Survey of Song Of Solomon
Book Type: The sixth book of Wisdom; the twenty-second book of the Old Testament; the twenty-second book of the Bible.
Author: King Solomon, specifically named seven times either as an author (Song of Solomon 1:1) or as the major character (Song of Solomon 1:5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11, 12).
Audience: Solomon's original audience consisted of those living throughout Israel during his reign. This book was clearly written to adult men and women who recognized the emotional aspects of love and romance. Solomon notes the mutual interest which may exist between a couple prior to marriage. However, sexual intimacy is not discussed until the narrative's central pair share their wedding night.
Date: Song of Solomon was written during Solomon's reign between approximately 970—931 BC.
Overview: Song of Solomon includes eight chapters that can be organized in three major sections. The first section addresses the courtship between the man and woman (Song of Solomon 1:1—3:5). The woman confesses her love (Song of Solomon 1:2–7), while Solomon and the woman speak romantically toward one another (Song of Solomon 1:8—2:7). The woman expresses adoration regarding Solomon (Song of Solomon 2:8—3:5), describing a vivid dream she has regarding their relationship (3:1—5).
The second section involves the wedding of the two lovers (Song of Solomon 3:6—5:1). The groom arrives in great splendor (Song of Solomon 3:6–11). The wedding takes place and the discussion escalates to the first night of the married couple together (Song of Solomon 4:1—5:1).
The third section focuses on various aspects of married life, addressing three major areas. First, the couple experiences an argument (Song of Solomon 5:2—6:3). Second, the lovers work through their conflict and promptly restore their desires for one another (Song of Solomon 6:4—8:4). The final verses speak of additional areas where the married couple can grow together (Song of Solomon 8:5–14).
Historically, some interpreters have taken a non-literal approach to this book due to its emphasis on romance and sexuality. Jewish scholars have sometimes seen the account as highlighting the love between God and His chosen people. Christians have often suggested an allegorical interpretation to represent the relationship of Christ's love for the church, the bride of Christ.
Though some applications may exist in these attempts, it is not necessary to take such an allegorical approach in order to understand the message of Song of Solomon. A straightforward reading of the text highlights the importance of intimate love between a husband and wife, within the context of a natural, God-designed marriage, as God originally intended.
Key Verses (ESV):
Song of Solomon 2:7: "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases."
Song of Solomon 5:1: "I came to my garden, my sister, my bride, I gathered my myrrh with my spice, I ate my honeycomb with my honey, I drank my wine with my milk. | Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!"
Song of Solomon 8:6–7: "Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised."