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Chapter 7 Verse 1

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the
joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a
cunning workman.

first wordare either the words of the daughters of Jerusalem, who having desired the church to return unto them, in the latter part of the preceding chapter, that they might take a view of those incomparable and astonishing beauties, for which she had been commended; to which request, she complying, they now with wonder look upon her, and give those large commendations of her, which are in this and some following verses: and what seems still more to strengthen this sense of the words, Christ is spoken of in verse 5 as a distinct person, both from the person who is described, and also from the persons by whom the description is made. Though I rather think, that they are the words of Christ; who, observing his church think so meanly, and speak so modestly of herself, enters afresh upon the commendation of her beauties; to the end, that all her discouragements might be removed, her objections answered, and she be fully assured that she was as beautiful in his eyes, and as much the object of his love, as ever she was, notwithstanding her unkind treatment of him, and behavior to him. Moreover, it may be observed, that the title, which is given the church, in verse 6 does not suit well to come out of any other’s mouth but Christ’s, whose love peculiarly she is: nor indeed would it appear so proper to any as to Christ, to give such commendations of the church as here are given. And it is also worthy of our notice, that the order in which Christ proceeds here, in the description of the beauty of his church, is not only different from that method which she took in setting forth his glory, in chapter 5, but also from that which he himself took, when upon the same subject, in chapters 4:6, for as he there began with the hair of her head, her lips, teeth, cheeks, and temples, and so proceeded downwards; he here begins with her feet, and rises upwards: which may be, 1. To show that he takes notice of and has a value for the meanest members of his mystical body, the church; he takes notice of her feet, which, though they have the lowest place in the body, yet are not without their usefulness; “for the head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of you;” and as they are not without their usefulness, so neither are they without Christ’s-notice; who has a real value, and has made provisions of grace for them, as well as for the other members of his body, and therefore appears in a garment down to the feet; which garment of his justifying righteousness, covers the feet and toes, as well as the other parts of the Body: nay, Christ not only takes notice of, and has a value for the meanest saints, but also for their meanest performances; he hears and despises not the prayers of his destitute ones: he bottles up their tears, and forgets not their labor of love towards his saints; such as visiting them when sick, feeding them when hungry, and clothing them then naked, nay, even the giving them a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple; all which he looks upon as done to himself, and will remember, and speak of them when they have forgotten, them, and at a time when they little thought to have heard of them. 2. It may be also to lead the church, together with the daughters of Jerusalem, gradually, by little and little, into the glory and beauty which she received from him; and so bring them to consider what glory and beauty he must be possessed of, from whom she received all hers; for if her feet with shoes were so beautiful, what must the other parts of her body be, which were still more gloriously adorned! and if she in all her parts was so glorious; what must he be who made her so! 3. He takes notice first of her feet, because she was now upon the return unto him after her backsliding from him, which was exceeding grateful to him: the returning prodigal was not more welcome to his father; who, seeing him afar off, ran and fell upon his neck, and kissed him; than a poor backsliding sinner is to Christ Jesus. 4. He inverts his former order and method, to show that the manifestations of his love are not always alike; he sometimes takes one way, and another and whether a believer is considered sometimes either one way or another, he is always beautiful in Christ, and in his eyes. But let us now consider the words themselves; in which may be observed,

I.The noble and excellent title which is given her; “O prince’s daughter!”

II. The commendations of her; which are, 1st, Of her feet, and these are said to be “beautiful with shoes.” 2dly, Of the joints of her thighs; which are said to be “as jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.”

