Author: probably Solomon
Date: Tenth Century B.C.
This book represents one of those grand surprises that pop up from time to time in the Bible. Because most people understand the Bible to be a book about religion and spirituality, it cannot be imagined that a book dealing with a theme like human love could be found there. The Song of Solomon tells about a Shulammite woman and her beloved. There is the mutual admiration expressed by each one for the other, as well as descriptions of their physical love. It is a beautiful and touching picture, going to the heart of human emotion and life.
Over the centuries, there have been numerous interpretations of this book. Some commentators have seen in it a vivid picture of the love of God for Israel or the love of Christ for the church. By looking at it in this way, these writers reinterpret the sensual imagery on a more spiritual plane. This book, however, gives no evidence that it is discussing the subject of God’s love. Other interpretations say that it deals with ancient ritual, dramatic presentations, or liturgical rites. Those views also seem a bit overdone.
Probably the best way to take the Song of Solomon is at face value. It deals with human love and the beauty of it. When God made humankind he made us “male and female” (Gen. 1:27). That is a simple and fundamental fact of existence. That two people should love each other, and that their love should express itself physically ought to embarrass no one. The Song of Solomon celebrates that love in what could be called a collection of love poems or reflections.
Theological Themes in the Song of Solomon
The basic truth taught in this book is that the structures of our humanity (psychological, physical, emotional, etc.) were created and blessed by God. The proper human response is to accept ourselves as we are in glad thankfulness for the way God made us.
Outline for the Song of Solomon
- The dream of the bride for her beloved Song of Solomon 1:1-3:5
- The arrival of the bridegroom Song of Solomon 3:6-11
- In praise of the bride Song of Solomon 4:1-5:1
- Night thoughts of the bride Song of Solomon 5:2-6:3
- The beauty of the bride Song of Solomon 6:4-7:9
- The beauty of love Song of Solomon 7:10-8:14