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Chapter 3 Verse 7

Behold his bed, which is Solomon’s: threescore valiant men are about it,
of the valiant of Israel.

first wordare either the words of the daughters of Jerusalem continued, as some407407Foliot, Sanctius, & Soto Major in loc. think; who having begun, go on to commend the church from that communion and fellowship she enjoys with Christ, and from that safety and security which she has in him: or rather, according to others408408Junius, Durham, etc, they are the words of the church; who perceiving that the daughters of Jerusalem were much taken with her beauty; and fearing, lest they should ascribe too much to her, to the prejudice of her beloved; she breaks in upon them, and proposes a far more glorious object to them to gaze upon and wonder at, even Christ, from whom she received all her beauty and glory; him she describes by his bed, and the guard about it, in this and the following verse; by the chariot he rides in; in verses 9, 10. and by the royal crown he wore on his coronation day, in verse 11. In these words we have,

I.To consider who is meant by Solomon.

II.What by his bed.

III.The guard that is about it, which is here described.

IV.Why a behold is prefixed to all this.

I.It will be proper to consider who is meant by Solomon and I apprehend we are not to understand this literally of Solomon, the son of David, and king of Israel; but mystically, of Christ, who was typified by him; it may be said of this place, what our Lord said in another case, that a “greater than Solomon is here;” Solomon was undoubtedly an eminent type of Christ; the whole seventy-second psalm, which is entitled, A Psalm for Solomon,” is generally expounded, not only by Christian, but also by Jewish interpreters409409Targum, R. Aben Ezra. R. David Kimchi, R. Sol. Jarchi, Miclol Yolphi, & R. Abendana in not, in Miclol Yolphi in loc. of the Messiah, whom Solomon prefigured; and there is an agree-merit and likeness between them in the following things: 1. They were both the sons of David: Christ, as well as Solomon, was so according to the flesh; God promised that the would raise up the Messiah from his seed, which promise he accordingly made good: the Jews lived in the expectation of him, as being to spring from him; and therefore when Christ put that question to them, “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?” they readily answer, “The son of David” hence he is called both the root and offspring of David;” as he is God, he is thereof of David; and as he is man, he is his offspring. 2. They were both the sons of God; see 2 Samuel 7:14 compared with Hebrews 1:5 only with this difference; Solomon was the son of God by adopting grace; Christ, by nature and eternal generation. 3. They were both Jedidiah’s, beloved of God: that Solomon was so, is manifest from 2 Samuel 12:24, 25 and therefore had that name given unto him; that Christ is the dear son of God’s love, was testified by a voice from heaven more than once, particularly at his baptism, and at his transfiguration upon the mount (see Matthew 3:17, 17:5). 4. They were both kings and preachers in Jerusalem; for Solomon (see Eccl. 1:1-12) and of Christ it is manifest that here he exercised great part of his public ministry; and here also did he sit upon the throne of his father David, though in a spiritual way. 5. He was a type of Christ in his wisdom: It is said of him (1 Kings 4:30, 31) that his “wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east-country, and all the wisdom of Egypt; for he was wiser than all men:” and of Christ it is said (Col. 2:3) that “in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;” he as much, nay, infinitely more exceeded Solomon in wisdom, than he did all other men; for never man spake such words of wisdom, his enemies themselves being witnesses, as he did. 6. He was also a type of Christ in the largeness of his kingdom: as God gave him “largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore;” so he likewise gave him a kingdom suitable to its. and made him to reign “over all kingdoms, from the river unto the land of the Philistines:” Christ’s kingdom, however small it may appear now, shall in the latter day be very large; for “he shall have dominion from sea to seas and from the river unto the ends of the earth; for when he takes to himself his great power, and reigns, “the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ;” (see Ps. 72:8; Rev. 11:15, 17). 7. He prefigured him in the peaceableness, as welt as in the largeness of his kingdom: Solomon’s kingdom was a peaceable one, as well as a large one; “he had peace on all sides round about him;” and his subjects “dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, all his days:” which was all typical of Christ and his kingdom; one of whose titles is, “the prince of peace;” whose scepter is “the gospel of peace;” whose kingdom is not “meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;” and whose subjects are “the sons of peace;” on whom he bestows peace of conscience now, and will introduce them into an everlasting peace hereafter. 8. He was also a type of him in the riches of his kingdom: there was such plenty of gold in the days of Solomon, “that silver was nothing accounted of,” but was as common “in Jerusalem as stones;” Christ’s “riches are unsearchable;” he has riches of grace, and riches of glory, which he bestows upon his subjects, so that they are all as kings and princes: it may be much more truly said of all Christ’s subjects, what the king of Assyria in a boasting manner said of his princes, “Are not my princes altogether kings?” all the subjects of Christ’s kingdom are princes, and all these princes kings; and therefore it must needs be a very rich and opulent one. 9. Solomon was a type of Christ likewise in his marriage of Pharaoh’s daughter, an Egyptian woman; one that was an” alien from the commonwealth of Israel, and a stranger from the covenant of promise;” which is not more surprising, nor indeed so much, as that “the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth,” should espouse to himself such poor, mean, vile, and sinful creatures, as we by nature are; so that he who is our Maker, is also our husband; astonishing! stupendous grace! 10. He was a type of him in his building the temple, which prefigured the church of Christ which is built on Christ, “the rock, the foundation, and corner-stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed. together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:” nay, it is not only built upon him, but it is also built by him, therefore to him all the glory should be ascribed; for “he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory,” Zechariah 6:13. And now seeing that Solomon was a type of Christ in so many instances, it need not be wondered at, that he should bear his name in this, and in some other parts of this Song. But,

II.The next thing to be enquired into, is, what is meant by his bed; and there is a variety of opinions concerning it.

