Peace

There will only ever be peace between men when those men have peace with God first-JK

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“Peace is the great gift of the grace of God, earned on the cross of Christ and given to God’s people as their possession. The gift of peace cannot be found in the wicked. ‘There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked’ (Isaiah 48:22). Christ earned peace for his people by paying for their sins: ‘Having made peace by the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself’ (Colossians 1:20). Peace is therefore harmony with God. The heart of God and the hearts of the elect (God’s chosen) beat together. Peace is a blessing of covenant fellowship (friendship) with God.”

From ‘Faith Made Perfect’ by Herman Hankofaithmadeperfect

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Song of Solomon 5:3

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I have put off my coat
“In order to lie down on her bed at night, and take her ease ; and being at ease, and free from trouble, affliction, and persecution, was unwilling to arise and go with her beloved, lest she should meet with the same trials and sufferings as before, for the sake of him and his Gospel; (are you weary of him, having fallen asleep while he tarried? (Moody Stuart). What kind of excuse is this, that the beloved bride cannot put on her coat and shoes and open her door?-JK. This is the old man of sin acting! (Moody Stuart).

how shall I put it on?
which suggests an apprehension of difficulty in doing it, showing slothfulness and sluggishness, being loathe and not knowing how to bring herself to it;  as if she thought it was unreasonable in Christ to desire it of her, when it was but her reasonable service (considering all he has done for her-JK);

I have washed my feet;
as persons used to do when come off of a journey, and about to go to bed , being weary; as she was of spiritual exercises, and of the observance of ordinances and duties, and so betook herself to carnal ease, and from which being called argues,

how shall I defile them?
by rising out of bed, and treading on the floor, and going to the door to let her beloved in; as if hearkening to the voice of Christ, obeying his commands, and taking every proper step to enjoy communion with him, would be a defiling her; whereas it was the reverse of these that did it: from the whole it appears, that not only these excuses were idle and frivolous, but sinful; she slighted the means Christ made use of to awaken her, by calling and knocking; she sinned against light and knowledge, sleeping on, when she knew it was the voice of her beloved; she acted a disingenuous part in inviting Christ into his garden, and then presently fell asleep; and then endeavoured to shift the blame from herself, as if she was no ways culpable, but what was desired was either difficult, or unreasonable; she appears guilty of great ingratitude, and discovers the height of folly in preferring her present ease to the company of Christ.” (Gill)..this is a cooling of covenant love-JK. I Thess.5:6 states,” Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

Further Old Testament light on the Levitical Laws

 

Readings   I Samuel 21:4-6

In this portion David and his men out of necessity eat the priest’s showbread. This is justified by Christ in Mark 2:25-28. Necessity and love trumps ceremonies.

II Sam.3:29. David’s prophetic curse on Joab’s family line.

II Sam.11:1-17. Bathsheba was probably washing away her ceremonial uncleanness seven days after her period ended (v4). She was indiscreet, David was idle, lustful and eventually committed murder—all showing that keeping the ceremonial law means nothing if the heart is not clean (Psalm 51:6,10).

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Ezekiel 18:6-7 sins listed included those against ceremonial law.

Zechariah 12:12-13:1. The mourning is over sin with the men and women separate (related to ceremonial law-see also I Cor.7:5) but behind the passage is clear Gospel truth relating to Christ’s and the Spirit’s work.

Song of Solomon 5:2

I sleep, but my heart waketh
“Like persons that are half awake, half asleep. Christ and the church having feasted together at his invitation, she soon after fell asleep, as the disciples did after a repast with their Lord (Matt.26:40); a frame of spirit unbecoming saints, and displeasing to Christ, though consistent with grace, they are slothful in duty, and backward to it; the phrase is sometimes used to describe a sluggish, slothful man ; they are indifferent and lukewarm about divine things, and without fervency and spirituality in them (no watching unto prayer), but her “heart was awake”. Both clauses are rather to be understood of the same person differently considered, as having two principles, (one of) of grace and (one of) corruption, as the church has, which are represented as two persons; see ( Romans 7:18 , Galatians 5:17 ) ; as the carnal part in her prevailed, she was the “sleeping I”; as the new man, or principle of grace appeared, her “heart [was] awake”; for, notwithstanding her sleepy frame, she had some thoughts of Christ, and stirring of affection to him; Some convictions of her sin, and some desires of being in her duty perhaps, though overpowered by the fleshly part; the spirit was willing, but the flesh weak. Christ’s response to his church in this case follows, that though sleepy she heard him,

