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Chapter 3 Verse 11
Go forth, O ye
daughters of Zion, and beholding Solomon with the
crown wherewith his mother crowned him, in the day of his
espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.
are not the words of Christ, for he is the person spoken of and represented in this glorious manner; nor are they the speech of the daughters of Jerusalem, young converts, for they are the persons spoken to, who are here called the daughters of Zion; nor are they to be considered as the angels exhortation to all the elect to forsake the world, and contemplate Christ by faith in the glory of his kingdom after his resurrection, as some think: but they are the words of the church, who, observing that the daughters of Jerusalem were first struck with admiration at the sight of her, as coming up out of the wilderness, in verse 6. and that their eyes were now intently fixed upon the bed and chariot she had been describing in the former verses, calls them off from these things and proposes a far more glorious object to them, to whom her own glory was not to be compared; nay, king Solomon, in all his glory, either on his coronation or marriage-day, to which the allusion seems to be, cannot equal him; and if his bed and chariot were so acceptable to them, and gave them so much pleasure to behold, she might well conclude that a sight of his person, especially in all his regal glory, could not but be grateful to them; and therefore bids them go forth and behold him to which no doubt they would be forward enough; for the sight of a crowned king, as he passes along the streets, especially on his coronation day, is very desirable to people, who come forth out of their houses, or look out of their windows to behold the sight.
There is a very great variety in the opinions of interpreters about the time to which these words should be referred. The ancient Jewish writers433433T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 26. 2. Targum in loc. Zohar in Genesis fol. 15. 3. and in Exod fol. 24. 3. refer them to the time of Solomon’s finishing the temple, and his dedication of it, and to the joy and gladness which appeared on that solemn occasion; but that was neither his coronation nor his marriage-day: R. Solomon Jarchi434434So Lyra, who frequently follows Jarchi. applies them to the time of the giving of the law, when the Israelites acknowledged God as their king, by subjecting themselves to it; for though Moses was legislator, yet God was king in Jeshurun; as also to the erection and dedication of the temple in the wilderness: Others refer them to the time of Solomon’s being crowned king of Israel, which may be ascribed to his mother Bathsheba, as the moral cause of it;435435Dicitur vero a matre coronatus, quia ipsa precibus obtinuit, ut filius regnaret, quod moraliter coronare est, sanct. in loc. who, by her entreaties and supplications, procured it for him; and which was “the day of his espousals” to the people of Israel, and no doubt “the day of the gladness of his heart.” Others436436Vid. Sanct. and Bishop Patrick in loc. refer to the time of his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter; at which time it was the custom, not only of other nations437437Vid. Paschal. de Coronis, 1. 2. c. I6, 17. p. 126. Barthii & Animadv. ad. Claudian. de Rapt. Proserpin. 1. 2. 5:140. Magnisque corenis conjugium sit. Claudian. laus Serenae, 5:189, 190. Such a crown is.393 called sefov gamhlion, Bion. Idyll. prope finem. Vid. Plauti Casin. act. 4, 2. sc. 2. 5:17. Coronant & nuptiae sponsos, ideo non nubimus Ethenicis, etc. Tertull. de Corona Militis, c. 13. but of the Jews, to crown married persons, to which perhaps the allusion is made in Ezekiel 16:12 and of those nuptial crowns mention is made in the Misnah;438438Misnah Sotah, c. 9. s. 14. & Wagenseil. in ibid. others refer them to the incarnation of Christ;439439Isidore in loc. Beda, S. Thom. and Bernard in Sanct. in loc. and not. Tigur. in loc. and think that by the crown, is meant his humanity, which he received from his mother, the virgin Mary; at which time he espoused our nature, and was no less a day of gladness to him than to us: it being what he gladly performed, and had been long desirous of, as is manifest from the several preludiums of it in the Old Testament: though others440440Theodoret & Tres Patres apud Ibid. have been of opinion, that the words regard the passion and sufferings of Christ; at which time he was crowned with a crown of thorns, and by his blood purchased and espoused the church to himself; which bloody baptism of his was so desirable to him, that he was even straitened until it was accomplished: but though the allusion, as I have already hinted, is to the coronation and marriage-day of king Solomon; yet I should rather think that the words have reference to Christi as the glorious mediator, when first discovered to a poor sinner in all the fullness of his grace, as sitting and riding in the chariot of the everlasting gospel: concerning which we may observe,
First, The persons who are spoken to and exhorted to go forth and behold Christ, and they are the daughters of Zion: Zion was a mount, situate on the north side of Jerusalem, and is sometimes used for the city itself; and was a figure of the church of Christ, which sometimes bears this name in scripture: by the daughters of it, we are to understand the same who are in this song often called the daughters of Jerusalem; by which we have all along understood young converts; who may be called the daughters of Zion, because Christ, who is here thus gloriously described, is king thereof (see Ps. 149:2; Zech. 9:9).
