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Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Song of Solomon 1

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verse 1

  1. Intro:
    1. “We see our Saviors face on every page of the bible, but here we see his heart & feel his love to us.” (Spurg)
      1. I’ll tell you right up front, I’m a little nervous peering in to this book.
      2. I will not know all the interpretations (as many have struggled with some of the metaphors) but I seek to gain all God has for me. I pray you’d be open for the same.
    2. Some say Solomon wrote Eccl. For the Inquiring Mind – Proverbs for the Obedient Will - & S. of S. for the Loving Heart!
      1. Which is better? – Neither one! – We need all 3 for a balanced life!
  2. CONTENT! – See 1:1
    1. Date & Authorship:
      1. ​​​​​​​Date - 10th cent. bc.
      2. Authorship - Solomon as we see in vs.1(& in 5 others places in the book).
    2. What we have here!
      1. ​​​​​​​The Song of Songs! – The Choicest of 1005 songs he wrote(1 Kings 4:32). His moist exquisite song!
      2. As Jesus is the King of Kings – The Temple had the Holy of Holies – Here this is Solomon’s Song of Songs!
      3. (Spurgeon) “The historical books I may compare to the outer courts of the Temple; the gospels, the epistles, & the psalms bring us into the holy place, or the court of the priests; but the Song of Solomon is the most holy place – the holy of holies, before which the veil still hangs to many an untaught believer,”
        1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Wow! - Doesn’t that make you want to peek through the veil? – Yes, we might not understand everything that is going on in there, but ohhhh the beauty!
      4. In Hebrew/Shir Shirim; {each refers to Song & the Song plural} In Greek/Asma Asmaton; In Latin Canticum Canticorum (Canticles=a little song).
        1. This song is made up of 13 canticles(lyrics) – [See overhead]
        2. They do not necessarily tell a “connected” story.
    3. Geography:
      1. ​​​​​​​15 geographic locations are mentioned.
        1. Spanning: From Lebanon & Syria(North) – Egypt (south).
      2. See Map! - Overhead
    4. Outline:
      1. ​​​​​​​Courtship (1-3:5)
        Marriage (3:6-5:1)
        The Joys & Trials of Marriage (5:2-8:14).
    5. Plot:
      1. ​​​​​​​Shows King Solomon’s love for a humble maiden!
    6. Be Alert:
      1. ​​​​​​​Who’s speaking? (most new translations will identify them for you)
      2. Remember this is a Poem/Love Song – Read it Poetically.
      3. It is a poem for mature people – Rated “PG” (Kids in here?)
      4. It is rich in Metaphors & Oriental Imagery & must be “felt” as well as read.
        1. How do you want your love letter to be read…Analytically & monotone? “Dear Brian, I miss you…hmmm what did she mean by “miss”(to feel the want of?)
    7. Problems:
      1. ​​​​​​​God is not mentioned anywhere in this song.
        1. Yet seems to be all about “Him” & “His” love!
      2. The Book is not quoted in the Old or New Testament.
        1. Yet has been placed confidently in the Hebrew Scriptures. And, was found in the Septuagint 150 years before Christ.
        2. It was around in the time of Christ & He never said this one book should be removed.
      3. Tradition: The Jews read this book every year at Passover.
        1. Ruth @ Pentecost – Eccl. @ Feast of Tab. – Esther @ Purim.
    8. The Main Players:
      1. ​​​​​​​The Shulamite – (6:13)
        1. Possibly Abishag of Shunem (who attended David in his last days)
        2. A young country girl.
      2. The King – Solomon.
      3. The Daughters of Israel – The palace ladies.
  3. INTENT!
    1. ​​​​​​​Interpretations!
      1. ​​​​​​​Here we seem to have a many-faceted diamond (reflecting & refracting light in all directions).
      2. [1] It’s an Allegory
        1. {1} Displaying Jehovah’s Love to Israel.
        2. {2} Shows a love triangle between: Solomon representing the world system – The maiden representing the Church - & The Shepherd King representing Jesus Christ.
        3. {3} Showing Jesus love to the Church. [most common]
      3. [2] It’s a Marriage Manual - on how to relate to each other.
        1. It reveals 3 qualities of love between a man & a woman: Self-giving; Desire; & Commitment!
        2. These reflect the greater love of God our Creator & lover of our Souls!
        3. Of course Paul tells us to liken the 2 together (Jesus’ love to church – mans love to his wife in Ephesians)
        4. This Love reaches it’s pinnacle in 8:6,7.
    2. One more Problem!
      1. ​​​​​​​What’s this self-proclaimed polygamist (6:8) doing writing a book about “Marital Love”?
      2. At this time he “only” had 140 women in his life…& a long line of virgins on the waiting list – Not the 700 wives & 300 concubines he ends up with!
      3. Doesn’t it prove Gods way from the beginning…that “1 is best?” – Solomon found true love in one! – And it is the love of this one that is promoted as “Good”!
      4. The Holy Spirit never promotes polygamy in scripture, though for some reason it was tolerated in that day, maybe as laziness, lukewarmness, & lethargy “seem to be” tolerated in Christianity today (though never “accepted” by God).
    3. My Heart in Going Through this Book:
      1. ​​​​​​​I will do my best in interpreting,…bringing out the metaphors, culture, & Imagery of Solomon’s day.
      2. Whether you’re a mystic or analytical, both or neither – if you’ll spend time quietly & patiently w/the Lord, this love letter will be precious & personal to you!
        1. Let’s not just learn “about the book”, lets read & study to hear from the Lord how he wants it to apply it to our lives today.
        2. The Lover is going to speak & pray all His Beloved will listen!
      3. We are going to deal with Courtship(Dating); Marriage; & the Joys & Problems of marriage.
      4. I’m convinced this is timely for our church today!
        1. ​​​​​​​In our singles dating/courting relationships!
          In our marriages!
          In our relationship to Jesus!

Verses 1-17

  1. Intro:
    1. Review
    2. So, how did they come up w/who’s speaking?
      1. The speaker & audience are identified according to the gender & person of the Hebrew words.
        1. Occasionally the identity is not certain.
    3. This is most probably the only pure romance Solomon ever experienced.
      1. Most of his marriages were political arrangements.
      2. Mt. Henry said, “Let us all learn not to think the worse of good instructions, though we have them from those who do not altogether live up to them.”
        1. If I teach “thou shall not steal”, then I’m caught stealing. I’m a hypocrite, but that does nothing to the truth behind “thou shall not steal”. However It does everything to prove my hypocrisy.
    4. Warning! – If as we talk about a great marriage & kind words spoken to your marriage partner, & your going through a time of chaos w/in your home/relationship, find Jesus as your Beloved! {man will always letyou down…Jesus won’t!}
    5. Note as we go the language is very rich symbolically (remember it s a poem/song), highly figurative, & point us towards the thoughts & feelings these images evoke.
      1. These expressions reflect an ancient agrarian culture.
    6. Remember the 3 main sections: Courtship (1:2-3:5); Wedding (3:6-5:1); Struggles & Growth in Marriage (5:2-8:14).
    1. Longing for Love! (1-4)
    2. (1) Remember he composed 1005 songs…this was the best!(1 Kgs 4:32)
      1. “He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.”
      2. He was also gifted in the wisdom of animals & plants in which show up all over this song (vs.33) “Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.”
    3. (2) The song opens w/the woman longing for her beloved. (2-4a)
      1. Though she longs for this it doesn’t say it’s happening “o dating one’s”!
      2. Is kissing ok in relationships? – Not “Good Kissing!!!” - cus what does it do if you’re a good kisser? – It excites, it stirs passion, she warns the young ladies(2:7, 3:5, 8:4) “Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.”
        1. See 1 Thes.4:3-6
      3. Now lets put us in the picture!
        1. Ps.2:12 says to “Kiss the Son”.
        2. George Muller said, “Your 1st & most imp. Duty of the day is “to get your own soul happy in the Lord.”
        3. The Lord wants not only kiss us with the kiss of forgiveness (prodigal), but w/the kiss of Intimacy! (i.e. forsake all others, be faithful to him)
          1. Never kiss 2 girls at once! – be only committed to one/him
    4. (2b) Wine = Joy. – Gods love(his presence) is far better than any earthly substance.
      1. Have you experienced that at a retreat? During communion? During Worship?
    5. (3) His presence is fragrant to her – both in his affection & character.
      1. He had a “good name”(i.e. reputation, character)!
        1. Prov.22:1 “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
      2. How is your name? – People automatically think of something when they think of you. - What is your name associated with?
      3. What do you think of when I mention these names?
        1. Pres. Clinton; Billy Graham; Sadam Huesain; Nixon, Reagan, Ghandi, Denis Rodman, Dr. Laura.
      4. The “good name” is gained by godly consistency.
      5. Lk.7:2-5 “And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, "for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue."
    6. (4) Draw me away she says…and I’ll run after you.
      1. I don’t know if it still is culturally right for the guy to call on the girl rather than vice-versa? (I think that’s the way it should be…call me chauvinistic)
      2. Jesus said, “you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”(Jn.15:16)
        1. We can’t seek the lord until He draws us! (Jn.6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;”)
        2. It’s not a laziness issue on our part but a “powerless” issue!
      3. This is a great prayer, “Draw me, & we will run after you!”
        1. Stir my heart, pull my heart strings…& I will respond!
    7. “into his chambers” – For what? Not Intimacy! Before the king became her lover he must be acknowledged as king.
      1. Biblically you must 1st commit yourself to a person before intimacy.
        1. Vice-versa is immorality!
    8. The rest of the verse the daughters echo her praise of him, they respond w/Yep! Good catch! We’re behind you.
    9. Insecurities! (5-7)
    10. (5) Though she loves Solomon, she’s insecure of her desirability!
      1. Someone said insecurity is, “finding on your new job that your name is written on the door in chalk--and there's a wet sponge hanging next to it.”
        1. How many individuals in marriages feel the same way?
      2. I think we all struggle w/insecurities!
        1. Maxwell Maltz, who wrote Psycho-Cybernetics, estimates that 95% of people in our society have a strong sense of inadequacy. I have no difficulty believing that figure. The only surprise is the other 5%. Why aren't those guys feeling insecure?
    11. Note the dichotomy – She saw herself as dark, but lovely.
      1. In the presence of the kinbg we need to view ourselves the same way! – Dark w/sin on the outside, but quickly reminded forgiven & pure on the inside.
        1. Rom.7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells;”
      2. 2 Cor.4:6,7 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
    12. Christ loves you, no matter what you may see in yourself!
    13. (6) Tan was looked down upon – a worker in the sun.
    14. (7) She changes the subject to him.
      1. She shows her king is also a shepherd.
      2. Some believe here is why they cannot be one in the same. (i.e. a king can’t be a shepherd) Jesus was! {David was}
        1. He is our Good, Great, & Chief Shepherd!
      3. So, where do you feed your flocks? -–why should I settle w/your companions?
        1. Sometimes we just need the Lord! – “Lord I need you!”
    15. Assurance & Encouragement! (8-11)
    16. (8) His response – follow the flocks & they’ll lead you to the shepherd!
      1. No lone ranger.
      2. Also note he accepts her for what she is a little Shepherdess!
        1. He doesn’t try to change her. – He relieves her insecurities.
        2. “Don’t say why are you so insecure?” – Dispel her/his fears!
      3. Great verse on feeding kids!
    17. (9) She’s likened unto the choicest of Pharaohs eye-turning horses!
      1. They were beautiful displayed (Dog-shows: Doberman w/Listerine)
    18. So great is our darkness, yet Jesus actually desires me…Great is the mystery!
    19. (10) Explain headdress (cheeks w/ornaments).
    20. (11) The chorus agrees w/him about her beauty by offering to make jewelry for her.
    21. A Beautiful Fragrance! (12-14)
    22. (12) She goes back to telling how intoxicating her love is for him. Like the most enticing of perfumes.
      1. What perfume do you give off at His table(communion)?
    23. 1 day at his table 1 Kings 4:22,23.
    24. (13) A sachet of myrrh(a small scent bag).
    25. (14) Ein Gedi – beautiful oasis surrounded by the deserts of the dead Sea.
    26. Henna – rose scented, pink-flowered shrub – leaves are powdered & made into paste.
      1. Used: color finger/toe nails; tips of fingers; on men’s beards, mains 7 tails of horses, even the souls of girls feet.
    27. How He views us! (15)
    28. (15) He then tells her how beautiful she is. Not fair/so-so, not average, but Excellent, ravishing, wonderful,…
      1. Note everything he says to her is positive & encouraging.
        1. And that’s the way the Lord sees us(his betrothed)!
    29. How we view Him! (16,17)
    30. She responds in kind.
    31. Our house is comfortable, restful (no, not living together yet) but she most likely lived now in one of his palaces.
      1. She could rest in the palace of her king! Are you?
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 1". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/song-of-solomon-1.html. 2017.
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