Song of Songs 2:14 – Encouragement for Prayer

Red_Collared_Dove_(Female)_I_IMG_9674

“O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” (Song of Songs 2:14)

Being more prayer-minded these past few days and having already written about the Song of Songs I thought I would quote these words written by a few godly commentators (Henry Law, Matthew Henry, John Gill, John Trapp, Harry Ironside, John Wesley) of the past concerning the interpretation of Song of Songs 2:14, a verse which I believe (when interpreted using Christ-centered hermeneutics) strongly encourages us to pray to the triune God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Henry Law:

“No words can exceed the tenderness of this address. The most endearing name is given to the Church, “My dove.” In the feathered tribe the dove attracts especial admiration. The form–the note–the habits–the faithfulness–awaken just praise. Beauty and sweetness are its peculiar properties. In every aspect the bird is lovely. Thus the Church is beauteous in the Redeemer’s eyes. This truth almost baffles our belief. It requires faith in strong exercise to realize that the eyes of Christ can rest satisfied on us. If we are conscious of our deep corruption–of our vile transgressions–of our inconstancy and waywardness–much more must the omniscience of Christ discern this sad deformity. But in His superabundant grace He views us as mantled in His own righteousness, and adorned with the excellences, which His Spirit imparts. This view is loveliness. Christ sees, and says, “O my dove.”

“The dove, also, is distinguished for its gentleness. This grace was pre-eminent in Christ. Believers are entreated “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” It is, also, their constant study to follow these footsteps. Thus proud and haughty looks are studiously shunned–and in lowliness of mind each strives to esteem others as better than himself. Thus the injunction is obeyed, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Thus the title is obtained, “O my dove.”

“The dove, moreover, is noted for conjugal fidelity. Here we see the image of the believer espoused as a chaste virgin to the Lord. The whole heart is given, and every affection clings to her beloved. May we reflect this loving character!”

“This dove is here described as seeking refuge in the clefts of the rock, and in the hiding places on the mountainside. Here is a sign of timidity. It strives to hide itself from observation. It seeks concealment in rocks above man’s access; or in the most secret recesses of the mountains. Of Jesus it is said, “He shall not strive nor cry, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets.” His kingdom comes not with observation. So the believer shuns all needless ostentation. It is not his desire to attract the gaze of man; or call for public applause. He meekly pursues an unnoticed path; and with his heart fixed on heaven, he disregards the notice of inferiors. To the retiring believer the voice is addressed, “Let me see your face, let me hear your voice–for sweet is your voice, and your face is lovely.” Amazing grace! Can Christ desire this close communion with us? Can He call us thus to present ourselves to Him? We see in this cry the reality and the immensity of His love.”

!!!! “He asks to hear our voice. Let us humbly and delightedly obey, besieging His throne with constant and importunate petitions. By prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let all our requests be made known to Him. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Let praise, also, be our constant exercise. Let it ever ascend as grateful incense to His courts. Let it sound forth in unwearied admiration. Let it depict our sense of His goodness and His grace. Let us tell Him of our delight in the glory of His person and His work. Christ stoops to mark our approach, and to listen to our voice. “Sweet is your voice, and your face is lovely.” Faith is thus assured that such communion is welcomed!” !!!!

source: http://gracegems.org/Law2/s2.htm

Matthew Henry :

“Here is the encouraging invitation which Christ gives to the church, and every believing soul, to come into communion with him, Song of Song of Solomon 2:14.”

“His love is now his dove David had called the church God’s turtle-dove (Psalm 84:19), and so she is here called a dove for beauty, her wings covered with silver (Psalm 18:13), for innocence and inoffensiveness a gracious spirit is a dove-like spirit, harmless, loving quietness and cleanliness, and faithful to Christ, as the turtle to her mate. The Spirit descended like a dove on Christ, and so he does on all Christians, making them of a meek and quiet spirit. She is Christ’s dove, for he owns her and delights in her she can find no rest but in him and his ark, and therefore to him, as her Noah, she returns.”

“Christ graciously calls her out of her retirements: Come, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice. She was mourning like a dove (Isaiah 38:14), bemoaning herself like the doves of the valleys, where they are near the clefts of the impending rocks, mourning for her iniquities (Ezekiel 7:16) and refusing to be comforted. But Christ calls her to lift up her face without spot, being purged from an evil conscience (Job 11:15,22:26), to come boldly to the throne of grace, having a great high priest there (Hebrews 4:16), to tell what her petition is and what her request: Let me hear thy voice, hear what thou hast to say what would you that I should do unto you? Speak freely, speak up, and fear not a slight or repulse.”