I. Here is a new and noble title given to her, “O prince’s daughter!” Christ finds new names and titles for his spouse; and that not only to set forth her excellency the more, but also to express the largeness of his love and affection to her; who may well be called a prince’s daughter, as she is the king’s daughter in Psalm 45:13, and that because she is the daughter of the King of kings, and Lord of lords: and so she is, 1. By covenant grace, which makes her so; for God has in covenant made over himself unto his people, and declared that he will be their Father, and they shall be his sons and daughters; for even thus saith the Lord Almighty: and now that same grace, which has taken them into that relation, will make it appear manifestly that they are so, by bestowing all that grace which is laid up in covenant for them, and all that glory which is there provided for them. 2. By birth, or by the grace of regeneration: the church of Christ is a prince’s daughter by birth, being born again, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;” the original and descent of the children of God is not base, mean and low, but high and noble: those that are born again) are born a]noqen from above, as that word may be rendered; they are born heirs to an inheritance, that is not of this world, which is fading and perishing, but to one that is incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them: and as they are born, so they are brought up as the sons and daughters of kings and princes; they are brought up in the king’s palace; they feed at his table, and participate of all his royal dainties; their clothing shows them to be such, which is all of wrought gold; as does also their equipage and retinue: who, besides the virgins or maids of honor to wait upon them, have also a guard of angels continually to attend them. 3. By adopting grace: angels are the sons of God by creation; but saints by adoption: they are predestinated to it; and by the Spirit of God, who is the spirit of adoption, are put into the possession of it, and reap the benefits, and enjoy the comfort of it, through his witnessing with their spirits, that they are the children of God; which is such a surprising instance of God’s grace, that all who share in this privilege have reason to say, with the apostle John (1 John 3:1), “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” 4. By marriage: The church is married to Christ, the eternal Son of God; whose titles are, “The Prince of peace, and the Prince of the kings of the earth:” so that she is both a prince’s daughter, and a prince’s wife; and is the former, by becoming the latter; she is espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ, who is the only Son of the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.

Moreover, the words may be rendered, “O noble, or princely daughter!”813813bydn tb puella nobilis, Castalio; principalis, nobilis & ingenua virgo, se. filia so some in Michaelis. that is, who art of a noble and princely spirit: and this is, (1.) A free spirit, in opposition to a servile one: and so the word is translated, in Psalm 51:12. “Uphold me with a free or princely spirit:” and such a spirit believers have, being freed from the servitude of sin and Satan; and being delivered from a spirit of bondage to a law of works, serve the Lord with all cheerfulness and readiness, being made a willing people in the day of his power. (2.) To be of a princely spirit, is to be of a free, noble, generous, bountiful and liberal spirit; and such a spirit saints have, not only in distributing their temporal things to the necessities of the poor, but also in communicating their spiritual things to the mutual comfort and edification of each other; so the word is rendered in Isaiah 32:5, 8.

II. Having considered the title, it will be now proper to take notice of the commendations given her: 1st, Of her feet, which are said to be beautiful with shoes. 2dly, Of the joints of her thighs, which are said to be “as jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.”

