King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Song of Solomon 8

Desire for communion with Christ. (1-4) The vehemence of this desire. (5-7) The church pleads for others. (8-12) And prays for Christ’s coming. (13,14)

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Desire for communion with Christ

1 O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.

2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.

3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.

4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.

The vehemence of this desire

5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.

6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

The church pleads for others

8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?

9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.

10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.

11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.

12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.

And prays for Christ’s coming

13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.

14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Mother. The synagogue continues to pray for Christ’s coming. W. — Her request has been heard, and He has assumed our nature; so that we may receive from him all the marks of tenderness, and none but the carnal will shew any signs of contempt. The spouse wishes to manifest her love without restraint, and to be delivered from the shame of sterility, (C.) or the Church desires to see Christ in heaven, and to praise him. M.

Ver. 2. Teach me economy, on which subject Xenophon represents the newly married entertaining themselves. — Wine. Mar. xv. 23. Os. xiv. 8. Nectar was of this description, (C.) being composed of wine, honey, and odoriferous flowers. The best was made at Babylon. Athen. i. 25. and ii. 2. — These liquors intimate all the virtues, which Christ has taught; the practice of which affords him the greatest satisfaction. Jo. xiv. 23. They are best learnt in retirement, (C.) and from our great teacher. Mic. iv. 2. M.

Ver. 4. Jerusalem. Sept. add, “by the armies and powers of the field,” as c. ii. 7. and iii. 5. H. — The spouse presently awakes after the sixth night, and goes out. C. — Christ admonishes all not to disturb those who would serve him. W.

Ver. 5. Flowing. Thus speak the companions of the spouse; and the bridegroom, turning to her alone, reminds her of an adventure. The Jews would put this in the mouth of the spouse. C. — Corrupted. Heb. and Sept. “fell in labour, there she was delivered who bore thee.” H. — Christ redeemed Eve, who had been seduced to eat the forbidden fruit, and by his sacred blood on the cross, awoke and healed our fallen nature. C. — The court of heaven admires the Church of the Gentiles, and every pious soul ascending from this world, particularly the blessed Virgin. The synagogue was corrupt, when she called for the death of the Son of God, and said, His blood be upon us, &c. We have no king but Cæsar. W. — Grace must go before, that our free-will may also walk forward. M.

Ver. 6. Arm. Working by charity. Gal. v. 6. H. — Women in the east imprint what they like most on their bosom and arms, or carry bracelets and gems on those parts, with similar inscriptions. Os. ii. 2. Is. iii. 20. S. Clem. Pæd. ii. 11. — Christ must live in us. C. — Tota ejus species exprimatur in nobis. S. Amb. Isaac viii. — Jealousy. That is, zealous and burning love. Ch. — Hell. Or the grave, which subdues all. Love is a violent passion. C. — Nullus liber erit, si quis amare velit. Prop. ii. — Christ gave his life to redeem mankind, and the martyrs have joyfully endured torments and death, to evince their love. C. — Flames. Heb. “a flame of God,” or most vehement. H.

Ver. 7. Drown it. As other fires may be extinguished. He who sinks under persecution, has not real charity. Temptation does not weaken a person, but shews what he is. Ecclus. xxxiv. 9. C. — He shall. Worldlings will ridicule his parting with temporal delights, for those which do not appear: but the true lover will make no account of the former. C.

Ver. 8. Our sister. Christ styles the Church his own and the synagogue’s sister, promising her many benefits. W. — The relations of the spouse wish to have her married, though she seemed young. Ezec. xvi. 7. — Spoken to, concerning marriage, or its consummation. Gen. xxxiv. 6. Dan. xiii. 57. C. — The synagogue had but few to give her proper instructions. M. — But Christ would provide her, if she were not wanting to herself. H.

Ver. 9. Cedar. Procuring for her a rich and steady husband to protect her. These are the words of the bridegroom. The Christian Church seemed weak at first. But her pastors and martyrs caused her to triumph over all the powers of hell. C. — Those who correspond with the first grace, are furnished with others. M.

Ver. 11. The. The bridegroom, in the character of a countryman, asserts that he would not give his vineyard or spouse (C.) for all the king’s riches.

Ver. 12. Before me. I am satisfied with my spouse. — The peaceable. Heb. and Sept. “Solomon.” H. — Retain them, and also pay the keepers their wages. I envy not all the treasures of the world; nor would put them in competition with my vineyard, or spouse. The synagogue of Moses and Solomon degenerated, while the Church of Christ has continued faithful, and has always some good workmen. S. Greg. Ven. Bede, &c. C.

Ver. 13. Hearken. The seventh morning is come, and I must depart to the mountains. C. ii. 17. and iv. 6. Christ, before his ascension, exhorts his Church to present her petitions. He is always ready to hear her, and to grant her aid, in every emergency. See S. Amb. de Virg. xvi. 99. — The virtuous pray that her requests may be granted, (H.) and are eager to know what they are. M.

Ver. 14. Flee. The Church consents that her beloved should ascend to heaven, as he still remains with her. Ven. Bede. S. Bern. ser. ix. Qui habitat. C. — The whole Church militant requests that he would ascend thither, for the good of all his servants, begging for an abundant supply of grace, that we may ascend the high mountains of perfect charity, and zeal for God’s honour; and that eh would make our souls such hills and gardens, adorned with all the flowers and fruits of virtue, in which he may vouchsafe to dwell. Amen. W. — Flee to heaven, and draw me with thee. C. i. 4. M.