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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 10–13
Verses 10–13

These are the words of the spouse, the church, the believing soul, in answer to the kind expressions of Christ’s love in the foregoing verses.

I. She here triumphs in her relation to Christ and her interest in him, and in his name will she boast all the day long. With what a transport of joy and holy exultation does she say (Song 7:10), “I am my beloved’s, not my own, but entirely devoted to him and owned by him.” If we can truly say that Christ is our best beloved, we may be confident that we are his and he will save us, Ps. 119:94. The gracious discoveries of Christ’s love to us should engage us greatly to rejoice in the hold he has of us, his sovereignty over us and property in us, which is no less a spring of comfort than a bond of duty. Intimacy of communion with Christ should help clear up our interest in him. Glorying in this, that she is his, to serve him, and reckoning that her honour, she comforts herself with this, that his desire is towards her, that is, he is her husband; it is a periphrasis of the conjugal relation, Gen. 3:16. Christ’s desire was strongly towards his chosen remnant, when he came from heaven to earth to seek and save them; and when, in pursuance of his undertaking, he was even straitened till the baptism of blood he was to pass through for them was accomplished, Luke 12:50. He desired Zion for a habitation; this is a comfort to believers that, whosoever slights them, Christ has a desire towards them, such a desire as will again bring him from heaven to earth to receive them to himself; for he longs to have them all with him, John 17:24; John 14:3.

II. She humbly and earnestly desires communion with him (Song 7:11, 12): “Come, my beloved, let us take a walk together, that I may receive counsel, instruction, and comfort from thee, and may make known my wants and grievances to thee, with freedom, and without interruption.” Thus Christ can walk with the two disciples that were going to the village called Emmaus, and talked with them, till he made their hearts burn within them. Observe here, 1. Having received fresh tokens of his love, and full assurances of her interest in him, she presses forward towards further acquaintance with him; as blessed Paul, who desired yet more and more of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, Phil. 3:8. Christ has made it to appear how much his desire is towards us, and we are very ungrateful if ours be not towards him. Note, Communion with Christ is that which all that are sanctified earnestly breathe after; and the clearer discoveries he makes to them of his love the more earnestly do they desire it. Sensual pleasures pall the carnal appetite, and soon give it surfeit, but spiritual delights whet the desires, the language of which is, Nothing more than God, but still more and more of him. Christ had said, I will go up to the palm-tree. Come, saith she, Let us go. The promises Christ has made us of communion with him are not to supersede, but quicken and encourage, our prayers for that communion. 2. She desires to go forth into the fields and villages to have this communion with him. Those that would converse with Christ must go forth from the world and the amusements of it, must avoid every thing that would divert the mind and be a hindrance to it when it should be wholly taken up with Christ; we must contrive how to attend upon the Lord without distraction (1 Cor. 7:35), for therefore the spouse here covets to get out of the noise of the town. Let us go forth to him without the camp, Heb. 13:13. Solitude and retirement befriend communion with God; therefore Isaac went out into the field to meditate and pray. Enter into thy closet, and shut thy door. A believer is never less alone than when alone with Christ, where no eye sees. 3. Having business to go abroad, to look after their grounds, she desires the company of her beloved. Note, Wherever we are, we may keep up our communion with God, if it be not our own fault, for he is always at our right hand, his eye always upon us, and both his word and his ear always nigh us. By going about our worldly affairs with heavenly holy hearts, mixing pious thoughts with common actions, and having our eyes ever towards the Lord, we may take Christ along with us whithersoever we go. Nor should we go any whither where we cannot in faith ask him to go along with us. 4. She is willing to rise betimes, to go along with her beloved: Let us get up early to the vineyards. It intimates her care to improve opportunities of conversing with her beloved; when the time appointed has come, we must lose no time, but, as the woman (Mark 16:2), go very early, though it be to a sepulchre, if we be in hopes to meet him there. Those that will go abroad with Christ must begin betimes with him, early in the morning of their days, must begin every day with him, seek him early, seek him diligently. 5. She will be content to take up her lodging in the villages, the huts or cottages which the country people built for their shelter when they attended their business in the fields; there, in these mean and cold dwellings, she will gladly reside, if she may but have her beloved with her. His presence will make them fine and pleasant, and convert them into palaces. A gracious soul can reconcile itself to the poorest accommodations, if it may have communion with God in them. 6. The most pleasant delightful fields, even in the spring-time, when the country is most pleasant, will not satisfy her, unless she have her beloved with her. No delights on earth can make a believer easy, unless he enjoy God in all.

III. She desires to be better acquainted with the state of her own soul and the present posture of its affairs (Song 7:12): Let us see if the vine flourish. Our own souls are our vineyards; they are, or should be, planted with vines and pomegranates, choice and useful trees. We are made keepers of these vineyards, and therefore are concerned often to look into them, to examine the state of our own souls, to seek whether the vine flourishes, whether our graces be in act and exercise, whether we be fruitful in the fruits of righteousness, and whether our fruit abound. And especially let us enquire whether the tender grape appear and whether the pomegranates bud forth, what good motions and dispositions there are in us that are yet but young and tender, that they may be protected and cherished with a particular care, and may not be nipped, or blasted, or rubbed off, but cultivated, that they may bring forth fruit unto perfection. In this enquiry into our own spiritual state, it will be good to take Christ along with us, because his presence will make the vine flourish and the tender grape appear, as the returning sun revives the gardens, and because to him we are concerned to approve ourselves. If he sees the vine flourish, and the tender grape appear—if we can appeal to him, Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee,—if his Spirit witness with our spirit that our souls prosper, it is enough. And, if we would be acquainted with ourselves, we must beg of him to search and try us, to help us in the search, and discover us to ourselves.

IV. She promises to her beloved the best entertainment she can give him at her country seat; for he will come in to us, and sup with us, Rev. 3:20. 1. She promises him her best affections; and, whatever else she had for him, it would utterly be contemned if her heart were not entire for him: “There therefore will I give thee my love; I will repeat the professions of it, honour thee with the tokens of it; and the out-goings of my soul towards thee in adorations and desires shall be quickened and enlarged, and my heart offered up to thee in a holy fire.” 2. She promises him her best provision, Song 7:13. “There we shall find pleasant odours, for the mandrakes give a smell;” the love-flowers or lovely ones (so the word signifies), or the love-fruits; it was something that was in all respects very grateful, so valuable that Rachel and Leah had like to have fallen out above it, Gen. 30:14. “We shall also find that which is good for food, as well as pleasant to the eye, all the rarities that the country affords: At our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits.” Note, (1.) The fruits and exercises of grace are pleasant to the Lord Jesus. (2.) These must be carefully laid up for him, devoted to his service and honour, must be always ready to us when we have occasion for them, as that which is laid up at our gates, that, by our bringing forth much fruit, he may be glorified, John 15:18. (3.) There is a great variety of these pleasant fruits, with which our souls should be well stocked; we must have all sorts of them, grace for all occasions, new and old, as the good householder has in his treasury, not only the products of this year, but remainders of the last, Matt. 13:52. We must not only have that ready to us, for the service of Christ, which we have heard, and learned, and experienced lately, but must retain that which we have formerly gathered; nor must we content ourselves only with what we have laid up in store in the days of old, but, as long as we live, must be still adding something new to it, that our stock may increase, and we may be thoroughly furnished for every good work. (4.) Those that truly love Christ will think all they have, even their most pleasant fruits, and what they have treasured up most carefully, too little to be bestowed upon him, and he is welcome to it all; if it were more and better, it should be at his service. It is all from him, and therefore it is fit it should be all for him.