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Instruction and Embracing
Here a new chapter begins, but Song of Solomon 8:1-Numbers : still belong to the previous section. We see this in the chorus of Song of Solomon 8:4 that closes the part (cf. Song of Solomon 2:7; Song of Solomon 3:5). After the beautiful climax at the end of the previous chapter, we see that the situation of final and undisturbed happiness has not yet arrived. It is not yet the time of the kingdom of peace. This is evident from the last verse of the book, in which the bride expresses her longing for the groom’s imminent arrival.
Love has experienced great growth. But there has been no wedding yet. They cannot yet openly appear as men and women. The bride longs for that time. Thus the remnant in the great tribulation will feel just before the coming of the Lord Jesus. They will long for Him.
It seems that the bride does not dare to openly express her relationship with the groom. Therefore she sighs, as it were, that the groom would be her brother, fed by the same mother. From a prophetic point of view this also is the case. The remnant of Jerusalem is the daughter of Israel (Ezekiel 23:2-Numbers :). The Lord Jesus was also born of Israel according to the flesh (Romans 9:4-Deuteronomy :).
We also hear that the groom calls the bride “my sister” several times (Song of Solomon 4:9; Song of Solomon 4:10Song of Solomon 4:12; Song of Solomon 5:1Song of Solomon 5:2). Then he is her brother. She seems to have forgotten that. In any case, she is looking for him again, not so much as her groom, but as her brother. We can also see a proof of Jerusalem’s love for the Messiah. The city loves Him, here not so much because He is her King, but because of Who He Himself is in His family relationship with her. That is why she wants to have Him close by to give Him her love. This selfless love does not give rise to contempt.
Our selfless love for the Lord Jesus is often not understood by our surroundings. Sometimes we are also ashamed to show in no uncertain terms that we love Him. Yet others will not despise us if we show our relationship with Him in our lives by revealing His own features. When His love, His peace and His joy are visible in our lives, it is not despised. We may not talk about our love for Him, but in our lives, it becomes visible that He is our life.
In her attachment to the groom the bride wants to take him to the house where her origin is to be instructed by him (Song of Solomon 8:2). She wants her thinking to be corrected. This is also an important wish for us. We also need to receive the instruction of God’s Word again and again because we are easily influenced in our thinking by the world or to have our thinking corrected when we still think worldly.
“The house of my mother” recalls the roots of her existence. The new Israel, the faithful remnant, is based on the old promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She wants to learn more about that. The connection that Jerusalem, the remnant, will have with the Messiah is based on the connection that God has had with Israel in the past. The faithful remnant of the future must be connected with Israel from the past as the people of God.
God will fulfill the promises He made to the old Israel, to the new Israel. He will do so on the basis of the work of the Messiah – the promised Posterity – on the cross. It is also important for us to know who our mother is. Our mother is the heavenly Jerusalem and the mountain of Zion, the mountain of grace (Galatians 4:22-Hosea :; Hebrews 12:22).
We are connected with our heavenly Bridegroom only by grace and not by works of the law or by any of our own works. If we know this, we will also desire to be instructed by Him about our connection with Him and about the grace that underlies it. Grace gives that instruction (Titus 2:11-2 Kings :). Grace gives us the necessary instruction to live as believers.
This instruction is a continuous learning process. This enables new people to honor God in their new walk in life. In this instruction it first becomes clear that the past has been dealt with. The instruction relates to the past, the present and the future.
An attitude of longing for instruction from Him is a joy for Him, which is expressed in the spiced wine. The spiced wine represents the joy that is aroused by the glories that can be found with Him. Those the believer offers the Lord Jesus. The juice of pomegranates that the believer offers the Lord Jesus speaks of the fruit that is pleasing to Him. It is a fruit that produces new fruit over and over again. It represents a life in which one fruit after another is produced for Him.
The result of the instruction is that the believer desires to be so close to Him again that he experiences His support and embrace (Song of Solomon 8:3; cf. Song of Solomon 2:6). Left is the side of the heart. His left hand raises her head, reminding her that He loves her. Right is the side of strength, honor, protection. The protection feels like an embrace, in love.
For the third time the chorus of Song of Solomon 8:4 sounds. Love should not be forced to express itself prematurely. We should not constrain young believers to expressions of love they are not ready for. The Lord goes with them His way and will ensure that their love for Him will grow.
