Book of Song of Solomon?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by drfuss, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. drfuss

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    Just finished studying the book of The Song of Solomon. Apparently, the Song of Solomon can be looked at in a number of ways:

    1. The book is simply a compilation of a number of songs involving two principle characters, i.e. two lovers.

    2. The book describes a story of three principle characters:

    The Shephard - representing Christ.
    The Shulammite woman - representing the individual Christian.
    King Solomon - representing the world.

    The story envolves the Shulammite women becoming a part of Solomon's harem; rejecting Solomon as a lover; and returning to her true love, the shephard. Some believe this was an attempt by Solomon later in life to get Israel to reject Solomon's worldliness and return to God.

    Any comments on this?
     
  2. John of Japan

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    I take it as simply a collection of love poems. The view that it is a story or even a play doesn't hang together to me, especially when you read it straight through.

    I also believe in interpreting it literally. The allegorical interpretation given by many commentators who would normally interpret the Bible with a literal (grammatical-historical) interpretation just doesn't make sense to me.

    When you interpret the Song literally, it becomes a wonderful example of how a believer's marriage should be: intimate, caring, romantic, full of the love God planned between a man and a woman.

    My wife and I have been married 27 years now, and it gets better all the time! She says her heart still thumps when I come home, and I still write her romantic poems once in awhile. We still cuddle and we still whisper sweet nothings, just like in the Song! After all, Paul said to love your wife as Christ loved the church--and that is an incredible love to shoot for!! :love2: :love2:
     
  3. drfuss

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    John writes:
    "I take it as simply a collection of love poems. The view that it is a story or even a play doesn't hang together to me, especially when you read it straight through.
    I also believe in interpreting it literally. The allegorical interpretation given by many commentators who would normally interpret the Bible with a literal (grammatical-historical) interpretation just doesn't make sense to me.
    When you interpret the Song literally, it becomes a wonderful example of how a believer's marriage should be: intimate, caring, romantic, full of the love God planned between a man and a woman."


    I would normally take it as a collection of love poems also. However, the only reason I think it may be a story is that it was written by Solomon.

    Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Do you think he was writing these poems about a wife, a concubine, or all of them? It is difficult for me to accept that Solomon had these feelings for all of them. But then I never had 1000 lovers (or more than one for that matter). I think a husband was obligated to spend at least one night with ecah wife.

    Solomon said his beloved was better than all other women, etc., etc.,etc. Do you think he could have used that line with all 1000 of them?

    The story as delineated in the Amplified Old Testament made it sound certainly plausible.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    As I understand it, the date of the book is very uncertain, except that it has to be within the lifetime of Solomon. So, this problem can be solved by the possibility that Solomon wrote it when he was quite young as a set of poems to his first wife. However, if his first wife was Pharoah's daughter, the maiden in the song doesn't sound like a princess, giving us one more puzzle.

    The view that it is a play or maybe a story is hampered by the fact that there are no plays extant from that early in history. However, Solomon could have been an innovator, as brilliant as he was!
     
  5. PastorSBC1303

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    John, great words and exactly right! It is a beautiful example of God's thoughts on the romantic, sexual side of marriage.

    Danny Aiken has a good book on Song of Solomon called God on Sex.
     
  6. Gwen

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    Have you ever read "Song of Songs" by Watchman Nee? It is a beautiful commentary on the Song of Solomon.

    Our Ladie's Bible Class studied Song of Solomon a couple of years ago, and I used Watchman Nee's book as a reference. It explained alot of questions about Song of Solomon, which I found hard to interpret sometimes.
     
  7. John of Japan

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    God's plan is so wonderful, amen? :thumbs:

    I have several books on the Song, but not Aiken's. My favorite is The Song of Solomon by H. A. Ironside.
     
  8. J.D.

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    I guess I've been living in a cave. I've been in fundamental churches for 30 years and I've never once seen the Song presented as a marriage/sex manual. I am quite surprised to see the caliber of persons that hold to such a low view of the most precious word of God given to His beloved spouse.

    I've always been taught, and strongly believe now more than ever, that the book describes the intimate passion with which Christ loves His elect. I am greatly disappointed by the casual treatment it has received in this thread.
     
  9. MRCoon

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    I tend to take the literal approach when interpreting the Bible unless something or someone points in the direction of forth-telling or fore-telling. When you take Song of Solomon in the same vein as Ecclesiates you get reading material that reviews a Solomon who has loved and lost, who has wisdom but does stupid things, who has attempted to gain so much but in reality has lost so much more. Read Song of Solomon as a story of a man who lusted after women but by the time the Shulamite woman came along he had finally loved true love something that no other woman gave him no matter his wisdom or wealth. Also read the book as one that a wise king is passing on to his sons and his people to validate the sanctity of a monogamous relationship unlike his polygamous example. Can the book be about Christ's love for His chosen people?

    I don't know...but I would advise against missing miss out on the beauty of a literal interpretation. True love whether between Christ and His chosen people, or Jehovah and His chosen nation, or a man and his wife...is still a thing of beauty when it is seen in alight that is God-honoring.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    Marriage/sex manual??? Low view??? Casual treatment???

    I have to say I resent this. I talked about how precious the Song of Solomon is to my wife and me as a series of love poems, not a marriage/sex manual. I did not even mention the sexual aspect. And I talked about how we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and you actually think this is a low view and casual treatment??? You have got to be kidding.