[it is] the voice of my beloved:
in the ministration of the Gospel, which is to be distinguished from the voice of a stranger, even when dull and sleepy under hearing it, and little affected with it. Christ was the church’s beloved still (covenant relationship), her affection for him, though not thoroughly awaked by his voice, but sleeps on still; this method failing, he takes another, or repeats the same with an additional circumstance,

that knocketh,
saying, “open to me”: which is to be understood not so much of his knocking by the ministry of the word to awaken her out of sleep, but in a providential way, by taking in his hand the rod of affliction to bring her out of her carnal security; see ( Revelation 3:20 ) ; and he not only knocked but called,

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[saying], open to me,
open the door unto me, and let me in;  there is an emphasis on the word “me”; me, thy Lord, thy head, thy husband, thy friend, that loves thee so dearly; to whom her heart was shut, her desires towards him languid; wherefore he importunes her to “open” to him, which denotes an enlarging of her affections to him, which yet could not be done without efficacious grace exerted ; the more to win her, he gives her good words, and the most endearing titles, expressive of love and relation,

my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled,
which are all made use of before, excepting the last; see ( Song of Solomon 1:9 Song of Solomon 1:14 ) ( 4:9 ) ; that is, “my undefiled”, which she was, not as a descendant of Adam, nor as in herself, but as washed in the blood of Christ, justified by his righteousness, and sanctified by his Spirit; and as having been enabled by divine grace to preserve her chastity, and keep the “bed undefiled”, ( Hebrews 13:4 ) ; not guilty of spiritual adultery among all her infirmities, even idolatry and superstition; see ( Revelation 14:4 ) ; or “my perfect one”; not in a legal, but in an evangelical sense, being completely redeemed, perfectly justified, fully pardoned, and sanctified in every part, though not to the highest degree; and perfect in Christ, though not in herself: other arguments follow to engage her attention to his request;

for my head is filled with dew, [and] my locks with the drops of the
night;
by which may be meant the sufferings of Christ, either in the persons of his ministers, who are exposed to the rage and reproach of men for ministering in his name to the church; or which he endured in his own person, in his estate of humiliation; and particularly in the night he was betrayed, and during the time of darkness he hung upon the cross, when he bore the sins of his people, and his Father’s wrath; compared to “dew”, and “drops of the night”, because of the multitude of them he endured in soul and body, and because so uncomfortable to human nature; though as dew is useful and fructifying to the earth, so were these the means of many fruits and blessings of grace, and of bringing many souls to glory; now though these arguments were expressed in the most strong, moving, and melting language, yet were ineffectual.” (Gill)

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Song of Solomon 5:1

 I am come into my garden, my sister, [my] spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice:

Moody Stuart reminds us that Eve was Adam’s sister-spouse (they had the same DNA!). The bride is in a sense taken out of the second Adam namely Christ (we were in Christ before the foundation of the world) and then given back to him as his reward-JK. Unrestrained opening of the whole heart and love that knows no limits are behind these words of the bridegroom. (John 15: 9, 15).
” These may design, either the sufferings of Christ; which, though like myrrh, bitter to him, are like spice, of a sweet smelling savour, to God and to the saints; the fruits of which, in the salvation of his people, are delightful to himself, and which he is now reaping with pleasure: or the graces of his Spirit in his spouse (bitter tears of godly sorrow when convinced of sin by the piercing north wind) in which Christ delights; see (Song of Solomon 4:14 ) ;  Having gathered these in his lifetime he anoints us with the same as his guests-JK (Luke 7: 37-46).

I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey:
a piece of an honeycomb, full of honey, just taken out of the hive, had in great esteem with the Jews; see ( Luke 24:42 ) ; the word for “honeycomb” properly signifies wood honey, of which there was plenty in Judea, ( 1 Samuel 14:25 ) ; though this was in a garden, where they might have their hives, as we have” (Gill). “All the milk and honey of the word are ours because they were first his, given first to him (John 17:8). He assimilated them and conveys them to us (Prov. 24:13, Jer.15:16, Matt. 4:4). From the hour he hung on his mothers breast till the hour when he hung on the accursed tree, his soul lived upon the word of God. Then he gives us for our food his own body, the product of all the milk and all the honey of the word and will of God, and says “Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man ye have no life in you.” And so we have the sincere milk of the word and the word that is sweeter than the honeycomb. Take, eat, this is my body. It is the feast of espousal in seal of the future marriage. It is the pledge of abiding union and the King’s return to the marriage supper of the Lamb, his death shown till he come” (Moody Stuart).

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I have drunk my wine with my milk;
“a mixture of wine and milk was used by the ancients; by which also may be intended the doctrines of the Gospel, comparable to wine and milk; to the one, for its reviving and cheering quality; to the other, for its nourishing and strengthening nature; see ( Isaiah 55:1 ) ;  Here is a feast, a variety of sweet, savoury, wholesome food and drink; and all Christ’s own, but he invites his friends to eat and drink with him: Moody Stuart reminds us of the Passover which became the Lord’s Supper where Christ sits to eat with his friends. He longed for this. This was his meat and drink, the sweet fruit of his life of obedience. He drunk the cup of wrath, the cup of sin imputed, so as to grant us the cup of blessing, the cup of sin forgiven.

eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved;
“the individuals, of which the church consists, are the “friends” who are reconciled to God by the death of Christ, and to himself by his Spirit and grace; and whom he treats as such, by visiting them, and disclosing the secrets of his heart to them, ( John 15:14 John 15:15 ) ; and “beloved”, beloved of God, and by Christ and by the saints there is a mutual friendship and love between Christ and his people: and these he invites to eat of the provisions of his house, of all the fruits of his garden, to which they are welcome; and of his love and grace, and all the blessings of it, which exceed the choicest wine; and of which they may drink freely, and without danger; “yea, be inebriated with loves”, as the words may be rendered; see ( Ephesians 5:18 ) . With the eastern people, it was usual to bid their guests welcome, and solicit them to feed on the provisions before them;”(Gill)

Song of Solomon 4:16

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Gethsemane

Awake, O north wind

“The Lord Jesus has now surveyed with delight his garden—his spiritual Eden. He calls for a fresh outpouring of his Spirit (John 3:8, Ezekiel 37:9). Awake O north wind with thy piercing blasts, arousing, quickening and convincing of sin; and come thou south with thy gentle, soothing influences, to bring comfort, peace and heavenly consolations to the soul. He works effectually so that the spices flow out, the odour of a sweet smell. He knows exactly what each member can bear—the requisite pruning for each branch—the look which will soften Peter’s heart—the reproof that will convince unbelieving Thomas—the sympathy which will bind up the bleeding hearts of the bereaved sisters of Bethany. All is administered by the Spirit.” (Anonymous)
“Christ, who has the command of the winds, and a right and property in his garden, the church, brings afflictive dispensations of Providence since these come not without his will and order, and by him made to work together for good; by which he nips the corruptions of his people, tries their graces, and causes them to come forth into exercise: commentators believe that both winds are designed, being both useful to gardens; the one to scatter the clouds, and make the air clear and wholesome, and restrain the luxuriance of the plants; and the other, being moist and warming, of use to bring plants and fruits to maturity; and both may design the Spirit of God, in his different operations and effects, through the law and the terrors of it, and by the Gospel and its comforting doctrines;

and come, thou south, blow upon my garden;
the church is Christ’s property as he asserts in the latter part of the verse:  and  the “south wind” is a warm wind, bringing serenity, and making fruitful with showers of rain: so the Spirit of God warms the cold heart of a sinner; thaws his frozen soul, and comforts with the discoveries of divine love; brings quietness and peace into the conscience; and makes fruitful in grace and good works, by causing the rain of Gospel doctrines to descend and distil upon men.

[that] the spices thereof may flow out;
the spices in the garden, the odoriferous plants, might emit a fragrant smell; in Palestine the south wind blew from the sea. Spices denote the graces of believers, rare, precious, and odorous; and their “flowing out” the exercise of them, their evidence, increase, and the ripening of them; when they diffuse a sweet odour to Christ and others, and make it delightful to walk in his garden; as it is to walk in one after a delightful shower of rain, and when the wind gently blows upon it. And hence what is prayed for being granted, the church speaks again, and invites Christ, saying;

let my beloved come into his garden;
which “coming” is to be understood of his spiritual coming, to visit his people, grant his presence, and manifest his love; which is very desirable by them; and, when granted, is reckoned a great favour, and is an instance of the condescending grace of Christ, ( John 14:22 ) ; the church is “his garden” by his own choice, his Father’s gift, the purchase of his blood, and the power of his grace: and here he is invited to come,

and eat his pleasant fruits;
meaning either the graces of the Spirit, which are his fruits; and called Christ’s, because they come from him, and are exercised on him, and he is the author and finisher of them: or the good works of believers, which are performed by virtue of union to him, and abiding in him; are done in his strength, and designed for his glory: and both are “pleasant”, that is, well pleasing and acceptable to him; the graces of the Spirit, when in exercise, as appears from ( Song of Solomon 4:9 Song of Solomon 4:10 ) ; and good works, when done in faith, from a principle of love, and to his glory: and he may be said to eat them when he expresses his well pleasedness with them, and acceptation of them.” (Gill)

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Spice garden

Song of Solomon 4:15

A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

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A spring and steams from Lebanon.
I take these words to be the words of Christ continued, speaking still of his bride, and explaining and enlarging upon what he had said of her, ( Song of Solomon 4:12 ) ; By the “gardens” may be meant particular distinct churches, such as were gathered in the first times of the Gospel, and since, as the churches of Asia separated from the world, and planted with trees of righteousness, such as are before described: and though there are many gardens or churches, there is but one “fountain” which supplies them all with gifts and grace, and that is Christ, and his fulness, the fountain from whence flow all grace, and the blessings of it: who also is the “well of living waters”; a well deep and large, fathomless and bottomless, dug by sovereign grace, and full of all grace; signified by “waters”, for the abundance of it; and said to be “living”, because by it dead sinners are quickened, and drooping saints revived; and is ever running, ever flowing and overflowing; so that there is always a supply for all Christ’s gardens, and for all believers in all ages; who, especially when thirsting (Ps.63:1) with the bucket of faith, draw water with joy out of this well, or wells of salvation, ( Isaiah 12:3, John 7:37-38) and the flows of grace from hence are like “streams from Lebanon”, because of their abundance; the constant and continued supplies; the rapidity and force with which they come, and for the pleasure they give, the flow of it being as delightful and grateful as streams of water in hot countries. Watering others she herself is watered (Prov.11:25), she is a  means of life to others. She is a well dug deep where the Spirit of God works in the innermost depths of the soul, a standing well that never dries up. Streams flow out from her to comfort others and invigorate them. Adapted from John Gill’s commentary.

Song of Solomon 4:14

 

Spikenard and saffron
Nardostachys jatamansi is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas. It’s root is a source of a type of intensely aromatic amber-coloured essential oil, spikenard. (Wikipedia). Pic below.

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Solomon compares these plant products to the saints, because of the graces of the Spirit in them; which, when exercised, give a sweet odour, and are exceeding grateful to Christ; see ( Song of Solomon 1:12, II Cor.2:15, Phil. 4:18) ; Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”.

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Saffron

calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense;
“calamus” is the sweet sedge, a water-loving plant with a pleasant smell whose roots have medicinal purposes (see pic) ( Isaiah 43:24 ) ;

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“cinnamon” is the rind or bark of a tree; both grow in India and in Arabia; as also trees of “frankincense”, which are only in Arabia;  the two first were ingredients in the holy anointing oil, and the latter in the holy perfume, ( Exodus 30:23, Exodus 30:34 ) ;

myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices;
Solomon’s gardens might be furnished with all these; and with the above trees, plants, and spices, from Arabia; myrrh and frankincense were gathered from trees, cinnamon from shrubs, and their meadows naturally produced nard; hence called “aromatifera”, the spicy country: myrrh was also an ingredient in the anointing oil; and aloes, according to the Targum, is the same with lign aloes; see ( Numbers 24:6 ) ; the tree of a sweet odour and is what is meant in ( Psalms 45:8 ) ( Proverbs 7:17 ) ; and were both of a very fragrant smell. Note that the majority of references to smell in Scripture are in this short book —JK (see also Phil. 4:18). Now all these trees, plants, and spices, signify truly precious souls, possessed of the graces of the Spirit; comparable to them for their valuableness and excellency, their sweet smell, and the reviving and refreshing nature of them; which make the subjects of these graces very agreeable to Christ, and to one another. Note they are all different (I Cor.12). One commentator adjures us not to be content with meagre grace but to seek more and more grace from God’s treasure house. What a garden is the church thus planted! (John Gill).

There is scarcely anything in the gospel history more closely connected with the death of Jesus than ‘ointment of spices.’ Christ set greatest value on the anointing of his head and feet. His death possessed a fragrance peculiar to itself, of all justice, all truth, all love, all wisdom, completed and fulfilled. All was finished then, all full, all perfect, in all variety of precious odours, and in all abundance for earth and for heaven. If the round globe were one hill of pure frankincense, if all the orbs above were gathered like so many grains to form one vast ‘mountain of myrrh,’ if the burning heavens were the censer in which to kindle this heap of incense; it would be like Lebanon not sufficient to burn, it would be as nothing compared with the Word made flesh, the Creator enwrapping himself in created vestments, and presenting himself to the Father as a ‘sacrifice of sweet-smelling savour.’ (Eph. 5:2.) Moody Stuart

Ceremonial Law in Pentateuch

Ceremonial Law in other books of the Pentateuch.

Sung Ps.51:1-7

Readings: Gen.31:25-55 esp. v35. The concept of clean and unclean animals was revealed to Noah as were various sacrifices (since Cain and Abel). In this instance it is unclear why Rachel did not rise off her camel but it may well have been because of recognised societal uncleanness.

Ex.19:14-15. Before the giving of the Ten Commandments the people had to wash their clothes and abstain from marital relations.

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Sinai

Lev.18:19, 20:18. Here we have the prohibition and then the punishment meted for sexual relations with a woman having a period.

Lev.22:4-7 This passage details what made a priest unclean.

“Cut off” is a phrase difficult to interpret which sometimes meant the death penalty and other times meant separation from the camp (Num.5:1-4), or from worship (at the tabernacle).

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Israelite camp.

Disobedience to the ceremonial law could issue in the death penalty just as Adam and Eve’s first sin did, purely because sin is disobedience to God’s revealed will. We have instances of the death penalty being carried out for disobedience to most of the Ten Commandments. The overarching point is that the wages of sin is death i.e. separation from God in time— and eternity if not atoned for.

Deut.23:9-11. The soldiers before battle had to be ceremonially clean (sin likewise disqualifies or muddies the witness of believers in our spiritual battle).

 

Song of Solomon 4:13

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Thy plants [are] an orchard of pomegranates
Christ compares his church to an orchard filled with choice fruit trees. These plants are true converts, believers in Christ; pleasant plants, plants of renown, planted in the church by Christ’s heavenly Father, and shall never be plucked up; or, thy gardens, as it may be rendered ; particular churches, well taken care of and watered; these make an orchard, or are like one, even a paradise, as the word signifies: it being a garden, separated and enclosed as before; one like Eden’s garden, exceeding pleasant and delightful: and not like an orchard of any sort of trees, but of “pomegranates”, of which there were plenty in Canaan, hence called a “land of pomegranates”, ( Deuteronomy 8:8 ) ; many places in it had their names from thence, ( Joshua 15:32 ) ( 19:13 ) ( 21:24 ) . To which believers in Christ may be compared, for the various sorts of them , for their largeness, fruitfulness, and uprightness; saints have gifts and grace, differing from one another as to size, but all pomegranates, trees of righteousness, full of all the fruits of righteousness (John 15:8, Phil.1:11); but all are, more or less, fruitful and upright in heart: Moody Stuart says the garden corresponds to the promised land, spiritually the kingdom of heaven, the true land of promise into which the bride comes.

with pleasant fruits;
that are valuable, precious, and desirable (because fruit of the Spirit-JK), of which an enumeration follows:

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camphire, with spikenard;
or “cypresses”, or “cyprusses with nards”; both in the plural number: the former may intend cypress trees, so called on account of their berries and fruits growing in clusters; see ( Song of Solomon 1:14 ) ; and the latter (precious oil-JK) because pleasant and delightful, of a sweet smell, and rare and excellent.(Gill). Remember the fragrant spikenard with which Mary anointed Jesus’ feet (John 12:3). The oil was made from the crushed roots of the Himalayan plant-JK. Moody Stuart adds that men will judge of the unseen Christ (the root) by the seen and tasted fruit of the branches (us).

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