Song of Solomon 1
The song of songs, which is Solomon's.
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.
9 I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.
10 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.
11 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
12 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
13 A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.
15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.
16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.
The most sublime of Solomon’s 1005 compositions (Song 1:1; 1 Kings 4:32), the Song of Songs (also called “Song of Solomon”) was most likely written during the first half of Solomon’s reign while the king was still faithful to God.
The Song depicts the intimate love relationship between Solomon and “the Shulamite” (“Mrs. Solomon”, probably Pharaoh’s daughter who became a believer in Yahweh; Song 6:13; 1 Kings 3:1; 7:8). The dialogues follow the basic story line of (1) courtship (1:2—3:5), (2) bridal procession and wedding (3:6—5:1), and (3) the life of love after the marriage (5:2—8:14).
Many interpreters down through history, embarrassed by the forthright intimate language in the Song, have rejected its literal meaning and regarded the book as merely a symbolic description of the spiritual love relationship between God and His people. While there are indeed spiritual lessons to be learned, there is no hint in the Song of Solomon that the literal sense of the book should be spiritualized away. Rather, it seems clear that God inspired a whole book of the Bible which first and foremost in creation celebrates the beauty and joy of a wholesome love relationship between a man and a woman! The Sublime Song constitutes a return to Eden, an inspired commentary on Genesis 1-3, a veritable guide for courtship and marriage.
Richard M. Davidson
Professor of Old Testament Interpretation
Andrews University Theological Seminary