Thursday, December 07, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Song of Solomon 1-2
Our “Read-Thru the Bible” in a year is drawing to a close (hard to imagine we are 25 days from the start of a New Year)! If you are among those who followed faithfully the daily reading schedule this year, congratulations! I hope you are feeling a sense of accomplishment.
Today’s scripture reading introduces the Song of Solomon, our final book of poetry in the Old Testament scriptures. As its name suggests, the author is Solomon, the son of King David and Bathsheba, and God’s chosen successor to his father’s throne.
God blessed Solomon with wisdom that exceeded all men. As a young Oriental king, he enjoyed wealth beyond imagination and there was no pleasure he was not afforded. Following the custom of his day, Solomon formed alliances with heathen kings and took unto himself their daughters who brought with them their idols into his palaces (1 Kings 11:1-2). With a harem of 700 wives and 300 concubines, we read of the king, “when Solomon was old… his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4).
The Song of Solomon is a book of romance written when Solomon was a young king. Because it is so descriptive of courtship and the intimacy of marriage, the book is seldom taught or preached in church (at least in mixed company).
There are various views on how to interpret the Song of Solomon. Some suggest an Allegorical interpretation, stating the Song of Solomon describes God’s relationship with His people. Some Jewish rabbis believed the Song of Solomon was an allegory [story or parable] describing God’s relationship with Israel. Early church fathers took the approach the Song of Solomon describes Christ’s love for His church.
Others suggest a Typical interpretation and believe the Song of Solomon is a love poem written by the king to a young woman he loved. A “typical” interpretation would suggest the book describes Christ’s love and relationship with the Church.
For the sake of our study, I suggest a Literal interpretation. In other words, I believe the Song of Solomon is a story of romance, a love story; a celebration of love between the young king and the wife whom he loved and who loved him. Chapters 1-2 record the beginning of the courtship.
Solomon, disguised as a Shepherd, passes a vineyard [perhaps one he had leased out to a family] and notices a beautiful young peasant woman (a Shulamite – 6:13). She did not recognize her king and, embarrassed at the attention of the stranger and the darkness of her skin from laboring in the sun, she ran away (Song 1:5-6).
Like many a young woman dreaming of love, she dreams of meeting the stranger who showed an interest in her, not realizing she had fallen in love with her king (Song 1:7-9, 15).
The couple begin to romance one another with poetry in Song of Solomon 2. In the following dialog, notice how the couple in love focus on the positives.
Young Maiden – “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” (Song 2:1)
Solomon – “As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” (Song 2:2)
Young Maiden – (Song 2:4, 8-9) – “4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love…8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. 9My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. (Song 2:4, 8-9)
Solomon – (Song of Solomon 2:10-14) “10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.”
Young Maiden – “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.” (Song 2:16)
I close with a principle from today’s scripture reading that can “affair proof” your marriage: “Be Positive!”
Young couples fall in love, not because they have found a perfect partner, but because they choose to focus on the positives and disregard the negatives.
No one is perfect and spend enough time with someone their negatives will become obvious. When that happens, you have a choice:
Dwell on the negatives or choose to look past them.
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith