Understanding The Bible
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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
CANTICLE NUMBER 10
5:2--6:3: "The Song about the Altogether Lovely One"
The Setting of the Song
Time: After Marriage
Occasion: A troubled dream. See discussion of 3:1-5.
|HISTORICAL SETTING||SPIRITUAL APPLICATION|
5:2-5 The Shulamite dreams of an urgent night
She dreams that he made a visit to her (while they were still in Lebanon), evidently wishing to discuss something urgent, for it was at night.
|"He slumbers not nor sleeps." He often has "urgent business." "Could ye not watch with me one hour?"|
|5:3 She refuses entrance through laziness.||
And we miss the opportunity and disappoint His
heart through just plain laziness.
5:4 She describes what he then did.
Read it: "My heart was moved for him" (or "in me"). She cries out and goes to the door ... too late, for
|How often our heart smites us when we realize we have failed Him, and we run to the door too late, only to find a token of His love despite our unfaithfulness.|
|5:5 He had followed the oriental custom of putting myrrh on the door handle (instead of something like our leaving a bouquet). fragrance of his love.||Only love would say, "The spirit is will, but the flesh is weak," instead of strong criticism of our failure.|
5:6-8 Her dream becomes a nightmare as she
5:6 She opens, but he has gone.
|To fail to open, when He is knocking, is to miss the joy of His presence and to expose ourselves to needless frantic fears.|
|5:7 In her dream she searches for him in the streets of Jerusalem. The watchmen "ran her in," beating her as she put up resistance, and they took away her veil so that all might see her to be what she must be to be running around the city unescorted at night -- a harlot.||
Failure to "talk with Him" (pray), when He seeks
us, causes us to lose our calm before the world, and causes us
to do many things unbecoming Christians, so that people do not
receive us for what we are (the Bride of Christ), but steal our
veil of purity and make us appear to be the Bride of Christ in
disgrace ("adulteress," Jas. 4:4).
With that scorn they treat our unfaithful testimony. Our testimony should distinguish us (veil), but they tear it away, and wound us with well-deserved but stinging words. (Illustration of a girl at a dance who said to a fellow: "Are you a Christian?" "Of course not, are you?" "Yes." "Then what in the world are you doing here?")
|5:8 In her dream, presumably after daybreak, she meets some women to whom she pours out her tale of woe in desperation.||Too often we show our failure to a world that cares nothing that we have wandered from Christ and can see no reason why we should want to get back to Him.|
5:9 The Daughters of Jerusalem speak with
The care nothing for her or him, and ask with irritation, why she should trouble them.
|They are plainly bored and irritated.|
5:10-16 The Bride's description of the altogether
Here we have her glowing description of him. Thoroughly repentant, she longs for him alone and tells of her love for him. Their very challenge jolts her into remembering how wonderful he is and how poorly she has acted.
What a portrait of Christ! When we have failed,
do we tell the world we were fools to leave the fellowship of
such an "altogether lovely Lover" and that we are going back to
Him? Such a witness may accomplish something (6:1). Jonah did
it. So may we. When we get our thoughts on Him, things change.
No longer do we feverishly search for Him, but rejoice in His
Observe that it is now the Bridegroom Himself who occupies her heart, not His gifts -- myrrh and washed feet (Jn. 13:2-9).
|NOTE: "The Bride never speaks of the Bridegroom's perfection to Himself as if to approve of Him; she speaks of Him fully to others, as expressing her own feeling, but not to Him. He speaks fully and freely of her to herself as assuring her of His delight in her." This should be a sufficient answer to those who address our Lord disrespectfully as "Dear Jesus" and "Precious Jesus," etc. We may so speak of Him to others, but not to Himself. Let us never forget that He is God! No friend of our Lord ADDRESSED Him simply as "Jesus"! Give Him His rightful title, "Lord Jesus."|
6:1 The Daughters of Jerusalem desire to see
They say, "May we seek him with thee?" Interest has been aroused by her witness concerning Him.
Such glowing testimony is infectious. If we
describe Him to others in His beauty, as we see Him, they will
want to see Him too!
"So soon as the bride witnesses to the Bridegroom's own personal loveliness, a desire is awakened in the daughters of Jerusalem to seek Him." See Scofield note. There is a vast difference between this and simply inviting people to your church.
6:2-3 The Bride answers.
Dreamlike, she suddenly remembers he had often told her where he was going, i.e., back to his sheepfold.
She drifts back to restful sleep again in the assurance of his love.
|How blessed it is that our Great Shepherd is quietly going about His business, tending His sheep, even while we are in such agitation. Our storm does not change His calm. And we can return to the calm shelter of His presence at any moment we will to do so and rest in His love.|
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