SONG OF SOLOMON

I am not sure (actually I am positive) I have ever heard a sermon or participated in a Bible study that centered on this book. It is a book that has always made me feel uncomfortable because the subject matter gives us an intimate glance into a relationship of two people deeply in love. It involves the courtship and marriage of Solomon and a Shulammite woman who was a shepherdess. There have been three approaches to the interpretation of the Song of Solomon, fictional, allegorical, and historical. Fictional is that it is entirely made up and never happened. This is not a choice that carries any credence whatsoever. Historical is that it depicts the wooing and wedding of a shepherdess by King Solomon, and the joys and heartaches of wedded love. Allegorical is that the book pictures Israel as God’s espoused bride, and the Church as the bride of Christ. The book is arranged like scenes in a drama with three main speakers: the bride, the king, and the chorus (daughters of Jerusalem).

The book abounds in in metaphors and oriental imagery. It is poetry and is also known as The Song of Songs (Canticum Canticorum) and The Best Song. At the time of the writing of this book Solomon had sixty queens, eighty concubines, and maidens without number. The problem is, how does a man with a hem of this size extol the love of the Shulammite as though she were his only bride? Is it possible that with the bulk of Solomon’s marriages being politically arranged that the Shulammite may be the only true romance he ever experienced? 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. This book offers a proper perspective of human love and avoids the extremes of lust and asceticism. This 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 wife.

A wise man once wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun!” And, this blog is no different. I have borrowed heavily from the preamble to the Song of Solomon in the Open Bible. It very eloquently states what I wanted to say about this book. The poetry, the use of metaphors and oriental imagery, and the passion of the writing are truly a work of art! Now, I am not saying I will not feel like I am intruding on an intimate moment between a man and his beloved the next time I read this book. But, I believe I may be able to read it without blushing! How about you?

by Paul Kightlinger

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