Secondly, The object which is proposed to them to behold, is king Solomon, or the Lord Jesus Christ, who is greater than Solomon, and was typified by him, and in what respects has been shewn on verse 7. And it may not be amiss to remark, what one441441Durham on verse 9. well observes, that there is a manifest gradation in these verses: in verse 7 he is only called Solomon; in verse 9 king Solomon; and here in this verse, “king Solomon with a crown;” for, as the same author observes, “the longer she speaks of Christ, and insists in mentioning his excellency, her thoughts draw the deeper, she sets him up the higher, and becomes warmer in her apprehensions, affections, and expressions concerning him.” And therefore I shall now,
Thirdly, Consider this circumstance of Christ’s glory, he being represented with a “crown, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, etc.” and here it will be proper to inquire, 1st, Who we are to understand by his mother. 2dly, What by the Crown wherewith she crowned him. 3dly, The time of his coronation, which is here expressed,” in the day of his espousals, etc.”
1st, By his mother, we are not to understand Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon; nor the Virgin Mary, the natural mother of Christ: but either, the church of Christ, the Jerusalem above, which is the mother of us all, who being the mother of Christ mystical, may be said to be the mother of Christ also; or else, every particular believer may be intended, who stands related to Christ as his brother, and as one who has sucked the breasts of one and the same mother; see chapter 8:1 who not only is called Christ’s brother and sister, but also his mother: Matthew 12:50 in whose heart Christ is formed, by whom he is affectionately loved, even as an only child is by a tender mother; and for whose honor, glory and interest there is a very great concern. But,
2dly, What is meant by this crown, wherewith he is crowned by his mother. Christ has a crown and kingdom, as he is God, equal with the Father, but this is not put upon him, nor given to him by any; he has a natural right unto it which none can give nor take away from him; he being “in the form of God,” and in all respects equal to him, “thought it no robbery” to assume this crown and kingdom to himself: he has also one as he is Mediator; and this is put upon him, not by his mother, but by his Father; who has “anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” and placed him as “king over his holy hill of Zion,” and set “a crown of pure gold upon his head.” And thus now, by faith, believers see him, “crowned with glory and honor;” all which will more manifestly appear at the last day, when there will be a more open and visible coronation of Christ than has hitherto been; though he has very often now a “crown given to him,” as the triumphant conqueror over the hearts of men; by the mighty power of his grace displayed in the everlasting gospel, in which he goes forth” conquering and to conquer.” But it seems to me that the crown which is here meant, is that which every true believer puts on Christ, when their souls are brought to venture on him, and believe in him: every act of faith is a putting the crown on Christ’s head; and every submission to his commands and ordinances, is an acknowledging of him as king of saints; and the giving up of their souls unto him, and owning him as their head and husband, is “a crown of glory, and a royal diadem” in his hand; even as converts are a “crown of rejoicing” to ministers, and “a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:” and in nothing more do believers do this, than when they ascribe all they have and are, to his grace, and say, with the apostle, It is “by the grace of Christ I am what I am;” for by so doing, they not only cast their crowns at Christ’s feet, but set another upon his head; whereas, on the contrary, they take the crown from off Christ’s head, who do not believe on him, despise his commands, neglect his ordinances, and ascribe their salvation, either in whole or in part, unto themselves, their own works and duties. Moreover, this honor Christ justly deserves from us; and it is an incumbent duty to give it to him; for be, in creation, crowned man, and set him over all the works of his hands, and made him but little inferior to the angels themselves; and by his incarnation, has crowned the human nature with such glory and honor, as it never had in a state of innocence itself; it being united to a divine person, and is now exalted at the