Song of Songs 1:1-2:17

The Song of Songs raises more questions for me when I read it. It has been an unfamiliar book to me and I struggle to understand the main purpose of this book in the Holy Bible. The first image that came to my mind when I read this book is a scene from my childhood memory: a Chinese film featuring a young couple in love, singing and courting each other in a field. As I examined more carefully there are at least three characters in the song: (1) Beloved who is the female main character (woman) (2) Friends who are mainly female friends (3) Lover who is (or are) the male character(s) in love with the woman. Whether the lover is a shepherd (v.7) and a king (v.4, v.12) or if they are both the same person is subject to interpretation.

As I ponder on the significance of this greatest song, also known as Solomon’s Song of Songs, I wonder what nuggets of truth I can garner from King Solomon-the man who is thought to be the author of this book. It is quite unthinkable to learn about love from a man who had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 King 11:3). We know that Solomon was a very wise and knowledgeable man. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five- 1 King 4:32. His wisdom was gifted by God but he did not live out the enduring truth he so skillfully penned. Nevertheless, the fact that the book is in the Bible, I should take note and try to learn
from it.

The love of a man and a woman is a gift to be enjoyed. From the conversation between the
beloved and her lover I see the intimate exchange of their desires and their admiration for each other. Their friends also joined in to celebrate their love. As we can see from this song, the love between a man and woman during courtship is natural and spontaneous. How about the love between long term married couples? Couldn’t it also be reignited by practicing the wisdom shared in this book? Verbalizing what we love in our mates (1:9-10,13-16 and 2:3), expressing love gestures and making one more attractive to the other ( 1:1-2, 10-11) are some ways we can note to improve our marriage relationship.

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires (2:7) can be interpreted as waiting to enter sexual relations until marriage. Sadly, there are many young people who jump into sexual relationships very early in their courtship only to be heart broken later.

The sublime love of humans, even the passionate love depicted in this book, is marred by human imperfections. I think the book of Song of Songs is also a shadow of a better love that is to come. It is an allegory of Christ’s love relations with the Church. The Church is the bride of Christ as depicted in Revelations 19:7-8. Members of the church are to stay faithful, waiting in anticipation of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ when they will be united with Him corporately as a Church as His beloved bride.

I’m reminded of the Psalm 119:103- How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! The Lord Jesus who is the Word (John 1:14) is sweeter than our earthly love. Whether we are unmarried, widowed , divorced or happily married, believers can look forward to a fulfilling relationship with Jesus who loved us so much that He gave His life to us and washed us clean from our impurities so that we can be presented to him as a holy, radiant bride ( Ephesians 5:25-27).             — Lai Yee Leong

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