Canticles iii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Bed. The Church, finding Christ by his own revelation, and not by philosophy, holds him fast. (Worthington) — He had delayed coming at the usual hour, to give us to understand, that he is not found amid delights, nor in a crowd, but that we must seek him diligently, like Magdalene, John xx. (St. Ambrose, de Isaac.) — The apostles endeavoured to convert the synagogue, but their offers were rejected, and the guards, or princes, persecuted them. (Menochius) (Chap. v. 7.) (Haydock)

Ver. 3. City. To prevent fires, &c. God will require the souls of the flock at the hands of his pastors.

Ver. 4. Me. She was perhaps dead. Women had separate apartments, to which none but the husband could have access, Genesis xxiv. 28. At the end of the marriage-feast, the bride was conducted to her husband’s house, Matthew xxv. 1. (Calmet) — The Jews shall in the end acknowledge Christ, (Worthington) as the Church desires. (Menochius)

Ver. 5. I. The bridegroom (Calmet) speaks as [in] chap. ii. 7., (Worthington) and chap. viii. 4. He retires early.

Ver. 6. Who. The female companions of the spouse, (Calmet) or the bridegroom’s friends, (Menochius) admire her at a distance, chap. vi. 9., and viii. 5. (Calmet) — The converted Gentiles change the desert of the world into a paradise, by their good works, which ascend like a perfume. (St. Gregory) They admire their own conversion, and proclaim that we must fight for heaven, (Worthington) and adore Christ, the God-man; imitating all his virtues, (Haydock) and preaching his gospel. (Menochius)

Ver. 7. Bed. Being stationed at the door to prevent any alarm, v. 8. (Calmet) — In the Church Christ finds his repose, and daily produces the only heirs of heaven. (Ven. Bede) — The angels, saints and pastors watch to defend it against the spirits of darkness. (Menochius)

Ver. 9. Litter. Septuagint, to conduct his spouse with solemnity; or a throne; though it most probably denotes the bridal bed. (Calmet) — Hebrew apiron. Greek, phoreion.

Ver. 10. Going. Protestants, “covering of it of purple.” (Haydock) — Death must be endured, if necessary, for the sake of the faith, as this is the highest degree of charity. (Worthington) — He, &c. Hebrew, “is prepared for the beloved above the,” &c. See Homer, Odyssey v. 660. (Calmet) — Protestants and Pagnin, “the midst thereof being paved (Montanus, set on fire) with love for (Montanus, by) the daughters.” (Haydock) — The most desirable things adorn the litter, or the Church, that all may come to her, who has God to guide her decisions. (Menochius)

Ver. 11. Go. All are invited to come to Christ, who, in his sacred humanity, which he took of his mother, was crowned in heaven, after his passion. (Worthington) (St. Gregory) (Alcuin) — The synagogue crowned him with thorns, and gave him the hard bed of the cross. (St. Bernard; St. Anselm, &c.) — Bethsabee might live to see the marriage of her son, who owed the crown to her, 3 Kings i. 18., and Proverbs iv. 3. Both the parties were crowned, (Isaias lxi. 10.) and no doubt Solomon would display his usual magnificence. The diadem was a bandage, adorned with embroidery, and precious stones. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The spouse seeks Christ. The glory of his humanity.

1 In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and found him not.

2 I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not.

3 The watchmen who keep the city found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth?

4 When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that bore me.

5 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved, till she please.

6 Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, and of all the powders of the perfumer?

7 Behold threescore valiant ones of the most valiant of Israel, surround the bed of Solomon:

8 All holding swords, and most expert in war: every man’s sword upon his thigh, because of fears in the night.

9 King Solomon hath made him a litter of the wood of Libanus:

10 The pillars thereof he made of silver, the seat of gold, the going up of purple: the midst he covered with charity for the daughters of Jerusalem.

11 Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see king Solomon in the diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart.