Song of Songs 1 to 8
Song of Songs…it’s in the Bible, and since we are going through the whole Bible, someone needs to write about it. I know Marcia was probably a bit apprehensive when she saw that I was the one that signed up for this book, but I am very experienced with this topic, so I think it is a good fit. When I was much younger, I wrote a poem about my girlfriend and gave it to her, and she is now my wife.
You may know this book of the Bible as Song of Solomon, but in the original Hebrew it was called Song of Songs. It is saying that this is not just a song, it is the song of all songs, like King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I must admit, it is a very unforgettable song and I was a bit surprised to learn such a book was in the Bible when I first read it long ago. For some reason my Sunday School teacher did not cover this part of the Bible with us when I was a child.
The visuals painted in these chapters about a bride and groom are very sexual in nature, but is that what this book is about? Some say it is an allegory of Jesus and his bride, the church. I doubt this is true because Jesus wasn’t even around in the Old Testament when this was written. I don’t think the concept of the church being the bride of Jesus was known back then so why would someone write an allegory about that? It is also believed by some that it could be an allegory about God and the people of Israel. There are no doubt similarities between the relationship of a bride and groom and the relationship between God and His people, but why would someone use such erotic sexual material to describe how God thinks about Israel and vice versa?
I believe it is love poetry and I am thrilled that the Bible has affirmed that the sexual desire I have for my wife is a good thing. I know that will make some of you squirm a bit because we don’t usually talk about this stuff, especially in church. However, I think one of the main points of this book is to show that the physical attraction between a bride and groom is a beautiful thing that God has created for them to enjoy.
I could be very wrong about this, but how much does that matter in this case? What if it turns out it is about Jesus and the church? It is perfectly ok for people to have different opinions about topics such as this because it will not affect your salvation if you are wrong. I really look forward to the day when we will be able to sit and talk with the authors of the Bible and ask them to explain what they were writing about. I can’t wait to be in the same room as God and Jesus and listen to them talk about so many things we weren’t totally sure about. That does not mean we should twist meanings and be wrong about things that are plain to see, but you must admit that you don’t completely understand everything. It is sometimes ok to say “I think” something is true without being 100% positive it is true.
But back to the song of all songs. I am not going to go in great detail here about this book because you should read it for yourself. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much in love these two seemed to be. It reminded me of when you see two young people in love, and their love is just oozing all over each other so much so that they don’t even notice anyone else is around. They can’t stop smiling at each other and they are on cloud nine. We usually roll our eyes at them and think they are being ridiculous, but this is exactly the kind of love that was on display in these eight chapters. Solomon gushed about her eyes, hair, neck, lips, and body parts that reminded him of fawns, but it didn’t stop there. I knew this was a story about real, intense, true love when he mentioned her teeth. He didn’t just say she had beautiful teeth, he said her teeth were like a flock of newly shorn ewes. Don’t picture dirty ewes that have been rolling around in the dirt, Solomon said the ewes had just come up from their washing. Moreover, all these ewes bore twins, and not one of them had lost their young. He said all of that about her teeth!?!? That dude was crazy in love! And she was just as ridiculous as him, which can be seen when she says her beloved is like a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of Engedi.
We might shake our head if we saw a bride and groom going on and on about each other like that, especially since they focused so much on the physical aspects of love, but this is not a trashy book from the local bookstore, this is a poem about love in the Bible. The Bible teaches us that true love is on the inside, but this book teaches us that true love can be on the outside as well. Our world has made a complete mess of love on the outside; not all love between any two people on the outside is good. However, when a bride and groom love each other on the inside, God created another way for them to show that love. Song of Songs is not a ridiculous poem to shake your head at; it is a beautiful expression of how much two people can love each other.
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Solomon+1-8&version=NIV
Tomorrow we begin the book of Proverbs – chapters 1-3 – as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan