Introduction

This lesson is, admittedly, very unconventional compared to others available at Walk with the Word. This has to do primarily with the fact that, above all else, the Song of Solomon is a “song”. This might be obvious at first glance, but not so obvious when it comes to studying this book, since it should be approached as a single song. After all, it’s difficult to analyze and understand a song overall by only studying one of its verses or just a few of its lines. A song is something which, in reality, needs to be taken in its entirety. And, as a song, it needs to be read and analyzed according to this literary format chosen by God. Poems and songs tend to elaborate on things in a far different manner than plain speech in order to paint a specific picture using a lot of smaller components to the overall contribution. The imagery – and its expanded and repeated use – is intended to convey a sort of “vocabulary” or legend by which to understand the whole.

As you read the whole of the Song of Solomon, consider that Jewish tradition holds that this particular Scripture is to be read during Passover. How does this speak of God’s past, present, and future work in the Passover? Also consider that for Christians, the Song of Solomon is held to be a deeply spiritual telling of Christ’s love and relationship with the Church. Keep these things in mind as you read it, meditating in the Spirit to understand why God included this book in the Bible and its possible teachings for the whole Church at large as well as for you individually.

Please read Song of Solomon completely before beginning.

Q: How is Song of Solomon completely unique in its presentation of the Word and character of God as compared to all the other books of the Bible. [Hint: There are many answers, only a few are provided below to facilitate group discussion.]

  • So much of Scripture deals with the Law, that one might get the impression that there’s very little emotion behind it other than anger for disobedience. This book conveys the deep emotion of love that is the foundation to God’s desire for a personal relationship with us individually and the church as a whole, for those in full compliance with His Word.

  • Just as the Psalms illuminate the true meaning of how the Law is supposed to work and applied to one’s life, so the Song of Solomon illuminates the true role of love in personal relationships.

  • The depth of God’s love is conveyed in His greater acts of the first Passover and then in the Passover at which His Son was offered for us. A faithful relationship is only the beginning model for His people; it extends to the deep affection and friendship of a perfect love relationship extending well beyond that merely of King and His subjects.

  • Others?

NOTE: The overall outline of the Song of Solomon can be divided as follows:

  1. The Beginning of Love (1:1-5:1)
    1. Falling in Love (1:1-3:5)
    2. United in Love (3:6-5:1)
  2. The Broadening of Love (5:2-8:14)
    1. Struggling in Love (5:2-7:9)
    2. Growing in Love (7”4-8:14)

Q: What can be learned from the overall outline of the Song of Solomon and what it teaches about love? [Again: Many answers, so encourage group discussion.]

  • Like all relationships, it requires commitment and perseverance to make it successful.

  • The emotions of love must eventually give way to the deeper commitments of loving behaviors that produces a mature friendship and partnership.

  • The relationship must be working towards the same end, for the same goals and objectives.

  • Others?

Q: What do you suppose is being taught in passages such as 1:1-8 which reference the bride’s family background and connections?

A: It reflects the fact that one must leave the old life for the new, and in doing so become a new creation/new person for the bridegroom (Christ). The bride may have been just another member of the family, a daughter and sister assigned roles in submission to the overall will of the family. In being given to the bridegroom, she becomes a new creation assuming a new life with completely new priorities set not by her family but by her husband.

Q: The mention of “breasts” in this book makes people uncomfortable and usually thinking in sexual terms. However, what body parts are specifically mentioned most?

A: The overwhelming references are related to the head, face and neck.

  • Chapter 4: Eyes, hair, teeth, lips, mouth, temples, neck, breasts
  • Chapter 5: Head, locks (hair), eyes, cheeks, lips, hands, abdomen, legs, and mouth
  • Chapter 6: Eyes, hair, teeth, and temples.
  • Chapter 7: Feet, hips, navel, belly, breasts, neck, nose, head, locks (hair), head, breath, and mouth.

The fact is that the Song of Solomon has a very minimal focus on sex itself, and is actually an overall teaching of relationships. Far more time is spent on how mutual attraction is but a stepping stone towards a mature, whole relationship than merely on love expressed through physical means.

Q: Why do you suppose there are a great many geographical references to specific places associated with the land of Israel?

