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MY beloved is gone down into his garden, to the bed of aromatical spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

Ver. 1.  Lilies.  The church teaches, that God is delighted with the pious desires and works of the faithful.  W.

 

--- She answers the question which had been put to her.  C.

 

--- God associates lilies, or the perfect, to his angels.  He "feeds his flock," and "is fed," on works of piety, as Heb. and Sept. imply both.  M.


2 I to my beloved, and my beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies.

Ver. 2.  Beloved.  She speaks thus, when she finds him, and runs to his embraces, having found what trouble her neglect had occasioned.  C.


3 Thou art beautiful, O my love, sweet and comely as Jerusalem: terrible as an army set in array.

Ver. 3.  Thou.  Christ again commends his Church, which is well composed of distinct orders, some governing, others retired from the world, and the rest exercising works of mercy, amid its troubles, who altogether form a complete army, terrible to all her enemies.  W.

 

--- Jerusalem.  Which was then one of the finest cities in the east.  C.  The Catholic Church resembles the heavenly Jerusalem.  Theod.

 

--- Terrible.  So great is the power of love, (Rom. viii. 35.) in the martyrs, and of the Church, against infidels!  C.

 

--- She is lovely to Christ, and terrible to the wicked.  Even her spouse is wounded by her glance.  M.




4 Turn away thy eyes from me, for they have made me flee away. Thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from Galaad.

Ver. 4.  Turn.  The more one contemplates God's majesty, the more he will be convinced that it is incomprehensible.  W.

 

--- To pry into mysteries, may cause Christ to retire.  Theod. &c.




5 Thy teeth as a flock of sheep, which come up from the washing, all with twins, and there is none barren among them. 6 Thy cheeks are as the bark of a pomegranate, beside what is hidden within thee. 7 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and young maidens without number.

Ver. 7.  Number.  The true pastors are  numerous, but hirelings more so.  The faithful are innumerable, and all are united in the same faith.  W.

 

--- The spouse and the queens represent the more prefect; the concubines, or wives of inferior degree, those who are led by fear; and the maidens, such as are languid and negligent.  Orig.

 

--- The Roman Church is at the head of all metropolitan, episcopal, and parochial Churches.  H.


8 One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised her. 9 Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?

Ver. 9.  Who.  The companions of the spouse, (C.) or the synagogue, admire the Christian Church.  W.

 

--- Morning.  Aurora.  The Church dissipated the darkness of paganism; she appeared as the moon under persecution, and as the sun, after the conversion of Constantine.  C.

 

--- The like will happen in the days of antichrist.  Ven. Bede.

 

--- The religion of the patriarchs may be compared to the morning-star: that of Moses, to the moon; and of Christ, to the sun.  M.


10 I went down into the garden of nuts, to see the fruits of the valleys, and to look if the vineyard had flourished, and the pomegranates budded. 11 I knew not: my soul troubled me for the chariots of Aminadab.

Ver. 11.  Aminadab.  The devil, (Theod.) or probably some renowned general.  Aquila explains it "of the people's leader," (C.) or "munificent one."  Mont.

 

--- I knew not what forced me to flee with such speed, as if I had been panic-struck, (C.) or the spouse professes that she knew not that he had retired into the garden of nuts, or she would not have been under apprehensions of his being ill-treated by Aminadab, as Christ was by Pilate.  M.

 


12 Return, return, O Sulamitess: return, return that we may behold thee.
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