Song of Songs Preview
Song of Songs (also known as Song of Solomon, depending on your translation of scripture) is another poetical book written by King Solomon. Solomon, whose reign we previously read about in 1 Kings 1-11, was the wisest and wealthiest earthly king to ever live (1 Kings 10:23). His poetry was a mixture of metaphorical and autobiographical (see Ecclesiastes for further examples). This song was his poetic masterpiece. But what is it all about?
A certain level of irony exists when it comes to a book on marriage and romance being written by a man with 700 wives and 300 concubines, but this book contains an ideal picture of what a healthy relationship and marriage between a man and a woman should look like. We see their attraction and desire for one another. We see beautiful imagery tying together the emotional and physical intimacy that comes within the confines of marriage. Some of this book is literal, but not all. Some of it is Solomon trying to paint a word picture for us.
Reading this book as Christ followers in the twenty-first century, we can grasp not just the significance of a covenantal relationship between a husband and wife, but also the covenantal relationship between God and Israel (Solomon’s original audience) and Jesus’s love for the church. Like any book we read from the Old Testament, we get to read this eight chapter piece of poetry through the lens of the Gospel. As you read, try and make connections to the New Testament and take notes as you go!
Before we begin reading Song of Songs, check out this video overview of the book from The Bible Project.
Read Song of Songs 1
1 Solomon’s Song of Songs.
for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
we will praise your love more than wine.
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect.
7 Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.
among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.
my perfume spread its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.
our rafters are firs.
What’s your favorite song of all time? What makes you like a song? Is it the lyrics, the vocals, or the skill of the musicians? Maybe it’s simply the beat and rhythm? What makes a song great and why do some of the same songs appear on many of our Spotify and Apple Music playlists?
In Song of Songs 1:1, the writer gives this book a superscription. The writer say this is “Solomon’s Song of Songs.” When something falls into the pattern of “blank of blanks,” it means it is the greatest of all “blanks.” When Jesus is referred to as the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” as in Revelation 19:6, it means Jesus is the greatest King out of all the kings and the greatest Lord out of all the lords. For this to be Solomon’s song of songs means that it’s the greatest of all his songs. It’s got the most listens and plays in everyone’s playlist. In fact, according to 1 Kings 4:32, Solomon wrote 1,005 songs. Out of all 1,005 songs, this book is the greatest! There’s a lot we can learn from this greatest song.
In Chapter 1, we see the man and woman go back and forth praising, encouraging, and affirming each other. She praises his name in 1:3. This means he has great character and a stellar reputation. In 1:5-7, the woman appears to be insecure about her darker skin that has come from working outside. In her mind, this puts her in a lower social status since she had an outdoor job instead of an indoor job. But the man praises her in 1:9-11. He’s attracted to her appearance and character and is not put off by her sun-tanned skin.
Most married couples do not take the time to praise and affirm one another’s character and appearance. Instead of building each other up, they tend to tear each other down. How different would Christian marriages be if instead of tearing one another down, we built each other up with our words? What if we affirmed each other’s appearance and character instead of critiquing and criticizing?
There’s a reason why this is called the greatest of all of Solomon’s songs. As we closely watch the words and character of this man and woman, we gain an understanding of why this is in fact the greatest of all songs.
- What are a few of your favorite songs? Why do you like them?
- Why do you think so many marriages are marked by divisive words instead of encouraging and affirming words?
- In Song of Songs 1:3, the woman praises the man’s “name,” which means she praises his character. What would others say about your “name”/character?
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