Christian Churches of God

No. F022i

 

 

 

Commentary on

Song of Songs: Part 1

 

(Edition 2.0 19951021-19990607)

 

This paper is a detailed commentary on the Song of Songs using the rabbinical commentaries themselves to isolate the clear Messianic intent of the Song. This surprising story is a must for all who would see the possibility of the conversion of Judah and understand better the nature of the Church and its relationship with Messiah.

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

 

(Copyright © 1995, 1999, 2020 Wade Cox)

 

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Commentary on Song of Songs: Part 1

 


Audio A

The Song of Songs is a most powerful allegory. The real intent of the Song has not been understood. It particularly relates to the conversion of Israel and Judah. Basically it is written in allegory and was not meant to be understood until the last days. The five songs of the Song have long been held most holy by rabbinical authorities. We will see just how close they are to the truth in their understanding. They just don’t make the jump. This paper attempts to tie the Song in with the New Testament to make it much easier for anyone with the knowledge of Judaism to make the jump. The aim is to assist them in understanding the Messianic import of the Song of Songs as the book of Esther had an enormous Messianic input as we saw. When we unravel the book of Esther and Proverbs 31 as we did and the Song of Songs, we see from the Old Testament that they understood what was happening in the Messianic prophecies. They understood what the New Testament had to say. The New Testament merely reinforces the Old, not replaces it.

 

The repetition of the noun in the genitive expresses the superlative; e.g. most holy (Ex. 29:37; lit. holy of holies. The naos, or holy of holies as the Temple of God, is in fact the Church as the elect in the NT (1Cor. 3:16-17)). This is regarded as the choicest of Songs composed by Solomon (cf. 1Kgs. 5:12) (Metsudath David). The rabbis interpreted the phrase as a double song in which extensive use is made of parallelism. R. Simon said that it is double and re-duplicated, containing Israel’s praise of God and God’s praise of holiness. This view, as we will see, is only part of the story. The Soncino deals with Malbim's approach to the Song of Songs and the allegory involved. Malbim totally rejects Rashi's approach to the Song which the Soncino notes as being shared by most exegetes, although they differ in details (see Ibn Ezra, Akedath Yitschak, and Metsudath). Malbim rejects their interpretation that this is a parable of a love story, symbolising the love between the Lord and His people Israel.

 

Malbim's interpretation adds interesting comment on the story. The Soncino quotes this extract from his introduction and epilogue. This is not just a love poem. At one stage they were going to take it out of the Bible because people were singing it in the saloons and taverns and turning it into a ribald song. But this is the story of the church and Messiah and it then extends into the nation Israel. That is why the Jewish authorities cannot understand it, because to understand the Song of Songs we have to understand the relationship of Messiah and his church. We have to understand the history of the church after the death of Messiah and after the dispersion of Judah to fully understand the Song of Songs. This is a prophecy and relates to Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Let’s look at what Malbim says:

And he took up his parable and said:

Among Solomon's many women, his soul became attached to the one beloved beautiful woman, betrothed to a shepherd in the pasture. And this beloved one was taken from the bosom of her beloved shepherd to King Solomon, to his royal palace, and he placed the royal crown on her head and gave her regal gifts.

 

This is the same story, in effect, as Esther. If we recall Esther was taken from Mordecai’s house and placed before the king to marry him.

 

He also appointed the daughters of Jerusalem as guards over her, and they surrounded her, watching her steps, lest she flee to the pasture, to her beloved, but the watchers guarded her in vain, for her heart was not attracted to all Solomon's luxuries, her soul despised his love, rejected the king's food and the wine of his banquets, for her soul yearned for the Prince of her youth who pastured his sheep among the lilies. He, too, remembered the love of her bridal days. Every day he would go before the court of the harem, where his bride was held captive, looking through the windows, conversing with her behind the walls, and she poured out her heart to him begging him to rescue her from her prison. So they devised signs. He made signs for her how to flee and how to find him on the distant mountains. And, indeed she fled many times from the king's palace to the pasture where he was encamped. And every time the daughters of Jerusalem, her guards, pursued her and returned her against her will to Solomon's chambers, until at the end of days, she girded her loins, broke the copper doors, cut off the locks, opened the fetters, and fled with a high hand, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, to her beloved the gazelle on the spice mountains.

 

This is the Church and Christ.

This is the body of the parable and the following is its interpretation:

The most beautiful of women, whom Solomon loved and brought to his palace is his Godly spiritual soul, which descended from on high to dwell in Solomon's house in the lower realms, just as 'the Lord has said to dwell in the thick darkness'. Now the shepherd lover to whom she was betrothed was the Most High Lover, Who leads the host, Who dwells in the most high heavens and lives in Araboth - and the king imprisoning her in his palaces and seducing her to his love symbolises the overpowering physical desire that is dominant in the body to rule over the spirit, to confine the holy spirit with a covenant of love for the flesh; it strives to attract the Godly soul along with other maidens, her companions (i.e. the powers of the mind) to its will, also to conquer 'the queen with him in the house,' to be its consort and its companion to fill its desires and its longings both in the performance of the kingdom as well as in the acquisition of riches and wealth and all Solomon’s delight.

 

The rabbis understand part of it but not all of it. This is not just the physical; it is the carnal mind being in enmity towards God. The leader or captain of the Host of heaven was Jesus Christ. It was the captain of the army of the Lord that spoke to Joshua at Jericho and said ‘take off your shoes for where you stand is holy ground’. They are exactly the same words as the angel of God spoke to Moses when he gave him the law. So the rabbis are there but they have not taken the jump.

 

Now the appointment of the daughters of Jerusalem as guards over her symbolises the physical powers that surround it and confine it, lest it withdraw from the physical world and cast off its physical shoes from its feet, and lest it lift its wings to fly on wings of purity and sanctity to spirituality, to its Lover in heaven. And the parables concern the love of the maiden for the shepherd, the prince of her youth, he, 'as a bridegroom putteth on a priestly diadem,'

 

There is only one bridegroom who puts on a priestly diadem and that is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. These rabbis are talking about an Old Testament book. These people reject Jesus Christ yet the language is unmistakably Messianic.

 she, 'as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.' The intention is that Solomon's soul despised physical desires and lusts, and did not defile itself to stray after the power that dominates the body, the temptations and the desires of its deeds. Instead, at all times, it became aroused with a powerful desire for its Lover, God, its rightful lot, and it strengthened itself with study and deed to go in His ways and to cleave to Him.

Now the intention of the parable is that the lover sent her his message behind the wall and the door, through windows and lattices, means that the Most High Lover longed to pour out on her His holy spirit, to enable her to understand Him fully.

 

Yes, it was that God did long to pour out His Holy Spirit on Israel but the only way that He could do that was through the Messianic sacrifice of redemption. The rest of the OT is quite clear, especially from Isaiah 53, that the sacrifice of Messiah was important in order to get Israel ready so that the Holy Spirit could be poured out. So before the Song of Songs was able to happen and the Holy Spirit was given to humans, Isaiah 53 had to happen and therefore Christ had to be crucified. So the Rabbis understand this yet deny that Messiah was there and denied that Jesus Christ was the Messiah even though he was crucified. All of the things that are prerequisites to the Songs of Songs being able to be affected and the Holy Spirit to be poured on God’s people had already occurred in Jesus Christ. Yet the rabbis rejected it.

 

He, therefore, sent the message of His providence through the wall, the physical barrier between her and the holy of holies, regarding her through the windows and the lattices of the soul to raise it from the valley of and [sic] lime pits to sanctity and to the holy spirit and to remove it from 'the valley of troubling to a door of hope.'

 

The physical barrier between the holy of holies was a curtain veil, which was torn in two by Jesus Christ. All the language of the rabbis here mirrors the symbols of the gospels.

 

The parable of her many flights from the king's palace to her lover in the forest, symbolises that through the striving of Solomon's soul and its longing and preparation for cleaving to God, the spirit rested upon her, and she clung to the glory of sanctity, attaining prophecy; indeed God spoke to her many times. When she fled from Solomon's palace, i.e. when she stripped herself of her physical being,

 

This is exactly what happens to the individual on baptism and it is by baptism we put to death the old man. We strip ourselves of physical being and enter a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. They understood what had to happen. When they wrote this, Christ had already been killed.

 

and the cloud and the thick darkness departed from her, she distanced herself from the love of the king.

This is described as the shadows fleeing, alluding to physical desire, and she remaining in seclusion with the great light and the glory of her Lover that shone upon her.

The parable of the daughters of Jerusalem pursuing her each time she flees and returning her to the king's palace, symbolises that the ties of the body were not yet completely dissolved.

 

Also it relates to the law. It relates to the physical and the spiritual with the Church.

 

Therefore this union was shortlived, for after the Godly spirit rested upon him, the physical powers returned to be aroused, and to terminate this union, and God departed when he finished speaking to Solomon. Then Solomon's soul returned to be imprisoned under the lock of his physical being as at first. At the end of days she leaves Solomon's palace by force and returns there no more, but cleaves to her beloved who betroths her to him forever. This represents Solomon's demise. Then the ties are undone and the bonds melted, the trap is broken and his soul flees to her God, the husband of her youth, 'and the dust returns to the earth, and the spirit returns to God Who gave it,' and it cleaves to the bond of life in eternal Paradise.

 

We can see the rabbinical confinement of this text. They have to look at Solomon and the spiritual and the physical and they don't make the jump that they are looking at Judah as the kingship under Solomon, the physical aspect of Judah. Everything relating to the OT was related on a physical plane and the Jews even today relate everything to a physical plane. They don’t understand the spiritual nature of the Church. The Church itself is then broken free. There it looks as though it is simply a battle between the spiritual and the physical relating to Solomon himself. Yet in the stories we are looking at Solomon on the one hand and the beloved on the other. We are thus looking at Judah and the physical aspects of the law on the one hand and we are looking at the beloved, who is the Messiah and the Church on the other. The woman is the Church, the nation, who has been torn between the physical aspects of Judaism and the structure of the Temple under Solomon. You are looking then at Messiah who is literally taking the Church into the wilderness out of the confines of its own captivity. That implication is not drawn by the rabbinical authorities, and for good reason, because the moment they acknowledge that there are two aspects involved, there are two people. We are not just talking about Solomon’s soul and his spirit, the nephesh, which is the spirit of man, which can’t go to God anyway unless Solomon is dead. The rabbis looking at Ecclesiastes would have to then start talking of the Babylonian soul doctrine to make sense of this text in a non-Messianic way. This text can only be made sense of in a biblical structure, given the fact that the soul returns to God who gave it, on death, and there is no existence after death. They then have to introduce the Babylonian mysteries and the soul to try and confine it and get away from a Messianic explanation. Without the Babylonian mysteries you have to have a division between Solomon and the beloved and that is probably the most important distinction between what the rabbis are trying to explain of the Song of Songs and its true meaning.

 

The explanation by Malbim is clever and is perhaps the closest we find to a Messianic explanation in the Judaic commentaries. In general the full significance of the Song is not understood. The wording of the explanation (from p. 37) is significant.

...its allegorical narrative according to its simple meaning embodies the happening of the holy maiden, King Solomon's soul, and her dialogue with her Beloved in the heavens at five occasions when she came out of the dungeon and removed the raiment of her captivity from her and she came into the inner court of the King in the beauty of holiness. This is the narrative, and this is the allegory, and that is the simple explanation.

 

One of the problems of the rabbinical traditions is that the relationship of the Song to the concepts of the nephesh or soul (here showing the Babylonian influence) stem from the inability to relate the text to Messiah as the Beloved and the Church as the holy maiden.

 

The aspects of the elements of the nephesh being involved in five aspects are relevant to the twelve elements of the complete righteous being. The concept of righteousness and the Holy Spirit relate to concepts of five and twelve. The whole calendar centres on it and the parables of five loaves and two fishes, feeding of the five thousand, how the loaves were taken up. The papers leading into the Passover, were geared around understanding the text in Matthew, whether the five loaves and two fishes were used to feed the five thousand; the manning of the baskets; how they were taken up; how the loaves were developed and how they were then divided; and what the understanding of each of the baskets was. It related to the Holy Spirit and it relates to the elements of seven and five which make up the twelve elements. Also the holy year, that of the sacred calendar, is all divided in the same way. The human being when converted appears to be composed of twelve elements in two aspects of seven and five. They appear to be inter-related with, and form the basis for, the parables of the feeding of the multitudes by Christ. The symbolism is in essence derived from the Song of Songs. The first element however is the overall relationship of Christ and the Church, which is comprised of five songs of the Song of Songs, even though there are seven Churches related in Revelation.