Father’s right hand, which is an honor none of the angelic race ever enjoyed; for, “to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit at my right hand?” who also, in the redemption of us from the curse of the law, the slavery and servitude of sin, Satan, and the world, in the remission of our sins by his blood, the justification of our persons by his righteousness, and sanctification of our hearts and natures by his grace and spirit, has “crowned us with loving-kindness and tender mercies.” In short, he has laid up for us a “crown of righteousness, life and glory,” which he, the righteous judge, will give unto and put upon the heads of all his people; so that there is a great deal of reason to crown Christ, and acknowledge him alone as our Lord and King, our head. and husband, our savior and redeemer, who was crowned with thorns for us, and has crowned us with his grace now and will ere long crown us with glory. But,
3dly, The time of this coronation as next to be enquired into; and that is said to be “in the day of his espousals,” that is, on his marriage-day; for Christ’s coronation and marriage day are one and the same day. Now, by this “day of his espousals,” we are to understand the time of a poor sinner’s being enabled, by mighty grace, to give up itself to the Lord, when it consents to be his for ever: this marriage was made and agreed upon in the everlasting council and covenant of grace and peace; Christ made it his request to his Father, and he granted him it; he gave his full consent unto it; so that there remained only the actual consent of the persons themselves, for whom Christ had such a strong love and affection which is obtained by the powerful workings of his grace and spirit in time upon their hearts; and that often under the ministry of the word, where they are “espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ;” at which time there is a large breaking forth; not only of Christ’s love to and upon their hearts, but also of theirs to Christ which is called the love of their espousals, and which Christ afterwards remembers, when it has grown cold and chill towards him: thus every time that a particular soul is brought to Christ, it is both a coronation, and an espousal day; but the great coronation and espousal-day is yet to come, when all the elect shall be brought in, and it shall be said, “The marriage of the lamb is come, and the bride is ready; then shall the king, with her, enter into the marriage-chamber, where the nuptials will be solemnized, and he openly and publicly crowned king of saints, where he will reign with them in all his glory. Some of the Jewish writers interpret this “day of espousals,” of the days of the Messiah442442Vid. Yalkut in loc. Now this “day of his espousals,” with particular believers, as well as the more glorious one that is to comes is called “the day of the gladness of his heart:” which shews how welcome poor sinners are to Christ, and how gladly and cheerfully he receives them; it is not only the joy of angels, but the joy and gladness of his heart, when sinners are converted to him, and believe on him; the bridegroom cannot more rejoice over his bride on his marriage-day, than Christ does over poor coming sinners; and when all his saints are together with him in heaven to behold his glory, what joy and gladness will then fill his heart? But,
Fourthly, We may observe the duty which is enjoined those daughters of Zion; and that is, 1. To go forth, i.e. out of themselves; for a man can never see any glory and excellency in Christ, until he looks out of himself alone to him: the church would have these daughters turn away their eyes from every thing else, and view this glorious object only; for every thing else, though never so valuable, is to be forsaken and left for the sake of him, who is preferable to all enjoyments whatever. 2. To behold him: the former is in order to this; for as persons sitting within doors, cannot behold an object that is passing by, unless they arise, get up, and go forth or look out; so neither can believers discern this glorious object without going forth. The church would have these daughters behold Christ with attention, affection, faith, and admiration; she would have them fix their eyes upon him, look upon him, and love him; look upon him, and believe in him; look upon him, and wonder at him; for there are astonishing beauties, incomparable excellencies, transcendent glories in him, which deserve such looks as these.
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