What makes this book so special: the layered meanings. In my research I have come across a wide variety of interpretations. But what is historical fact is that it has always been considered to be Scripture / Holy Writing / God Breathed.
The Jews sing Song of Song as part of their Passover celebration. As Christ and His disciples left the upper room and moved through the city headed for the garden of Gethsemane they would have heard people singing the lines of this epic poem.
There is a 3rd character that has been seen previously in Chapter 3, The King, Solomon. Now we are going to see a memory of a run in with the Prince. This character represents the influences of the world: corruption, sin and excess. He will attempt to lure the bride away from the groom to come between them.
We are going to see the use of the garden again as a symbol of what is meant to be, and we will to see how this ‘Song’ is about marriage AND relationship with God. This comparison is throughout the Scriptures, an example from Isiah:
For the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your Creator will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you. ~ Isaiah 62:4b-5
Previously on Song of Songs…
The Bride, caught up in herself, hesitated when her darling called her…She was unsure of the relationship (Her feelings) & sought to be reunited with her darling. She suffered the loss of not being one with her darling, and wisely sought help. The community leads her to remember why Her darling is special. In that remembrance she finds peace, will she in turn find Him?
(Guests) 1 Where has your darling gone, you most beautiful of women? Which way did your darling turn, so that we can help you find him?
- Again she is called by her community / God’s people: ‘most beautiful of women’
- The disunity / distance originated with her, she repented, now they can help
- They tell her she knows how to find him… come on you know where he went
- The remembrance of her darling will lead her to where The Groom is
- In marriage & with Christ, we need to feel & think to fully experience intimacy
(Bride) 2 My darling went down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to pasture his flock in the gardens and to gather lilies. 3 I belong to the man I love, and he belongs to me; he pastures his flock among the lilies.
- Her darling is exactly where he was meant to be, the shepherd in ‘His Garden’
- She is His Flock / She is His Garden / She is His Peace
- What she believes about him & their relationship is true
- She is His, He is Hers, and that is where they find Shalom
- When she remembers fully who He is and what He means to her she is secure
- This is the essence of what every woman was made to enjoy: security
(Groom) 4 You are as beautiful as Tizah, my love, as lovely as Jerusalem, but formidable as an army marching under banners. 5 Turn your eyes away from me, because they overwhelm me!
- This is a woman approaching Her Groom with passion
- Tizah was the seat of the 1st kings of the divided kingdom: ‘Delightful’
- Nothing is more beautiful that Jerusalem, the height of excellence & favor
- With ‘fire in her eyes’ she is declaring who she belongs to
- Braziers (fire bearing devices) & Banners denoted your tribe, your allegiance
- The groom is blown away by ‘His Love’! Turn your eyes away = ‘I’m not worthy’
(Groom) Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down Gilead. 6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep that have just come up from being washed; each of them is matched, and none of them is missing. 7 Your cheeks are like a pomegranate split open behind your veil.
- As he composes himself the familiar words she so longs to hear begin to flow
- The imagery of seeing goats descend by switching trails down a mountain
- Pretty unique to have white (washed), straight (matched) & all of your teeth!
- The skin of a pomegranate is very taught, super smooth
- The veil: the bride is ever modest, ever chaste
(Groom) 8 There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, as well as young women beyond number; 9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, her mother’s only child, the darling of the one who bore her. The daughters see her and call her happy; the queens and concubines praise her.
- Now the groom puts her in a special class above all of the listed royalty
- Solomon is recorded to have had 700 wives / queens & 300 concubines!!!
- All women in the region… HIS dove, HIS perfect ONE, is one of a kind
(Groom) 10 “Who is this, shining forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun” — but formidable as an army marching under banners?
- He has compared her to cities, goats, sheep & pomegranates
- Elevated her above all the women in the land
- Now the groom compares her to things beyond his knowledge
- How the dawn breaks he doesn’t know, just that it is beautiful
- How is the moon so fair? How is the sun so bright?
- She is an imposing force come to fight for what is hers, she has his attention
The Bride becomes all she can be, the apex of her beauty, when she is undivided, when she is fiercely passionate for Her Darling. The Groom sees the fullness of her beauty flowing from her exclusive, passionate allegiance to Him.
This sort of union, this joining of souls has been constantly threatened and will be going forward. It is good to remember what has been overcome in the past to solidify a watchful mentality.
Next is a flashback scene… a remembrance of a time before
(Bride) 11 I had gone down to the nut orchard to see the fresh green plants in the valley, to see if the vine had budded, or if the pomegranate trees were in bloom. 12 Before I knew it, I found myself in a chariot, and with me was a prince.
- It was not yet full spring, so she was going to look for sings of spring
- This epitomizes innocence, the naivety of being immature
- Perhaps this was before she knew better than to be in such a place alone
- She seems to have been snatched up onto the Chariot of a Prince
- She is being swept up in ‘Tech’ & ‘Lux’… dazzled by the world of sin
(Guests) 13 Come back, come back, girl from Shulam! Come back, come back to where we can see you!
- The prince takes her out of sight, perhaps to His tents…
- The community is worried about her, worried she might be in over her head
- They want her to stay in the safety of the community (1st Peter 5:8)
(Guests) Why are you looking at the girl from Shulam as if she were dancing for two army camps?
- The community is concerned about the appearance of what is happening
- They know that the glamour of The Prince / The World, could allure her
- They realize we all face the prospect of split loyalties
- They are concerned it looks like she is ‘working both sides of the street’
In marriage we will be tempted to let our affections be divided, we will have opportunities to dance for more than one army. It is the same with Christ, the world is set up to divide us from Him. Are we prepared to fight off the temptation to share our affections with other gods, such as wealth, career, approval, image, self-fulfillment? The scripture teaches we should have a passionate allegiance to Christ and if God wills it, to our spouse. We need to demonstrate our undivided allegiance, our spouses need to see it & Christ desires to see it. But are we dancing for two army camps far too often?
What will the Bride, the girl from Shulam do? Will her passionate allegiance to her darling enable her to resist a prince? Tune in next week to see…
Biblical marriage is built on trust that flows from a balance of present feelings AND what we know to be true about our spouse.
An intimate walk with Christ is about relating to Him with our intellect and emotions.
God wants us to be secure in our marriage, to be passionate about our marriages and to leave no doubt about the exclusive allegiance we have to our spouse.
It is meant to be the same with Christ: A secure, passionate & exclusive allegiance.
The Union of one man and one woman done God’s way (Biblical Marriage) gives us a vision of the beauty, pleasure and fulfillment found in eternity with Christ.
In marriage and in our walk with Christ our unity is always under threat, for even in innocence we will be divided by the world, dazzled by tech & lux, and lured into dancing for more than one army camp.
In marriage or with Christ, what are your trust issues that can hinder relationship?
What are situations where your emotions dominate in your response to God or your spouse?
How have you declared your passionate allegiance to your Lord or your spouse?
Why is it attractive when it is clear who a bride or a Christian belongs to?