, where You feed, where You make Your flock to rest at noon--for why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of Your companions?"
The Church addresses Christ in the warmth of devoted love. She cries, "O You whom my soul loves." All motives, which can influence the heart, constrain to this affection. Consider His love. It burns from everlasting to everlasting. It knows no change. It is gloriously evidenced by His achievements in redemption, and by His continued work in heaven. Surely the soul, enraptured by these realities, will overflow with responding love. The profession will break forth, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Happy are they whose consecrated lives give testimony to this devotion!
The Church next avows her longing desire for intimate communion. His presence is her main delight. His absence renders life a dismal blank. She addresses Him as the Chief Shepherd. She knows that in tender solicitude He leads His flock into the richest pastures of nourishment and strength; that He will vigilantly protect them from all overburdening toil, and will cause them to lie down in sweet repose. She prays to be acquainted with the spot thus carefully selected. Her sigh is, 'O that I knew where I might find Him--with eager haste I would fly to this retreat--no hindrances would detain me.' It is indeed most blessed, when the soul ardently solicits this communion.
She expresses, also, apprehension of mistake. She fears lest some false guides should turn her astray. "Why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of Your companions?" Alas! that false teachers should harass congregations! But so it always has been, and so it still continues. There were false apostles in the earliest days; unenlightened guides still would lead in paths of error. Let earnest prayer be made for deliverance from their vain deceits. The pulpit is no blessing--no, it is a fearful peril, unless it stands as a signpost, ever pointing to the Lord, and calling poor sinners to rejoice in His uttermost salvation. "None but Jesus" should be the ministerial motto.
1:8. "If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the sheep and graze your young goats by the tents of the shepherds."
The gracious Lord grants reply. How precious is the truth, that supplication quickly reaches His loving ear! It swiftly flies to heaven's gate, and while it knocks, replies descend.
A tender appellation tells the Church that she is truly loved. She had owned her blackness. He only regards her loveliness. He sees her, as arrayed in the garments of salvation--as decked in His pure righteousness--as filled with the graces of His Spirit. Thus cleansed and clothed and beautified, she is addressed as 'the beloved, on whom His eye rested with delight'.
But He seems gently to upbraid her for lack of knowledge within her reach. A like voice chided an Apostle, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip?" Ignorance is a fearful fault--for God is always ready to give wisdom liberally without upbraiding.
Clear direction is supplied--Mark the example of the holiest saints--see how they live and walk, and follow them. Paul exhorts, "Be followers of me." Let us follow them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. The Church is exhorted to tarry near her faithful Ministers. In all arrangements it should be a prominent desire to dwell under the shadow of gospel-truth. Thus we shall "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
1:9. "I have compared you, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots."
The Church is tenderly addressed. We marvel at this condescension of God's co-eternal and co-equal Son. But if He was willing to adopt our low estate, and to espouse us as His bride forever, loving expressions may be expected from His lips. "I have compared you, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots." The words portray the beauty--the excellence--the superiority of the Church. The striking image introduces a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. Horses are among nature's grandest productions. They are worthy of admiration for exquisite symmetry, graceful movements, and surpassing strength. How pre-eminent, then, in every aspect, would the horses be, which were selected for the chariots of the Egyptian monarch!
In their picture we are taught to see the Church. The Creator's hand endowed these creatures with their illustrious appearance. The hand of Christ enriches His bride with the glories of celestial beauty. What can surpass the brightness of the 'righteousness' which He wrought out! He clothes her with the garments of salvation. Every dark spot is completely and forever hidden. Her garb exhibits loveliness in perfection.
The horses for Pharaoh's use were doubtless the choicest which earth produced. Distant lands would send supplies to the royal stables. So, also, the members of the Church are gathered from all nations and kindreds and people and tongues. All countries from East--from West--from North--from South contribute to their number. When the great multitude shall stand around the throne, the noblest sons of the whole world shall be assembled as the Lamb's bride. Let the enquiry be diligently made, Shall we appear in this resplendent throng?
Doubtless, these horses were of surpassing value. They would be purchased at high cost. The treasures of Egypt would not be withheld to procure them. Thus the Church is bought with the most precious price--Christ presents His own blood as the purchase. But who can tell its value! The riches of this earth--the treasures which it contains--the elaborate productions of art and science--millions of suns in meridian brightness--gold and silver in countless heaps are worthless in comparison. When Christ lays down His life, He gives so much that heaven can give no more.
1:10. "Your cheeks are lovely with rows of jewels, your neck with chains of gold."
Next, these horses are richly decorated. Behold them. How splendidly they are adorned! Their heads are brilliant in choice jewels--chains of gold sparkle on their necks. The Church, also, is adorned with precious gifts of grace. The Spirit employs His wondrous power to enrich her with charms of godliness. They who see her are constrained to acknowledge that she is raised high above the rank of fallen nature. To enumerate the excellences thus granted to her would be to enumerate out all the gifts of the Spirit. He is ever lavish in decking and beautifying her.