King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Song of Solomon 5

Christ’s answer. (1) The disappointments of the church from her own folly. (2-8) The excellences of Christ. (9-16)

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Christ’s answer

1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

The disappointments of the church from her own folly

2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.

The excellences of Christ

9 What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

10 My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

12 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

14 His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

15 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Apple-trees. The spouse, submitting to God’s will, is content to suffer. W. — She addresses her beloved, and as he had praised her, under the similitude of a delightful garden, she invites him into it. C. — I, &c. Christ again approves of her patience, and invites the saints to congratulate with her. W. — He always hears his Church. Matt. xxviii. 20. Mark xi. 24. C. — The saints had prayed for Christ’s coming; and, accordingly, (Is. lviii. 9.) he takes flesh of the most pure virgin. S. Athan. Synop. — Comb. Sept. “bread.” — Milk. Chal. “white wine.” But (C.) mile and wine may be taken together. Clem. Pæd. i. 6. — The chaste delights of retired and penitent souls are thus described: (C.) Dulciores sunt lacrymæ orantium quam gaudia theatrorum. S. Aug. Ps. cxxviii. “The tears of penitents are the wine of angels, because in them is the odour of life.” S. Bern. ser. 30. — Inebriated. Not so as to lose reason. Gen. xliii. 34. C. — Prot. marg. “be drunk with loves.” H. Prov. v. 19. and vii. 18. This wine of love, is the blessed Eucharist, which maketh virgins to spring forth, (Zac. ix. 17.) and is a foretaste of heaven. Ps. xxxv. 9. It makes us forget the old man, (C.) and raise the mind to God. S. Cyp. ep. 63. — To this feast Christ invites his disciples. Matt. xxvi. and 1 Cor. xi. M. — Myrrh. Implies that they must be mortified. H.

Ver. 2. Knocking. The spouse had retired to rest, as her beloved delayed longer than usual. But love is ever on the watch. C. — She wished to meditate, but is called upon to assist others, and excited by Christ’s own example. W. — Dew. Having been out in the evening, preceding this fourth night. This denotes imperfect Christians, who remain, indeed, attached to the head, but are a disgrace to it, by their scandalous lives. S. Aug. tr. 37 in Jo. S. Greg. C. — Such was the state of many in the days of Luther, who accordingly joined the first reformers. See Philips’s Life of Card. Pole. p. 364. H. — Nights. Anacreon (ode 1.) has something similar. Christ knocks by his inspirations and chastisements, and he is better heard in the night of tribulation. Apoc. iii. 20. C. — Heretics began to blaspheme Christ, after the Church had only enjoyed a short peace, (M.) after the ten persecutions.

Ver. 3. Garment. By this is designated the tunic, which was undermost. H. — Feet. People in that climate had their feet bare in the house, and even on journies only wore sandals: so that frequent washing was requisite. Gen. xviii. 4. and 1 Tim. v. 10. These excuses were vain, and Christ would not regard them. Matt. xxv. 1. Lu. xii. 35. Theod. C. — The care of souls brings on many external occupations, which contemplative men would decline. S. Greg. M.

Ver. 4. Touch. Of me, (Cassiod.) or rather of the door or window. I was grieved that I had made him wait so long. C. — Heb. “were moved for him.” Prot. marg. “or (as some read) in me.” Pagnin prefers this; Sept. and Mont. the former explanation of halaiv. H. — Grace moves us to begin and prosecute good works. S. Greg. Nyssen. Theod. — Christ gives it more abundantly, to make the champions of the Church contend with adversity. M.

Ver. 5. Arose. The Church employs herself in active life, still retaining a desire to return to contemplation. v. 8. W.

Ver. 8. Love. She seems insensible to the insults received. C. — The Church prays to the saints on earth, and in heaven. M.

Ver. 10. Ruddy. Or shining. Et color in niveo corpore purpureus. The divine and human nature, or the conception and sufferings of Christ are thus described. C. — The spouse gives this admirable description of her beloved. H.

Ver. 11. Gold. God is the head of Christ, (1 Cor. xi. 3.) and is most pure. N. — The guards of Solomon were powdered with gold dust. Jos. Ant. — Branches. Elatæ, or fruits of the male palm-tree. Theod. Plin. xiii. 4.

Ver. 13. Set by. Prot. “as sweet flowers.” — Choice. Lit. “the first.” v. 5. H. — The modesty and words of Christ excited admiration. 1 Pet. ii. 21. Jo. vii. 46. C. — He exhorted sinners to repent, and rebuked the obstinate. M.

Ver. 14. Hyacinths. Or purple veins. C. — Prot. “hands are as gold rings set with the beryl.” Heb. “full of Tharsis,” (H.) or precious stones, (M.) from that country, (Ex. xxviii.) with which his rings were ornamented. C. — Sapphires. His belt or garment is thus ornamented. Sanchez. — The works of Christ proceeded from his infinite charity for mankind, whose salvation he greatly desired, (Mar. vii. 37. and 1 Cor. xv. 22. and 1 Tim. ii. 4.) so that none can perish but by their own fault. C.

Ver. 16. Lovely. Heb. and Sept. “desires.“ M. — The beauty of Christ is chiefly interior; and all must aim at this perfection, who would be his spouses. Ps. xliv. 3. C.

Ver. 17. Seek. The fervent resolve to seek Christ, wherever he may be. W. — His praises excite many to love him. M.