1st, Her feet with shoes are here commended: it is no unusual thing to describe the comeliness of women by their feet, and the ornaments of them; so Hebe is described by Homer,814814Odyss. 11. 5:602, 603. Auratos pedes Ovid. Amor. 50:3. deg. 12. as having beautiful feet; and Juno, by her golden shoes: particular care was taken of, and provision made for the shoes of queens and princesses in the eastern countries; Herodotus815815Euterpe, sive 1. 2. c. 98. relates, that the city of Anthylla was given peculiarly to the wife of the king of Egypt, to provide her with shoes: the Targum here is, purple shoes; and those of a red, scarlet or purple color, were in esteem with the Jews (Ezek. 16:10) and with the Tyrian virgins, their neighbors;816816Virginibus Tyriis mos, est, etc. Virgil. AEneid. 1. and also with the Romans,817817Vid. Persii Satyr. 5. 5:169. Virgil. Bucolic. celog. 7. 5:31. with whom likewise white shoes818818Pes malus ia nivea, etc. Ovid. de Arte Amand. 50:3. Vid. Martial. 1. 7. epigr, 27. were much in use. By these feet with shoes may be meant, either, 1. The ministers of the gospel,819819So Mercerus, Cocceius, & Not. Tigur. Vers. in loc. whose feet being shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, are exceeding beautiful, according to Isaiah 52:7. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace,” etc. These are the church’s feet, which run to and fro in the world, whereby the knowledge of Christ and his gospel is increased; which was eminently true of the apostles and first ministers of the gospel, who swiftly ran over the Gentile world; and wherever they came, diffused the savor of Christ’s knowledge, and were instrumental in the conversion of thousands of souls; for their sound went into all the earth; and their words unto the ends of the world. And now these feet being said to be beautiful with shoes, may denote, (1.) The promptitude and readiness of Christ’s ministers to preach the gospel: as the people of Israel, having their shoes upon their feet when they eat the passover, just when they departed out of Egypt, showed their readiness for their journey; so these feet of the church, having shoes on, show the readiness of the ministers of the gospel to, preach it in every place where they are called to it, tho’ in the face of the greatest opposition; “I am ready,” says the apostle Paul (Rom. 1:16), “to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also;” his feet were shod with it, and he was prepared to preach it; even where not only the seat of the empire, but the seat of persecution was, where it was the hottest and raged the most furiously; and the reason he gives is, for, says he, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ;” no, not in Caesar’s palace: faithful ministers are ready to preach it any where, and at any time; and are “instant in season and out of season;” they preach, “not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” (2.) It shows their intrepidity in preaching the gospel; a man that “has his feet well shod”, regards not the roughness of the way, nor the sharp stones which lie in it, nor the pricking briars and thorns through which he walks: the ministers of the gospel, whose feet are well shod with it, regard no difficulties that lie in their way, so as to be discouraged by them, and desist from their work; but, with the utmost courage and magnanimity of mind, bear and surmount them; with scorn and contempt they trample upon all the briars and thorns of reproaches and scandal .that are cast upon, and persecutions which are leveled against them; none of these things move them; neither do they count their lives dear to themselves; so that they may finish their course with joy, and the ministry, which they have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (3.) It is expressive of their beauty and glory: the ministers of the gospel are not only beautiful in the eyes of those to whom they are made useful, either for conversion or consolation; but also in the eyes of Christ; especially when they faithfully discharge their work; though they run the risk of losing their credit, honor and reputation in the world, nay, their lives also. Or else, 2. By these feet, may be meant the affections of the church towards Christ;820820So Sanctius in loc. which are that unto the soul, as feet are to the body; these carry it up and down, hither and thither, at pleasure: and being said to be beautiful with shoes, show that they moved in an orderly way; constrained her to turn her feel to his testimonies, and enlarged her heart to run the way of his commandments; which made them appear exceeding beautiful to him, so that his heart was ravished with them; see chapter 4:9,10, the eyes of Holofernes are said to be ravished with the sandals upon Judith’s feet, which she had put on, on purpose to deceive persons (see Judith 10:4, 16:11), and this shows it to be the custom of women to adorn their shoes or sandals, that they might enamor their lovers; to which custom perhaps the allusion is here made. Or else, 3. By them may be meant the actings of faith on Christ, in saints coming to him and walking on in him, as they have received him: as faith is the eye of the soul, which sees Christ, and the hand which receives him, so it is likewise the foot which goes to him and walks in him; and nothing is more pleasant and delightful to Christ, than for souls to come unto him, and venture their all upon him, in expectation of receiving life and salvation, righteousness and strength, peace and comfort, grace and glory, all from him and through him; for such he willingly receives, and has promised never to reject: and as their first coming, so their continued walking in him. by fresh repeated acts of faith, is well pleasing to him; these feet are beautiful with shoes. Though, 4. By them may be meant, the outward conversation of the saints;821821So Durham and Ainsworth in loc. which is frequently expressed in scripture, by walking in the ways, commands and ordinances of Christ (see Luke 1:6; Eph. 4:17; Col. 4:5), which may be said to be beautiful with shoes, (1.) When they appear to be ready to every good work; who, no sooner are enlightened into an ordinance, or called to a duty, but they readily comply with it, being beforehand furnished and prepared for it, having their shoes upon their feet, in a posture of readiness, to do it. (2.) When the conversation is so ordered, as that the shame of our nakedness does not appear to the eyes of the world: To walk barefoot, was accounted shameful (see Isa. 20:4), and so it is to have an ill-ordered conversation: but a well-ordered conversation is like shoes to the feet, which cover them, so that the shame thereof does not appear. (3.) When it is conformed to God’s law; which is “a lamp unto the feet, and a light to the path.” (4.) When it is becoming Christ’s gospel. (5.) When it is guarded against the reproaches and offenses of the world: as shoes upon the feet keep off the thorns and briars from pricking; so does a good conversation,, in some measure, keep off the reproaches of the world, or at least keep from being disturbed at them; for great peace have they which love God’s law, and nothing shall offend them: and though it does not afford yet a believer, whose conversation is becoming the gospel, may say, as Samuel did, chapter 12:3, “Whose ox have I taken? Whose ass have I taken? Whom have I defrauded?” so that hereby he is fenced and guarded against the world’s calumnies and contempt. (6.) Then is it so, when there is such a luster in it as cannot but be seen by, and is conspicuous to all beholders; which raises their admiration, and gives them occasion of glorifying God (see Matthew 5:16), and this, as it is commendable among men, so it is beautiful in the eyes of Christ; for so such who order their conversations aright, that is, whose feet are beautiful with shoes, will he show the salvation of God.

