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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Song of Solomon

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This is also called "the Song of Songs, or The Canticles," though it is one poem, and not a collection of poems. The first verse states that it is by Solomon. The book stands alone, and has been variously interpreted. A favourite theory of German theologians and of many English is that it is literally a love story: that Solomon sought to draw away a lowly maiden from a shepherd, to whom she was betrothed; but to whom she remained faithful. That such a poem, with no higher teaching than this, should find a place in holy scripture, is impossible for the Christian who believes in inspiration to accept. With others it is held to represent 'the pure love and mystical union and marriage of Christ and His church,' which will be seen to be the idea in the headings of the chapters in the A.V. Passages in the N.T. that refer to the union of Christ and the church are referred to as bearing out this interpretation.

But a great deal of damage has been done to the right understanding of the O.T. by supposing that wherever blessing is there spoken of, it must refer to the church. God has blessed and will bless others besides the church, especially His ancient people Israel. He uses also endearing terms to Israel. He says to her, "I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgement, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies." This declaration is associated with a day when she will call Jehovah Ishi (that is, husband), and shall no more call Him Baali (that is, master). Hosea 2:16,19 . This is doubtless the key to the Song of Solomon. This is the union spoken of, with which the words of affection, that pass between Christ as Jehovah and the remnant of Israel that will be brought into blessing, are in accord. The song is prophetic, but does not reach to Christ and the church, though, when its right interpretation is seen, the Christian can apply some of its language as his own to the same Lord, who will also be manifested as the Bridegroom of the church. There is however this important difference: in the Canticles the result is more in anticipation, while with the Christian there is present realisation of relationship: in other words, more of desire than of satisfaction.

From the above it will be seen that the bride is not simply a person, but symbolic of the earthly Jerusalem and the remnant whose names are registered as connected with God's foundation, embracing all the faithful of Israel, looked upon as 'the daughters of Jerusalem,' which represents the whole nation. This agrees with the language in many parts: for instance, "Draw me, we will run after thee. The king hath brought me into his chambers; we will be glad . . . . the upright [plural] love thee." Song of Solomon 1:4 . Further, it is helpful to see who is the speaker in the various parts of the Song. As far as the bridegroom and the bride are concerned this is pointed out by the gender in the Hebrew. It seems evident too that a company, usually called virgins, also take part in the Song. The heart of Jerusalem is now being turned to the One they once refused: comp. Matthew 23:37 .

Song of Solomon 1:2 . BRIDE AND VIRGINS. They value the love of the bridegroom more than wine. The bride owns that she is dark, but she is comely: the rays of affliction have scorched her like the sun: cf. Isaiah 3:24 . She has been keeping the vineyards of the nations, not her own.

Song of Solomon 1:8 . BRIDEGROOM. He delights in her, and esteems her as the fairest among women.

Song of Solomon 1:12 . BRIDE. The bridegroom is 'the king:' her spikenard sends forth a perfume: cf. John 12:1-8 .

Song of Solomon 1:15 . BRIDEGROOM. He acknowledges her beauty: cf. Ezekiel 16:14 .

Song of Solomon 1:16 . BRIDE. She admires her Lord, and appreciates her relationship: she says, 'our house.'

Song of Solomon 2:1 . BRIDE. She is a rose of Sharon, and a lily of the valleys.

Song of Solomon 2:2 . BRIDEGROOM. His loved one is as a lily among thorns.

Song of Solomon 2:3 . BRIDE. She calls him 'my beloved,' and charges the daughters of Jerusalem not to disturb her loved one until he please. 'Behold he cometh:' she does not yet possess him.

Song of Solomon 2:10 . BRIDEGROOM. He invites her to partake of the pleasant fruits. The foxes must be caught that spoil the tender fruit. The joy must be full.

Song of Solomon 2:16 . BRIDE. She is conscious of the relationship. He is hers, and she is his.

Song of Solomon 3 . BRIDE. She is aloneand in darkness; she seeks her beloved, but does not find him. She questions the watchmen, and as soon as she passes them she finds him. King Solomon is described, his bed, his chariot, etc.: it is he who will bring in peace.

Song of Solomon 4:1 . BRIDEGROOM. He declares what she is in hissight. She is the garden of his delights. He calls upon the north and thesouth winds to cause the fragrance to come forth. (Some believe Song of Solomon 4:6 to be the language of the bride.)

Song of Solomon 4:16 . BRIDE. She responds, "Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits."