 

The fact that there are five divisions of the Song and five divisions of the woman, who is the Church, and not seven, is because two of the Churches do not enter into the Kingdom of God. The Sardis and the Loadicean Churches do not enter the Kingdom of God. There are only individuals of those two Churches who make it in.

 

The division of the Song into five parts relates how the maiden flees the king's chamber into the wilderness five times. The church in the wilderness is in five separate stages. The first four times she is returned from the wilderness to the king's palace. On the fifth occasion she goes out to the wilderness and remains there with her beloved, never to return. Why? The answer is because Messiah comes and the last Church, the last group of the elect, is united with the Messiah. This is held by Malbim as representing the four times that God appeared to Solomon. Malbim's interpretations regarding Solomon and the soul from this point are considered to be incorrect. It is true that God through the Angel of Jehovah appeared four times. God or elohim as the Angel appeared five times to Solomon as Judah, but the Judaic system was appealed to by the Church over two thousand years, in each of its seven elements. The Sardis and Laodicean Churches could not convince Judah at all. But Judah will be converted in the last days and Judah will be restored ahead of Israel and the household of David which we are and ahead of Jerusalem, so that nobody can exalt themselves against Judah. Look at Zechariah from chapter 11 to 12; we will see that that sequence occurs. The real relationship, namely of that of the Lord and His people, which is the view of most rabbinical authorities, is transferred to the Church. It depends on who the people of God are during this phase. When Christ ordained the seventy he transferred the authority from Judah under the Sanhedrin to the Church under the council of the seventy. Both were the council of the seventy but when Christ ordained those elders he transferred the authority of Judah to the Church and removed all authority from Judah including the calendar. In the same decade as the council of Nicea, Judah changed the calendar. The council of Nicea changed the Godhead into the Trinity and Judah under Rabbi Hillel II changed the calendar but they had no authority. This, the inner circle of the elect, is viewed in a structure of Churches. The outer congregation is the whole house of Israel. If you recall, when we were looking at the meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision, we looked at the meaning of the cherubim in the visions and the four cherubim were located as wheels within wheels. The life of the creatures was within the wheels. The rabbinical authorities thus see the significance but do not understand the complexity because they have rejected the Church. The structure of the Song adds light to this complex issue.

 

One of the problems with the Churches of God is, over the last couple of hundred years, the Churches have seen themselves as being distinct from the nation of Israel and they are not. We developed, in the twentieth century, no clear message to give to the nation of Israel because we separated ourselves as an elitist group. We have to be able to communicate to the outer wheel. One is within the other; it is not divorced from the other. It is not a question of two separate wheels. It is a wheel within a wheel. We have to provide guidance and leadership to the other wheel because God is going to deal with the whole lot and our failure to prepare and deal with the outer wheel means that we are simply dealt with ourselves.

 

Chapter 1 to Chapter 2:7

The first song commences with Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, and ends with I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem...That ye awaken not (2:7)

 

Song of Songs 1:1-17  The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's. 2O that you would [Let him] kiss me with the kisses of your [His] mouth! For your love is better than wine,

 

The RSV translates Let him kiss me as O that he would kiss me. The text then changes from the second to the third person. The interpretation is variously as the statement of either the Shulemite of her absent lover or of the daughters of Jerusalem of Solomon. The distinction is important. Allegorically this is recited by Israel in exile, after the Shekinah has left them, and they long for its return. After the Holy Spirit had left Israel it is then recited by them in Israel and they long for the Shekinah’s return. That is the symbolism that is being put across here. God and Israel are symbolised by a bride and bridegroom, who kiss each other on the mouth (Rashi). The elohim, here understood as the bridegroom, is understood from the NT as being the subordinate elohim of Psalm 45:6-7, Hebrews 1:8-9. This elohim is Messiah. Thus the relationship is not fully understood by the rabbinical authorities.

 

For thy love (Heb. Dodim meaning also caresses and manifestations of love; Ibn Ezra) is better than wine. It is a Hebrew idiom to call every banquet of pleasure and joy by the name of wine (cf. Est. 7:2; Isa. 24:9) (Rashi). Allegorical interpretation refers it to the giving of the Torah and God's speaking directly to Israel (Rashi). We know however, that the God who spoke at Sinai, was the Angel of the Covenant or Presence and that no man has seen God ever (Jn. 1:18; 1Jn. 4:12; 1Tim. 6:16) or heard His voice (Jn. 5:37) and that the law was delivered by angels in the hands of a mediator (Gal. 3:19). So the rabbis do not understand that they are dealing with Messiah in the Old Testament in receiving the law which was Jesus Christ in the New.