Love must be found among each other and for that we must be encouraged (Hebrews 10:24). We can encourage each other to love. We may not demand anything from anyone that is not (yet) there or for which it is not time. In dependence on the Lord, we must learn to know the time for this.
Coming Up From the Wilderness
Here the last part of the book begins. Here we find again the question who the bride is (cf. Song of Solomon 3:6). She leans on her beloved as she comes up from the wilderness. For us, this means that the best way to go through the wilderness of the world is to lean on the Lord Jesus. We are all too inclined to rely on other means and not on Him. He helps us through the wilderness of this life and appears with us at the end of the wilderness journey. This is also a picture of the remnant, that leaning on Him comes out of great tribulation. He picks up His bride Himself.
The bride comes out of the wilderness again, now not on a traveling coach as in Song of Songs 3 (Song of Solomon 3:6-Judges :), but leaning upon her beloved. That refers to open relationship. The wilderness is mentioned here for the last time in this book. It is no longer about her, but about the groom, the beloved on whom she leans. It is trusting love. We see here that he is her strength and she his beloved.
The experiences of the wilderness are behind her. She has learned to lean fully on him. It also means that he was with her in the wilderness. She is not only in his company, but is dependent on him, she leans on him. The wilderness journey is over. With her is weakness, with him is strength. Leaning is relying on the strength of someone else. We must learn to lean all the way on the Lord Jesus. The wilderness experiences in our lives are over when we have learned to lean only on Him.
In the wilderness we are tested. We learn to know our weakness and to be dependent on Him. He also comes from the wilderness. This also applies to the faithful remnant that comes from the great tribulation. They have called unto the LORD, and He hath delivered them out of their tribulation. They come out, leaning upon Him. They will acknowledge that He leads them out of the wilderness, for they themselves have no strength to free themselves from it.
We need support because we do not have strength of our own to go further. If we are aware of this, our environment will see that we do not rely on our own strength, but on Christ. Just as the bride leans on her beloved, so we rely on Him. Leaning you do against something of which you expect it remains standing, you trust it to give firmness and not collapses. Christ never disappoints, He is the unshakable rock.
Israel has relied on Egypt. The LORD says that it is “the staff of this crushed reed”. Whoever leans on that, will not get the expected support, but torture (Isaiah 36:6). That’s how it goes with us when we trust in human wisdom and lean on it. Then we collapse and hurt ourselves, because that staff breaks. All relying on people not only disappoints, but causes suffering.
Israel has also relied on the law (Romans 2:17). They have relied on works of their own righteousness in order to gain the favor of God. But it led them to reject the Lord Jesus. The big change comes when they will see and confess that. That will be the work of the Spirit in their hearts. When they come out of great tribulation, they will no longer rely on the law, but on Christ.
During His life on earth He Himself has been the great Example of trusting God. He has a word for those who fear the Lord, for He has done it perfectly. To them He says that if they go through darkness and have no light – which prophetically is seen in the great tribulation – they must then trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God (Isaiah 50:10).
Then the groom speaks to the bride. He points out to her where the change she has undergone in the wilderness has begun. He tells her he has brought her back to life under the apple tree. The bride compares the groom again with an apple tree (Song of Solomon 2:3). In the picture the bride, that is the remnant, Jerusalem, owes her life to Him. He has awakened that new life in her.
This has happened because of the pain, the contractions, of the great tribulation that has come upon the mother, Israel. In this way she entered the new life (Matthew 24:8; Jeremiah 30:6-Judges :; Isaiah 66:7-1 Samuel :). She is as it were born again. The dead Israel has come to new life.
He awakened her “under the apple tree” and made her His property. There she was born. Everything she has, she has from Him. All experiences are now behind, but they have not been forgotten. We will continue to be reminded to see Who He has been for us and what we have been and what we have become through Him. We will see this when we are revealed before the judgment seat of Christ.
Love Is Strong As Death
The bride is deeply impressed by what the groom has done for her by giving her new life. She reacts to this by her desire to be attached to him like a seal (cf. Jeremiah 22:24; Haggai 2:23). We will also express this desire when we are impressed by all that the Lord Jesus has done in His love for us on the cross of Calvary. Then we want to experience His love deeper and richer.
We will say to Him that we want to be “like a seal over Your heart”. We know that we are firmly connected to Him. The Holy Spirit is the seal, for we are sealed with Him. This is how we know His ownership of our lives (2 Corinthians 1:21-Song of Solomon :; Ephesians 1:13). Through the Spirit we are connected with Christ. This is a connection that cannot be broken. The Spirit is His seal, which says that we are His property forever. This certainty can never change.