Song of Solomon 5:1 . BRIDEGROOM. He has come into his garden and tasted its delights: he calls his friends to share his joys: cf. John 3 :29.

Song of Solomon 5:2 . BRIDE. She has slept, and he is outside.

Song of Solomon 5:2 . BRIDEGROOM. He asks to be admitted: his locks are wet with the drops of the night.

Song of Solomon 5:3 . BRIDE. She is slothful and makes excuses. When she opens the door she finds he is gone. She goes about the city in search of him, and is smitten and shamed. She charges the daughters of Jerusalem that if they find him they will tell him that she is 'sick of love.' They ask her what her beloved is more than another. She declares that he is "the chiefest among ten thousand;" "yea, he is altogether lovely."

Song of Solomon 6:1 . The bride is asked whither he is gone: they willseek him with her.

Song of Solomon 6:2 . BRIDE. She says he is gone into his garden. She declares her confidence that she is her beloved's, and her beloved is hers.

Song of Solomon 6:4 . BRIDEGROOM.He describes her as beautiful and undefiled: she exceeds all; she is the only one of her mother.

When Israel is thus brought into blessing she will be, as the virgins say in Song of Solomon 6:10 , "terrible as an army with banners."

Song of Solomon 6:11 . BRIDEGROOM. He goes to look for the fruits, and before he is aware he is carried up on the chariots of Ammi-nadib, 'my willing people: ' cf. Psalm 110:3 .

In Song of Solomon 6:13 the bride is called upon to return under the name of Shulamite, 'peaceable' (the feminine of Shalom, from which is also Solomon); and in the Shulamite they see, as it were, the company of two armies, doubtless alluding to the union in a future day of Judah and Israel.

Song of Solomon 7:1 . BRIDEGROOM. He now describes his beloved as what she is to him.

Song of Solomon 7:9 . "And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine." . . . .

BRIDE(interposing). "That goeth down smoothly for my beloved, and stealeth over the lips of them that are asleep." (N.T.)

Song of Solomon 7:10 . BRIDE. The bride's experience has advanced: she responds, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." She invites him to come forth among the pleasant fruits — mutual enjoyment.

Song of Solomon 8:1 . This is a recapitulation of the whole book. The bride speaks as if she was only longing after him.

Song of Solomon 8:5 . The virgins ask who it is that comes up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved.

Song of Solomon 8:5 . BRIDEGROOM. He raised her up under the apple tree (which the bridegroom is called in Song of Solomon 2:3 ). The remnant will be recovered under Christ under the new covenant.

Song of Solomon 8:6 . BRIDE.She asks to be set as a seal upon his heart and upon his arm: his love and his power will be for her.

Song of Solomon 8:8 . The virgins speak of their 'little sister:' what shall be done for her? This is doubtless an allusion to the ten tribes, who did not have to do with Christ when on earth, and who will be dealt with differently from the two tribes; but will be brought into the land and blessed there.

Song of Solomon 8:9 . BRIDE. If the little sister be a wall, she shall be built upon; if a door, she shall be enclosed; but the bride is a wall, and is grown to maturity. She has a vineyard of her own, but Solomon must have a vineyard, from which he will receive fruit: not like Israel of old, which yielded no fruit.

Song of Solomon 8:13 . BRIDEGROOM. He desires to hear the voice of her that walks in the gardens.

Song of Solomon 8:14 . BRIDE. She responds, and bids her beloved to come without delay.

The whole Song has been otherwise divided into six parts, beginning at Song of Solomon 1:1; Song of Solomon 2:8; Song of Solomon 3:6; Song of Solomon 5:2; Song of Solomon 6:13; and Song of Solomon 8:5 .

It is worthy of remark that whereas the bridegroom describes the bride to herself, the bride describes the bridegroom, not to himself, but to others. This is surely becoming of her. He tells her plainly of her preciousness in his sight, and of the perfection he beholds in her. This calls forth her assurance, and she declares his preciousness in her eyes. As said above, the interpretation of the book is that it embraces the union of Christ and the Jewish remnant in a future day. But it is the same Christ that loves the church, and His love demands the deepest affection in return. He cares for her love, and in Revelation 2:4,5 , reproaches the Ephesian assembly that they had left their first love.

As a matter of interest it may be added that in the Alexandrian copy of the LXX some of the above divisions are made, and the speaker pointed out. In the Codex Sinaiticus these intimations are much more numerous than in the Alexandrian copy.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Song of Solomon'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/s/song-of-solomon.html. 1897.

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