Song Of Solomon
Song Of Solomon
Who wrote it?
Solomon wrote Song of Solomon, according to the first verse. This song is one of 1,005 that Solomon wrote (1 Kings 4:32). The title “Song of Solomon” is a superlative, meaning this is the best one.
When(ish) was it written?
Solomon most likely wrote this song during the early part of his reign. This would place the date of composition around 965 BC.
Why was it written?
The Song of Solomon is a lyric poem written to extol the virtues of love between a husband and his wife. The poem clearly presents marriage as God’s design. A man and woman are to live together within the context of marriage, loving each other spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
This book combats two extremes: asceticism (the denial of all pleasure) and hedonism (the pursuit of only pleasure). The marriage profiled in Song of Solomon is a model of care, commitment, and delight.
Some Key Verses
[quote] I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.
– Song of Solomon 2:7 [/quote]
[quote] Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!
– Song of Solomon 5:1 [/quote]
[quote] Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.
– Song of Solomon 8:6-7 [/quote]
A Quick Summary
The poetry takes the form of a dialogue between a husband (the king) and his wife (the Shulamite). We can divide the book into three sections:
- The Courtship (1:1 – 3:5)
- The Wedding (3:6 – 5:1)
- The Maturing Marriage (5:2 – 8:14)
The song begins before the wedding, as the bride-to-be longs to be with her betrothed, and she looks forward to his intimate caresses. However, she advises letting love develop naturally, in its own time. The king praises the Shulamite’s beauty, overcoming her feelings of insecurity about her appearance. The Shulamite has a dream in which she loses Solomon and searches throughout the city for him. With the help of the city guards, she finds her beloved and clings to him, taking him to a safe place. Upon waking, she repeats her injunction not to force love.
On the wedding night, the husband again praises the beauty of his wife, and in highly symbolic language, the wife invites her spouse to partake of all she has to offer. They make love, and God blesses their union.
As the marriage matures, the husband and wife go through a difficult time, symbolized in another dream. In this second dream, the Shulamite rejects her husband, and he leaves. Overcome with guilt, she searches the city for him; but this time, instead of helping her, the guards beat her—symbolic of her pained conscience. Things end happily as the lovers reunite and are reconciled.
As the song ends, both the husband and wife are confident and secure in their love, they sing of the lasting nature of true love, and they yearn to be in each other’s presence.
Some Bible interpreters see in Song of Solomon an exact symbolic representation of Christ and His church. Christ is seen as the king, while the church is represented by the Shulamite. While we believe the book should be understood literally as a depiction of marriage, there are some elements that foreshadow the Church and her relationship with her king, the Lord Jesus. Song of Solomon 2:4 describes the experience of every believer who is sought and bought by the Lord Jesus. We are in a place of great spiritual wealth and are covered by His love. Verse 16 of chapter 2 says, “My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies” (NKJV). Here is a picture of not only the security of the believer in Christ (John 10:28-29), but of the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep and lays down His life for us (John 10:11). Because of Him, we are no longer stained by sin, having had our “spots” removed by His blood (Song of Solomon 4:7; Ephesians 5:27).
What does this mean?
Our world is confused about marriage. The prevalence of divorce and modern attempts to redefine marriage stand in glaring contrast to Solomon’s Song. Marriage, says the biblical poet, is to be celebrated, enjoyed, and revered. This book provides some practical guidelines for strengthening our marriages:
- Give your spouse the attention he or she needs. Take the time to truly know your spouse.
- Encouragement and praise, not criticism, are vital to a successful relationship.
- Enjoy each other. Plan some getaways. Be creative, even playful, with each other. Delight in God’s gift of married love.
- Do whatever is necessary to reassure your commitment to your spouse. Renew your vows; work through problems and do not consider divorce as a solution. God intends for you both to live in a deeply peaceful, secure love.
[expand title=”Holt, REO Town, and Westside Venues”]
- Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from Song of Solomon chapters 1-5, and also chapter 7. What verses or ideas stand out to you from these passages? What questions do you have? What would you like to remember and apply to your life?
- What are the big challenges in our culture when it comes to sex? Consider issues like sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, abortion, infidelity…how would these issues be impacted if we began to follow a Biblical sexual ethic?
- What specific sexual ethics were you taught? Where did those come from? Have you practiced them? How do they line up with the Biblical sexual ethic?
- How are sex and marriage Gospel issues? Are your marriage (if you’re married) and your sexuality an accurate proclamation of Jesus? What changes are you considering? How can your Life Group friends pray for you?
[expand title=”MSU Venue”]
- Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from Ecclesiastes 1:4-7, 1:9, 11:8, 6:1-2, and Song of Solomon 2-3. What verses or ideas stand out to you from these passages? What questions do you have? What would you like to remember and apply to your life?
- What areas in your life do you try and find meaning? How does that compete with your affection for Jesus?
- What might it look like to embrace Jesus as the one you trust in this season? What are the road blocks for you – doubt, skepticism, fear?
- What was the most shocking thing from Ecclesiastes to you?
- Discuss ho sex is viewed differently from the world’s perspective v a biblical worldview. What can Christ followers do to engage this difference in views?
- How does Jesus and His Gospel save us, comfort us, and heal us from sexual sin?