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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verse 1
Verse 1

These words are Christ’s answer to the church’s prayer in the close of the foregoing chapter, Let my beloved come into his garden; here he has come, and lets her know it. See how ready God is to hear prayer, how ready Christ is to accept the invitations that his people give him, though we are backward to hear his calls and accept his invitations. He is free in condescending to us, while we are shy of ascending to him. Observe how the return answered the request, and outdid it. 1. She called him her beloved (and really he was so), and invited him because she loved him; in return to this, he called her his sister and spouse, as several times before, Song 4:1-16 Those that make Christ their best beloved shall be owned by him in the nearest and dearest relations. 2. She called the garden his, and the pleasant fruits of it his, and he acknowledges them to be so: It is my garden, it is my spice. When God was displeased with Israel he turned them off to Moses (They are thy people, Exod. 32:7); and he called the appointed feasts of the Lord their appointed feasts (Isa. 1:14); but now that they are in his favour he owns them for his garden. “Though of small account, yet it is mine.” Those that are in sincerity give up themselves and all they have and can do to Jesus Christ, he will do them the honour to stamp them, and what they have and do for him, with his own mark, and say, It is mine. 3. She invited him to come into his garden, and he says, I have come. Isa. 58:9; Thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. When Solomon prayed that God would come and take possession of the house he had built for him, he did come; his glory filled the house (2 Chron. 7:2), and (Song 5:16) he let him know that he had chosen and sanctified this house, that his name might be there for ever. Those that throw open the door of their souls to Jesus Christ shall find him ready to come in to them; and in every place where he records his name he will meet his people, and bless them, Exod. 20:24. 4. She desired him to eat his pleasant fruits, to accept of the sacrifices offered in his temple, which were as the fruits of his garden, and he does so, but finds they are not gathered and ready for eating, therefore he does himself gather them. As the fruits are his, so is the preparation of them; he finds his heart unready for his entertainment, but does himself draw out into exercise those gracious habits which he had planted there. What little good there is in us would be shed and lost if he did not gather it, and preserve it to himself. 5. She only desired him to eat the fruits of the garden, but he brought along with him something more, honey, and wine, and milk, which yield substantial nourishment, and which were the products of Canaan, Immanuel’s land. Christ delights himself greatly in that which he has both conferred upon his people and wrought in them. Or we may suppose this to have been prepared by the spouse herself, as Esther prepared for the king her husband a banquet of wine; it is but plain fare, and what is natural, honey and milk, but, being kindly designed, it is kindly accepted; imperfections are overlooked; the honey-comb is eaten with the honey, and the weakness of the flesh passed by and pardoned, because the spirit is willing. When Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection he did eat with them a piece of a honey-comb (Luke 24:42, 43), in which this scripture was fulfilled. He did not drink the wine only, which is liquor for men, for great men, but the milk too, which is liquor for children, little children, for he was to be the holy child Jesus, that had need of milk. 6. She only invited him to come himself, but he, bringing his own entertainment along with him, brings his friends too, and invites them to share in the provisions. The more the merrier, we say; and here, where there was so great a plenty, there was not the worse fare. When our Lord Jesus fed 5000 at once they did all eat and were filled. Christ invites all his friends to the wine and milk which he himself drinks of (Isa. 55:1), to the feast of fat things and wines on the lees, Isa. 25:6. The great work of man’s redemption, and the riches of the covenant of grace, are a feast to the Lord Jesus and they ought to be so to us. The invitation is very free, and hearty, and loving: Eat, O friends! If Christ comes to sup with us, it is we that sup with him, Rev. 3:20. Eat, O friends! Those only that are Christ’s friends are welcome to his table; his enemies, that will not have him to reign over them, have no part nor lot in the matter. Drink, yea, drink abundantly. Christ, in his gospel, has made plentiful provision for poor souls. He fills the hungry with good things; there is enough for all, there is enough for each; we are not straitened in him or in his grace, let us not therefore be straitened in our own bosoms. Open the mouth widely, and Christ will fill it. Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit, Eph. 5:18. Those that entertain Christ must bid his friends welcome with him; Jesus and his disciples were called together to the marriage (John 2:2), and Christ will have all his friends to rejoice with him in the day of his espousals to his church, and, in token of that, to feast with him. In spiritual and heavenly joys there is no danger of exceeding; there we may drink abundantly, drink of the river of God’s pleasures (Ps. 36:8), and be abundantly satisfied, Ps. 65:4.