Canticle 5: The Witness andd Communion of Love

Song of Solomon 6:13-8:4
The previous Canticle closes with the restored bride in happy communion with the Bridegroom in the garden of nuts. In this Canticle two scenes pass before us. In the first, the bride is displayed before the daughters of Jerusalem in all the comeliness the King has put upon her (6:13 to 7:5). In the second, the Bridegroom and the bride are found in happy and unrestrained communion (7:6 to 8:4).
The bride, having been restored, becomes a witness to the affections of the Bridegroom before others. This witness is maintained by a walk in communion with the Bridegroom. So with ourselves, the fruits of restoration are seen in the display of the moral beauties of Christ, and this can be only maintained by a walk in communion with Christ. It was thus in the history of restored Peter. In the early part of Acts 4 he is before the world in a way that leads them to discern that he " had been with Jesus " and in the latter part of the chapter he retires to his " own company " to hold sweet communion with the Lord.
The Daughters of Jerusalem.
OS 6:13{13. Return, return, O Shulamite;
Return, return, that we may look upon thee.
The scene opens with the daughters of Jerusalem calling upon the bride to return. They had already heard from her lips the rapturous description of the Bridegroom, awakening in their hearts desires after the Bridegroom; then, apparently, she left them to join her Beloved in the garden of spices, and now they plead with her to return. Possibly the secret of their plea is the desire to learn more of the Bridegroom, and who so fitted to witness of the Bridegroom as the bride, for now they recognize she is in relation with the King. For the first time they speak of her as the Shulamite—the name of Solomon in its feminine form.
The Bride.
OS 6:13{13. What would ye look upon the Shulamite?
In reply to the call of the daughters of Jerusalem the bride expresses wonder that they should desire to look upon her.
The Daughters of Jerusalem. (6: 13-7: 5).
OS 6:13{13. As it were the dance of two camps.
This appears to be the answer of the daughters of Jerusalem. The text may be translated, " As it were the dance of Mahanaim." The allusion is probably to the day when Jacob left the land of Mesopotamia to go to the promised land with his wives, his children, his servants and all his goods. In the way " the angels of God met him; and when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim" (i.e., two hosts or camps). There the heavenly and the earthly host met, and here the Bridegroom and the bride have met in the garden of the King, and the daughters say, in the language of figure, " We would see the effect of this meeting." How good when others can see the effect of our having been " with Jesus." In response the bride stands before them in all her beauty, and with great delight the daughters of Jerusalem describe her loveliness.
OS 7:1-5{7: 1. How beautiful are thy footsteps in sandals, O prince's daughter!
The roundings of thy thighs are like jewels.
The work of the hands of a cunning workman.
2. Thy navel is a round goblet [which] wanteth not mixed wine;
Thy belly a heap of wheat, set about with lilies;
3. Thy two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle;
4. Thy neck is a tower of ivory;
Thine eyes, [like] the pools in Heshbon,
By the gate of Bath-rabbim;
Thy nose like the tower of Lebanon,
Which looketh toward Damascus:
5. Thy head upon thee is like Carmel,
And the locks of thy head like purple:
The King is fettered by [thy] ringlets!
The daughters of Jerusalem thus celebrate the beauty of the bride. Formerly her words had borne bright witness to the King, but now she herself is a witness to all the comeliness the King had put upon her. It is the witness of life rather than lips, of ways rather than words. She had been with the Beloved in the garden of spices and she comes forth from His presence with the beauty of the King upon her. She is hailed as the daughter of the Prince. The stamp of royalty is upon her, and the grace and majesty of the King's presence surrounds her going. So in a former day the face of Moses shone with the glory of the One from whose presence he came. The world in his day saw, in a man on earth, the result of being in touch with heaven. Again, in a later day Elisha sees the vision of Elijah ascending to heaven and, on his return to Jericho, the sons of the prophets at once recognize that " the spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha." They had no vision of the rapture, but they discern its effect on Elisha. They saw in a man on earth the spirit of a man that had gone to heaven. So too Stephen, in his day and generation, sets forth the blessedness of a man on earth being in touch with the Man in heaven. " He being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus." The world had no such glorious vision, but they saw the effect it produced in Stephen. They saw a man who could pray for his murderers, and thus reproduce on earth the grace of the Man that had gone to heaven.
We may well challenge our hearts by these examples of men on earth in touch with heaven. As we journey on our way, can the world see faces shining with the joy of the presence of the Lord after the manner of Moses? Can they discern in us the Spirit of Christ after the pattern of Elisha, or the setting forth of the heavenly Man as with Stephen?
Good for us also, when, by our lives and conversation we proclaim our high origin, and it becomes manifest that we are "a royal priesthood" chosen • indeed to show forth the excellencies of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! But alas! how little we know what it is to linger awhile in the garden of the Lord, enjoying the company of the Lord; and then, from that hallowed spot, to come forth bearing before others the impress of His presence, exhibiting the manners of heaven and the graces of the Lord. There is often a coarseness about our manners, a roughness of speech, and brusqueness of bearing, that tells how little we have been " with Jesus." Living so little in His company we learn so little of " the truth as it is in Jesus," and hence the life of Jesus is so little manifest in our bodies. More often we manifest the ways of earth than the manners of heaven. Too often our conversation is seasoned with the wit and humor of this world rather than the wisdom and holiness of heaven.
