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The Song of Solomon...

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Anonymous User
The Song of Solomon...
September 07, 2008 10:42AM
Hello. I found this introductory commentary on the Song of Solomon, which I found to be excellent, and wanted to share it.

The Song of Solomon is a moving love story between a young country girl and King Solomon. In delicate poetry, the lovers express intense passion and deep longing for each other. The young girl compares her love for her husband to the anticipation of a frantic search, while Solomon likens his bride’s beauty to picturesque gardens and delicious fruit. Yet even in this eloquent expression of the passion between a bride and bridegroom, there is an exhortation to remain sexually pure before marriage (2:7). In this way, the book celebrates human sexuality within the context of marriage.

The book has not always been understood in this way. Jewish scholars around the time of the birth of Christ interpreted the book allegorically, stating that it describes the love of God for Israel. Similarly, some Christians have taught that the book speaks of the mystical relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ and His bride, the church.

However, one does not need to get into allegorical meanings to understand this book. The Song of Solomon celebrates the beauty and intimacy of married love in a narrative poem. It teaches that a lasting marriage requires dedication, commitment, and strong loyalty between husband and wife. The Song also presents an idealized picture of how human love can be expressed under God’s blessing. This is a very important issue. Some critics have claimed that Christianity’s standards for marriage ignore or undervalue sexual relationships. But the Song of Solomon refutes this. It reiterates the biblical admonition against sex outside of marriage, but it also affirms that God not only approves of, but also encourages, sexual pleasure within marriage.

Author • The author of the Song of Solomon is Solomon, the son of David and the third king of Israel. He is named as the author and his name appears seven times in the book (1:1,5; 3:7,9,11; 8:11,12). Even so, some have argued that the references to Solomon may be only a stylistic device and the author may have been from a later period. The arguments for this are inconclusive. But the fact that Solomon was known for his wisdom and poetry (see 1 Kings 4:29–34) partially substantiates his authorship of this book.

Literary Form • Perhaps nowhere in the Bible is the literary culture of the Middle East more apparent than in this book. The genre or literary form of the Song of Solomon is unique in the Bible. It is a lyric idyll, a type of love song. As in the case of the Book of Job, the Song of Solomon reveals its treasures to the patient reader who approaches the book on its own terms, searching for and meditating on its meaning. The form of the lyric idyll displays two features. The first is that speeches and events do not necessarily follow in chronological order. At times the story line remains suspended while the audience views scenes from earlier or yet untold incidents.

A second feature of the lyric idyll is the use of the chorus. In addition to the two characters that carry the story line — the Shulamite and King Solomon, a group of women interrupt certain scenes with brief musical speeches or warnings. Solomon uses the chorus to make transitions from one scene to another, as well as to add emphasis to important themes.

Historical Background • The Song of Solomon retells the romance between King Solomon, the richest king ever to rule Israel, and his beloved bride, who came from a small village in the region of Galilee. Solomon owned vineyards all over the nation. One was close to Baal Hamon in the northernmost part of Galilee near the foothills of the mountains of Lebanon. On one of his visits to this vineyard, Solomon met a young woman. Strangely we never learn her name. She is called simply the Shulamite. For some time he pursued her and made periodic visits to her country home to see her. Finally, he proposed. The Shulamite gave much thought to whether she really loved Solomon and could be happy in the palace of a king. Finally she accepted.

Theology • If the Bible is the book about God, then one may well ask what a narrative about human sexuality has to do with theology. This is an even more potent question when one observes that God is never mentioned in the entire text (except possibly in 8:6), nor are there any references to prayer, worship, or piety. In this respect it bears similarities to the Book of Esther, which also does not mention God. Nevertheless, Esther is a story of the redemption of God’s people and includes episodes of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. Such themes are notably absent from Solomon’s poetic story, making it unique among the books of the Bible.

To resolve this difficulty, it is important to remember that the Bible not only describes who God is and what God does, it also tells us what God desires for His people. The Song of Solomon provides an example of how God created male and female to live in happiness and fulfillment. People are created as sexual beings. It would be wrong to suggest that the full experience of our humanity is impossible apart from sexual union in marriage, since this would disqualify the widowed, divorced, and the celibate - including our Savior who was celibate. At the same time, God ordained marriage from the beginning of creation: man and woman were to become one flesh (Genesis 2:25).

Because of its emphasis on human love, this book presents an extraordinary variety of expressions for love, perhaps the richest selection in all Hebrew Scripture. But within this celebration of love, the book condemns unchaste relations outside of marriage — and in particular, sexual experimentation before marriage. Indeed, this book may contain the Bible’s strongest argument for chastity before marriage. Ironically because of its explicit language, ancient and modern Jewish sages forbade men to read the book before they were thirty (and presumably kept women from reading it at all). We cannot ignore the sexual content of the book, but we can appreciate the context in which it is placed — a godly marriage. The Song of Solomon is necessary reading not only for the married, but for young people who want to understand God’s design for marriage.

Work cited: Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B.
Re: The Song of Solomon...
September 07, 2008 07:56PM
This November my husband and I will be married for 39 years. We have gone through many tests, trials, ups and downs, even times when we wanted to call it quits because life seemed too hard. But it was the bond, the vows of love and commitment that held us together. While the Song of Solomon tells us a young love and how it is to be chaste, pure and filled with deep emotions it is put a part of a long and lasting godly marriage. It is the 'honeymoon stage', if you will but it definately presents how treasured it should be. It breaks my heart to see how young girls so eager to find love will so willingly give their bodies to someone who will not even treasure the gift given to them. When we spiritually give ourselves to the Lord we can be assured that He cherishes our love and will not harm us nor forsake us.

When we first give our hearts to Jesus there is such a joy and freedom that fills our being. Its so wonderful being filled with His love, His forgiveness and His desire for us. We fill whole, accepted. But God desires that our fellowship with His Son be of an even deeper level, one that will find us faithful to Him even when hard times come, even when our hopes don't turn out the way we expect. It is staying faithful in these times that not only strengthens the bond of relationship but it is also at this place that great fruit comes forth from the union with Him. Oh, how the Lord desires for more to come into maturity and commitment with Him, to love Him as He loves us. When one knows of His sweet love they will not want to turn away from Him for He is their all in all. Precious Jesus, there is no one like Him...

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/2009 08:09AM by Joan.
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