Song of Solomon
Introduction to Song of Solomon
Like the book of Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon (also known as “Song of Songs” and “Canticles”) is both fascinating and enigmatic, both providing striking testimonials (as in the book of Proverbs) to the unique, wide-ranging, wisdom of Solomon. Like the other two books, it claims to be from Solomon (Song of Solomon 1:1). Solomon was said to have written over a thousand songs (I Kings 4:32), but this was his “Song of songs!”
The book was evidently written early in Solomon’s reign, long before his many wives turned his life away from devotion to his first love. Although there have been a number of interpretations of this book, the most obvious interpretation is no interpretation at all. That is, it is simply what it purports to be—a romantic love poem describing the love of young Solomon and a Shulamite maiden who became his first bride.
There is nothing unseemly, of course, about a book of the Bible depicting the beauties of pure courtship and marital love. The union of male and female in holy matrimony is intrinsic to the creation itself (Genesis 2:24-25). In this sense, the narrative of the Song can be considered as an idyllic picture of courtship and marriage that might apply, with varying details, to all true love and marriage as ordained by God.
In a secondary sense, the account may also be considered as a type of the love of Christ and His church, the “Bride of Christ” (compare Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 21:2; 22:17). This analogy should not be pressed too far, of course, as the book should primarily be studied in accord with its own clear intent, that of describing and honoring the God-ordained union of man and woman in true love and marriage.