Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Song of Solomon 1

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-7


The girl longs for her lover (1:1-7)

After an introductory note (1:1), the collection opens with a poem spoken by the girl in praise of her absent lover. At times she imagines she is speaking to him, at times she thinks about him, but always she longs for his love and attention. She thinks that all girls must love such a handsome young man. To her he is king, and she imagines the coming wedding day when he takes her into his room, praises her beauty and makes love to her (2-4).
Aware that men have a liking for lighter skinned girls such as those of Jerusalem, the girl makes excuses for her dark skin. She is a farm girl who has worked in the sun, and she compares the colour of her skin to that of black goat-hair tents. Yet she knows that her lover makes a better comparison when he likens her to the beautiful curtains of Solomon’s palace. The reason for her dark skin is that her hard-hearted brothers have made her look after the family vineyards, with the result that she has not had time to look after the ‘vineyard’ of her own appearance (5-6).
The girl wishes she knew where her lover was feeding his sheep. Then she could go straight to him without having to wander from flock to flock looking for him (7).

Verses 8-17

The lovers talk together (1:8-2:7)

In reply to the girl’s longing, the man invites her to come and join him in the fields (8). He praises her beauty and promises to give her the finest jewellery (9-11). The girl responds that her greatest joy is just to be in his presence and let her love flow out to him (12-14). After the man further praises the girl’s beauty (15), she expresses her desire to be with him in the fields again, where they can lie down together in the shade of the trees (16-17).
The girl regards herself as nothing special - just a country maiden, just a small wildflower in a large field (2:1). Yes, replies her lover, but she is the only flower in the field. Compared with her, all the other girls are brambles (2). And her lover, replies she, is like a tree that surpasses all the other trees of the forest. He protects, strengthens and refreshes her. His company is to her a feast of joy and love (3-6).
In view of the girl’s strong desire for her lover, a warning is given (in the form of an appeal to the easily excited young women of Jerusalem). The warning shows the danger of trying to stir up love when a person is not ready for it (7).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 1". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/song-of-solomon-1.html. 2005.
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