Song of Solomon 1-3
A very strange book to say the least, especially in the Bible. But it is in our canon of scripture, so it behooves us to understand why. I had to look up some background information about the book, not the writer, I knew that to be King Solomon. But why was it written and how do I understand the language, which by the way is very sensual in nature. SO I listened to Chuck Swindoll and he gave me some good tips to understanding and reading the book. Now pastors have a way about them to allegorize things they don’t understand. Many have tried to make a connection between the two lovers in the book to Christ and His Church [Bride]. One could make a case for such, but the language of intimacy cannot be attributed to such an analogy.
Chuck Swindoll helped me understand even when the book was written; he stated that Song of Solomon was an early writing of the King, followed by Ecclesiastes then the book of Proverbs. the Song of Solomon is the greatest of all Canticles of Solomon; chapter 1:1. Solomon wrote as many as 1000 songs – `1 Kings 4:32. So, if Solomon wrote this in his younger days, then we can understand that the Book is really a dialogue or love letter between a woman and her soon to be husband, in this case King Solomon’s marriage to the Shulammite woman. It is a love letter that we get to read. It the letter we find strong language about sensual topics and very descriptive analogies to parts of the woman physical body. Summer love, wedding are dominantly planned in the Spring or Summer months. So it is fitting that I am writing about this love letter now.
Chuck Swindoll gives rules for reading the Song of Solomon: read it literally and personally. He suggest that it is love a love letter that has been intercepted and read out loud before an audience. Many of the words and thoughts are extremely intimate and meant only for the recipient. He goes on further to say we should read it, enjoy it but stop short of trying to analyze it. This makes sense, because it is two lovers king and pinning away in their love and separation.
We have the bride who is referred to as a Dove and the groom to be called the Beloved. There is lots of descriptive sentences that we would call “gushy mushy” stuff. I would think that this is a book that would be hard to preach before a congregation – for both the pastor and audience would blush and be embarrassed!
However, we must read these poetic words for what they were meant to mean to the reader. There is something about a young couple trying to express in words what their hearts convey. There are limits to how we can say what we feel in words. But these chapters do capture the emotion and longing for the other person. If we are truthful we have to admit, that much of the language used reminds us of our days gone by. We must admit we rarely hear of the passion and excitement in marriage relationships like this. Our relationships can and do become stale. It should be a refreshing in our minds of how we once felt – when we were head over heels in love with someone. At this point I will draw parallel with our relationship with Jesus; we can get “old hat” with Jesus. We can and do get comfortable with Him and take Him for granted; just like in our marriages. In these first chapters before the wedding in chapter 3:6-11; we read of the extravagant doting of the bride in oils and perfumes for the beloved. It has been said that if woman [and men] continued to do what they did to get a spouse after they are married, there would be a lot less broken marriages. Summer love, young love – is more than infatuation, it is a phenomena that can’t be easily confined or defined.
I hope that the reading of this love letter will spark the memories of all of us to how we once were young, and that it will rekindle our desire and passion for our own Beloved!