But we also want to experience that. We want to feel His heart beating for us. The heart speaks of the feelings of love. We also want to feel as firm as a seal His strong arm carrying us. His arm speaks of strength and protection (Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 40:10-1 Kings :).
In the Old Testament there is no constant certainty in knowing a fixed relationship between the people and God. We may have that certainty, but we often lack the experience of it. The desire here is that love is experienced. He loves us and stands by us with His power. It begins with His heart, which is called first. Then follows inseparably attached to it His arm. His arm is always controlled by His heart.
Then follows an impressive description of the love of the groom. It is not clear who pronounces this description, the bride or the Spirit. It is clear that the bride and the Spirit correspond perfectly in this description.
Love is said to be “strong as death. Love and death are compared here. It is not about showing who is stronger, because that is not a question: love is stronger than death. It is a comparison of what love is capable of and what death is capable of. Then there are agreements. Just as death overcomes every power and continues until all people, so does love.
Death, the grave, is unstoppable, it can be stopped by nothing. Unstoppable, insatiable he swallows people (Proverbs 30:15-Nehemiah :). No one can escape his grip. The same goes for the passion of love. Love always goes on, it always flows on; love knows no boundaries, it knows no beginning and no end. Love can be rejected, but then she goes new ways. She is unstoppable in her passion. Love goes to everyone and it goes to the end (John 13:1). With this love we have to do. That love has given itself for us (John 15:13).
The expressions of love are compared with “flashes of fire”, with “the [very] flame of the LORD”. It is an all-consuming love. Any other love disappears through it. This love sets us on fire. God seeks people who are on fire for Him, just as He Himself is on fire. This means that He judges everything that is not in accordance with His love. With this fiery zeal for the honor of His God, the Lord has cleansed the temple (John 2:15-Esther :).
But through the jealousy of His love, the dimly burning wick, which is almost extinguished, can also become a flame again (Isaiah 42:2-Leviticus :). He can do that with us if we don’t ‘flame’ for Him and our testimony is only dimly burning. His love cannot change by death. He has proven that. Love is sealed by His victory over death. It is an invincible love, for the greatest power is overcome by His love. Nothing can separate us from that love (Romans 8:35-Malachi :). With us, time and distance can cool love, but not with Him.
Another picture of love is the comparison with many waters that cannot extinguish or wash away the fire of love. The waters can be applied to the waters of God’s judgment that have gone over the Lord Jesus (Psalms 42:7; Psalms 69:1-Exodus :). These waters have not been able to take away that love. The love of the Lord Jesus has endured the judgment and has gloriously emerged from it.
The love of the Lord Jesus cannot be bought off either. Satan has tried it by offering Him “all the riches of his house”, that is the world and his glory (Luke 4:5-Judges :). But the Lord has utterly despised him. He has just sold everything to possess that one “one pearl of great value”, that is the church (Matthew 13:45-1 Corinthians :)!
Instead of enriching Himself at the expense of her, He acquired her at the expense of His own riches, yes, at the expense of Himself for Himself as property, because He loved her (2 Corinthians 8:9). The Lord Jesus did not die for an ‘ideal’, but out of love for His bride. We can say with deep gratitude: “And the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
The Bride and Her Sister
In this book we hear for the first time about a sister of the bride. She talks about “we”, meaning herself and the groom who is also her brother. Her little sister was not yet an adult. She has “no breasts” yet, which means that she cannot pass on food herself. She is prophetically a picture of the ten tribes that are still in the scattering. Her question is what she and the groom will be able to do for her. She also wants to connect her with the groom.
This speaks figuratively of the desire to familiarize other believers who do not know many of the truths of the connection between the Lord Jesus and the church with these truths. With such believers there is no spiritual maturity yet. We may talk about this with the Lord and ask Him what we can do.
Many are like that little sister, they have new life, but nothing to pass on. They are still too busy with themselves. It may be a newly converted person or someone who has fallen back into his old life and wants to return to the Lord. Or perhaps to someone who has not yet grown in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus through a wrong, one-sided preaching. It is a good desire to help others in those situations to regain a good view of the Lord Jesus. This is a work that requires a lot of patience.
