We begin this book with this introduction…
Like the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote the Song of songs from a confessional standpoint – not encouraging us to live as he lived, but to learn from his mistakes so that we do not repeat them. Even though Solomon was so wise it does not mean that he was always successful, faithful, or obedient to the wisdom that G-d had given to him. Solomon saw so much in his life as a futility – something that does not satisfy or have lasting purpose. He was the king, and he did not hold back his hand from anything that he wanted (Eccl 2:10). Solomon was not bound by wealth, lack of opportunity etc… he could do, and get, whatever he desired. And he did. After it all he said (paraphrased): “It was all in vain, it was all meaningless.” (Eccl 2:11) Solomon eventually got to the point where he concluded that to fear G-d and to keep His commandments is the only thing in life that truly satisfies, lasts, and endures for all of eternity (Eccl 12:13-14). Solomon did not always live with this mindset but, as he reflected on his life, he concluded that to obey G-d was the only correct and wise thing to do.
Many people will come away from reading the Song of songs and want to interpret it through one, or both, of the following two lenses:
- This book reveals G-d’s love for Israel. Throughout the Bible G-d does indeed speak of His covenantal relationship with Israel as a marriage. There is no evidence supported by the text, however, that would lead us to understand this book as having anything to do with G-d’s relationship with Israel. Nothing in the book supports this allegorical interpretation.
- This book reveals Yeshua’ s love for the church. Nothing in the book supports this statement either.
What we do see, throughout the song, is that it is a story of a couple (the Shulamite and her beloved Shepherd husband) who had a wonderful relationship until a crisis, and a subsequent separation, struck it. The Shulamite was taken into Solomon’s palace, presumably as his conquest bride (3:7-11), but she was unhappy and discontent there. She desired the love, the relationship, and satisfaction that she found in her husband/Shepherd. Solomon simply took her, believing that she was going to be a source of joy and satisfaction for him. This was a major obstacle that put the Shulamite and her husband’s relationship in jeopardy, but, as we conclude the book, we discover that they were able to overcome the obstacles and eventually be reunited.
With G-d we can overcome the obstacles, trials, and attacks upon our marriages. Even if both parties are not committed to the marriage and only one is fully committed, and begins to act faithfully, it will bring about G-d’s Presence, in a mighty way, upon the non-committal spouse – bringing about a change so that each person can, hopefully, grow in their commitment to the marriage. This is part of faith. When we are faithful (and even when we are faithless) G-d ALWAYS responds faithfully (2 Tim 2:13).
Solomon uniquely wrote this Song (which is above every other song) in order to share with us wisdom and principles on how to build and maintain a G-dly marriage – a marriage between one man and one woman. This book does not relate to a historical event and nor is it told as a narrative, but rather it is a poetic song, scripted like a play, in order to provide marital counsel to the reader.
Marriage is a very important covenant. All covenants have one thing in common – to manifest G-d’s glory. G-d uses marriage to describe His relationship with Israel (Isaiah 54:5, Hosea 2:16-20). Messiah Yeshua is called the bridegroom and we, the believers, are called His bride (Eph 5:22-33). Those who marry (just like anybody who has ever lived – Job 5:7) will have trouble in this world (1 Cor 7:28), but, in marriage, hardships and troubles can be tackled together. Through hardships, and overcoming obstacles, love can actually flourish and grow, and our marriages can be very powerful testimonies of love.
Marriage, however, is under attack – and this is not something new. Many people want to know how to get out of a marriage and still be pleasing to G-d. Biblically, the only ground for divorce is adultery (Matt 5:31-32, Matt 19:8-9). One should not however commit adultery in order to get out of the marriage. Solomon reveals to us important principles that lay the foundation for how marriages can overcome obstacles – bringing about a glorious change in the relationship between the man and his wife.
- A successful marriage is one that is pleasing to G-d and glorifies Him. We need to choose to have the marriage that G-d intends for us to have. This requires spouses praying together, reading the Bible together and assisting each other to grow in their understanding of the Word of G-d.
- Being dissatisfied in a marriage does not happen by chance. It happens when either one or both people in the marriage are building their own lives without consideration of their spouse – they are doing their own thing or going their own way. Marriages that are struggling mean that the individuals within it (either one or both) have succumbed to the world’s mindset rather than the mindset of Scriptural truth.