Song of Solomon Chapter 2 Christ and the Church, Little Foxes

Oct 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Song of Solomon, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Song of Solomon Chapter 2 Christ and the Church, Little Foxes

Song 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

Because the prospective Bride is still speaking in verse 1, this verse should be the end of Chapter 1.

Comment: The use of “a” in the Revised Standard Version (“I am a rose of Sharon, and a lily of the valleys”) indicates humility. In other words, “I am a common, lowly flower of the plain, a common lily of the lowlands.” The rose and the lily are to be thought of in the collective sense, for “valleys” (plural) have more than one lily. Many flowers, a class of flowers, are being referred to. The virgin class, these common little flowers, realize that God has called them as individuals into His family, and after a while they see why He picked them—because they are rich in faith, poor in spirit, meek, etc. Upon realizing they have this faith, they have a measure of confidence and hope that He really has called them. The HOLY ONE who inhabiteth eternity dwells with the lowly and contrite in heart. “Sharon” means plain.

In the Song of Solomon, “am” is a supplied word when the Bride is speaking and thus is (or should be) in italics: “I am.” When Jesus is speaking, “am” is part of the Hebrew: “I am.”

Song 2:2 As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.

The virgin class just said, “I am the lily of the valleys.” Now Jesus responds, “Yes, you are as the lily, but you are amidst thorns.” The “thorns” would be not only worldly people but also professed Christians. The “daughters” are the same “daughters of Jerusalem” in Song 1:5 and 2:7. Even among nominal Christians who have similar hopes, the virgin class appear as fanatics and oddballs.

“So is my love among the daughters.” The word “love” is “friend” in the Hebrew, but of course it has a much deeper meaning than our English word. We sing, “What a friend we have in Jesus,” but here he is singing, “What a friend I have in my consecrated followers.”

Song 2:3 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Now the prospective Bride speaks (and through verse 6). The word “beloved” is one clue; “among the sons” is another.

In some Bibles, the word “apple” is “orange.” The thought cannot be pinned down with certainty, but “apple” seems to be more accurate. In France, the potato is called the “apple of the ground.” Hence the word “apple” is a loose term and would be something roundish.

Just as an apple tree provides shade and nourishment, so our communion with Jesus is uplifting, invigorating, and refreshing. Thinking about him takes us away from our own problems. His doctrine, his words, are like “apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov. 25:11).

“I sat down under his shadow with great delight.” The espoused Bride is sitting under Jesus’ shadow; that is, she is sitting at his feet for instruction. Jesus is being likened to the apple tree; hence the shade provides a good atmosphere for quiet but penetrating spiritual pleasure. In the heat of the day, shade provides a delightful and welcome atmosphere.

Comment: In the clause “his fruit was sweet to my taste,” the “fruit” refers to the fruit of the Holy Spirit, that is, to the different aspects of Jesus’ character.

Reply: Yes. The flavor, or taste, of a pomegranate, with its seeds and red juice, is not one  distinct flavor, but a mixture. Perhaps the pomegranate is the fruit being referred to here. It would picture the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Song 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

The “banqueting house” can be thought of as a grapevine arbor or a “house of wine” (see King James margin). Our personal thought for this verse is that it is a future picture. Jesus is preparing a house for us, the occasion being the introduction of the Little Flock into heaven. Since 1878, any of the faithful Little Flock who die receive an instant resurrection. The first experience of the resurrected individual is to see Jesus, who gives a private commendation: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21). This greeting is done in a hallway outside the banqueting room. In the banqueting room are gathered all the faithful. After Jesus’ greeting, the newly resurrected individual enters the room and recognizes some faces. Of course most faces will not be known to the individual, but what joy and surprise upon mutual recognition!

Jesus said, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29). The raised saints will not be introduced to the Father until the entire 144,000 are there beyond the veil. At that time, they will be introduced as a group, and subsequently Jesus will confess the names of the different individuals in a special introduction to the Father and before the holy angels.

It is true that when we come into present truth as individuals, one of the features we first notice is the love of the brethren and fellowship and communion on the Lord’s Word. Nevertheless, this verse seems to be future.

Q: If verse 4 has a future application beyond the veil, how would that apply to verse 5? Why would one of the Little Flock have to be comforted in heaven?

A: Giving a future application to verse 4 may be approaching it from an emotional standpoint.

The time setting cannot be proven. However, this “Song” was written from the perspective of a finished picture, and it contains some movement that will be seen in later chapters. The Song progresses all down the age, and everything is viewed as having happened. For instance, the Little Flock is seen getting out of bed, the Great Company is reluctant to arise, a witness is given to Israel, etc. These events are all future, yet they are written as having happened. It is as though we are transferred to the very end of the age and are looking back at the feelings, reverence, devotion, and attitudes of the class who will be faithful, as well as the attitudes of the nominal Church, the Great Company, and others.

The point is that we cannot be dogmatic about the time setting here. Verse 4 could just as well be reasoned as a current expression, that is, on this side of the veil.

Song 2:5 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.

“Flagons” are raisin or grape cakes or goodies. The prospective Bride is lovesick; she is smitten with love for Jesus.

Comment: The NIV says, “For I am faint with love.” In other words, she is overcome with love.

Q: Isn’t the “lovesick” Bride so overwhelmed with her feelings for Jesus that she is pleading with him (“stay me with flagons,” “comfort me with apples”) for assurances that the hope engendered in her and the precious promises really can be fulfilled?

A: In a talk a few years ago, the speaker said, “If we were in a meeting and someone said that Jesus was in the next room, we would all run into that room.” But that statement requires some very serious thought. Would not the proper reaction be to get down on our knees and ask the Lord that if he considers us worthy to enter the room, would he please send someone out to reassure us? This subject is such hallowed ground—it is very serious and something we have sacrificed a great deal for. If we had not consecrated, we might have become something in the world, but all that became meaningless when we saw the high station and the nobility of Christ’s thinking. We would like to live, breathe, taste, and eat that pure atmosphere, but we cannot do so while still in the flesh. The old man yearns for different things, and in the present life, we cannot get rid of this monkey on our backs. We pray for help and fight not to submit to the wiles of the Adversary. Of the three temptations—the world, the flesh, and the devil— perhaps the most potent one is the flesh itself because it is with us every minute of the day.

Satan makes his intrusions sporadically, but the flesh is always with us and it has preferences along the lines of pride, importance, leadership, and pleasure. Regarding the world, some have literally given all their goods to the poor and gone into monasteries, but still the flesh and other problems were with them. Nevertheless, in proportion as we fight a good fight according to the strengths and weaknesses of our frame, we can be acceptable to the Lord.

Comment: We have been reading the book Pilgrim’s Progress, and many times on Christian’s way to the Celestial City, he needed refreshing and strengthening from the Lord. He had a scroll representing the Bible that he read for strength. The author, John Bunyan, vividly put the experiences and temptations of the Christian walk into this book.

Reply: The author had radical experiences earlier in his life, and his writing was just as graphic. Second to the Bible, it was the best seller in the past. Everyone in town knew him as a reprobate, but when he accepted Christ and changed, he was the opposite in every way. Seeing how his dedication to God changed his life just as radically the other way was a wonderful witness.

Comment: The NIV translates the beginning of verse 5: “Strengthen me with raisins; refresh me with apples.” The “flagons” of wine can be doctrines, and the Lord’s Word sustains us.

Song 2:6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.

Verse 6 concludes the comments of the espoused virgin class to Jesus in this sequence. In the final analysis, the theme of the Song of Solomon is the theme of those who ultimately become the Bride of Christ.

The left and right hands are contrasted. “His left hand is under my head.” The head is the seat of intellectual faculties.

Comment: Babies are supported by holding the back of their heads.

Reply: Yes, support and guidance are supplied by Jesus. The left hand steers the Bride toward the embrace. How? Through the Word of God.

“His right hand doth embrace me.” The right hand indicates a position of favor. It provides love and protection.

To the world, this is pure fantasy. They consider the faithful Christian a fanatic, always talking about the Bible. Sometimes they even view him as stupid.

