Book Overview - Song of Solomon
by E.W. Bullinger
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE
Song of Solomon 1:1-11. THE INTRODUCTION. THE SHULAMITE SEPARATED. TAKEN BY SOLOMON FROM HER HOME AND HER BELOVED (SHEPHERD) INTO THE ROYAL TENTS, PITCHED NEAR THEM.
Song of Solomon 1:12 - Song of Solomon 2:7. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED TOGETHER.
Song of Solomon 2:8 - Song of Solomon 3:5. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED APART.
Song of Solomon 3:6 - Song of Solomon 5:1. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED TOGETHER.
Song of Solomon 5:2 - Song of Solomon 8:4. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED APART.
Song of Solomon 8:5-14. THE CONCLUSION. THE SHULAMITE RESTORED. RETURN FROM SOLOMON TO HER HOME WITH HER BELOVED (SHEPHERD).
* In the Hebrew, lishelomoh. is not the Genitive case, meaning "of Solomon", or "Solomon""s" ( v. 1). The Preposition) ( Lamed = 1) means " to ", or " for ", as in the Psalm-Titles, and in the expression " for the chief Musician".It is therefore not necessarily limited to authorship, as may be further seen from the title of Ps. 72, where we have the same word ( lishelomoh ) rendered " for Solomon".It may well mean concerning or relating to Solomon " the king""s son".Moreover, the Relative Pronoun ""asher (= which) takes it out of the category of ordinary authorship, and may rightly require the rendering " which [is] concerning Solomon".The Preposition has a wide range of meaning (divided into some twenty-two classes) according to the Verbs used; but, when used without a Verb (as it is here), it may refer to the subject, and be well rendered " concerning ", as it is in Jeremiah 49:1, Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:23; Jeremiah 49:28, &c. The question of authorship therefore does not, of necessity, arise, and need not be discussed.
NOTE ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE SONG OF SOLOMON (PAGE 920).
The scope of the book is determined by the Structure of the book as a whole.
The story gradually develops itself; and, from the key which is found in the last chapter (Song of Solomon 8:5-14), the whole may be pieced together in the words of Dr. C D. Ginsburg ( Commentary, London, 1857, pp. 4-6), to which the references have been added in order to connect the threads of the events.
"There was a family living at Shulem, consisting of a widowed mother, several sons, and one daughter, who maintained themselves by farming and pasturage. The brothers were particularly fond of their sister, and took her under their special care, promising that her prudence and virtue should be greatly rewarded by them (Song of Solomon 8:8-14).
"In the course of time, while tending the flock, and, according to the custom of the shepherds, resorting at noon beneath a tree for shelter against the meridian sun, she met with a graceful shepherd youth to whom she afterward became espoused (Song of Solomon 1:7; Song of Solomon 2:16; Song of Solomon 6:3).
"One morning, in the spring, this youth invited her to accompany him into the field; but the brothers, overhearing the invitation, and anxious for the reputation of their sister, sent her [in order to prevent their meeting] to take care of the vineyards (Song of Solomon 2:15).
"The damsel, however, consoled her beloved and herself with the assurance that, though separated bodily, indissoluble ties subsisted between them, over which her brothers had no control (Song of Solomon 2:16).
"She requested him to meet her in the evening (Song of Solomon 3:1); and, as he did not come, she feared that some accident had befallen him on the way, and went in search of him (Song of Solomon 3:2), and found him (Song of Solomon 3:4).
"The evening now was the only time in which they could enjoy each other""s company, as, during the day, the damsel was occupied in the vineyards.
"On one occasion, when entering a garden, she accidentally came into the presence of King Solomon (Song of Solomon 6:11-12), who happened to be on a summer visit to that neighbourhood (Song of Solomon 6:6-11).
"Struck with the beauty of the damsel, the King conducted her into his royal tent (Song of Solomon 1:2-4), and there, assisted by his court-ladies (Song of Solomon 1:5-8), endeavored with alluring flatteries and promises, to gain her affections, but without effect (Song of Solomon 1:6-11).
"Released from the King""s presence, the damsel soon sought an interview with her beloved shepherd (Song of Solomon 1:12, Song of Solomon 2:7).
"The King, however, took her with him to his capital in great pomp, in the hope of dazzling her with his splendour (Song of Solomon 3:1-11); but neither did this prevail:for while even there, she told her beloved shepherd, who had followed her into the capital (Song of Solomon 4:1-5), and obtained an interview with her, that she was anxious to quit the gaudy scene for her own home (Song of Solomon 4:6).
