Song of Solomon 2:7
I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that you stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Roes.—Heb., tsebi, tsebiyah; undoubtedly the ghazal of the Arabs; the gazelle. (See 1Chronicles 12:8.)

Hinds.—Heb., ayyalah. (See Genesis 49:21.) The LXX. strangely read, by the powers and virtues of the field.

My love.—Here almost certainly in the concrete, though there is no instance of such use except in this and the corresponding passages. The Authorised Version, “till he please,” is a mistake in grammar. Read, till she please. The poet imagines his beloved sleeping in his arms, and playfully bids her companions keep from intruding on her slumbers. This verse (which is repeated in Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 8:4) marks natural breaks in the poem and adds to the dramatic effect. But there is no occasion to imagine a real stage, with actors grouped upon it. The “daughters of Jerusalem” are present only in the poet’s imagination. It is his manner to fancy the presence of spectators of his happiness and to call on outsiders to share his bliss (comp. Song of Solomon 3:11; Song of Solomon 5:16; Song of Solomon 6:13, &c), and it is on this imaginary theatre which his love conjures up that the curtain falls, here and in other places, on the union of the happy pair. Like Spenser, in his Epithalamium, this poet “unto himself alone will sing;” but he calls on all things bright and beautiful in the world of nature and man to help him to solemnise this joyful rite, and now the moment has come when he bids “the maids and young men cease to sing.”

Song of Solomon 2:7. I charge you — This is spoken by the bride. By the roes — By the example of those creatures, which are pleasant and loving in their carriage toward one another; that ye stir not up, nor awake — That you do not disturb nor offend him; till he please — Never, as this word until, in such phrases, is commonly used. For neither can sin ever please him, nor can the church bear it, that Christ should ever be offended, or that her sweet fellowship with him should be interrupted.2:1-7 Believers are beautiful, as clothed in the righteousness of Christ; and fragrant, as adorned with the graces of his Spirit; and they thrive under the refreshing beams of the Sun of righteousness. The lily is a very noble plant in the East; it grows to a considerable height, but has a weak stem. The church is weak in herself, yet is strong in Him that supports her. The wicked, the daughters of this world, who have no love to Christ, are as thorns, worthless and useless, noxious and hurtful. Corruptions are thorns in the flesh; but the lily now among thorns, shall be transplanted into that paradise where there is no brier or thorn. The world is a barren tree to the soul; but Christ is a fruitful one. And when poor souls are parched with convictions of sin, with the terrors of the law, or the troubles of this world, weary and heavy laden, they may find rest in Christ. It is not enough to pass by this shadow, but we must sit down under it. Believers have tasted that the Lord Jesus is gracious; his fruits are all the precious privileges of the new covenant, purchased by his blood, and communicated by his Spirit; promises are sweet to a believer, and precepts also. Pardons are sweet, and peace of conscience sweet. If our mouths are out of taste for the pleasures of sin, Divine consolations will be sweet to us. Christ brings the soul to seek and to find comforts through his ordinances, which are as a banqueting-house where his saints feast with him. The love of Christ, manifested by his death, and by his word, is the banner he displays, and believers resort to it. How much better is it with the soul when sick from love to Christ, than when surfeited with the love of this world! And though Christ seemed to have withdrawn, yet he was even then a very present help. All his saints are in his hand, which tenderly holds their aching heads. Finding Christ thus nigh to her, the soul is in great care that her communion with him is not interrupted. We easily grieve the Spirit by wrong tempers. Let those who have comfort, fear sinning it away.Render: "I adjure you ... by the gazelles, or by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up nor awaken love until it please." The King James Version, "my love," is misleading. The affection or passion in itself, not its object, is here meant. This adjuration, three times significantly introduced as a concluding formula (marginal references), expresses one of the main thoughts of the poem; namely, that genuine love is a shy and gentle affection which dreads intrusion and scrutiny; hence the allusion to the gazelles and hinds, shy and timid creatures.

