About the Song of Songs
A Bible text and commentary on the Song of Songs. Written by Keith Simons. August 2009.
Bible students disagree about the meaning and about the purpose of the Song. The purpose of this commentary is to explain the subjects that are clear in the Song.
The Song of Songs (also called the Song of Solomon) is a poem about love between a man and a woman. They love each other deeply, and later, they marry.
The author of the Song probably lived about the same time as King Solomon. It is possible that Solomon himself wrote the Song. But Solomon had very many wives. And this Song is about one man’s love for one woman. So it is hard to see how Solomon could be the author. Therefore, many people think that someone else wrote it. If so, that person wanted to give honour to Solomon, who was famous as Israel’s wisest king. So the author used Solomon’s name as the name of the man in the poem. And he also used the word *Shulamite, which is the female form of Solomon’s name, to refer to the woman.
There are many different opinions about the meaning and the purpose of the Song. You can read more about these opinions in the separate Bible Commentaries that our team members have written. But this Commentary is a simpler one. Its purpose is to explain the subjects that are clear in the Song.
Bible students disagree about the meaning of the Song:
· Some Bible Students think that the Song is simply a poem about love. That is, the love that a man and a woman have for each other.
· Other Bible Students think that the Song is about God’s love for his people. The man is a word picture for God. And the woman is a word picture for the person who loves God.
Bible students also disagree about the purpose of the Song:
· Some Bible Students think that the Song is simply a beautiful poem.
· Other Bible Students think that the Song’s purpose is to teach lessons about love.
We know that for about 2000 years, people have used the Song to teach about love for God. But we do not know how people used the Song before that.
Lessons in the Song of Songs
Because the Song of Songs is a poem, it does not contain clear instructions like some other Bible books. If we want to learn from it, we must learn from the attitudes and actions of the people in the Song.
If the Song is about human love, then the main lessons are about the ideal relationships between men and women:
· At the time of the Song, men often married many wives. But the Song shows love between one man and one woman.
· The Song emphasises greatly the importance of love in a married couple’s relationship. It is wrong when husbands and wives continuously force each other to do things. They should respect each other because they love each other.
· The Song shows how beautiful it is for a husband and wife to be loyal to each other. Elsewhere, the Bible teaches that sex should only happen between a man and woman after their marriage. And after marriage, people must continue to be loyal to their husbands and wives. It is very wrong when they have sex with other people.
· The Song emphasises that love is a decision. It is not merely an emotion. A husband and wife should choose to love each other. And then their love for each other will grow and increase.
If the Song is about God’s relationship with people, then the lessons are similar:
· A person’s relationship with God should be a personal relationship. Someone does not become a Christian because that person’s family are Christians. It does not happen because someone is born in a Christian nation. It only happens when that person begins his or her own personal relationship with God.