Song 2:7 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

Verse 7 is directed to the “daughters of Jerusalem”—a worldly element in the Church. The “charge” is issued lest the prospective Bride lose her closeness to Jesus because of interference from professed Christians who are not in the same attitude of heart and mind. Examples: (1) Levity can destroy our filling with the Holy Spirit. (2) Sometimes a chairman’s prattling on afterwards can destroy the spirit of a talk. (3) Children should not be allowed to distract. Intense interest is rare among the professed people of God.

“Roes” and “hinds” frighten easily, being very sensitive to sound. Even the breaking of a twig sets them off. And so this precious love and fellowship between the prospective Bride and Jesus can be jarred. She wants no distracting influences.

The atmosphere that exists in certain studies under unusual circumstances seems to rise to a very high level of appreciation and reverence. If someone tells a joke at that time, the atmosphere is destroyed. A prayer meeting for one who is going through a trial can be adversely affected by someone who is not in the proper frame of mind. Those who are of kindred mind and in the proper mood should be gathered together for the prayer circle, even if the number is small. (Of course, others can pray about the matter at other times.) A reverential clime, or atmosphere, with everyone in sync makes the prayer more effective.

The thought is that those who disrupt or break the reverential atmosphere with trivia are going to pay a penalty in one way or another. It will cost such individuals something either in this life or in the next life. In some of his epistles, Paul tells us that in certain cases where conscience is involved, we must tread softly—not that the whole should yield to the one, not that the tail wags the dog, but under certain peculiar circumstances. Paul spoke of trouble in a class because a Christian with a Jewish background believed holy days should be observed and another Christian, a Gentile, believed they should not. Paul’s advice was to regard every day alike, but in the epistle, he wove in the thought that we have to be very careful of the feelings of others under circumstances that might be critical. An example of a critical circumstance is when someone is miffed or when something has been done that might make the difference between his fellowshipping with us and attending meetings, or not doing so. Another illustration, a personal experience, occurred when we were sitting at a table at a convention and a Jewish couple came in. They were very interested in our discussion, and this was their first convention. Then a brother came over and patronizingly put a hand on the shoulder of the newcomer (the man) and asked, “Did you tell them about Pastor Russell?” What a crude way to speak under the circumstances! Interrupting a conversation was impolite to start with, and then the comment made us sound like man-worshippers.

In summary, verse 7 is saying that anyone who disrupts an atmosphere which is conducive to reverence and holiness and absorption in higher things is displeasing the Lord. “I charge you” means “Pay attention! This is a warning!”

The question is, Who is speaking? Verse 7 ends in three different ways in various translations:  “nor awake my love, till he please,” “nor awake love, till it please,” and “nor awake love, till she please.” The correct ending is “nor awake love, till it please.”

If we are speaking of love as a quality that is easily affected by distracting influences, then the word “it” is permissible: “till it please.” Love is a sensitive atmosphere that can be easily turned off as a principle or a subject, just as the roe is easily distracted. With the pronoun “it” (“till it please”), the lesson is that an atmosphere can be destroyed through carelessness, levity, or some other act or change of subject. For instance, if group study is focused on a particular point and one party asks an irrelevant question, the atmosphere can be broken. The interruptive party spoils the atmosphere for the others.

We will now go into more depth to determine who is speaking in verse 7. We believe this verse is a commentary by the Holy Spirit, and some examples follow to show that the Holy Spirit, under one guise or another, can speak in Scripture.

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him [it] not, neither knoweth him [it]: but ye know him [it]; for he [it] dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17).“Howbeit when he [it], the Spirit of truth, is come, he [it] will guide you into all truth: for he [it] shall not speak of himself [itself]; but whatsoever he [it] shall hear, that shall he [it] speak: and he [it] will show you things to come” (John 16:13). This verse shows that the Holy Spirit “speaks,” commands, exhorts, etc. It manifests or expresses itself in one form or another.

“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (Acts 8:29). Here the Holy Spirit spoke in Philip’s ear in a mechanical method. The Spirit of God, the spirit of prophecy—this voice—let Philip know that he was to do something.

“While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee” (Acts 10:19). We know the Holy Spirit is not a personality, but it speaks direct. It has knowledge because it emanates from the Father through a mechanism.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26).