“For her encouragement, he tells her the good thoughts he had of her, whatever she thought of herself: Sweet is thy voice thy praying voice, though thou canst but chatter like a crane or a swallow (Isaiah 38:14) it is music in God’s ears. He has assured us that the prayer of the upright is his delight he smelled a sweet savour from Noah’s sacrifice, and the spiritual sacrifices are no less acceptable, 1 Peter 2:5. This does not so much commend our services as God’s gracious condescension in making the best of them, and the efficacy of the much incense which is offered with the prayers of saints, Revelation 8:3. “That countenance of thine, which thou art ashamed of, is comely, though now mournful, much more will it be so when it becomes cheerful.” Then the voice of prayer is sweet and acceptable to God when the countenance, the conversation in which we show ourselves before men, is holy, and so comely, and agreeable to our profession. Those that are sanctified have the best comeliness.”

source: http://www.studylight.org/com/mhm/view.cgi?bk=21&ch=2

John Gill:

O my dove, An epithet sometimes used by lovers, 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.”

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 … 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.”

source : http://www.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?bk=21&ch=2

John Trapp :

“Shew me thy face. Or, Let me see thy countenance; leave none of thy particular congregations or members behind thee, but present yourselves before the Lord. “Come boldly to the throne of grace,” [Hebrews 4:16] in “full assurance of faith.” [Hebrews 10:22] Quid enim per faciem nisi fidem qua a Deo cognoscimur, saith Gregory upon this text. What can we understand by the face but faith, since by it we are known of God, and “without it, it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God” – that shows his face before the “King, eternal, immortal, invisible,” &c., [1 Timothy 1:17] must come in his best – “must believe that he is” – scil., optimus maximus, and more particularly – “that he is a rewarder of all that diligently seek him,” [Hebrews 11:6] that seek him out, as the Greek (b) hath it, viz., that fetch him out of his retiring room, as the Syrophenice, by the force of her faith did, [Mark 7:24-30] and as the spouse here would never give him over till she had recovered him out of the country, and drawn from him this sweetest invitation to go along with him, and incitation to make bold with him.”

 “Let me hear thy voice. In holy exercises, preaching, prayer, conference, &c. See here how the Lord Christ woos attendance, solicits suitors. “The Father seeketh such to worship him.” [John 4:24] “Hitherto ye have asked me nothing,” saith the Son; nothing to what you might have done, and should do well to do hereafter. “Ask that your joy may be full.” [John 16:24] Pray that ye may joy; “draw waters with joy out of this well spring of salvation.” Ply the throne of grace; follow your work close. It was more troublesome to Severus the emperor – to Christ you may be sure it is – to be asked nothing of his courtiers, than to grant them much. “Ask, and you shall have,” saith Christ. And is he not worthily miserable that will not make himself happy by asking?”

 “Sweet is thy voice. Because uttered by “the Spirit of grace and supplication,” whose very breath prayer is, and without whom prayer is no better than a “sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.”

 “And thy countenance is comely, By reason of the image of God repaired in thee, clearly shining in thy heart and life. This renders thee comely indeed, so that I am the better to see thy face, and to hear thy voice. To lovers nothing can be more pleasing than mutual converse and conference.”

source: http://www.studylight.org/com/jtc/view.cgi?bk=21&ch=2

Harry Ironside:

O My dove, that art in the clefts of the rock. That is where we are resting, in the cleft of the rock.”

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Grace hath hid me safe in Thee.”

O My dove, that art in the clefts of that rock, in the secret places of the stairs,” or “in the hidden places of the going up.” We are moving upward from day to day, soon to be with Himself. “Let Me see thy countenance. Let Me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.” Have you heard Him saying that to you, and have you sometimes turned coldly away?”

“Probably when you arose in the morning you heard Him say, “Let Me see thy countenance before you begin the work of the day; spend a little time with Me, let Me hear thy voice; talk with Me before you go out to speak to other people; let Me enjoy a little time with you, the one for whom I died, before you take up the affairs of the day.” And you have just turned coldly away, looked at your watch, and said, “I am sorry, but I cannot spare any time this morning; I must hasten to the office or the shop,” and so all day He waited for you. When evening came, He spoke again and said, “Let Me see thy countenance, let Me hear thy voice,” and you said, “Oh, I am so tired and weary tonight, I have to hurry off to bed.” Have there not been many days like that? Are there going to be many more? Or will you seek by grace to respond to the love of His heart and let Him see your face and hear your voice a little oftener?”

source: http://www.studylight.org/com/isn/view.cgi?bk=21&ch=2

John Wesley:

My dove – So the church is called, for her dove – like temper, and for her dove – like condition, because she is weak, and exposed to persecution, and therefore forced to hide herself in rocks. The stairs – In the holes of craggy and broken rocks, which resemble stairs. Let me see – Be not afraid to appear before me. Hear – Thy prayers and praises. For – Thy person and services are amiable in my sight.”

source: http://www.studylight.org/com/wen/view.cgi?bk=21&ch=2

See also:

Song of Songs – Introduction Part 1

Song of Songs – Introduction Part 2

Song of Songs – Introduction Part 3

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Filed under Practical Issues, Prayer, Song of Songs

One response to “Song of Songs 2:14 – Encouragement for Prayer

  1. Pingback: Cantique des cantiques : parallèles avec d’autres versets dans l’Ancien Testament | Prédestiné à bloguer

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