Song of Solomon
The Song of Solomon is a song about love between this man and woman. It may have been meant to be sung aloud. There are many speculations and possiblities of how this book could be viewed. A couple thoughts:
- As a Play or Poetry: King Solomon may be the man and his first wife the woman. This seemed to be an exclusive love between the two; we know Solomon ended up having many wives. So, it may also be an unnamed couple.
- As allegory:
- Seen as the man playing the part of God, the woman is Israel. The problem with this is that some of the language is sexual in nature making the allegorical understanding awkward.
- Jews read this at Passover as an allegory referring to Exodus where God espoused Israel to himself as his bride.
- Also, now seen as the relationship between Christ and the Church, the bride and bridegroom.
- The plain understanding is likely the right understanding. I believe we should view this book literally understanding that it says what it means and means what it says. It descriptes the romantic love between a man and woman.
- Then within this plain meaning, we know the bible likens the marriage covenant to that of the relationship of the church and Christ.
We don't often relate the desire for sexual intimacy with the desire for intimacy with God. In fact, we underestimate the need and desire for intimacy. Maybe because our thinking has been skewed by our culture; we tend to think of love as a feeling that just comes and goes. Love is often romantisized and treated as a means to sex. A a child of God Most High, should we not be Christlike in all aspects of our life. And if so, should we not express and respond to the need and desire for intimacy by imitating God's lavish giving of Himself toward us.
Tidbits before you start:
- Solomon composed 1005 songs; this was the greatest song.
- The book isn't really religious at all.
- One Rabbi said that all scripture is holy, but the Song of Solomon was the Holiest of the holy (Rabbi Aqiba).
- Some pastors have spend their entire life in the pulpit and never preach from this book.
- Bernard of Clairvaux preached 86 sermons on the first two chapters.
- Spurgeon preached 59 sermons from Song of Solomon.
- Among all the intimate coversation, there is no mention of procreation.
- Rabbis couldn't read the book until over 30.
- Song of Solomon was the favorite book of Spurgeon and D.L. Moody.
The cast of characters:
- The Young maiden; the Shulamite
- A country girl from Shunem. Possibly a wife of Solomon. Maybe the princess from Egypt.
- The young man; the beloved
- Most generally seen as Solomon.
- The book does not reflect Solomon's experience in life.
- The chorus; the daughters of Jerusalem
- Brothers of the Shulamite
- Relatives of the wedding party
Song of Songs outline
- The wedding day 1:1 – 2:7
- Memories of courtship 2:8 – 3:5
- Memories of engagement 3:6 – 5:1
- A troubling dream 5:2 – 6:3
- Praising the bride's beauty 6:4 -7:9a
- The bride's tender appeal 7:9b – 8:4
- The power of love 8:5-14