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).

“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions” (Prov. 8:12).

This is an important proof text, for here the Holy Spirit, under the role of Wisdom, used the pronoun “I.” “I wisdom [do such and such].” The Holy Spirit is not a personality. The personality subsequently introduced in Proverbs 8 is Jesus, not the Holy Spirit. At that point, Jesus began to personify Wisdom. Earlier, pronouns such as “she” and “her” were used for Wisdom, and the context shows it to be a principle. Wisdom, as the Holy Spirit, spoke and used the pronoun “I.”

We will read verse 7 again: “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.” First of all, the word “my” is supplied; that is, it is not in the Hebrew. The omission of this personal pronoun is very important. “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, … that ye stir not up, nor awake love….” The word “love” (Hebrew ahabah) is in the feminine because it is a quality. Love is not a personality, but a state or condition. The Hebrew has only two genders: masculine and feminine. However, there is an “it” inferentially. In other words, in order to make something understood in English, the pronoun “it” can be supplied. A footnote in one translation says that although “love” is feminine, the use of “it” is preferable. That is correct, for based on context, the Hebrew allows this liberty in the translation into English. In addition, the verb is “please.”

Therefore, instead of a personality (“he” or “she”), the thought would be “until love pleases”; that is, until this condition comes to a natural termination. This delicate situation of close communication should not be interrupted by any outside source.

Comment: The NIV says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

Reply: Yes, love is a condition, and the word ahabah is used elsewhere throughout the Song of Solomon in that same sense.

Comment: The RSV says, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the hinds of the field, that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please.”

Reply: In English, the pronoun “it” is used to make the thought coherent, but the word can be omitted to read simply “until love pleases.” The words of this verse are quoted several times elsewhere in Song of Solomon.

Song 2:8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

“Beloved” is masculine. Therefore, the wise virgin class is speaking. This verse is prophetic.

Comment: This verse pertains to the personal feeding Jesus is doing in a clearer, closer, and dearer sense here in the Harvest period.

Reply: He is coming down the space of time and is drawing near the consummation of the age.

The “hills” and “mountains” are kingdoms, democracies, and all sorts of governments in the historic past. “Leaping” and “skipping” indicate the expectation and joy Jesus experiences in coming nearer the Bride. Of course she appreciates the whole arrangement and is looking forward to a closer communion with him.

Prophetically or dispensationally speaking, the setting seems to be nearing the end or climax of the age. The passage of time is indicated by Jesus’ “coming upon the mountains” and “skipping upon the hills.” He is getting nearer and nearer to the fruition of the hopes of the Bride class (that is, not of individuals).

Jesus’ voice is heard as he approaches. The Master is approaching the Church with joy! He calls to her and she watches him coming closer. Anticipation and youth are involved. The love of Christ is not so intellectual that emotion is not involved. There is enthusiasm!

Song 2:9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice.

Verses 9 and 10 are also dispensational, bringing us down closer to the end of the age. The prospective Bride is speaking in both verses. She likens Jesus to “a roe or a young hart.”

“Behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice.” Three things need to be explained: the wall, the windows, and the lattice.

The common denominator for all three is that they are a barrier or a separation. However, the prospective Bride can see through the barrier because it has windows or is a lattice. In other words, the barrier is not a solid wall. The wall represents the flesh, which physically separates us from Jesus. It also particularly represents the Second Veil (the Veil of the Flesh) between the Holy and the Most Holy of the Tabernacle. (The entrance to the Holy is the Veil of the Mind, the Will.) We cannot get into the Most Holy except through the death of the flesh.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12). Seeing through the glass or veil “darkly” can mean it is translucent. There is a partial obstruction. We pray and commune with God (through Jesus) in the Holy, which is before the Second Veil. The passage of time is again indicated as the end of the age gets closer.

Comment: Seeing through a glass darkly applies to the whole Gospel Age, but now there are windows and a lattice. Dispensationally, we can see more clearly. The Lord has revealed more of his truth.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). This message to the Laodicean Church suggests a closeness.

A lattice has several apertures, and the windows are plural. What would these suggest?

