Song of Solomon 1-4
I’ve always held Song of Solomon at arm’s length, so I chuckled a bit when I saw the first four chapters on my scheduled day. It holds its place in the canon as a book of wisdom, but you could spot it in a crowd - to put it mildly. Solomon lived an extravagant life, and this is an extravagant book. There’s no gentle warning of what is coming, look at the first three verses!

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore virgins love you.”  Song of Solomon 1:2-3 ESV

The challenge in interpretation that I’ve heard presented over the years is the symbolic and allegorical approach over the literal approach. As I read the first 4 chapters, I noticed how many hymns and worship songs have taken phrases and pictures from these verses. If the allegorical approach is wrong, it’s persisted for many generations. Conversely, the innuendos and sold out attraction makes me lean more towards a literal approach.

When I look at these first four chapters, I see a picture of God’s creation glory as He made men and women to be perfect complements for each other. I think we would all turn red if I listed the obvious references to physical union. Notwithstanding, every part of God’s creation shows a larger purpose.

I Iike to balance the picture of Song of Solomon against something like Hosea or Jeremiah. There’s a special, strong love between newlyweds - but do you know that the Lord loves us like a husband who would go and yet love a wandering wife?

“And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.””  Hosea 3:1 ESV

Someday, the Lord will return for His bride and the church and all of creation will see a picture that has never been seen before. Well, It’s pretty easy to fall into the allegorical approach after all.

by Wes Basinger, Deacon 

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