Song of Solomon 2:14 MEANING

Song of Solomon 2:14
(14) O my dove . . . in the clefts of the rock.--The rock pigeon (Columba livia), the origin of the domestic races, invariably selects the lofty cliffs and deep ravines (comp. Jeremiah 48:28; Ezekiel 7:16) for its roosting places, and avoids the neighbourhood of men. The modesty and shyness of his beloved are thus prettily indicated by the poet. For the expression "clefts of the rock," see Note, Obadiah 1:3.

The stairs--i.e., steep places (comp. Ezekiel 38:20, margin), from root = to go up.

Verse 14. - O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the steep places, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. The wood pigeon builds in clefts of rocks and in steep rocky places (see Jeremiah 48:28; and cf. Psalm 74:19; Psalm 56:1; Hosea 7:11). The bridegroom is still addressing his beloved one, who has not yet come forth from the house in the rocks, though she has shown herself at the window. The language is highly poetical, and may be compared with similar words in Homer and Virgil (cf. 'Iliad.' 21:493; 'Aeneid.' 5:213, etc.). The Lord loveth the sight of his people. He delightcth in their songs and in their prayers. He is in the midst of their assemblies. Secret religion is not the highest religion. The highest emotions of the soul do not decrease in their power as they are expressed. They become more and more a ruling principle of life. There are many who need this encouragement to come forth out of secrecy, out of solitude, out of their own private home and individual thoughts, and realize the blessing of fellowship with the Lord and with his people.

2:14-17 The church is Christ's dove; she returns to him, as her Noah. Christ is the Rock, in whom alone she can think herself safe, and find herself easy, as a dove in the hole of a rock, when struck at by the birds of prey. Christ calls her to come boldly to the throne of grace, having a great High Priest there, to tell what her request is. Speak freely, fear not a slight or a repulse. The voice of prayer is sweet and acceptable to God; those who are sanctified have the best comeliness. The first risings of sinful thoughts and desires, the beginnings of trifling pursuits which waste the time, trifling visits, small departures from truth, whatever would admit some conformity to the world; all these, and many more, are little foxes which must be removed. This is a charge to believers to mortify their sinful appetites and passions, which are as little foxes, that destroy their graces and comforts, and crush good beginnings. Whatever we find a hinderance to us in that which is good, we must put away. He feedeth among the lilies; this shows Christ's gracious presence among believers. He is kind to all his people. It becomes them to believe this, when under desertion and absence, and so to ward off temptations. The shadows of the Jewish dispensation were dispelled by the dawning of the gospel day. And a day of comfort will come after a night of desertion. Come over the mountains of Bether, the mountains that divide, looking forward to that day of light and love. Christ will come over every separating mountain to take us home to himself.O my dove,.... An epithet sometimes used by lovers (q), and is a new title Christ gives to his church, to express his affection for her and interest in her; and to draw her out of her retirement, to go along with him. The dove is a creature innocent and harmless, beautiful, cleanly, and chaste; sociable and fruitful, weak and timorous, of a mournful voice, and swift in flying; all which is suitable to the church and people of God: they are harmless and inoffensive in their lives and conversations; they are beautiful through the righteousness of Christ on them, and the grace of the Spirit in them; they are clean through the word Christ has spoken, and having their hearts purified by faith; they are as chaste virgins espoused to Christ, and their love to him is single and unfeigned; they cleave to him, are fruitful in grace and good works; and the church being espoused to Christ brings forth many souls unto him in regeneration; saints carry on a social worship and delight in each other's company; they are weak and timorous, being persecuted and oppressed by the men of the world; and mourn for their own sins and others, and often for the loss of Christ's presence; and are swift in flying to him for safety and protection. Under this character the church is said to be

in the clefts of the rock, the usual place where the dove makes its nest, Jeremiah 48:28; or retires to it for safety (r). Adrichomius says (s), there was a stone tower near Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of Olives, called "petra columbarum", "the rock of the doves", where often five thousand were kept at once, to which there may be an allusion here; or else it may have respect to the place where doves are forced to fly when pursued by the hawk, even into a hollow rock, as described by Homer (t); and may be expressive of the state of the church under persecution, when obliged to flee into holes and corners, and caves of the earth; when the Lord is a hiding place to her, in his love, and grace, and power; and particularly Christ is the Rock of his people, so called for height, strength, and duration, and they are the inhabitants of this Rock; and who was typified by the rock in the wilderness, and particularly by that into the clefts of which Moses was put, when the glory of the Lord passed before him: moreover, the clefts of this rock may design the wounds of Christ, which are opened for the salvation of men; and where saints dwell by faith, and are secure from every enemy (u). The Ethiopic version is, "in the shadow of the rock", to which Christ is compared, Isaiah 32:2; and so the Septuagint version, "in the covering of the rock", which is no other than the shade of it. Likewise the church is said to be

in the secret places of the stairs; Christ is the stairs or steps by which saints ascend up to God, have access to and communion with him; and the secret places may have respect to the justifying righteousness of Christ, and atonement by him, hidden to other men, but revealed to them; and whither in distress they betake themselves, and are sheltered from sin, law, hell, and death, and dwell in safety. Though as such places are dark and dusty, and whither the dove, or any other creature, may in danger betake itself, so upon the whole both this and the preceding clause may design the dark, uncomfortable, and solitary condition the church was in through fear of enemies; in which situation Christ addresses her, saying,

let me see thy countenance, or "face"; and encourages her to appear more publicly in, his house and courts for worship, and present herself before him, and look him full in the face, and with open face behold his glory, and not be shamefaced and fearful; not to be afraid of any thing, but come out of her lurking holes, and be seen abroad by himself and others, since the stormy weather was over, and everything was pleasant and agreeable;

let me hear thy voice; in prayer to him and praise of him, commending the glories and: excellencies of his person, and giving thanks to him for the blessings of his grace;

for sweet is thy voice; pleasant, harmonious, melodious, having a mixture of notes in it, as the word signifies; and so exceeds the voice of a natural dove, which is not very harmonious: Herodotus (w) makes mention of a dove that spoke with a human voice; and such a voice Christ's dove speaks with, and it is sweet; that is, pleasant and delightful to him, who loves to hear his people relate the gracious experiences of his goodness, and speak well of his truths and ordinances; prayer is sweet music to him, and praise pleases him better than all burnt offerings;

and thy countenance is comely; fair and beautiful, and therefore need not cover her face, or hang down her head, as if ashamed to be seen, since she was in the eye of Christ a perfection of beauty.

(q) "Mea columba", Plauti Casina, Acts 1. Sc. 1. v. 50. Doves were birds of Venus; her chariot was drawn by them, Chartar. de Imag. Deor. p. 218. Vid. Apulci Metamorph. l. 6. (r) "Quails spelunca subito commota columba, cui domus et dulces latebroso in pumice nidi", Virgil. Aeneid. 5. v. 213. (s) Theatrum Terrae S. p. 171. (t) Iliad. 21. v. 493, 494. (u) "In tegimento petrae", i.e. "tuta praesidio passionis meae et fidei munimento", Ambros. de Isaac, c. 4. p. 281. (w) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 55.

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