2dly, “The joints of her thighs” are said to be “as jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.” By which may be meant, either, 1. Some ornaments of gold, silver, or precious stones, which were used to be worn about the legs or feet by women in those times; which was a custom not only used among the heathens,822822Vid: Plin. 1. 9. c. 35. & 50:33. c. 3, 12. but also among the Jews, as is manifest from Isaiah 3:18, where among the rest of the attire of the Jewish women. “The bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet” is mentioned; and so may be expressive of the greater glory, luster, and beauty of the church’s conversation. Or, 2. The garments which covered the thighs;823823So R. Aben Ezra, Sanctius, and Bishop Patrick in loc. for it is not agreeable to the rules of decency and modesty to describe the naked thighs: the word824824dykdy yqwmj ambitus feaeorum, Buxtorg Mercer. Junius. signifies “the compassing of the thighs;” which does not intend the ambient flesh, or the thickness of it about them, as R. David Kimchi825825In lib. shoran, rad. qmh supposes; but rather, the femoralia, or garments about the thighs, which encompassed and covered them; by which may be meant, “the garments of salvation, and robe of Christ’s righteousness,” whereby the persons of God’s elect are covered, so that “the shame of their nakedness” does not appear; and with which they are as richly adorned, as the bridegroom is with his ornaments, and the bride with her jewels, on their marriage-day. Moreover, this is not the bungling work of a creature, but “the work of the hands of a cunning workman;” even of one that is God as well as man, and therefore is called the righteousness of God. Or, 3. The girdle about the loins, according to some,826826So Junius and Cocceius in loc. which was wont to be worn in those times: thighs being put for loins, as in Genesis 46:26 and may intend that girdle of truth with which the loins of believers are girt, and is joined with “the preparation of the gospel of peace,” with which their feet are shod, in Ephesians 6:14,15, which metaphor is frequently made use of, when a gospel-con-versation is directed and exhorted to (see Luke 12:35; 1 Peter 1:13). Or, 4. By these “joints of the thighs,” may be meant young converts: The Targum expounds it of the children which sprung from the thighs or loins of the people of Israel (see Gen. 46:26; Ex. 1:5; Judg. 8:30), where this phrase, “to come out of the loins,” or, as it is in the Hebrew text, “the thighs,” is expressive of generation; and therefore these words, in a mystical and spiritual sense, may have reference to those many souls that are born again in the church; who are as jewels in Christ’s esteem; and are the curious workmanship of the blessed Spirit, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Or else, 5. By these “joints or turnings of the thighs,”827827Vertebrae, Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; signat illam agilem versatilem juncturam, qua capit in suis foraminibus expedite moventur, Brightman. by which they move orderly and regularly, may be meant the principles of a believer’s walk and conversation, as one828828Durham in loc. well observes, without which it is little worth, nor can it be ordered aright; for principles denominate actions to be either good or evil. Now the principles of grace, from whence a believer acts in his conversation, and by which he moves in his Christian walk, are as valuable and as precious as jewels; and are wrought by no less a hand than the Spirit of God, who “worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

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