The question is how the little sister is doing or, prophetically, how the ten tribes are doing (Song of Solomon 8:9). The answer comes from the groom. A wall speaks of separation between the sacred and the unholy (Ezekiel 42:20). The wall ensures that we are closed to the wrong and that the good is preserved. The question regarding the ten tribes is who really is separated from them for God and lives dedicated to Him.
If this is so with this sister, she can be told what her delivery means, which is represented by the battlement of silver. This must be made known to her by instruction. It must be made clear to her what the silver of salvation means (1 Peter 1:18-Psalms :). She has the position, but not the practice that should follow from it.
A battlement is a defensive wall. The best defense against any enemy attack is to stand on the foundation of salvation. The justification by God’s grace, by the redemption which is in Christ Jesus through His blood (Romans 3:24-Lamentations :), gives the full assurance of salvation. That salvation must be worn like a helmet (Ephesians 6:17). This protects our thoughts from the devil’s whisperings that you can’t be so sure.
If this sister is a door, there must be a bolt. If there is no bolt, she is open to wrong teachings. When they get entrance, it leads her away from the truth. Therefore, care must be taken to her. The planks of cedar must be fitted. Cedar wood is the covering of the temple, God’s dwelling place in the Old Testament (1 Kings 6:9-2 Samuel :).
A believer who is open to wrong doctrine must be made aware that he belongs to God’s dwelling place, the church, that he is a member of the church. Through teaching about the church, the meaning of belonging to the church of God and the distinction between good and evil must be clarified.
The bride knows for herself that she is a wall, that she is completely separated for the groom. That her “breasts were like towers” means that she has spiritually grown up. She is able to pass on food. She did so with a view to the spiritual vigilance, of which the towers speak. What we pass as truths, the teaching of the truth of God’s Word, makes us watchful for the enemy. His aim is to distort and remove the spiritual truths.
Whoever is spiritually mature and vigilant will find peace in the eyes of the Lord Jesus. It is a peace that is the result of complete surrender to Him. If a city is besieged by an enemy and surrenders, this results in peace and rest for the city and also service instead of destruction (cf. Deuteronomy 20:1-1 Kings :).
He wants us to surrender to Him in this way, to extradite ourselves, as it were, to Him. Then we find true peace. As long as we resist Him, we have no peace (Job 9:4). We have peace when we have the desire to pass on spiritual food to our fellow believers and to make them aware of the dangers that exist.
Prophetically, it is about the peace of Jerusalem. For that peace we may pray (Psalms 122:6-Judges :). That is not peace that is being forced upon the peoples, not even the peace that Israel itself is forcing. That peace is unattainable. It is about the peace that Jerusalem or the remnant will find when it is in the arms of the Messiah after the great tribulation. He will then make a covenant of peace with Jerusalem. That peace will be lasting for thousand years (Ezekiel 37:26).
The name “Solomon”, with which Song of Solomon 8:11 begins, appears seven times in this book (Song of Solomon 1:1; Song of Solomon 1:5Song of Solomon 3:7; Song of Solomon 3:9Song of Solomon 3:11; Song of Solomon 8:11Song of Solomon 8:12). His name means ‘peace’. If there is peace (Song of Solomon 8:10), it is possible to work from that peace. We have the task to work in the vineyard. That is, we live with the peace of God in our hearts and are a joy for God in everything we do. A vineyard speaks of work and of joy. We may serve the Lord with joy (Psalms 100:2).
The vineyard of Solomon was in Baal-hamon, which means ‘lord of a multitude’. It points to the reign of Christ as the Prince of Peace over many peoples and it recalls the promise to Abraham that in him “all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). In the last syllable of the name ‘Abraham’ the Hebrew word for ‘multitude’ can be heard. His name means ‘father of a multitude’.
Christ has not only Israel as a vineyard, but also all nations. He entrusted the vineyard of the nations “to caretakers” that are the kings who rule over these nations. They will bring the proceeds of their fruits to the Messiah in Jerusalem in the kingdom of peace (Psalms 72:1; Psalms 72:10-1 Kings :; cf. Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 60:6-1 Samuel :). The thousand silver pieces as yield represent an enormous value (cf. Isaiah 7:23). This capital is brought up as an estimate year on year, during the whole time of the kingdom of peace.
Our heavenly Solomon now also has a vineyard, the responsibility of which He has entrusted to us. It costs something to work in His vineyard. There is certainly a reward for the work, but here it is about what it costs us. We must take care of the vineyard and the fruit is for the Lord Jesus.