Comment: Multiple confirmations in the Scriptures assure us of the fact that we are at the end of the age and in the time of Christ’s presence.

Reply: We are not dependent upon only one Scripture to prove the presence. The most important proof from the standpoint of time is the Jubilee, which is mathematical reasoning.

Another proof is “that servant” (Matt. 24:46). The Lord said that when he would see a servant faithfully having the right attitude and spirit, he would give him the responsibility for the goods. The evidence of the Second Presence of the Lord as a chronological fact fits in with other expectations. Jesus said he would sit down on this side of the veil and serve meat in due season (Rev. 3:20). The different facets of the “windows” confirm the fact of the Lord’s presence. And of course the ideal situation is to feel the love and joy in our hearts and not just in our heads. The “head” pertains to sight, to hearing.

Song 2:10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Song 2:11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

Before discussing verses 10 and 11, we will have a short review of verses 7-9.

Verse 7: “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.”

The fawn and the deer are gentle, delicate, innocent, very endearing creatures, but they are easily alarmed. The mere snapping of a twig startles and alarms them. Verse 6, which told about the left hand guiding and the right hand embracing, is linked with verse 7. The daughters of Jerusalem are admonished not to stir up or interrupt this close fellowship of endearment between Jesus and the Church. Who are the “daughters of Jerusalem”? The true “daughter” will marry Jesus. The “daughters of Jerusalem” have somewhat similar hopes, but they disrupt the tender fellowship that the prospective Bride enjoys with her Beloved. An example would be uttering untoward remarks that interrupt close fellowship between two brethren. Another example would be when someone hurts the feelings of one who is truly the Lord’s; the party doing the injuring is accountable.

Who is talking? Who is doing the charging? The Hebrew has “she,” not “he.” Therefore, is the Bride speaking, is Jesus speaking about love (“love” is feminine in the Hebrew), or is there another explanation? The Revised Standard Version has the proper thought: “until it please.”

In other words, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up nor awaken this relationship until it [love] please[s].” Just let love be until it comes to a natural termination. In other words, verse 7 is an expression of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is saying, “I am warning you: Do not interrupt the relationship between the King and his chief lover, the Bride class.” The Holy Spirit is referred to similarly in 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times….” In both instances, the Holy Spirit issues a warning.

Verses 8 and 9: “The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice.”

The Bride speaks in verses 8, 9, and the first part of verse 10, and then quotes Jesus in the rest of verse 10 through verse 13. She likens him to a roe or hart leaping upon the mountains. He shows himself “through the lattice.” Previously the Bride class was pictured down through the age, but now the narrative draws a picture of the coming of the end of the age. The parousia is the setting, the invisible Second Presence. At this time, a special enlightenment, or opening up of the Word, is possible through various interlocking and harmonious time prophecies and doctrines. Although we see through the dark glass imperfectly, at least we see through it, and we see him on the other side looking through the lattice at the Bride class down here (1 Cor. 13:12). He shows himself through the lattice work of present-truth time prophecies and doctrines.

Verses 10 and 11: “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.”

What does Jesus say to the Bride in verses 10 through 13? “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle[dove] is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

In verse 10, the setting is the Second Advent and the time for change. Jesus is calling this class from the tomb. The “winter” being past is not talking about the world’s winter Time of Trouble yet future but refers to those who, having experienced persecuting and trying conditions down through the Gospel Age, finished their course with faithfulness. Now comes their reward. For the saints who slept in the tomb from the days of the early Church until 1878, their “winter” is past. For them, the time of singing has come. This time setting ties in with the fig tree beginning to blossom in 1878. The Harvest message has beautifully harmonized many truths, so that we can now behold the Master more definitively. Also, promising evidences of change are all about. Actually, it is change and decay now, but the changes were predicted to be the cloud just before the sunrise. Thus the “winter” of the sleeping saints is past, their “rain” is over, and they have had their change.

“The rain is over and gone.” We normally think of rain as being favorable, as showers of blessing, but this is the winter rain in the cold, damp part of the year. The reference is to the time of deluge and uncomfortableness experienced by those who were faithful down through the Gospel Age. Their winter and the overwhelming “flooding” experiences are over.