 

3your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you.

 

The verb is feminine although the subject is masculine. Ibn Ezra holds that the noun shemen may be feminine although this is the only instance of it in the Scriptures.

 

There are Hebrew words in the Song of Songs which do not occur anywhere else in the Bible. The Greek word love, agape, which refers only to the love of God, is not a Greek word. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew word SHD 158 ‘ahab in the feminine form SHD 160 ‘ahabah which occurs in the Song of Songs with other words for love (SHD 157; ‘ahab; SHD 1730; dowd as a love token and even an uncle; SHD 7474; ray’ah a female associate, hence love). Ahabah has nothing to do with sexual erotic love when used in relation to these concepts (see esp. Jer. 31:3). Isaiah 63:9 shows that it is this word that applies to the love of God through the Angel of the Presence and the redemption of Israel. The word for love here is ahabah and that is where the Greeks got their word agape. Agape was not a word in the Greek language until they translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek in the Septuagint (LXX). They developed the word agape to transliterate the Hebrew word ahabah because the Greeks didn’t have a word for divine love. They had erotic love, eros, and they had the word for filial love, philadelphia, but they did not have a word for Godly love, agape. So they had to transliterate the word ahabah and it became the word agape and then they try to tell the elect what it means. In fact, Greek philosophy and theology is so totally deficient, because all of their philosophical ideas are founded upon erotic and filial love and they do not comprehend the concept of agape love. That is the love of a superior to a subordinate. Greek philosophical ideas are that only like can love like, and only like can befriend like, and only like can satisfy like, therefore we can’t be reconciled to God except by a sacrifice of God. So Christ had to be God, as God, in the Trinity to reconcile us to God. That is a Greek concept and not a Hebrew concept. We could be reconciled to God in the Hebrew through the sacrifice of doves and goats and sheep and cattle. The whole structure was that the high priest had to lay down his own blood in the New Testament to reconcile us to God. That is a Hebrew concept, that a superior can be reconciled to an inferior through an intermediary sacrifice. No such thing can occur in Greek philosophical thought. The real reason the Greeks invented the Trinity was in fact to place themselves on an equality with God such that they did not have to obey God. But the structure is that their understanding is deficient because their loan words that are involved here are in fact Hebrew loan words transliterated. It is most important that we understand that the word for divine love here does not relate to any Greek concepts and the Greeks do not understand, theologically, the Hebrew concept involved in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, nor can they ever within their philosophical structure. They have to divorce themselves from Greek philosophy in order to accept Hebrew theology and be saved. The reason the Churches of God were undermined in the twentieth century was because pseudo-Greek theologians who, hampered by the epistemology of Plato and Greek theology, failed completely to understand books like the Song of Songs and the sacrifices involved either in Hebrew or New Testament theology. They simply did not know what they were doing.

 

When dealing with the subject before in verse 3 the verb is feminine although the subject is masculine. Ibn Ezra holds that the noun shemen may be feminine although this is the only instance of it in the Scriptures. The feminine form more correctly relates to the Holy Spirit as the instrument of the imparting of the Shekinah (which is the manifestation of the presence of God in the Spirit) to the bride. The Holy Spirit conveys the presence of God that’s why it is correctly understood in the feminine. That is why wisdom is listed in the feminine in Proverbs 8:22. So the Holy Spirit is a feminine capacity and the Church is feminine and a bride because it develops a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. The name is the name of Messiah. The Philadelphians of Revelation are those of the maidens who do not deny the name (Rev. 3:8), given to Messiah by God. The oils poured out are held to be symbolic of the miracles performed in Egypt. The report of the miracles attracted people from other nations (Metsudath David).

 

4Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol [RSV following Metsudath David. Ibn Ezra, Kimchi and Ibn Ganach translate we will find] your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.

 

Rashi says that the text means I heard from your messengers that you wished to draw me. I say that we will run after thee to be thy wife (Soncino). The taking into the private chambers of the king indicates being taken by force. Ibn Ezra interprets the text as meaning Were even the king to bring me into his private apartment, still I would rejoice and be glad in thee (Soncino). The chambers of the king are distinct from the lover of the Shulemite.

