In this lesson we will introduce and overview the book of Song of Solomon. Contrary to popular thought the book is not full of innuendo. The discussion of human anatomy is no more descriptive than other places in the Bible. And truly, the overtones that have been read into the book reveal more about the one reading it than it does the book itself.
The book was written by Solomon who either plays the part of a worldly king surrounded by pomp and circumstance or he is the bridegroom. Generally, he is thought to be the groom, but that may not be the case.
The book is called the song of songs in Song of Solomon 1:1. There are seven other songs in the Bible that reveal some aspect of God’s relationship to His people.
- Exodus 15 – Moses’ song showing God as Deliverer
- Numbers 21 – Israel’s Wilderness song speaking of God as Lawgiver
- Deuteronomy 32 – Moses’ song showing God’s people
- Judges 5 – Deborah’s song of victory showing God as Avenger
- Isaiah 5 – Isaiah’s song of God as husbandman to Israel
- Isaiah 26 – song of the 2nd Coming and Restoration of Israel
- Revelation 5:9 – New Song of the Lamb
But of all the songs in scripture the Song of Solomon shows the relationship God most desires with His people. Marriage most closely illustrates this relationship and that is why it is called the song of songs.
The Characters in the Book
The Song of Solomon has five characters and three of them – the bride, groom, and daughters – are speaking characters.
- The bride who is not just Israel, but faithful Israel. She is called “my love” throughout the book by the groom.
- The “beloved” who is the shepherd bridegroom according to Song of Solomon 1:7-8 matches Jesus Christ the chief Shepherd according to 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4. He is seen outside the wall and looking through the lattice in Song of Solomon 2:9 and is not the king in Song of Solomon. When Jesus Christ was introduced to Israel, he was introduced as the Bridegroom in John 3:29. Israel was suppose to recognize Jesus Christ as Israel’s bridegroom from the Old Testament places like Psalms 19:5 and Isaiah 62:5.
- The worldly King Solomon according to Song of Solomon 3:7-11. Notice his multiple espousals, his love for the daughters of Jerusalem, not the bride. Notice also in Song of Solomon 8:12 that Solomon has acquired so much worldly wealth the bride doesn’t appear to want him near her little vineyard. There is the backdrop of the world seen in Solomon versus the voice of the shepherd throughout the book.
On the other hand, reading straight through the book without paying attention to the chapter breaks Solomon, may in fact be the groom. It looks that way according to the appearances King Solomon makes and his speaking parts in the book.
4. The daughters of Jerusalem who picture unfaithful Israel. See also Luke 23:27-33.
5. And the watchmen who are just as blind as can be according to Isaiah 56.
6. The companions of the bridegroom. Psalms 119:63 along with men like John the Baptist who was called the friend of the bridegroom in John 3:29 compared to Song of Solomon 8:13. The apostles would probably also be considered companions of the bridegroom according to Psalm 55 and the description of Judas Iscariot.
7. The little sister in Song of Solomon 8 typifies a city in Israel according to Ezekiel 23 where Aholibah and Aholibamah are sisters who picture Jerusalem and Samaria.
God’s History with Israel Outlined in the Book
- Chapter 1 shows faithful Israel in Egypt and into the Wilderness. The time covers Exodus – Deuteronomy. Note particularly Song of Solomon 1:9 where the bride is compared to horses in Pharaoh’s chariots. What bride wants to be compared to horses? Look at Exodus 15:19 where the comparison is made.
- Chapter 2 deals with faithful Israel in the promised land without a king. The time covers Joshua – Judges. Notice the lily is the bride in Song of Solomon 2:2, not the groom. Men don’t generally compare themselves to lillies anyway. The Lily of the Valley song is not exactly correct. The lily is surrounded by thorns which match God’s description of the nations he left in the promise land in Joshua 23:13 and Judges 2:2-3.
- Chapter 3 deals with faithful Israel in the promised land under kings. The time frame is 1 Samuel – 2 Chronicles. The bride sarcastically encourages the daughters of Jerusalem to behold the king in verses 9-11 matching 1 Samuel 8:19-21.
- Chapter 4 deals with faithful Israel in the promised land under Gentile rule. The time frame covers the end of 2 Chronicles – Esther and up until the time of Christ. Song of Solomon 4:8 talks about the leopards and the lions dens in the promised land. Gentiles were allowed to take over the land starting with Nebuchadnezzar known as the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). What does that have to do with leopards and lions? The Gentiles were likened to leopards and lions according to Jeremiah 5:6, Daniel 7:6, and Hosea 13:7.
- Chapter 5 deals with faithful Israel in the land at the time of Jesus Christ’s ministry. The time frame covers Matthew – John when God, the bridegroom, appears to Israel. Notice Song of Solomon 5:1 where the groom has now come into his vineyard (Isaiah 5). And you also have the physical description of the groom in 5:10-16.
- Chapter 6 deals with faithful Israel in the land at the time of Jesus Christ’s ascension. The time frame covers Acts 1. Notice Song of Solomon 6:1 and the question where did the groom go?
- Chapter 7 deals with faithful Israel being sent out to preach. The time frame covers Acts 2 – Philemon. Notice verse 7:1 is also quoted by Paul in Romans 10:15. So we Gentiles get in on this.
- Chapter 8 deals with faithful Israel in the land at the time of tribulation. The time frame covers Hebrews – Revelation. Notice how similar verse 8:14 is to Revelation 22:20. In each case there is eager anticipation to see the bridegroom.
The Ministry of Marriage Outlined in the Book
Jeremiah 3:14, Isaiah 54:5. Jesus Christ was introduced as the bridegroom to Israel in John 3:29. Jesus Christ would espouse a people to himself in the following ways that are best illustrated in a marriage. See Hosea 2:19-23.
- Marriage is a commitment.
- Genesis 17:7, 8, 13, 19
- Marriages don’t end because of problems. All marriages have problems. Disagreements and problems will actually make your marriage better if you work through them.
- Marriages end because of a lack of commitment. Someone entertained the thought that the “D” word was a solution. Someone entertained the thought that a co-worker, or a friend treated them better than their spouse.
- Song of Solomon 8:6-7 – Marriage as a seal – Ephesians 1:13
- Righteousness has to do with keeping God’s law. In the OT it looked like Deuteronomy 6:25, and under the new covenant with Jesus Christ it looks like Romans 10:4 (see also Genesis 15:6)
- You have three very real enemies; the world, the flesh, and the devil. They aren’t independent operators, they work together. God’s law shines light on how they work and where they enter in.
- Song of Solomon 2:15 – trouble comes in your marriage when you fail to take your enemies seriously.
- Judgment is decision making; it is the ability to prioritize, discriminate, and make an equitable decision.
- Numbers 27:11 God gave this judgment and many others to chart the course of right judgment for Israel.
- Song of Solomon 3:1-2 Why can’t the bride find her groom? Because she has been looking in the wrong place. She is looking in the city, in the broad ways. Her groom is a shepherd in the field (Song of Solomon 1:7-8). See Matthew 7:13 for a commentary on the broad way.
- Jeremiah 31:3 – drawn thee, Song of Solomon 1:4
- The drawing of his bride would ultimately be Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary according to John 12:32.
- Psalms 119:41,77,156 new life, salvation
- Song of Solomon 4:12, 15 a well of living water; John 4:10, 7:38
- Matthew 23:37 with Psalm 17:8. Jesus Christ was the one protecting Israel in the Old Testament. He was God who thundered at Sinai.
The result of these things in marriage are:
- Knowledge of the Lord
- Fruitfulness – The only relationship on this earth that is fruitful is marriage. Children are to be the product of a husband and wife marriage.
- Song of Solomon 2:3-5 apple tree versus the trees of wood; fruitful versus unfruitful
- Song of Solomon 2:10-13 fruitfulness