The Song of Solomon is a love song written by Solomon and abounding in metaphors and Oriental Imagery. Historically, it depicts the wooing and wedding of a shepherdess/ vineyard keeper by King Solomon, and the joys and heartaches of wedded love.
Allegorically, it pictures Israel as God’s espoused bride (Hos 2:19,20), and the Church as the Bride of Christ. As human life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of man and woman,so spiritual life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of God for His Covenant people (Israel) , and Christ for His Church.
The book is arranged like scenes in a drama...
There are other minor characters that we will consider when we come to them.
The Best Of Songs.
The Hebrew Title ‘Shir Hashirim’ comes from 1:1, “The Song of Songs”. This is in the superlative and speaks of Solomon’s most exquisite song. The Greek title ‘Asma Asmaton’ and the Latin ‘Canticum Canticorum’ also mean “Song of Songs” or “The Best Song.” The name ‘Canticles’ is derived from the Latin title. Because Solomon is mentioned in 1:1, the book is also known as Song of Solomon.
King Solomon actually wrote 1005 songs in all ( 1 Kings 4:32,33) - but it is this song that is top of the charts!
The Best Bride.
This is Solomon’s best song because he is singing of his best love. It is interesting that, at the end of his life, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (see 1 Kings 11:3-4), probably 140 at the time of writing this song ( see Songs 6:8), but he chose this love relationship above all the rest. All his other wives/ concubines were of royal blood, mostly princesses. However, the Shulamite was a simple Shepherdess / Vineyard worker from a humble area of Israel (The term ‘ Shulamite’ appears only in 6:13, and it may be derived from the town of Shunem which was southwest of the sea of Galilee in the tribal area of Issachar.)
We may feel unworthy and small (see 1 Cor 1:26-27), but God has chosen us as His special people. We, the Church, are Jesus’ best love (along with His people, Israel - the apple of His eye), and He sings love songs over us even now!
(b) Author and Date.
Internal evidence shows us that Solomon is the Author (see 1:1,5; 3:7,9,11; 8:11-12) and that he is a king (1:4,12; 3:9,11; 7:5). There is evidence of royal luxury and rich imported goods (eg. 3:6-11).
This song alludes
to 21 species of plants and 15 species of animals - Solomon had an intimate
knowledge of the plant and animal world (
1 Kings 4:33). The
song also cites geographical locations in the north and south, indicating
that they were still one kingdom as in the time of Solomon. (eg.
6:4 mentions both
Jerusalem, the northern and southern
capitals in Solomon’s time - Samaria became northern capital after Solomon.)
This means this song was written somewhere between 971-931 B.C (Solomon’s reign).
Jews were only allowed to study this book at the age of 30!
For further Study click here to see Hudson Taylor's 'Union and Communion' on the Introduction to Song of Solomon.