 

Sincerely or rightly do they love thee is connected with the Hebrew word for upright hence the expression they love thee with uprightness (Rashi). Ibn Ezra renders the text: More than proper wine do they love thee (Soncino).

 

The fact that the beloved is a Shulemite is of immense importance and this concept relates also to the concept in the kings when you are dealing with Elisha. Shulem or Shunem is in Issachar, near Chesulloth, on a steep slope of Gilboa; now called Salem (Young's Concordance). Strong makes Shulem distinct from Shunem. However, the meaning is the same as Salem i.e. peaceful. Shunem means rest or quiet. Hence the meaning of both terms has Messianic connotations. This is the reflection of the prophecy of Messiah as coming from the woman who is the Shulemite. The reference is deduced from 2Kings 4:11-37. There is no text in the Bible that is there for adornment, or simply for dressing. Every single text in the Bible has some meaning in relation to the story of Messiah or the purpose of the Church or the plan of God.

 

2Kings 4:11-37 One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. 12And he said to Geha'zi his servant, "Call this Shu'nammite." When he had called her, she stood before him. 13And he said to him, "Say now to her, See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?"

 

This is symbolism - remember the Fall of Jericho. God sent two witnesses into Jericho and spoke to Rahab the harlot and she was saved intact because the red cords were placed on her windowsill, symbolising the blood of the Passover lamb. She and all her family were saved because of their loyalty to the witnesses and their attitude to the occupation of Israel. This same situation occurs with Elisha and Gehazi.

 

She answered, "I dwell among my own people." 14And he said, "What then is to be done for her?" Geha'zi answered, "Well, she has no son, and her husband is old." 15He said, "Call her." And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16And he said, "At this season, when the time comes round, you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your maidservant." 17But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Eli'sha had said to her. 18When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19And he said to his father, "Oh, my head, my head!" The father said to his servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20And when he had lifted him, and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. 21And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. 22Then she called to her husband, and said, "Send me one of the servants and one of the asses, that I may quickly go to the man of God, and come back again." 23And he said, "Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath."

 

The New Moons and Sabbaths were used to consult the prophets. The New Moons, more importantly than the Sabbaths, were used to consult the prophets.

 

She said, "It will be well." 24Then she saddled the ass, and she said to her servant, "Urge the beast on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you." 25So she set out, and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Geha'zi his servant, "Look, yonder is the Shu'nammite; 26run at once to meet her, and say to her, Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?" And she answered, "It is well." 27And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Geha'zi came to thrust her away. But the man of God said, "Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress; and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me." 28Then she said, "Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, Do not deceive me?" 29He said to Geha'zi, "Gird up your loins, and take my staff in your hand, and go. If you meet any one, do not salute him; and if any one salutes you, do not reply; and lay my staff upon the face of the child." 30Then the mother of the child said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So he arose and followed her. 31Geha'zi went on ahead and laid the staff upon the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him, and told him, "The child has not awaked." 32When Eli'sha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33So he went in and shut the door upon the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. 34Then he went up and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35Then he got up again, and walked once to and fro in the house, and went up, and stretched himself upon him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36Then he summoned Geha'zi and said, "Call this Shu'nammite." So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, "Take up your son." 37She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground; then she took up her son and went out. (RSV)

 

This relates to the conversion of the Church from Judah and Jerusalem. The Shulemite aided the prophets. Elisha gave her a child as a gift of God through the Spirit. This child was given to represent Messiah. Proceeding from Shulem or Salem he was given to the woman but died. He died through the knowledge and power of God, occupying the bed of the prophets and for the purpose of rulership symbolised by the rod of Elisha being laid upon the face of the child. The placement of the face to face is as an image of the instrument of God. The walking once to and from represented the visitation of the Spirit to resurrect Messiah. The resurrected Messiah sneezed seven times. This sequence represents the angels of the seven Churches and the seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3. The opening of the eyes of the child and the taking up of the son is the same activity as the marriage supper of the Lamb at the return of Messiah at the end of the last phase of the seven Churches.

