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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary
Song of Solomon 1

 

 


Verses 1-17

For the following we are indebted to “An Exposition and Vindication of Solomon’s Song” by James Strong, S. T. D., who combines the literal and allegorical modes of interpretation the idea that the poem celebrates the royal marriage, and is also symbolic of the relation of Jehovah and His people in both dispensations. The details apply to the former, while the spiritual conceptions are foreshadowed in the latter.

Hebrew wedding festivities usually lasted a week, the marriage being consummated at the close of the first day, but here the nuptials seemed to have been postponed till the last day. The description, therefore, is not that of the honeymoon, but the wooing.

Strong distributes the drama into six acts corresponding to as many days— not extending into the Sabbath and subdivides each into two scenes, morning and evening.

Acts 1, SCENE 1 This subsection comprises Song of Solomon 1:2-8. The bride is an Egyptian princess, whose train of attendants has reached the royal portico at Jerusalem and is met by the Israelitish maids of honor. Her thoughts are busy with anticipation of the greeting from her intended, and she expresses them, almost unconsciously, in the words, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (Song of Solomon 1:1-2). The ladies respond to the close of Song of Solomon 1:3.

The bride orders the attendants to proceed (she being carried in a palanquin, a covered conveyance borne on the shoulders of men), and she exclaims, “Draw me,” or “Bear me forward.” The ladies respond, “We will run after thee!” Passing within the palace, she says, “The king hath brought me into his chambers,” and the ladies respond, to the close of Song of Solomon 1:4.

The bride disparages her charms in Song of Solomon 1:5, and a dialogue ensues between her and the ladies to the end of Song of Solomon 1:8, where she is left awaiting the bridegroom in an anti-room.

If we seek the spiritual application of this, it is found in the expectant desire of true believers for the second coming of Christ.

Acts 1, SCENE 1 This scene runs from 1:9 to 2:6, and describes the introduction of the lovers to each other, in one of the interior reception chambers, in presence of the attendants.

The bridegroom expresses his admiration of the bride (Song of Solomon 1:9-10), and the attendants respond, Song of Solomon 1:11. Probably the bride speaks (Song of Solomon 1:12-14), her observations inspired by a glimpse of the nosegay (“spikenard”) at her bosom. Compliments are passed between her and the bridegroom (Song of Solomon 1:15 to Song of Solomon 2:3), and probably the symbolic language is suggested by the garden and its fountains that lie before them.

The bridegroom and his attendants retire, but the bride continues addressing the ladies (Song of Solomon 2:4-6). Overpowered with emotion at her lover’s favor toward her, she begs restoratives from them, although she sighs for his personal support to keep her from sinking.

The scene is emblematic of the church’s rapturous contemplation of her glorified state with Christ. And there is that in it which suggests the declaration of John the Baptist: “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom which standeth and heareth, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice” (John 3:29).

Acts 2, SCENE 1 This scene (Song of Solomon 2:7-17) opens on the next morning, and represents the royal lover starting on a hunting trip. He serenades his sweetheart beneath her chamber window, urging her maidens not to awaken her (Song of Solomon 2:7). Her quick ear detects his voice, and she calls to her maidens concerning him (Song of Solomon 2:8-10), and repeats his song (Song of Solomon 2:10-14). A rougher voice, that of the gardener, is heard (Song of Solomon 2:15). Meanwhile the bride, having finished her toilet, is at the window acknowledging the song (Song of Solomon 2:16-17).

 


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Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 1:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/song-of-solomon-1.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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