Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return,
…. Spoken by the daughters of Jerusalem. By whom the church is meant, so called from her being the spouse of Christ, the true Solomon; it being common for the wife to have the same name with her husband; thus, with the Romans, if the man’s name was Caius, the woman’s name was Caia: is the name of Christ Solomon? the church’s name is Shulamite; also denominated from the peace which she has from Christ, and he has made for her through his blood, and he gives unto her by his Spirit; and from what she does or should enjoy in her members, and from what she will be possessed of to all eternity. Now the church, the Shulamite, is very importunately desired by the daughters of Jerusalem to return; which is said no less than four times, which shows how vehemently desirous they were of her company: and perceiving she was about to go from them, most earnestly press her to return, or to “turn”; to turn herself, that her beauty and comeliness might be more plainly seen; for this is the end proposed by them,
that we may look upon thee;
that they might still have more opportunity of viewing her, and more narrowly to examine her beauty, for which she was so much commended; and that they might enjoy more of her company and conversation, which had been, and they might hope would be, more useful and instructive to them. A question upon this follows,
What will ye see in the Shulamite?
which question is put, either by the daughters among themselves; some wishing for her return, and others asking what they expected to see in her, should she return: or rather it is put by the church herself; who asks the daughters, what they expected to see in her, a poor, mean, unworthy creature, not fit to be looked on, having nothing extraordinary, nor indeed valuable or of worth, in seeing of her? Which question is thus answered,
As it were the company of two armies:
either by the daughters, declaring what they expected to see in the church; either such a glorious and joyful meeting between Christ and her, as is often between great persons, attended with singing and dancing; so the word for company is rendered by the Septuagint “choroi,” a “company” of those that dance and sing; or two hosts (Gen.32:2). Two in one! “As thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21-22). Or rather this answer is returned by the church herself; signifying that nothing was to be seen in her but two armies,(black but comely), flesh and Spirit, sin and grace, continually warring against each other; which surely, she thought, could be no desirable and pleasing sight to them; see Romans 7:23.