In Song of Solomon 8:12 the bride talks about her own vineyard again. She spoke about this earlier. But then she was not faithful in taking care of it. As a result, she could not give fruit to the groom (Song of Solomon 1:16). Now her vineyard is in order. She guards and cares for it, so she is also able to offer the proceeds to Solomon. What she has done is by his strength, but she offers the result herself.
The yield is also more than that of the vineyard of Solomon in Song of Solomon 8:11. She has a thousand plus two hundred silver pieces, that is two hundred more than the vineyard of the nations has yielded. It shows that in the kingdom of peace the small vineyard of God’s people will have a greater yield than the nations together.
She also lets others share in the proceeds. The two hundred are a double tenth. They are “for those who take care of its fruit”. The caretakers of the fruit are a picture of those who care for the church, the elders or overseers. Those “who govern well” should be “considered worthy of double honor” (1 Timothy 5:17).
In a general sense, it is God’s thought that we give both to God and to our neighbor. When we have received blessings, it is to give them back to the Lord and to share them with others. This applies both spiritually and physically (Deuteronomy 26:1-Numbers :; Deuteronomy 26:12-1 Chronicles :; Hebrews 13:15-Nehemiah :).
Here Solomon speaks for the last time in this book (Song of Solomon 8:13). The bride was in the wilderness, but now she is in “the gardens”, which are places of enjoyment. These are all the places where fruit is produced for the groom. There she lives, there she has found peace and rest, there she enjoys everything there is to find, because everything speaks of him.
She speaks about everything she finds there to others who are also present, the “companions”. They hear her voice and heed it. She has something to tell about what is worth listening to. The groom doesn’t say she is not allowed to do that. But he would also like to hear the bride’s own voice, which means that she not only speaks about him to others, but that she speaks to him, that she addresses him. She may address others to give them her own blessings, which will be the case in the realm of peace, but the most important thing for him is that her love continues to go first and foremost to him.
This is how the Lord Jesus desires to hear our voice. Work for Him is important, speaking about Him to others is a command. He also then hears our voice. But He so desires to hear our voice, that we speak to Him. We may also apply this to our meetings or other opportunities when we speak of Him.
We may speak about Him, but let us also speak to Him. He wants to hear our voice, the voice of the brothers loud in thanksgiving and prayers, and the brothers and sisters together in singing and saying “Amen” and in thanking in their hearts. Do we let Him hear our voice in thanksgiving when we have spoken about Him with others? He longs for it.
The whole Word of God is full of His glory. If we have seen little of that yet, it is because we have read little in God’s Word. That can change. We are given a new opportunity to get to know more of Him by redefining God’s Word as the central place in our lives.
We can also apply this to our prayer life. Do we speak to Him? Does He hear our voice? He longs for it. There are people who always talk, who produce a stream of words, without it making any difference to them whether others listen or not. That is not the way the believer speaks to the Lord. The believer speaks while He listens. He speaks to Him from fellowship with Him, from the fullness of the heart. In eternity we will do this in a perfect way.
The bride is speaking at the beginning of the book and she also speaks, in Song of Solomon 8:14, the last words of this book. These are words that bear witness to the deep longing in her heart for the coming of her beloved. The association of bride and groom is not yet a fact. If he comes, it will be with the elegance of a gazelle and the joy of a stag. The mountains will be full of the fragrance of spices.
It is as if we are hearing the last words of the New Testament, where “the Spirit and the bride say, “Come” (Revelation 22:17). The Lord Jesus replies: “Yes, I am coming quickly”, to which the bridal church responds with the words: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). It is the spontaneous expression of longing for Himself, for His Person.
The mountains of difficulties are no obstacle for Him to come. When He comes, all difficulties will be overcome by Him, through which those mountains will be covered with spices. Over all the difficulties He overcomes, there will be the sweet fragrance of His excellence.
This applies to Jerusalem when He comes to her, and it applies to the church when He comes to her. It already applies to our personal faith life when He comes into our lives and overcomes the difficulties. His victory for us is not in the fact that He takes away the difficulties, but in the fact that He carries us through the difficulties to His goal: close fellowship with Him.
Is there any of the readers who are not yet looking forward to the Lord Jesus with longing, but would like to be there when He comes? The invitation to such a person still sounds: “And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Revelation 22:17).
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Song of Solomon 8". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany