Song of Solomon

The Song of Solomon is also called “Song of Songs” and “Canticles.” This collection of love songs has long been an enigma and many interpretations have been offered for it. This love-relationship could signify the relationship between God and His people, or that between Christ and the Church.

Author: Solomon

Two key passages to look at:

Song of Solomon 7:10 – “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.”

Song of Solomon 8:7 – “Many waters cannot quench love, nor call all the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of is house, it would be utterly despised.”

Key Chapter – Since the whole book is a unity, there is no key chapter. Rather, all 8 chapters beautifully depict the love of a married couple.

Observations of Song of Solomon

The Song of Solomon is a love song written by Solomon. It abounds in metaphors and oriental imagery. Historically, it depicts the wooing and wedding of a shepherdess by King Solomon and the joys and heartaches of wedded love.
Allegorically, it pictures Israel as God’s espoused bride and the church as the bride of Christ. Just as human life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of man and woman, so spiritual life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of God for His people and Christ for His church.

The book is arranged like scenes in a drama with three main speakers:
The bride (Shulamite girl)
The king (Solomon)
A chorus (daughters of Jerusalem)

The purpose of this book depends on the viewpoint taken as to its primary thrust. Is it fictional? Is it allegorical? Or, is it historical?

FICTIONAL
Some contend that the book is fictional. However, the book gives every indication that the story really happened.

ALLEGORICAL
In this view, the primary purpose of the Song of Solomon is to illustrate the truth of God’s love for His people whether the events are fictional or not.

HISTORICAL
The Song of Solomon is a poetical record of Solomon’s actual romance with a Shulamite woman. The various scenes in the book exalt the joys of love in courtship and marriage and teach that physical beauty and sexuality in marriage should not be despised as base or unspiritual. It offers a proper perspective of human love and avoids the extremes of lust on the one hand and celibacy on the other. Human sexuality is part of God’s creation with its related desires and pleasures,
and it is reasonable that He would provide us with a guide to a pure sexual relationship between a husband and a wife. Thus, Song of Solomon is a bold and positive endorsement by God of marital love in all its physical and emotional beauty.

According to 1 Kings 4:32, Solomon wrote 1,005 songs. This one, the “song of songs,” really stands out. It extols the purity, beauty, and satisfaction of love.
It is never crass, but often intimate, as it explores the dimensions of the relationship between two lovers:
a. Attraction
b. Desire
c. Companionship
d. Pleasure
e. Union
f. Separation
g. Faithfulness
h. Praise
Like Ecclesiastes, this book is not easily outlined. It abounds with sudden changes of speakers.

There are two divisions in the book

The Beginning of Love (1:1 – 5:11)

King Solomon has a vineyard in the country of the Shulamite (6:13; 8:11) She works in the vineyard with her brothers. (1:6; 8:11-12) When Solomon visits the area, he wins her heart and eventually takes her to the palace in Jerusalem as His bride. Although she is tanned from hours of work outside the vineyard, she is “fairest among women.” (1:6-8)
Chapters 1-3 give a series of recollections of the courtship.
The bride’s longing for affection at the palace before the wedding. (1:2-8)
Expressions of mutual love in the banquet hall. (1:9 – 2:7)
A springtime visit of the king to the bride’s home in the county. (2:8-17)
The Shulamite’s dream of separation from her beloved. (3:1-5)
The ornate wedding procession from the bride’s home to Jerusalem. (3:6-11)
In 4:1 – 5:1, Solomon praises his bride from head to foot with a superb chain of similes and metaphors. Her virginity is compared to a “garden enclosed.” (4:12)
The garden is entered when the marriage is consummated. (4:16 – 5:1)

The Broadening of Love (5:2 – 8:14)

Some time after the wedding, the Shulamite has a troubled dream (5:20 in the palace while Solomon is away). In her dream Solomon comes to her door, but she answers too late — he is gone. She panics and searches for him late at night in Jerusalem. Upon his return, Solomon assures her of his love and praises her beauty. (6:4 – 7:10) The Shulamite begins to think of her country home and tries to persuade her beloved to return there with her. (7:11 – 8:4) The journey takes place in 8:5-7. Their relationship continues to deepen. Their love will not be overthrown by jealousy or circumstances.
At her homecoming (8:8-14) the Shulamite reflects on her brothers’ care for here when she was young. (8:8-9) She remains virtuous. “I am a wall.” (8:10) and is now in a position to look out for her brothers’ welfare. (8:11-12)
The book concludes with a dual invitation of lover and beloved.
And so closes this strange book which is different from any other in the Bible. It is a book about love between a man and a woman—one of God’s most mysterious and satisfying gifts to us.

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