Intro to Song of Songs:  A Love Poem

My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away. Song of Songs 2:10

The Song of Songs is first of all a love song.  It does not mention God, or claim to communicate any message from Him.  Instead, it is a drama in poetry, a love story that captures the yearning of bride and bridegroom, set off by a chorus of the bride’s friends who rejoice with her.  The book, which verse 1 identifies as Solomon’s, celebrates the mystery and joy of human love; the gift God gave to mankind when He shaped Eve and Adam for each other.

Jewish and Christian commentators have been uncomfortable with the explicit poetry found here, although sexual references are much more delicate and restrained than in other love poems from the ancient Middle East.  Jewish scholars have treated it as an allegory of God’s love for Israel, and Christians have seen it as an image of Jesus’ love for the church, to be consummated at the Second Coming.  But it is better to take this poem for what it seems to be:  a celebration of God’s gift of married love.  It is a refreshing affirmation of the biblical view that in the union of husband and wife there exists a rewarding and total intimacy.

Date and authorship.  If Solomon is the author, and there is no significant reason to doubt the tradition preserved in 1:1, the book was written between 970 and 930 B.C.

Rather than be disturbed by this extremely beautiful love poem, we might well open our hearts to it, and let his most unusual book in Scripture shape our attitude toward married love.  It is God who invented sexuality.  It is God who made human beings male and female.  And it is God who sanctifies the intimacy enjoyed by husband and wife.

** It shows how God loves us.  No wonder Satan wants to corrupt sex and delete the distinction and beautiful interactions between men and women and turn us into neutral machine.  We can trust God who has blessed us with all sorts of sensations.  We can be holy and enjoy what He has given us.

People interpret the meaning of this book differently — love between God and Israel, between Jesus and His church or between a man and a woman.  I think we don’t need to choose just one of them.  All three may apply!

 

 

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