Guide The Song of Solomon

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  1. Bible Living
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  3. Why Study the Book of Song of Solomon?
  4. Why Study the Book of Song of Solomon? | Crossway Articles

The Song of Solomon is a series of lyrical poems organized as a lengthy dialogue between a young woman and her lover. A third party, or chorus, occasionally addresses the lovers. The first poem is spoken by the young maiden, who longs to be near her lover and enjoy his kisses. She explains that she has a dark complexion because her family sends her to work in the vineyards.


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She searches for her lover, comparing him to a wandering shepherd, and the chorus encourages her to follow the flocks to his tent. The lovers lie on a couch together.

He describes verdant and fertile surroundings. The maiden calls herself a rose and a lily, covered by the shade of her beloved, a fruit tree. She compares her beloved to a lively gazelle that arrives to take her away during spring when the plants are budding. The maiden boasts that the man now pastures his flocks of sheep among her lilies. It is ancient, divinely inspired language from another time.

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We need the fresh perspective on love and sexuality that the Song of Solomon offers. The Song of Solomon is not one sensuous scene after another.

It is a series of love poems that capture the joys, insecurities, sorrows, and frustrations that accompany the journey of love. Through patient Bible study, the reader will follow the bride and her beloved on a journey from courtship to consummation and beyond. The voices of friends are there. The fears and insecurities are there. The temptations of the world are there.

Most of all, God is there. He is superintending it all. While the Song of Solomon provides much-needed wisdom from God on love and marriage, this wisdom is not attainable apart from Christ. At times, the Song puts forward the ideal portrait of human love. We are spurred on in these times, but also humbled.

James L.

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He previously served as a campus minister at Princeton University. This Momentary Marriage John Piper. The woman invites the man to enter the garden and taste the fruits. The man accepts the invitation, and a third party tells them to eat, drink, "and be drunk with love". The woman tells the daughters of Jerusalem of another dream. She was in her chamber when her lover knocked.

Why Study the Book of Song of Solomon?

She was slow to open, and when she did, he was gone. She searched through the streets again, but this time she failed to find him and the watchmen, who had helped her before, now beat her. She asks the daughters of Jerusalem to help her find him, and describes his physical good looks. Eventually, she admits her lover is in his garden, safe from harm, and committed to her as she is to him.

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The man describes his beloved; the woman describes a rendezvous they have shared. The last part is unclear and possibly corrupted. The people praise the beauty of the woman. The images are the same as those used elsewhere in the poem, but with an unusually dense use of place-names, e. The man states his intention to enjoy the fruits of the woman's garden. The woman invites him to a tryst in the fields.

Why Study the Book of Song of Solomon? | Crossway Articles

She once more warns the daughters of Jerusalem against waking love until it is ready. The woman compares love to death and sheol : love is as relentless and jealous as these two, and cannot be quenched by any force. She summons her lover, using the language used before: he should come "like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountain of spices". The Song offers no clue to its author or to the date, place, or circumstances of its composition.

Debate continues on the unity or disunity of the Song. Those who see it as an anthology or collection point to the abrupt shifts of scene, speaker, subject matter and mood, and the lack of obvious structure or narrative. Those who hold it to be a single poem point out that it has no internal signs of composite origins, and view the repetitions and similarities among its parts as evidence of unity. Some claim to find a conscious artistic design underlying it, but there is no agreement among them on what this might be.

The question therefore remains unresolved. The setting in which the poem arose is also debated. The Song was accepted into the Jewish canon of scripture in the 2nd century CE, after a period of controversy in the 1st century. It was accepted as canonical because of its supposed authorship by Solomon and based on an allegorical reading where the subject-matter was taken to be not sexual desire but God's love for Israel.

He reportedly said, "He who sings the Song of Songs in wine taverns, treating it as if it were a vulgar song, forfeits his share in the world to come". It is one of the overtly mystical Biblical texts for the Kabbalah , which gave esoteric interpretation on all the Hebrew Bible. Following the dissemination of the Zohar in the 13th century, Jewish mysticism took on a metaphorically anthropomorphic erotic element, and Song of Songs is an example of this.

In Zoharic Kabbalah, God is represented by a system of ten sephirot emanations, each symbolizing a different attribute of God, comprising both male and female. The Shechina indwelling Divine presence was identified with the feminine sephira Malchut , the vessel of Kingship.