THE SONG OF SOLOMON
Practically all Bible students agree that the writer is King Solomon, and it is believed he wrote it at some period during the former half of his reign. “In the exposition of this beautiful poem we must remember that modern conventional rules and notions are not the standard to which its.....phraseology should be brought.”Different opinions have been held as to the interpretation of the song, but the most popular one is what we call the allegorical view, a figure of the loving communion between Christ and the soul of the individual believer, and the relation between Christ and the Church.To the unspiritual mind there is nothing so incomprehensible as this book, but the saintliest men and women of the ages have found it a source of pure
and exquisite delight.
The song can be divided into five parts as follows:
1. Chs. 1 to 2:7. The first love of Christ and the believer.
2. Chs. 2:8 to 3:5. A lapse of fellowship.
3. Chs. 3:6 to 5:1. Fellowship renewed.
4. Chs. 5:2 to 6:3. Separation of interest.
5. Chs. 6:4 to 8:14. Complete union in fellowship and service.
THE FIRST LOVE OF CHRIST AND THE BELIEVER.
When one is first saved and receives the Spirit the whole vision is filled with Christ. His name is as ointment poured forth, Ch.1:3, and all one feels like saying is, “Draw me, we will run after Thee.” The imperfections of self are by no means unnoticed for we feel like saying, “I am black, but Christ so beautifully clothes us with His own righteousness that He responds. But comely, and our hearts are thereby comforted”, v.5. The reason for being black is because, being taken from among the Gentiles, our own vineyard has been neglected. We also long to know Him better so ask the double question, “Tell me...where Thou feedest, where Thou makest Thy flock to rest at noon? “ And He directs us to the footsteps of the flock, where we may have fellowship with the saints and feed besides the shepherds’ tents, vs. 7-8. The Lord then speaks in beautiful terms of His great regard for His
own.The bride, which figure we will now use, feeling her lowliness, says she is “the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys”, Ch.2:1. This is often thought to be an expression referring to Christ, but He answers by saying, “As the lily among thorns, so is My love among the daughters”, v.2. Then she responds by saying His fragrance is as the apple tree among the trees of the wood, whose fruit is sweet to her tarts, v.3, and in the hush of sweet communion fears lest something should happen to disturb it, v.7.
A LAPSE OF FELLOWSHIP.
While the love of Christ is given forth unstintingly to His own, He also desires to cleanse us by the washing of water by the Word. To this end He comes to His bride and asks that the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines be taken away, and that this must be our concern until the day break, or until He comes, Ch. 2:15-17. This evidently caused some offence to the bride for which the Lord is grieved away. Then she has to go forth and in night watching seek for Him. Her soul is rewarded and again she is satisfied with Him alone, Ch. 3:1-5.
This section opens with another outburst of admiration for the Bridegroom, Ch. 3:6-11, to which He responds in Ch. 4:1-11 by expressing His love for His bride in the language of utter abandonment. Then He points out another defect. A garden enclosed...a spring shut up, is a believer hugging all his blessing to himself, but neglecting the unsaved world upon which all such fragrance should be poured, vs. 12-15. The bride then speaks and shows herself willing for the north wind as well as the south wind to blow upon her garden, so that through suffering and the blessing of Divine grace, she might show forth the fragrance of Christ to others, v.16. To this the Bridegroom replies and shows pleasure that He can bring His “friends into His
garden and invite them to eat and drink abundantly”, Ch. 5:1.
SEPARATION OF INTEREST.
In Ch. 5:2-5, we have a word picture of a washed bride feeling satisfied with salvation, but asleep to the need of others. Her beloved comes to her expecting cooperation in service. His locks are wet with the night dew as He has been searching for others. After calling for this new form of fellowship, He moves on disappointed at the tardy response, and the bride finds herself alone. She then sets forth to seek her Beloved, fearful of her neglect. As she seeks Him she finds herself much misunderstood. The daughters taunt her, but she declares that her Beloved is the chief among ten thousand, vs.6-10. With such an ecstatic outburst the daughters become interested, Ch. 6:1, and the bride thus becomes a witness, and not a mere admirer of her own graces in Christ.
COMPLETE UNION IN FELLOWSHIP AND SERVICE.
With fellowship renewed and cooperative service established the Bridegroom speaks out His mind. His bride is now not only comely in His salvation, but powerful in service so that He speaks of her as being terrible as an army with banners, Ch. 6:4. He observes her feet, which are now shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, Ch. 7:1. The bride responds, and awakened to a new sense of her call, takes the lead and suggests that they go forth together into the field; and that they lodge in the villages, for she now realizes that it is where He desires to go, and that it is the place of unbroken communion, vs. 11-12. The song ends in Ch.8 with terms of familiar endearment which when spiritually applied show how Christ is delighted when we can fellowship with Him in righteousness and in anointed service. There is nothing more acceptable to our Lord than such dual
manifestation of His life within us.