Song 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

Song 2:13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

“The flowers appear on the earth” in the spring. “The time of the singing of birds” occurs when they are mating. Prophetically speaking, “mating” is the harmonizing of prophecy. Isaiah 34:16 reads, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” “No one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate” means that the time for understanding the fulfillment of prophecy has come. One bird represents prophecy foretold; the other bird represents prophecy fulfilled. The mating means it is accomplished—prophecy is fulfilled—and it is now history. And so many time periods are now understood in the Harvest period.

Examples are the 1,335 days, the secret presence of Christ, and Israel’s restoration and place in prophecy. All of these are signs of encouragement.

These events—the flowers appearing, the voice of the turtledove, the mating of birds, the fig tree putting forth her green (untimely, unripe) figs—followed the raising of the sleeping saints.

A lot of things happened in 1878: the sleeping saints were raised, the fig tree (Israel) put forth leaves, Petatikva was established, Babylon was rejected from favor, and the Jewish double ended. These were all signs of spring, but not of summer.

The last part of verse 13, “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away,” is similar to Jesus’ words in verse 10. However, this time another word is used. Instead of saying “Come away,” the Hebrew carries the following thought: “Come, you—you! You yourself come!” “Arise, and you come!” The emphasis is on the sleeping saints being called forth from the tomb to be in earth’s atmosphere. Jesus calls them to “come away” for they have made it! They are part of the Little Flock!

At present, many end-of-the-age prophecies have not yet been fulfilled, but they will be. Each bird finding its mate is related to the picture of the camels and the asses in Isaiah 21:5-7.

“Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed.” Two animals are described: a train of camels and a train of asses, one behind the other. Isaiah, in vision, saw the same person on both animals. The thought is not that the rider has one foot on one animal and the second foot on the other, but that as one of the Little Flock, his face will be on the one riding the camel down here in the desert of sin and also on the one riding the horse of victory. The one on the camel has made his calling and election sure, and therefore, he is seen on the horse as being faithful. When Isaiah saw the animals coming, he knew that Babylon had fallen.

Comment: The New International Version says, “The season of singing has come.” Jesus is saying to the Bride, “Summer has not yet come, but the Millennial Age has started. For the Church, the season of singing has come.” Bro. Frey said that the turtledove undoubtedly has a reference to improving the conditions of the poor and the oppressed. He referred back to the Tabernacle sacrifices where the poor could bring turtledoves, and these are the blessings for the poor.

Reply: Verses 12 and 13 are an understanding of God’s plan but primarily the time factor, that is, knowing we are in the Harvest and at the end time of prophecy. This understanding is promising to us, for if we look at the world, we see a picture of confusion. Yes, in the type, the poor could give a handful of incense or flour, and for them, that constituted a sin offering, which normally required blood. However, in the antitype, the very poor in understanding (those who are limited in their potential development) are given credit because of their spirit. “The vines with the tender grape give a good smell.” The supplied word “good” should be omitted, for the smell is distinctive but not a pleasant one. However, when that odor is in the air, it signifies that the grapes are developing and that the vine has life in it. At this point, the grapes are not edible.

Q: Does the “fig tree” refer to when Israel is starting to get established?

A: Yes. Not only did Petatikva occur in 1878, but the nation of Israel was reestablished in 1948.

However, the nation is still untimely today, for its recognition in the Kingdom will be on a much different basis. Nevertheless, we see a form, an organization. The bones have come together, and flesh is on the bones (Ezek. 37:1-10). Everything is there, but the breath is lacking. The breath will be imparted at the time of Jacob’s Trouble. Then the nation will be truly revitalized, and the Ancient Worthies will be installed in office. The Pastor saw the fig tree put forth leaves in 1878, and we saw the untimely figs when the nation was reestablished in 1948.

Both the resurrected saints in earth’s atmosphere and the prospective Bride still in the flesh behold these promises and see prophecy being fulfilled.

Song 2:14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Jesus now speaks. Attention is taken away from the risen saints and directed down here to those who remain in the flesh, to those who are “in the clefts of the rock [Jesus].” The dead in Christ rise first, and then, afterward, those who remain (1 Thess. 4:16,17). To be in the clefts of “the rock” is to be covered with the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

The term “clefts of the rock” refers, figuratively, to those still down here who are living by faith.

