With so many biblical scholars disagreeing on interpretation, is it any wonder many find Song of Solomon confusing? Some say it’s a drama or musical, and elaborate that there are two or three main characters. It’s often called Song of Songs, and even the Canticle of Canticles. Most agree it that shows a beautiful picture of God’s design for love and the marriage relationship. Others say the book is an allegory of God and His relationship with the church. Still others claim that theory is nonsense.
So, this non-theologian dove into its commentary, read sermons online, and studied old textbooks to see what I could find out about this poetic book. The journey took me in lots of different directions. But, regardless of your views, consider the following interesting observations pertaining to this Old Testament book.
1. Courtship is important.
This book is made up of different sections which show the progression of the relationship between King Solomon and his beloved, and it starts with a courtship. This is a phase where one “puts their best foot forward.” Lovers’ words are sweet and full of compliments to one another. Clearly, the characters in Song of Solomon are deliriously happy over their mutual growing affection. They long for one another in an intimate way but demonstrate restraint.
This world needs a lot more courtship and restraint. I’ve watched middle schoolers tell the opposite sex they “love” them. They jump into what they call “dating” before they even know one another and there doesn’t seem to be any courtship or “winning one over” anymore. What happened to playing hard to get, chivalry, being coy, or simply waiting until they’ve put in their best efforts before even uttering the words “relationship”? And let’s not get started on the restraint for intimacy and sticking to God’s design for it.
I’m not sure how to navigate this, but I tell my daughter to look for someone like her dad and who loves God. That’s the only place I know to begin.
2. Song of Solomon inspired worship.
If you sit down to read this book, you may notice a few verses are lines in a popular worship song titled, You Won’t Relent. It was one of the first songs I gravitated to when I began to listen to Christian music—when I realized I needed to change what I was putting into my mind and wanted more of Jesus.
Many worship songs incorporate Scripture, but I’d never recognized it in this one. Song of Solomon 8:6-7 says, “Place me like a seal over you heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench this love…” You’ll find this almost word for word in the chorus, and I now understand why it affected me so powerfully—it was Scripture, God’s very Word to us.
3. God can and will use our weaknesses for His glory.
King Solomon was known for having a lot of wives, and I mean a lot. 1 Kings 11:3 (NIV) tells us he had, “seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines.” Yet in Song of Solomon, we read, “Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number…” (v. 6:8 NIV). So, one can assume that this book must have been written early in his life, prior to accumulating his harem, as his women are often called.
I’ll be honest and admit I about laughed out loud in realizing the truth in this observation. How ironic that a book about love and marriage was written (according to most) by a man who couldn’t be faithful to anyone?
And yet in that same breath, as my chuckle released, it hit me that God used an imperfect man and his greatest weakness—women—to highlight the strength of a true and loving marriage relationship. Aren’t we all glad God doesn’t let our weaknesses define us?
4. God's banner over you is love.
No matter where an army marched or sailed, a banner proudly flew high over them, announcing who the men, horses, ships, and arms belonged to. A unique logo—not a word they would’ve used, but an accurate one for our day—claimed possession and gave esteem to its ruler.
Song of Solomon 2:4 (NIV) says, “Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.” This is a sweet representation of a proud fiancé showing off his bride-to-be, but it can also be taken as a beautiful image of God’s great love for us.
A sweet children’s song recites this verse, so again this book has inspired worship music, and I imagine God’s banner over us having a big red heart on it claiming us as His. To think God wants to affirm flawed and sinful humans as his beloved stirs my soul with joy and contentment. I hope it does for you too.
5. The honeymoon phase will end, but the marriage doesn't have to.
After courtship, the couple marries, and they live happily ever after, right? Wrong. The happy newlywed period ends, and since most accounts believe the whole book (or song) takes place between one and two years, we can assume the marriage becomes challenging pretty quickly. But they don’t give up on their relationship, and after struggling through a few arguments and compromises (my thoughts on what could’ve happened), they repair and restore their loving devotion to one another.
This is a great example of the reality of marriage. The Hallmark Channel does a great job of showing a couple falling in love and making it to the altar, but they stop there. Perhaps because love gets tough after the I dos. Marriage is a lifetime commitment and takes hard work, but the mature love shown at the end of Song of Solomon is a beautiful picture of the intimacy God desires couples to share.
Source - www.crosswalk.com