The complementary thought is that of Sol 8:6-7, where love is again described, and by the bride, as a fiery principle.

7. by the roes—not an oath but a solemn charge, to act as cautiously as the hunter would with the wild roes, which are proverbially timorous; he must advance with breathless circumspection, if he is to take them; so he who would not lose Jesus Christ and His Spirit, which is easily grieved and withdrawn, must be tender of conscience and watchful (Eze 16:43; Eph 4:30; 5:15; 1Th 5:19). In Margin, title of Ps 22:1, Jesus Christ is called the "Hind of the morning," hunted to death by the dogs (compare So 2:8, 9, where He is represented as bounding on the hills, Ps 18:33). Here He is resting, but with a repose easily broken (Zep 3:17). It is thought a gross rudeness in the East to awaken one sleeping, especially a person of rank.

my love—in Hebrew, feminine for masculine, the abstract for concrete, Jesus Christ being the embodiment of love itself (So 3:5; 8:7), where, as here, the context requires it to be applied to Him, not her. She too is "love" (So 7:6), for His love calls forth her love. Presumption in the convert is as grieving to the Spirit as despair. The lovingness and pleasantness of the hind and roe (Pr 5:19) is included in this image of Jesus Christ.

Canticle II.—(So 2:8-3:5)—John the Baptist's Ministry.

This verse is spoken either,

1. By the Bridegroom, who having reposed the sick church in his arms, chargeth them not to disturb her till she please, as the last clause in this case must be rendered. Or rather,

2. By the bride, as may be gathered,

1. From the connexion, because both the foregoing and following words are hers.

2. Because it was more decent for the bride than for the Bridegroom to give this charge to the bridemaids,

the daughters of Jerusalem; and therefore in all places in this book where they are mentioned the person speaking to them is the bride, and not the Bridegroom, and particularly Song of Solomon 3:5 8:4, where this verse is repeated, and is confessedly and evidently spoken by the spouse. Daughters of Jerusalem; my bridemaids, friends, and members, over whom I have authority.

By the hinds; either,

1. By the kindness you have to those pretty and amiable creatures, as

you would not injure nor disturb them, nor drive them away, but please yourselves with the sight of them, as shepherds and country damsels commonly do. Or,

2. By the example of those creatures, which are pleasant and loving in

their carriage towards one another. Of the field; which have their usual abode in the fields. That ye stir not up, nor awake; that you do not disturb nor offend him by your miscarriages, but permit him and me to enjoy a quiet repose. Do nothing to grieve him, or molest me. My love; my dearly beloved, called love emphatically, to express her great passion for him. So love is used Song of Solomon 7:6, and in other authors. Till he please, i.e. never, as this word until, in such like phrases, is commonly used, as Genesis 28:15 2 Samuel 6:23 Isaiah 22:14. For neither can sin ever please him, nor can the church bear it that Christ should ever be offended, or that her sweet fellowship with him should be interrupted. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,.... Of whom, see Sol 1:5. There is some difficulty in these words, whether they are spoken by the church, or by Christ: according to our version, they are the words of the church, and bids fair to be the sense; since they are spoken to the virgins, her companions, that waited on her; and the manner of speech is not by way of command, as by way of adjuration; and the matter, style, and language of it, Christ being the church's love; and the phrase, "till he please", best agrees with his sovereignty and authority, who is at liberty to stay with, and remove from, his people at pleasure; and the context and scope of the place seem to confirm it; the church, enjoying communion with Christ, chooses not that he should be disturbed, and by any means be caused to depart from her. Others think they are the words of Christ, and not without reason; since it was the church that was in Christ's arms, and fallen asleep in them; and the phrase, "my love", is used by Christ concerning his church, Sol 7:6; and not this, but another, is used by her concerning him; and besides, both the word for "my love", and that which is rendered "he please", are feminine, and best agree with her, "that ye stir not up, the" or "this love, until she please"; so Michaelis (d) interprets and renders the word for "love by this lovely one"; the word is very emphatic, the love, the famous love, the well known love (e): add to which, the following words seem to confirm this sense, "the voice of my beloved", which she had heard, adjuring the daughters of Jerusalem. This charge is made,

