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Bible Commentaries

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

Song of Solomon 1

Verse 1

Book Commentspar

Walking Thru The Bible

SONG OF SOLOMON

I. Title and Author. This little book of eight chapters has been title many ways. The Hebrew title is "the Song of Songs," which means the most superlative song or as we would say, "the Best of Songs." Verse 1 asserts that Solomon wrote this song among the 1005 which we wrote (1 Kings 4:32).

II. The Content of the Song. The son is a poetic representation of the sentiment of lovers, some of it quite frank in intimate admiration and desire for each other. It is plain from the spacing in the Hebrew and the change of person, number and gender of the personal pronouns and verb endings that the speakers shift from male to female and from the single male and female to a plurality of women termed in the text the "daughters of Jerusalem." But there is no scene description or stage or drama directions.

The traditional view is that there are two lovers, Solomon and a woman of Shulam, a town seemingly in northern Palestine, and a chorus of women from Jerusalem (either court attendants or the royal harem).

III. Interpretation. There have been many different methods employed to discover the meaning and significance of the book.

1. The Allegorical Interpretation. The Jewish attempt to make it an allegory see the story as love of God for Israel. This view seems to account for the Song as the scripture to be read at the Passover festival by later Judaism.

A variant of this view held by some early church fathers thought the song dealt with the Christ and His love for his bride the church. This view has been widely accepted and accounts for many of the interpretative chapter headings in many versions (e.g. ch. 1-3 "The Mutual Love of Christ and His Church"). It is seen in the poetic adoptions in our songs as "Jesus, Rose of Sharon" and "the Lily of the Valley." Oddly enough however, if the interpretations were carried through correctly, the church, not Christ, would be represented by these titles.

J.W. McGarvey said of this view: "I tried hard to see something prophetic in it, but I failed, and I have never yet succeeded. I am not surprised, therefore, that all very recent interpreters have abandoned the idea that the Shulamite in some way represented the church, and Solomon the Lord Jesus. There is no sustained analogy in any part of the song to anything connected with Christ or the church."

2. The Dramatic View. A view that originally the poem was a drama in which the settings and actions were supplied by pantomime or stage curtains. Some see the story as a love play in which Solomon’s love for a young Jewish country maiden is portrayed.

3. The Collection View. Some think the book is not a unit but rather a collection of wedding songs such as were used at wedding festivals and as are still used today in some middle eastern countries. But the "Song of Solomon" does seem to have a plot which develops throughout and it is not likely that a collection of isolated poems would give a story like this.

4. A Modernist View. One recent modernistic view (cf. Interpreters’ Bible) has claimed the song was borrowed from pagan religious rites. This views proposes that the song was taken over by Israel and gradually lost its identity with paganism. This view has nothing but conjecture to support it.

5. A View of Pure Married Love. The Bible Commentary says "The simplest and most natural (interpretation) appears to be that which regards it as a poem of pure wedded love." Edward J. Young says, "And it reminds us, in particularly beautiful fashion, how pure and noble true love is."

The Song of Solomon is a song about the beauty and holiness of married love. In the context of Solomon’s political marriages, the Shulamite taught him the beauty of monogamous love. The book has some great lessons for a time when we face the abuse of marriage and the perversion of sexuality in our time.

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Verse Comments

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Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/song-of-solomon-1.html. 2021.