Old Testament Summaries: Song of Solomon
Religion Articles 6/19/12
By: Yona Williams
The Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs) is a Biblical book written by King Solomon and included in the Old Testament. From the first verse of the text, we learn that Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon, which is one of more than 1,000 songs that he penned. In this article, you will learn the meaning behind the Song of Songs â€“ a reference that means it is the best one that he wrote.
It is most likely that Solomon wrote this song at an early time of his reign, which means that it dates back to about 965 BC. The song focuses on the love he felt during his courtship and wedding with a shepherdess. The song has been used as a metaphor for the love that God has for Israel and of God's church. The text presents a host of erotic imagery and metaphors. The lyric poem unfolds to reveal the benefits that come from the love between a husband and his wife. In the poem, you see what is interpreted as a marriage that fits Godâ€™s design. A man and woman are expected to live with one another within the context of marriage. The two people would love one another not only emotionally and physically, but also spiritually.
The marriage that is described in the Song of Solomon is one that concentrates on commitment and happiness. Themes discussed in the text include extremes â€“ asceticism (when someone denies all pleasure) and hedonism (when someone seeks out only pleasure).
Summary of Themes
The Song of Solomon delivers a dialogue between a husband (the king) and his wife (the Shulamite) that is presented in the form of poetry. Readers encounter three different sections that touch upon their courtship, wedding and their marriage as it develops. The song starts before the wedding takes place. The bride-to-be desires her husband-to-be and she is looking forward to enjoying his intimate touch. She gives the advice to let love develop under natural circumstances. Meanwhile, the king gives his praises to the Shulamite's beauty â€“ disregarding the insecurity she feels for her looks.
On the night of their wedding, the husband compliments the wife on her beauty. The wife then invites her husband to bed, where they make love. God gives his blessing for their union. As the marriage continues, the husband and wife enter difficult times, which are expressed through a dream. A second dream reveals that the Shulamite rejects her husband, and he then leaves. Filled with guilt, she searches the city for him, but she is unable to find help in her quest. In the end, the pair reunite and reconcile. The song's finale presents both the husband and wife are secure and confident of their love for one another. They sing together â€“ expressing the enduring nature of true love.
To get an idea of the verses written in Song of Solomon, consider the following:
"Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."
"Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers."
"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."