    If you are married, J. D., I highly recommend reading the Song of Solomon together with your spouse, and talking over the sweet, lovely language inspired by our Lord about the relationship of a man and his wife, and see what your spouse thinks of it. Your marriage will be truly blessed and the relationship deepened, I guarantee it!

    If you think this is a bad idea, then I have to say: you have a low view of marriage! Just think about it. There is a whole book on the genesis of mankind, a whole long chapter on faith, a whole long chapter on the resurrection, a whole long book on missions--the list could go on and on. But if the Song of Solomon is not about marriage, then the most important human relationship there is has been somewhat neglected in Scripture. And that, to me, is unbelievable! Who invented romantic love, after all? It was God, of course!

    No one has denied a symbolic meaning here, just an allegorical one. Other places in the Old Testament talk about the relationship between God and Israel as marriage , and I think this is no exception. I interpret it literally first (as I interpret the rest of the Bible) and then in application as God and Israel. As for the "Christ loving the church" view so common in evangelical/fundamental circles, there is no evidence in the text or context at all for it.
     
    #10 John of Japan, Jun 26, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2006
  11. J.D.

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    John, I'll just retreat to my cave on this - I'll never accept your view of the Song of Songs (yes, I know, never say never).

    I've been happily married for 30 years all of which are post-sexual revolution. Sir, I do not have a low view of marriage. I know you didn't really mean that. I'm sorry you felt slammed by my comments, but I don't take them back. The view you hold is carnal IMO and that's just my opinion and nothing personal is to be taken from that.

    I am well aware of the fact that the bible treats the subject of marital love in an open, instructive manner in many places. But I do not accept that the purpose of God in retaining the Song as canonical scripture was to magnify human relationships.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Just for the record, I was taught the literal view of the Song by Dr. Preson Phillips at Tennessee Temple (the premier IFB school of the day) in the early 1970's--before you became a Fundamentalist! It's been around a long time in fundamental circles.
     
  13. whatever

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    Your view seems awfully gnostic to me. I don't mean anything personal by that either, I just don't get why you'd say that a literal interpretation is a carnal interpretation.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Yeah, what about it, J. D.? Why in the world would a literal interpretation be carnal? You don't seem to believe that marriage is carnal. After all, it is the first institution God invented!! Maybe you have a different definition of carnal than the rest of us?
     
  15. John of Japan

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    No, J. D., I didn't mean that you had a low veiw of marriage. That is why I put the "if" on the sentence.

    Okay, try it this way. For the sake of argument, let's say that the Song of Solomon was written to portray Christ and the church--or in your phrase, God's love for His elect. That's fine. Then we read along in the NT and we come to Eph. 5:25, learning that we men are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Let me see, where in the Bible do we study about how Christ loved the church? Oh, yeah, that was the Song of Solomon. We've come full circle, and STILL should study the Song to learn how to love our wives! :smilewinkgrin: :thumbs:

    Now I don't know a thing about your marriage, so don't take this personally. But notice some things the Song teaches me:

    (1) "Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes" (1:15). Compliment your wife with many heartfelt compliments. Solomon does this all through the book! She'd a lot rather hear this than, "Lousy meal tonight." I have in my files an article about an African man who said that to his wife. She chopped off his head with a machete!

    (2) "His banner over me is love" (2:4). Everyone should see your open love for your wife. I was thrilled last year when I preached in a Bible conference down on the mainland, and one of my former Bible school students, now a pastor, gave me a hug (something the Japanese almost never do!) and said, "Brother Himes, when you were down here, everyone thought you loved your wife more than any other pastor!" This man is having a very difficult time with his wife right now, so he needed that memory.

    (3) "My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away" (2:10). Take your wife places. Let her become your best friend. My wife and I went to the local zoo yesterday and had a wonderful time! I take her out to eat once a week, so afterwards we went to our "Lemon Steak" restaurant at the mall, then to Starbucks where I had a latte and she had a chai tea. She's my best friend!

    (4) "How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse!" (4:10) Never treat her like a slave. She is a sister.

    (5) "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned." (8:7). Only a fool looks to another woman for love, and destroys the love of his marriage. The love of a good woman is an incredibly precious possession!

    This is just a beginning. There is so much more in the Song of Solomon about what a believer's marriage relationship should be. And it is a both a spiritual and soulical (Watchman Nee's term) relationship--not carnal. "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4).
     
  16. Benjamin

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    WOW! Now, I know not to say anything negative about the meal what so ever but from now on it's, "Honey, this is the best thing I ever tasted!" :eek:
     
  17. PastorSBC1303

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    Please show me from only dealing with the text of Song of Solomon how you can come to this view?

    How is dealing with the literal interpretation of a text casual treatment?
     
  18. John of Japan

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    Well, at least if you're gonna criticize the wife's cooking, make sure the family machete is out in the garage--locked up! :laugh:
     
  19. J.D.

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    I don't understand the use of the word "literal" here. I'm not concerned in this context whether it is literally true - i.e. Solomon was in love with the Shunamite girl etc. My concern is the purpose for which God has preserved it. When I say carnal I don't mean carnal in a sinful sense - I mean carnal as in earthly, mundane, common, pertaining to the flesh.

    All those things you said about using SOS to describe your love for your wife are true, but in my view the PRIMARY purpose of the Song is to glorify Christs's love for the elect. It's a love letter from God.

    God bless you brother but sorry I ain't a changin my mind on thisun!
     
  20. J.D.

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    And since I'm feeling so alone on this issue I thought I would do some digging and come up with some reputable help.

    Gill's commentary:
     

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