The Targum understands by it, the temple: R. Sol. Jarchi, the tabernacle of the congregation; in both which the priests” and Levites watched and kept guard: R. Alshech, the congregation of Israel. Some410410Cotton and Brightman in loc. think that the temple of Christ’s body is here intended, in which “the fullness of the Godhead dwells;” and which was guarded and protected from the fury and malice of Herod and others, by angels, who were continually ascending and descending on him: others411411Greg. Nynen, in Cant. Homil. 6. and Ainsworth in loc. the hearts Of believers, in which Christ condescends to dwell; which are kept by his power, and guarded by that “peace of his which passeth all understanding. Some412412Ambros. de Isaac, c. 5. have been of opinion, that Christ himself is this bed: others413413Apponius in Sanct. in loc. that it is his cross: and others414414Beda in Sanc. in loc. and Foliot. in loc. that the happiness of the saints in glory is here meant; who, dying in the Lord, “enter into peace, and rest in their beds;” which are those mansions that are prepared and reserved for them in heaven. Though others415415Theodoret in loc. think that the scriptures are this bed; in hearing and reading of which, souls are often begotten again; they are written for the comfort of God’s children, being opened, are made very useful to them, where they frequently meet with Christ, and have communion with him: these, notwithstanding the cunning and malice of wicked men, have been safely kept and strangely preserved by the providence of God; as the doctrines of them have been strenuously maintained and defended against heretics by the ministers of the gospel. But I am rather inclined to think, that by this bed, we are to understand the church of Christ:”416416So the Cabalistic doctors interpret it of malcuth, the congregation of Israel, the bride, the church, Lexic. Cab. p. 527. it is here Christ dwells; this is his resting-place; here souls are begotten and born again; and here he grants to his people nearness of access unto him, sweet familiarity, and delightful fellowship with him. Now this may he said to be his bed, because the Father has given it to him, and he has purchased it with his own blood; as also, because it is of his own making. But,

III.We now proceed to consider the guard about this bed; which are either the angels of God417417So R. Alshech in loc. who are ministering spirits to the church, and “encamp round about them that fear the Lord; who, as they are always ready, so they are able and mighty to do the pleasure of Christ, and to defend his church; who are as valiant and courageous in doing their master’s work and will, as they are faithful and trusty: or rather, by this guard about the. church, we are to understand the ministers of the gospel;418418Isidore in loc. who, “by night stand in the house of the Lord,” and act the part of watchmen there; defend the truths of the gospel, and vindicate the cause of Christ against all opposers. These are described,

1st, By their number, threescore; which perhaps was just the number of guards which Solomon had every night about his bed; and that not only for the safety and security of his royal person, but as an indication of his majesty and greatness: and it may be observed, that these are just double the number of David’s worthies, Solomon excelling his father in glory and majesty; though perhaps here is a certain number mentioned for an uncertain, which may be particularly mentioned, because it is a competent and sufficient one.

2dly, By their qualifications, “valiant or mighty men:” they are such who are strong in Christ, in his grace, and in the power of his might; and so indeed they had need to be, to discharge the work they are called unto: they are capable of digesting the word of God themselves, and of dividing it to others; they have courage enough to defend the gospel against all its enemies, and are “valiant for the truth upon earth;” they quit themselves like men, being strong; and stand fast in one spirit, striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

3dly, By their original, or descent, they are “the valiant of Israel:” the Israelites were noted for valiant men, and were a terror to their enemies; and these were the choicest, the very flower of them; these were Israelites indeed, who had something of the spirit of old Israel in them; who, as a prince, had power both with God and men, and prevailed.

4thly, By their posture; they stood round about the bed, on all sides: which shews not only their diligence in their work, and how careful they were that nothing might prejudice the church, nor disturb its rest and repose; but also the safety and security of it: not that this is all the security the church has; for besides the angels, and these ministers of the gospel, who attend it, the Lord himself is round about it; “for as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about his people, but yet it is a great mercy and blessing that the Lord is pleased to set such a guard as this about his bed, or set such watchmen as these upon the walls of his Jerusalem.

IV.To all this a behold is prefixed; which may be considered, either as a note of attention, to stir up the minds of the daughters of Jerusalem to consider this great person, whose bed this is which is guarded after such a manner as is here represented; from whence they might conclude, that if his bed was so stately, his person must be much more so: or else, as a note of admiration, which she takes up, not only to shew how much she was affected with the glory and greatness of Christ’s person, and with those privileges which she enjoyed through, and by him; as that she should be in his bed, where he condescended to grant her communion with himself, about which so strong a guard is set as is here described: but likewise, she does it to stir up the affections of these daughters towards Christ, that they might be filled with desires after him, and not be at rest until they also had some enjoyment of him, in whose presence she had found so much sweetness.

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