 

It is at the last days when the child is returned to the Shulemite. The child is returned to Jerusalem in order to take up his position as Messiah and restore the fortunes of Salem or Shunem and restore the fortunes of Israel. That profound miracle by Elisha was in fact a prophecy of Messiah in its relationship to the conversion of Judah and Jerusalem. It is only at the end of the sequence that Judah and Jerusalem is to be converted.

 

We return to the Song of Songs.

5I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has scorched me. My mother's sons were angry with me, they made me keeper of the vineyards; but, my own vineyard I have not kept!

 

The Shulemite was dark due to the harsh treatment of her brothers by exposing her to the sun or the elements. The Soncino notes the Midrash makes the homiletic comment: The Jew is black with anxiety during the week, but comely on the Sabbath. The Hebrew word for black denotes a ruddy hue from sunburning. The relationship with the Sabbath rest is again seen here. The notation of the keeping of vineyards is seen in Proverbs 31 where the woman of Proverbs 31 (see the paper Proverbs 31 (No. 114)) and the Shulemite here are together with Esther (see the paper Commentary on Esther (No. 063)) interwoven in the symbolism of Messiah and the Church.

 

The tents of Kedar are black through exposure to the elements. Kedar is a nomadic tribe descended from Ishmael (Gen. 25:13; cf. Ps. 120:5). Thus the analogy is that they both can be laundered until they are white as the curtains of Solomon, so the Shulemite can be made fair, and hence salvation is open to the Gentiles. The Soncino says that:

Allegorically, the people of Israel are addressing the nations of the world and declaring to them, I am black because of my deeds, but white with the deeds of my ancestors. Even among my deeds many of them are comely. If I have sinned by worshipping the calf I have the merit of accepting the Torah (Rashi).

 

Rashi holds that the swarthiness is held to be superficial and, when it passes, the speaker will be found to be fairer than the others, i.e. the daughters of Jerusalem. We are talking about the conversion of the gentiles and the Rabbis themselves are talking about the conversion of the gentiles. This can only refer to the Church. The comments regarding the vines are taken to mean that her Father distributed the vines among His children. The woman was made to tend the vineyards alone by mistreatment. Daath Mikra holds this point and Rashi holds that it was in the tending of the vineyards that she became sunburned. Thus through mistreatment she was the only one about the work of the Father tending the vineyards and became hardened to the elements in the process. That is correct of the church as it was the only one about the work of the Father. She was thus the object of scorn of the daughters of Jerusalem. (Rabbinical authorities) Ibn Ezra renders the text mine own vineyards have I not kept as meaning that she had never had to keep even her own vineyards before. Rashi, as Ibn Ezra in his third explanation, holds she neglected her own vineyard to keep those of her brothers. This symbolised Israel forsaking her God, to worship the pagan deities of her neighbours (Soncino, The Five Megilloth, p. 54). Yet the daughters of Jerusalem are other than the women. We must look to alternatives.

 

7Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who wanders beside the flocks of your companions? 8If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your kids beside the shepherds' tents. 9I compare you, my love, to a mare of Pharaoh's chariots. 10Your cheeks are comely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels. 11We will make you ornaments of gold, studded with silver. 12While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. 13My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh, that lies between my breasts.

 

Spiked nard was used to anoint Messiah’s feet by the woman prior to his death. Mordecai was the name derived from myrrh, which represented Messiah as a pure fragrance as the anointed spice of Israel. The reference to these spices has important significance both to Esther and to the gospels.

 

14My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Enge'di. 15Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves. 16Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly lovely. Our couch is green; 17the beams of our house are cedar, our rafters are pine. (RSV)

 

The Lord makes us to lie down; Psalm 23 is alluded to here. The reference to other flocks is one of adherence to the subordinate elohim of Israel who is Messiah rather than the fallen Host. The RSV uses wanders where the word is rendered by the Soncino as veileth herself, meaning as a harlot would veil herself. She finds her lover at noon rather than at night as a wanton woman (see Soncino). The noon rest is usual (see also 2Sam. 4:5). The reference to Myrrh is also found in Esther as the basis for the name of Mordecai and relates to Messiah.