"The shepherd, on hearing this, praised her constancy (Song of Solomon 4:7-16); and such a manifestation of their mutual attachment took place, that several of the court-ladies were greatly affected by it (Song of Solomon 6:1).
"The King, still determined if possible to win her affections, watched for another favourable opportunity; and with flatteries and allurements, surpassing all that he had used before, tried to obtain his purpose (Song of Solomon 6:4, Song of Solomon 7:9).
"He promised to elevate her to the highest rank, and to raise her above all his concubines and queens, if she would comply with his wishes; but, faithful to her espousals, she refused all his overtures, on the plea that her affections were pledged to another (Song of Solomon 7:10, Song of Solomon 8:4).
"The King, convinced at last that he could not possibly prevail, was obliged to dismiss her; and the shepherdess, in company with her beloved shepherd, returned to her native place (Song of Solomon 8:5-14). "On their way home (Song of Solomon 8:5-7), they visited the tree under which they had first met, and there renewed their vows of fidelity to each other.
"On her arrival in safety at her home, her brothers, according to their promise, rewarded her greatly for her virtuous conduct" (Song of Solomon 8:8, Song of Solomon 8:9).
The above is an Interpretation. The Application is an incentive to loyalty and fidelity to the One "Who loved us and gave Himself for us"; and to stand fast, in our love and loyalty to Him, in the face of the fiercest temptations and severest trials.
To Israel this would be expressed:"Be thou faithful unto death" (James 1:3, 1 Peter 1:7. Hebrews 10:23); "To him that overcometh", &c. (Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 3:21); also Hebrews 13:9, Hebrews 13:13, 1 Peter 1:4-7, &c. To the Church of God this would be expressed in such passages as Galatians 5:1. Ephesians :4:14; Ephesians 6:13; Ephesians 6:18. Philippians 1:6; Philippians 4:1. Colossians 1:10, Colossians 1:22, Colossians 1:23; Colossians 2:7, 2 Timothy 3:14. Titus 1:9.
Song of Solomon 1:1-11. THE INTRODUCTION.
Introducing most of the seven speakers of the book:the Shulamite""s soliloquy (talking to herself) of her beloved shepherd ( vv . Song of Solomon 1:2-4; Song of Solomon 1:7); the king ( vv . Song of Solomon 1:4; Song of Solomon 1:9-11); the court-ladies ( vv . Song of Solomon 1:5; Song of Solomon 1:8); her brothers ( v .Song of Solomon 1:6).
Song of Solomon 1:1. Solomon""s Song about the Shulamite.
Song of Solomon 1:2-4. The Shulamite soliloquizes about her beloved (shepherd).
Song of Solomon 1:5-6. The Court-Ladies (who disdain her) answered by the Shulamite.
Song of Solomon 1:7. The Shulamite soliloquizes about her beloved (shepherd).
Song of Solomon 1:8. The Court-Ladies (who tell her to return) answered by the Shulamite.
Song of Solomon 1:9-11. Solomon""s admiration of the Shulamite.
Song of Solomon 1:12 - Song of Solomon 2:7. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED, TOGETHER.
In the royal tents, away from Jerusalem (Song of Solomon 3:6-11); in the place where the court-ladies first saw her (Song of Solomon 6:12); and "while the king is at his table".
Song of Solomon 1:12-14. The Shulamite to her shepherd lover. They meet and exchange their vows.
Song of Solomon 1:15 The Beloved (shepherd) to the Shulamite. (It is thou who art beautiful; not I.)
Song of Solomon 1:16 - Song of Solomon 2:1. The Shulamite to her shepherd love. (No. It is thou who art comely; not I.)
Song of Solomon 2:2. The Beloved (shepherd) to the Shulamite. (Thou art my loved one.)
Song of Solomon 2:3-7. The Shulamite to her shepherd lover:ending with an apostrophe to the courtladies not to incite or excite her affection for another person till she herself desires it. See notes on "awake" (Song of Solomon 2:7) and "love" (Song of Solomon 2:7) and Cp. Song of Solomon 3:5 and Song of Solomon 8:4.
Song of Solomon 2:8 - Song of Solomon 3:5. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED, APART.
(She, still in the royal tents in the country, tells the court-ladies the story of her love.)
Song of Solomon 2:8-14. The Shulamite tells the court-ladies about her beloved:how he once came and invited her to go out with him.
Song of Solomon 2:15. Hindered by her brothers, she tells how they set her a task in the vineyards.
Song of Solomon 2:16-17. The Shulamite tells the court-ladies how she waited for her beloved to come again in the evening.