But with the bride it was otherwise. She had been in the presence of the King. She had met the Bridegroom and she comes forth with the joy of that meeting—"the dance of two companies." She has been in the hands of " a cunning workman " and she wears the jewels his hands had wrought. The beauty of the King is upon her. The daughters of Jerusalem describe the bride in language similar to that used by the Bridegroom, only, viewing her from above, he begins his description with her eyes, whereas, the daughters, viewing her from earth, speak first of her footsteps and end with the hair of her head. By nature " from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores;" but viewed as of spiritual and heavenly origin—as a prince's daughter—we are all fair from the sole of the foot even unto the head.
The Bridegroom. (7:6-9).
OS 7:6-9{6. How fair and how pleasant art thou, [my] love, in delights!
7. This thy stature is like a palm-tree,
And thy breasts to grape clusters.
8. I said, I will go up to the palm-tree,
I will take hold of the boughs thereof;
And thy breasts shall indeed he like the ousters of the vine,
And the fragrance of thy nose like apples,
9. And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine...
The daughters of Jerusalem can contemplate the bride as an object to admire; but the King not only admires, he possesses the bride and finds in her a source of personal delight. The daughters as they look upon her, exclaim, " How beautiful!" and the King says " How fair!" but he adds, " How pleasant art thou, 0 love, for delights." And the two figures used express the two thoughts; viewing her in all her beauty he likens her to the graceful and stately palm: viewing her as an object of delight, he likens her "to clusters of grapes." And the King appropriates and enjoys those delights which others only gaze upon and admire. Others may praise her beauty, but he only can say, " I will go up to the palm-tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof." In his bride he finds affections that are likened to the clusters of the vine; that which is acceptable and well pleasing likened to the fragrance of citrons: and joys that are likened to the best wine. Thus it will be of the earthly bride in a day to come. Of restored Israel the Lord can say, " I will make you a name and a praise among all people;" but of the Lord Himself it is said, " He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing." The world will admire and praise, but He will delight in His earthly bride (Zeph. 3:17-2017The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. 18I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 19Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:17‑20)). Nor is it otherwise with the heavenly bride. She will be displayed in glory before an admiring world, but Christ will see of the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. So too with a restored soul. Others may see and admire the outward results of restoration, but the Lord finds in the restored soul that which is a delight to Him. David, confessing his sin, says, " Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation," and then, he says, "will I teach transgressors thy ways," but he adds, as he closes his penitential Psalm, " Then shalt thou be pleased." Restored David becomes a blessing to others, but a pleasure to the Lord (Psa. 51:12, 13, 1912Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (Psalm 51:12‑13)
19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. (Psalm 51:19)
The Bride. (7: 9-8: 4).
OS 7:9-10{9. That goeth down smoothly for my beloved,
And stealeth over the lips of them that are asleep.
10. I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
The bride, as she hears the Bridegroom expressing his delight in her, is constrained to speak. If the Bridegroom likens the joy he has found in her to the best wine, she immediately adds, " That goes down smoothly for my Beloved." In times past the affections of the bride may have wandered, but now the restored bride is wholly for her Beloved. Once she has slept upon her bed, and, overcome with sloth, could not respond to the voice of her Beloved; but all the beauty his love has put upon her has awakened her affections and called forth her delight in him. The best wine has caused the lips of the once sleeping bride to speak. And the words she now utters express the highest experience of her soul. Through all her wanderings and backslidings she has grown in grace. In the course of these experiences her heart had expressed itself with increasing fervor. When desires after the Beloved were first awakened her great longing was to possess the object of her affections, and when gratified she exclaims, " My beloved is mine and I am his;" but as she grows in the knowledge of his thoughts towards her, she becomes increasingly conscious that she is an object to him, and, with this thought filling her soul, she is constrained to say, " I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine;" but at last when her affections are revived and she finds his love unchanged, and that instead of reproaches she hears only expressions of delight in herself, she realizes to the full that she belongs to the Bridegroom and that his affections are set upon her, and with great delight she says," I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me."
OS 7:11-13{11. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields;
Let us lodge in the villages.
12. We will go up early to the vineyards.
We will see if the vine hath budded, [If] the blossom is opening,
And the pomegranates are in bloom: There will I give thee my loves.
13. The mandrakes yield fragrance:
And at our gates are all choice fruits, new and old:
I have laid them up for thee, my beloved.
The result of all the King's dealings with his bride is to lead her to think his thoughts, to express his desires, and to share his affections. On former occasions he had said to her, "Come away," and she was slow to respond; but now she takes up his word and says, "Come, my Beloved." She would fain be with him to enjoy the communion of love. She says, "Let us go forth," "Let us lodge," "Let us get up," and "Let us see." Nevermore would she be parted from him. Wherever they go, wherever they dwell, whatever they do, whatever they see, it must be together. And she says, "I will give thee my loves;" in times past her affections may have been drawn away to other objects, but now they are wholly for the King. So in a later day the Apostle Paul could say, "The life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
OS 8:1-3{8:1. O that thou wert as my brother,
That sucked the breasts of my mother!
Should I find thee without I would kiss thee;
And they would not despise me.
2. I would lead thee, bring thee into my mother's house;
Thou wouldest instruct me:
I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine,
Of the juice of my pomegranate.
3. His left hand would be under my head,
And his right arm embrace me.
The bride is not content with the secret expression of her love for the Bridegroom. She desires that all might know her love to the King. Oh that thou wert as my brother, she says, then indeed I could manifest my love before all without any impropriety: " Should I find thee without, I would kiss thee; and they would not despise me." To express our love to Christ in a world that has rejected Him will call down the hatred of the world; but the time is coming when without hindrance we can publicly witness our love to Christ without being despised.
OS 8:4{4. I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem,...
Why should ye stir up, or awaken love till it please.
The canticle closes with a charge to the daughters of Jerusalem not to disturb the happy communion of love.