 

Song of Songs 2:1-7  I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. 2As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens. 3As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. 4He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. 5Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I am sick with love. 6O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me! 7I 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. (RSV)

 

The Rose of Sharon is the humble meadow flower. Malbim holds this to say that my beauty is not remarkable, for I am just one of the flowers of the plain. The word chabatseleth occurs again only in Isaiah 35:1. The LXX and the Vulgate understand it as lily. The Targum and Saadia as Narcissus, Ibn Ezra and Kimchi as rose (Soncino). The narcissus is plentiful in Palestine and Sharon probably refers to the coastal district from Caesarea to Joppa. The lily of the valley is probably of the red variety as it alludes to the lips in verse 13.

 

R. Eliezer says that:

The righteous are to be compared to the lily of the valley which goes on blooming, not to the lily of the mountains which soon withers (Midrash)

 

These have a spiritual connotation. Their bloom is ongoing and permanent, as the spirit would function on a continuous basis.

 

This sentiment is that behind Christ’s comments in Matthew 6:28-34.

Matthew 6:28-34 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

The lilies of the field being spoken of by Messiah are greater than Solomon and that is the context of the Song of Songs. The Rose of Sharon here, which is the Church, is greater than Solomon and the Judaic system. Messiah was alluding to that in Matthew 6:28-34 when he elevated the Rose of Sharon from the Song of Songs above that of the house of Solomon.

 

30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)

 

The symbolism is there but it is a superficial example of the duration of the reality. The raiment is of course the marriage garments of the elect in the marriage supper of the Lamb. The reference to the lily among thorns is a reference to the elect among the daughters of Jerusalem. The Soncino notes:

Taking advantage of her modesty, her beloved pays her a delicate compliment: ‘True thou art only a lily, but a lily surrounded by thorns (i.e. the women of Jerusalem); Beware of them lest they puncture thee (i.e. lest they entice thee to Solomon’s love) (Malbim).

 

In other words, it means unless they bring you back into physical Judaism. These are a rabbi’s comments, not a Christian writing and not just one Jewish rabbi but also all of the great commentators on the Old Testament. We have to ask how they can write this and not understand? How can they not be converted when out of their own mouths they are convicted?

 

It might be remembered that Solomon’s love became in fact idolatry. Solomon fell from grace and became an idolater. That is a function also of the church in the last day. The daughters of Jerusalem were themselves destroyed because they did not heed the warning of Messiah within the Sign of Jonah (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 013)).

 

The Soncino renders 2:3 as:

As an apple-tree among the trees of the wood, So is my beloved among the sons. Under its shadow I delight to sit, And its fruit is sweet to my taste.

 

The beloved is Messiah among the sons of God. The Bible is quite clear that Messiah was not the only son of God. From Job 1:6 and 2:1, and Genesis 6:4, we will find multiple sons of God attributed. Also in Deuteronomy 32, Messiah (Jehovah) was allocated Israel and the nations were divided according to the number of the sons of God. Messiah alone is the firstfruit of the elect. The reference is to the first love, which must not be awakened, perhaps, until the correct time. They are saying ‘don’t stir up love’. That is why they were spoken to in parables lest they turn before they were called and brought to repentance when they could not sustain it. That is why it was given to us to understand, but Judah was not given to understand for two thousand years, because it was not their time to be called. In other words, the calling of the elect from among the daughters of Jerusalem is to be in accord with the timing and sequence of the plan of God.

 

The Shulemite, according to Malbim, in verse 7 is pleading that the tempters desist from trying to turn her affection towards another, after she has avowed her loyalty to her beloved. The adjuration by the gazelles of the field is a symbol of grace and beauty common in South Lebanon (Daath Mikra).

 

The comments about not awakening love are also held to be a caution against stirring up false love. Malbim holds this comment to be a kind of refrain marking the close of a section (cf. 3:5; 8:5).

True love, she admonishes the women of the court, needs no arousing from without. It should be as free and unfettered as the gazelles and hinds (Daath Mikra).

 

This first section is thus dedicated to the first love which the Shulemite has for the beloved. This is of course reflected in the sentiments expressed to the Ephesian Church in Revelation 2:4. This first love was abandoned by her and the Messiah exhorted her to restore the love that she had at first.

 

This section ends at verse 7. Verse 8-14 begins a new section which ends at the end of this chapter. This section relates to the Ephesian Church and the stirring up love is to restore your first love. Do not commence until you are ready and if you lose your first love, then you are to stir it up again. You must keep going in a state of continual relationship with the Messiah. That is the import of the first song of the five Song of Songs.

 

Continue with Part 2 (No. F022ii).

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