Song of Solomon 3:1-3. Hindered by the watchmen, she tells how she went out and sought him.
Song of Solomon 3:4. The Shulamite tells the court-ladies how she found her beloved again.
Song of Solomon 3:5. Hindered by the court-ladies, she again adjures them not to hinder, as before, in Song of Solomon 2:7; in Song of Solomon 3:5, and again in Song of Solomon 8:4.
Song of Solomon 3:6 - Song of Solomon 5:1. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED, TOGETHER.
The procession of Solomon""s court to Jerusalem.
Song of Solomon 3:6-11. The inhabitants of Jerusalem see the procession approaching. Remarks Song of Solomon 3:6-11.
Song of Solomon 4:1-5. The Beloved (shepherd), who has followed the court, comes to Jerusalem to rescue the Shulamite. He obtains an interview, and again expresses his delight in her. [Contrast his modesty with Solomon""s coarse flatteries in Song of Solomon 6:4 -
Song of Solomon 6:10, and Song of Solomon 7:1-9.]
Song of Solomon 4:6. The Shulamite proposes to return, referring to Song of Solomon 2:17.
Song of Solomon 4:7-16 -. The Beloved (shepherd) immediately proffers assistance, emboldened by her beauty
Song of Solomon 4:16. The Shulamite declares that all she has is for his pleasure.
Song of Solomon 5:1 -. The Beloved (shepherd) suitably responds:"I am coming".
Song of Solomon 5:1. The daughters of Jerusalem (some of the court-ladies) encourage them and urge them on.
Song of Solomon 5:2 - Song of Solomon 8:4. THE SHULAMITE AND HER BELOVED, APART.
Song of Solomon 5:2 - Song of Solomon 6:3. Her colloquies with the court-ladies.
Song of Solomon 6:4 - Song of Solomon 8:4. Her colloquies with Solomon.
Song of Solomon 5:2 - Song of Solomon 6:3. HER COLLOQUIES WITH THE COURT-LADIES.
Song of Solomon 5:2 - Song of Solomon 6:3 The Shulamite tells the court-ladies a dream she once had about her beloved (shepherd).
Song of Solomon 5:9. The Court-Ladies, astonished at her love, ask, "What is there in thy beloved more than any other?"
Song of Solomon 5:10-16. The Shulamite describes him to them, and ends, "Such is my beloved".
Song of Solomon 6:1. The Court-Ladies wish to see an one; and ask, "Where is he, that we may seek him?"
Song of Solomon 6:2-3. The Shulamite evades their question, suspecting their motives.
Song of Solomon 6:4 - Song of Solomon 8:4. HER COLLOQUIES WITH SOLOMON.
Song of Solomon 6:4-10. Solomon comes forward with flatteries ( vv . Song of Solomon 6:4-9). What his court-ladies said was true ( v . Song of Solomon 6:10).
Song of Solomon 6:11-12. The Shulamite explains that her meeting with him was "unwittingly" (see notes). She withdraws.
Song of Solomon 6:13 -. The Shulamite:"What is there to look at in me?"
Song of Solomon 6:13 - Song of Solomon 7:9. Solomon renews his flatteries.
Song of Solomon 7:10 - Song of Solomon 8:4. The Shulamite rejects him:"I belong to my beloved; not to you". Calls on her beloved to fetch her away, and again adjures the court-ladies not to excite her feelings (as in Song of Solomon 2:7; Song of Solomon 3:5).
Song of Solomon 8:5-14. THE CONCLUSION. THE SHULAMITE RESTORED.
The Shulamite returns home from Solomon, and is seen by her brothers and their companions, approaching; her beloved (shepherd) is with her.
Song of Solomon 8:5 -. THE COMPANIONS of the shepherd see them approaching.
-, Song of Solomon 8:5-7. THE SHULAMITE and her beloved (shepherd) revisit the spot where they first plighted their troth; and renew their vows.
Song of Solomon 8:8-9. THE BROTHERS confer as to their sister""s dowry. "What shall we do for her?" "If she be a wall (i.e. virtuous) we will adorn her."
"If she be a door (accessible to any) we will shut her up."
Song of Solomon 8:10-12. THE SHULAMITE:"I am a wall" (not a door). Solomon has many vineyards; I will keep my own.
Song of Solomon 8:13. THE BELOVED (shepherd) asks her to tell them her story.
Song of Solomon 8:14. THE SHULAMITE owns him her beloved. He is to hasten to her now and ever. No longer over the mountains which separated them (Song of Solomon 2:8, Song of Solomon 2:17), for these have given place to the mountains of delight.
the Third Week after Epiphany