by the roes, and by the hinds of the field; not that either Christ or his church swore by them; but the words may be descriptive of the persons addressed by the creatures, among whom they were feeding their flocks, or whom they delighted to hunt (f); or were loving and lovely creatures, as they: and the charge is, that they would continue among them, and mind their business, and give no disturbance to Christ or the church; or these creatures are called as witnesses to this charge, which, if not observed, would be brought against them: or the charge is made by all that is dear, these being pleasant and lovely creatures, that they would not interrupt the mutual communion of Christ and his church; or it may be a severe threatening, that, should they disregard the charge, they should become food as common as roes and hinds; and that they should be as cautious of stirring up and awaking the person meant as they would be of starting those timorous creatures. The charge is,

that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please; or, "till she please"; if it is the charge of the church, it may lead to observe, that Christ is the object of the church's love; and that she is his resting place; that he may not be disturbed and raised up from it by an unfriendly behavior toward him, or by animosities among themselves; that saints should be very careful that they do not provoke Christ to depart from them; and that communion with him is entirely at his pleasure, when and how long it shall continue; it depends as much upon his sovereign will as the first acts of his grace towards them. But if this is the charge of Christ, not to disturb his church, then it may be observed, that the church is the object of Christ's love, and always continues so; that the church sleeps and takes her rest in Christ's arms; which is not to be understood of a criminal drowsiness and sleep, but of comfortable repose and rest, Christ gives his beloved ones, in communion with himself; that he loves and delights in the company of his people, and would not have them disturbed in their fellowship with him; and though, while grace is in exercise, saints are desirous of enjoying Christ's presence always; yet, when it is otherwise, they become indifferent to it, which provokes Christ to depart from them; and therefore it is said, "till she please": and as this charge is given to the "daughters of Jerusalem", young converts, or weak believers; it suggests, that they are apt to disturb both Christ and his church; to disturb Christ by their impatience and frowardness, like children; hence the church acts the part of a mother charging her children to be quiet, and not disturb her loving husband, while she enjoyed his company; and to disturb the church, through their weakness, not being able to bear the sublime doctrines of the Gospel, and through their ignorance of Gospel order.

(d) Not. in Lowth Praelect. de Poes. Heb. p. 158. (e) So lovers are frequently called "Amor et Amores", "love and loves", vid. Theocrit. Idyll. 2. & Ovid. Briseis Achilli, v. 12. Plauti Curculio, Acts 2. Sc. 3. v. 78. Miles, Acts 4. Sc. 8. v. 67. Poenulus, Acts 5. Sc. 3. v. 49. Mostell. arg. v. 1. Persa, arg. v. 1.((f) "Virginibus Tyriis mos est gestare pharetram", Virgil. Aeneid. l. 1.

{c} I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not, nor awake my love, till he please.

(c) Christ charges them who have to do in the Church as it were by a solemn oath, that they trouble not the quietness of it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. I charge you] I adjure you.

by the roes, and by the hinds of the field] The tsěbhî, ‘roe,’ is according to Tristram (Fauna and Flora of Palestine, p. 5) the gazelle, Gazella dorcas. He says, “It is extremely common in every part of the country S. of Lebanon. I have seen it in the Mount of Olives close to Jerusalem.” The ayyâlâh = ‘hind’ is the female of the ayyâl, which, according to Post, in Hastings’ Dict. of Bible, is the Cervus dama, the true ‘fallow deer.’ Tristram also thinks the fallow deer is meant, or perhaps the red deer, but the latter has not been found in Palestine.

that ye stir not up, &c.] Rather, as R.V., that ye stir not up, nor awaken love, until it please. The adjuration does not refer to the rousing of a lover, but of the passion of love. The meaning is this. The speaker adjures the daughters of Jerusalem not to attempt any more to arouse or awake love. It should be allowed to rest until it awake of itself; and probably they are adjured by the gazelles and the hinds of the field because of the shyness and timidity of these creatures, or as Delitzsch suggests, because of their absolute freedom. The daughters of Jerusalem had been attempting to awake love for Solomon in her heart by fulsome praises of him, and she adjures them thus in order that they may cease from their vain attempt. This beautiful verse recurs at Song of Solomon 3:5 and Song of Solomon 8:4, and forms a kind of refrain which marks the close of certain sections of the book. It also expresses one of the main theses of it, viz. that a true and worthy love should owe nothing to excitements coming from without, but should be spontaneous and as unfettered as the deer upon the hills.Verse 7. - I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the toes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awaken love, until it please. The fact that these words occur again in Song of Solomon 3:5 and Song 8:4 shows that they are a kind of chorus or refrain. It is also evident that they are in the lips of Shulamith the bride. Some have suggested that they are uttered by some one else, e.g. the queen-mother subsequently referred to, Solomon himself, the heavenly Bridegroom, the shepherd lover from whom Shulamith had been taken. But all these suggestions are unnecessary and unsupported. The natural and simple view is that the same voice is speaking as in ver. 6. But what is the meaning of this adjuration? Is it merely, "I throw myself on the sympathy you have already expressed"? Ewald well remarks, "In common life people swore by things which belonged to the subject of conversation or were especially dear to the speaker. As, therefore, the warrior swears by his sword; as Mohammed by th e soul, of which he is just about to speak (see Koran, ch. 91:7); so here Shulamith by the lovely gazelles, since she is speaking of love." The Israelites were permitted to adjure by that which is not God, but they would only solemnly swear by God himself. Delitzsch thinks this is the only example of direct adjuration in Scripture without the name of God. The meaning has probably been sought too far away. The bride is perfectly happy, but she is conscious that such exquisite happiness may be disturbed, the dream of her delight broken through. She compares herself to a roe or a gazelle, the most timorous and shy of creatures (see Proverbs 5:19). The Septuagint has a peculiar rendering; which points to a different reading of the orignial ἐν δυναμέσι καὶ ἰσχυσέσι τοῦ ἀγροῦ "by the power and virtues of the field." Perhaps the meaning is the same - By the purity and blessedness of a simple country life, I adjure you not to interfere with the course of true love. It is much debated whether the meaning is, "Do not excite or stir up love," or, "Do not disturb love in its peaceful de light." It certainly must be maintained that by "love" is meant "the lover." The refer once is to the passion of love itself. A similar expression is used of the feeling of jealousy (Isaiah 42:13). The verb עורר (piel) is added to strengthen the idea, and is always used in the sense "to excite or awaken," as Proverbs 10:12 of strife; Psalm 80:3 of strength or power. We must not for a moment think of any artificial excitement of love as referred to. The idea is - See what a blessed thing is pure and natural affection: let not love be forced or unnatural. But there are those who dispute this interpretation. They think that the main idea of the whole poem is not the spontaneity of love, but a commendation of pure and chaste conjugal affection, as opposed to the dissoluteness and sensuality fostered by polygamy. They would therefore take the abstract "love" for the concrete "loved one," as in Song of Solomon 7:6 The bride would not have the beloved one aroused by the intrusion of others; or the word "love" may be taken to mean "the dream of love." Which ever explanation is chosen, the sense is substantially the same - Let me rejoice in my blessedness. The bride is seen at the close of this first part of the poem in the arms of the bridegroom. She is lost in him, and his happiness is hers. She calls upon the daughters of Jerusalem to rejoice with her. This is, in fact, the keynote of the song. The two main thoughts in the poem are the purity of love and the power of love. The reference to the toes and gazelles of the field is not so much to their shyness and timidity as to their purity, as distinguished from the creatures more close to cities; hence the appeal to the daughters of Jerusalem, who, as being ladies of the metropolis, might not sympathize as they should with the country maiden. The rest of the poem is a remembrance of the part which illustrates and confirms the sentiment of the refrain - Let the pure love seek its own perfection; let its own pleasure be realized. So, spiritually, let grace complete what grace begins. "Blessed are all those who trust in him." What Shulamith now further says confirms what had just been said. City and palace with their splendour please her not; forest and field she delights in; she is a tender flower that has grown up in the quietness of rural life.

1 I am a meadow-flower of Sharon,

   A lily of the valleys.

We do not render: "the wild-flower," "the lily," ... for she seeks to represent herself not as the one, but only as one of this class; the definiteness by means of the article sometimes belongs exclusively to the second number of the genit. word-chain. מלאך ה may equally (vid., at Sol 1:11, Hitz. on Psalm 113:9, and my Comm. on Genesis 9:20) mean "an angel" or "the angel of Jahve;" and בת ישׂ "a virgin," or "the virgin of Israel" (the personification of the people). For hhǎvatstsělěth (perhaps from hhivtsēl, a denom. quadril. from bětsěl, to form bulbs or bulbous knolls) the Syr. Pesh. (Isaiah 35:1) uses chamsaljotho, the meadow-saffron, colchicum autumnale; it is the flesh-coloured flower with leafless stem, which, when the grass is mown, decks in thousands the fields of warmer regions. They call it filius ante patrem, because the blossoms appear before the leaves and the seed-capsules, which develope themselves at the close of winter under the ground. Shulamith compares herself to such a simple and common flower, and that to one in Sharon, i.e., in the region known by that name. Sharon is per aphaer. derived from ישׁרון. The most celebrated plain of this name is that situated on the Mediterranean coast between Joppa and Caesarea; but there is also a trans-Jordanic Sharon, 1 Chronicles 5:16; and according to Eusebius and Jerome, there is also another district of this name between Tabor and the Lake of Tiberias,

(Note: Vid., Lagarde, Onomastica, p. 296; cf. Neubauer, Gographic du Talm. p. 47.)

which is the one here intended, because Shulamith is a Galilean: she calls herself a flower from the neighbourhood of Nazareth. Aquila translates: "A rosebud of Sharon;" but שׁושׁנּה (designedly here the fem. form of the name, which is also the name of a woman) does not mean the Rose which was brought at a later period from Armenia and Persia, as it appears,

(Note: Vid., Ewald, Jahrbuch, IV p. 71; cf. Wstemann, Die Rose, etc., 1854.)

and cultivated in the East (India) and West (Palestine, Egypt, Europe). It is nowhere mentioned in the canonical Scriptures, but is first found in Sir. 24:14; 39:13; 50:8; Wisd. 2:8; and Esther 1:6, lxx. Since all the rosaceae are five-leaved, and all the liliaceae are six-leaved, one might suppose, with Aben Ezra, that the name sosan (susan) is connected with the numeral שׁשׁ, and points to the number of leaves, especially since one is wont to represent to himself the Eastern lilies as red. But they are not only red, or rather violet, but also white: the Moorish-Spanish azucena denotes the white lily.

(Note: Vid., Fleischer, Sitzungs-Berichten d. Schs. Gesell. d. Wissensch. 1868, p. 305. Among the rich flora on the descent of the Hauran range, Wetstein saw (Reisebericht, p. 148) a dark-violet magnificent lily (susan) as large as his fist. We note here Rckert's "Bright lily! The flowers worship God in the garden: thou art the priest of the house.")

The root-word will thus, however, be the same as that of שׁשׁ, byssus, and שׁישׁ, white marble. The comparison reminds us of Hosea 14:5, "I shall be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily." העמקים are deep valleys lying between mountains. She thinks humbly of herself; for before the greatness of the king she appears diminutive, and before the comeliness of the king her own beauty disappears - but he takes up her comparison of herself, and gives it a notable turn.

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