  • Many of them would be familiar to the original readers, invoking specific images. It would be like someone saying today, “Your hair falls on your shoulders like Niagra Falls” or “She’s as barren as the Mojave.”

  • It’s interesting that features from all parts of Israel are mentioned, both in the south and the north, both on the east and west side of the Jordan River. It might serve as a reminder of God’s love for ALL of Israel, not just any particular tribe or location. This would have a larger meaning extended to His love of the WHOLE Gentile church throughout the entire world, north-south-east-and-west.

  • Others?

Q: Why do you suppose there are references to different gardens, each bearing slightly different things?

  • At the highest level, it’s a teaching that a right relationship with God is to bear fruit that feeds not only one’s self but others around us.

  • It’s a teaching that a true, loving relationship exists not just in one’s mind but produces tangible, visible evidence in this life.

  • It speaks of our responsibilities and work within our relationship with Christ, that it’s not merely feeling love but proving it through doing His work.

  • It provides a kind of timeline since there were 2 main harvest seasons in the Middle East – 1 at spring and 1 at autumn – at which different things were ready for the harvest. Examination in detail reveals that the Song of Solomon begins in the spring and ends during the fall. This speaks greatly of a spiritual timeline regarding Christ (the bridegroom) and reveals His two comings.

  • Others?

3:1“On my bed night after night
I sought him
Whom my soul loves;
I sought him but did not find
him.
2‘I must arise now and go
about the city;
In the streets and in the squares
I must seek him whom my
soul loves.’
I sought him but did not find
him.
3The watchmen who make the
rounds in the city found me,
And I said, ‘Have you seen him
whom my soul loves?’
4Scarcely had I left them
When I found him whom my
soul loves;
I held on to him and would not
let him go
Until I had brought him to my
mother’s house,
And into the room of her who
conceived me.”

5:2“I was asleep but my heart
was awake.
A voice! My beloved was
knocking:
‘Open to me, my sister, my
darling,
My dove, my perfect one!
For my head is drenched with
dew,
My locks with the damp of
the night.’
3I have taken off my dress,
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet,
How can I dirty them again?
4My beloved extended his hand
through the opening,
And my feelings were
aroused for him.
5I arose to open to my beloved;
And my hands dripped with
myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid
myrrh,
On the handles of the bolt.
6I opened to my beloved,
But my beloved had turned
away and had gone!
My heart went out to him as
he spoke.
I searched for him but I did
not find him;
I called him but he did not
answer me.
7The watchmen who make the
rounds in the city found me,
They struck me and wounded
me;
The guardsmen of the walls
took away my shawl from me.

[Read 3:1-4 and 5:2-7]

NOTE: These are two very important features of the Song of Solomon around which revolves much of what is being taught at a deeper level concerning the Messiah and spiritual events – they are dreams.

Q: What is the chief difference between these dreams?

A: Although both are dreams belonging to the bride, one is the best dream possible – finding and being permanently reconciled to the bridegroom – and the other is her worst nightmare – seeming to forever lose him.

Q: What real-world events are best exemplified by these dreams?

A: In general, they represent those who accept or reject Christ. On a more specific level, they seem to indicate the spiritual condition of Israel, who rejects Christ at His first coming, but accepts Him at His second coming.

Q: How is this reflected in the way the Song of Solomon both begins and ends?

A: In the opening verses of chapter 1, the bride is seeking the first coming of the bridegroom; in the final verse of the book (8:14) she is eager for his second coming.

Application:

  • What are some of the ways that the Song of Solomon expresses the nature of a right relationship between husband and wife?

  • What are some of the ways that the Song of Solomon expresses Christ’s love for the church?

  • What is the church’s proper response in its right and loving relationship with Christ?

  • How does the message of seasons and harvests speak to our roles and responsibilities in Christ?

Epilogue

It’s strongly suggested that with these thoughts in mind, you take the few minutes necessary to re-read the Song of Solomon in its entirety again, concentrating on the deeper spiritual meaning of the text. This may be an exercise you want to repeat frequently, to be reminded of the true heart of God as applied to you personally, His people Israel, and to the whole of His church.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19 End