Category: Song of Solomon

Author: Solomon wrote Song of Solomon, according to the first  verse. This song is one of 1,005 that Solomon wrote (1 Kings 4:32). The title  “Song of Songs” is a superlative, meaning this is the best  one.

Date of Writing: Solomon most likely wrote this  song during the early part of his reign. This would place the date of  composition around 965 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Song  of Solomon is a lyric poem written to extol the virtues of love between a  husband and his wife. The poem clearly presents marriage as God’s design. A man  and woman are to live together within the context of marriage, loving each other  spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

This book combats two  extremes: asceticism (the denial of all pleasure) and hedonism (the pursuit of  only pleasure). The marriage profiled in Song of Solomon is a model of care,  commitment, and delight.

Key Verses: Song of Solomon 2:73:58:4 – “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

Song of Solomon 5:1 – “Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers.”

Song of Solomon  8:6-7  – “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for  love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like  blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot  wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would  be utterly scorned.”

Brief Summary: The poetry takes  the form of a dialogue between a husband (the king) and his wife (the  Shulamite). We can divide the book into three sections:  the courtship (1:1 –  3:5); the wedding (3:6 – 5:1); and the maturing marriage (5:2 – 8:14).

The song begins before the wedding, as the bride-to-be longs to be with her  betrothed, and she looks forward to his intimate caresses. However, she advises  letting love develop naturally, in its own time. The king praises the  Shulamite’s beauty, overcoming her feelings of insecurity about her appearance.  The Shulamite has a dream in which she loses Solomon and searches throughout the  city for him. With the help of the city guards, she finds her beloved and clings  to him, taking him to a safe place. Upon waking, she repeats her injunction not  to force love.

On the wedding night, the husband again praises the  beauty of his wife, and in highly symbolic language, the wife invites her spouse  to partake of all she has to offer. They make love, and God blesses their  union.

As the marriage matures, the husband and wife go through a  difficult time, symbolized in another dream. In this second dream, the Shulamite  rebuffs her husband, and he leaves. Overcome with guilt, she searches the city  for him; but this time, instead of helping her, the guards beat her—symbolic of  her pained conscience. Things end happily as the lovers reunite and are  reconciled.

As the song ends, both the husband and wife are confident  and secure in their love, they sing of the lasting nature of true love, and they  yearn to be in each other’s presence.

Foreshadowings: Some Bible interpreters see in Song of Solomon an exact symbolic representation  of Christ and His church. Christ is seen as the king, while the church is  represented by the Shulamite. While we believe the book should be understood  literally as a depiction of marriage, there are some elements that foreshadow  the Church and her relationship with her king, the Lord Jesus. Song of Solomon 2:4 describes the experience of every believer who is sought and bought by the Lord  Jesus. We are in a place of great spiritual wealth and are covered by His love.  Verse 16 of chapter 2 says, “My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his  flock among the lilies” (NKJV). Here is a picture of not only the security of  the believer in Christ (John  10:28-29), but of the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep—believers—and lays  down His life for us (John 10:11).  Because of Him, we are no longer stained by sin, having had our “spots” removed  by His blood (Song of  Solomon 4:7; Ephesians  5:27).

Practical Application: Our world is confused  about marriage. The prevalence of divorce and modern attempts to redefine  marriage stand in glaring contrast to Solomon’s Song. Marriage, says the  biblical poet, is to be celebrated, enjoyed, and revered. This book provides  some practical guidelines for strengthening our marriages:

1) Give your  spouse the attention he or she needs. Take the time to truly know your  spouse.
2) Encouragement and praise, not criticism, are vital to a  successful relationship.
3) Enjoy each other. Plan some getaways. Be  creative, even playful, with each other. Delight in God’s gift of married  love.
4) Do whatever is necessary to reassure your commitment to your  spouse. Renew your vows; work through problems and do not consider divorce as a  solution. God intends for you both to live in a deeply peaceful, secure  love.

 Answer: The Hebrew word  sharon means “a plain or a level place.” The Plain of Sharon is the  coastal plain between the mountains of central Palestine and the Mediterranean  Sea, north of Joppa to Mt. Carmel. The area is mentioned in Acts 9:35 in conjunction with the town of Lydda, which is  about eleven miles SE of Joppa and is called “Lod” in the Old Testament (1  Chronicles 8:12). Modern Israelis have reverted back to the Old Testament  name. This town is located in the midst of the Plain of Sharon. This area was  proverbially fertile and known for its flowers. The “rose of Sharon” is found in  the Song of  Solomon 2:1. Therefore, we can surmise that the rose of Sharon flower is  named for the district of Sharon.

Webster’s says that the “rose of  Sharon” is a hardy plant of the mallow family with the name “Hibiscus Syriacus”  and has white, red, pink, or purplish flowers. However, the Rose of Sharon  mentioned in the Song of Solomon is a crocus-like flower and the source of  saffron. The Hebrew word habaselet as used in Song of Solomon 2:1 is translated twice as “rose,” once here in the Song of Solomon and once in Isaiah 35:1. The translators  may indeed have used the word rose to refer to the meaning of the Hebrew  word, which is a flower similar to what we now know as a crocus or a bulb flower  like a tulip. The NIV uses a footnote that says, “Possibly a member of the  crocus family.” Therefore, the “rose of Sharon” is not really what we would  classify today as a “rose,” but it could be a plant similar to the hibiscus or  it could be a crocus or tulip.

Some Bible expositors see the rose of  Sharon as Christ and the lily as the church, His bride. Some of the early church  fathers were fond of this analogy as well. There are some parallels that may be  drawn between Christ and the rose of Sharon, but most of them fall apart when we  realize the rose is not a rose at all, but a crocus or tulip. In addition, the  church is never portrayed as a lily in the Bible. In fact, the word “lily”  doesn’t even appear in the New Testament. Some say that because the rose of  Sharon grows in dry, unfavorable conditions, it symbolizes Jesus coming from the  root of Jesse and David (Isaiah 11:1Revelation  22:16), but labeling the house of Jesse and David as “dry” has no basis in  Scripture, either. Of course, Jesus is as lovely and fragrant as a rose, but  that is insufficient to definitively identify Song of  Solomon 2:1 as symbolic of Christ.