The “secret places of the stairs” are related to Jacob’s ladder; specifically, they are the prayer ladder, or secret prayer staircase, by which we can communicate with Jesus and God. Faith and prayer make communion possible. Jesus is telling the Bride to stay close to him, his Word, and his fellowship—and personal, private prayer is essential—in order to receive the refreshment that is necessary to finish their course in faithfulness. Prayer is very important—we are instructed to “watch and pray” (Matt. 26:41).

Song 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

The prospective Bride is speaking in verses 15-17. The “foxes” (little violations of our covenant) are problems that interfere with our communication with Jesus.

Comment: The Revised Standard Version has “Catch us the foxes”; that is, we are to recognize and deal with the little violations of our covenant. We are to stop them.

Reply: In other words, the thought of “take” is “capture” or “catch.” The foxes are violations of principle or conscience, being overcharged with the cares of this life, being deceived by riches—anything that would stop us from full faithfulness.

Our “vines” should develop “tender grapes.” Anything that would stop this development is to be halted, for a vine is adversely affected by little nibblings. A violation can spoil the fruitage so that it will not be completely acceptable to the harvester (the Lord). The “tender grapes” would be the fruitage of the Holy Spirit. Negligence is inimical to the Holy Spirit. Again, watching and praying seem to be the mood of these comments.

Comment: The Pastor said that little sins are more dangerous than grosser sins because we are less likely to be on guard against them. Foxes are very cunning, not capable of ferocity and viciousness, but they are, nevertheless, the cause of much harm. An appearance of docility makes them more dangerous and less likely to arouse suspicion of their evil intention.

Comment: Bro. Martin Mitchell wrote a children’s book on the “Little Foxes,” but adult thinking and principles are in that book.

Consider a tree, even a mature one. If we continuously walk around the foot of a tree where the roots are, the tree is very sensitive and can be damaged. Hence the “little foxes” are these habitual, small violations that are more continuous and not easily recognizable as dangerous to the new creature. Anything repetitive can have a devastating effect.

Comment: Along that line, the huge, tall redwood tree is particularly susceptible to root damage because the roots are so close to the surface. It appears to be one of the most durable trees, but that is not the case. Moreover, because the wood itself is so durable and is naturally preserved against insects, the fragile nature of the root system is surprising.

Reply: The tundra above the timberline is also very fragile. Where visitors frequent a spot, a path is designated so that inadvertent walking will not occur on the tundra. It takes years to replace damaged plants.

Song 2:16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

The Bride is saying that Jesus feeds among the lilies.

Comment: This verse ties in with verse 1, in which the Church says, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” The “lily” is the common little flower of the lowlands, so Jesus “feeds” (has communion and fellowship) among this humble, meek class. In olden times, to receive hospitality gave one a feeling of security and protection. If a person could get into the tent of an enemy and converse with him and plead for mercy, he would never be killed. Thus the safest place was in the house of the enemy. George Washington, with all of his problems, had a rule that during dinner, no strife or unpleasantness could mar the peace or be discussed. A principle of ancient times was not to bring problems to the table of fellowship.

Song 2:17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

Verse 17 refers back to verse 9. Jesus is standing “like a roe or a young hart,” and the prospective Bride wants him to continue in this condition.

In countries with hills and mountains, the roe and the deer are very adept. Like mountain goats, they scamper up mountains and jump from one crevice to another. The “mountains of Bether” signify mountains of division, or separation; i.e., the separation between the heavenly and the earthly. One mountain (the earthly) is on this side of the veil, and the other (the spiritual) is on the other side of the veil. The Bride class desires the gap to be bridged.

Comment: The word “turn” in the French translation is “come again,” which is “return.”

Reply: The Hebrew word is literally “turn.” The thought is to turn from something else.

“Day break” would be Millennial dawn, when the sun comes up. The Manna comment from Leeser is, “At the dawning of (her) morning” (Psa. 46:5). The dawning of the Church’s morning will precede the dawning for the world.

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