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Bible verses about Song of Songs
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ecclesiastes 7:26-29

Solomon's conclusions are certainly not inspiring. He finds the world to be full of alluring but discouraging wickedness. Only one man in a thousand, he deems, actually lives what he considered to be a righteous life.

His findings on women reflect experiences of extreme disappointment. Blaming no woman in particular, he seems to cast all women with whom he had had personal experience as no more than snares to entrap him into some form of slavery. He must have felt that, because he was not pleasing to God, God did not make a way for him to escape women of that nature. His experiences led him to assert that he could not find even one woman in a thousand who lived a righteous life!

He probably did not feel that way about all women, because in other places, such as in the Song of Songs and Proverbs 31, he speaks highly of them, and in Proverbs 4, 7, 8, and 9, he uses a woman to represent wisdom. It cannot be said, then, that he looked on woman as an evil creation, yet his personal experiences definitely color his comments here.

We can perhaps clarify this conclusion by restating it: He found that righteousness is rare indeed regardless of gender. Few people are living before God as they should.

Following these declarations, verse 29 provides an intriguing concluding statement about this search, and it triggers questions.

He calls what he is looking for “wisdom,” and it truly is wisdom because, within the context of his search, the answers would provide a clearer basis for making good choices in life. But considering what we have covered—beginning even with his statement in chapter 1:2, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”—what he seems to be looking for are answers to why God has created all this and why life is so difficult and puzzling. He seems to be expressing the thought that, if he knew the answers to these questions, it would help his search a great deal.

It cannot be known how much Solomon searched the Bible for an overall answer, but the writings of Moses were available to him. Certainly, his father David knew a great deal, and being the godly man he was, it is impossible to imagine that he did not instruct his son from what Moses was inspired to write.

Deuteronomy 29:29, available to Solomon, is recorded for our understanding: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” The Bible indeed reveals a great deal, but apparently, Solomon did not understand that God chooses to reveal some matters personally and individually in the same way He has called us. God has clearly revealed much more to the elect, but the eyes of the uncalled are still blinded (Romans 11:7-8). Solomon understood a great deal but not every aspect of it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fourteen): A Summary


 

Ecclesiastes 7:27-28

Before allowing ourselves to conclude that Solomon was a sexist pig as a result of his writing about women, we should rethink it. We should not think that he was totally down on women, since he speaks positively of them in many other places. However, God allowed a small bit of Solomon's personal experiences and their results to appear in His Word because they can serve as wisdom for us. Wisdom must be used!

Ecclesiastes 7:27-28 take us further along the line in terms of Solomon's personal experiences and attitudes toward women. The text directly labels this as his personal experience. He might have actually been counting. Several commentators believe they are simply general statements similar to what we might use today. We may have even heard a person, whether male or female, described as “one in a million.”

If taken as true, the one-in-a-thousand figure posits that a man is but one one-hundredth of one percent better than a woman. But sin is an equal-opportunity predator. Taken as a whole, the Bible has much more to say about sinful men than sinful women. Solomon himself says in verse 20, “There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”

The emphasis in verse 28 is on man as contrasted to woman. The reality is that even the one good man that he found was still a sinner. In Solomon's personal experience as king, a high number of the women he had contact with were from aristocratic families, likely spoiled and bitter floozies accustomed to getting their way all their lives. Considering his writings (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs), he generally has good things to say about women. Yet, even the righteous women, such as the lady of Proverbs 31, were, like men, still sinners who need saved by grace. Overall, though, his experiences with women seems not to have been good.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Thirteen): Confessions


 

Song of Solomon 1:1

Does the Song of Songs, also called the Song of Solomon or Canticles, have any prophetic significance? This book has had many different interpretations, but few, if any, have been prophetic. Many see it as an allegory or an opera-like drama. The current trend regards the Song of Songs as simply a collection of love songs upon which religious people put spiritual meanings.

Is this all it is? Would God name a book that was merely love poetry "Song of Songs"? A literal translation would be "The Best of Songs" or "The Most Sublime of Songs." So here is a book, it appears, that is more than meets the eye.

Is there a prophetic level? Yes, but it is not obvious, nor would the "Christians" of this world generally accept it as such. Without the proper understanding of true church history and end-time prophecy, we would not accept it either.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy in Song


 

Song of Solomon 1:1

Though the scenes of the book take place in an atmosphere of romantic and even sexual encounters, this is only the first and most obvious level of understanding. On other levels, Jewish rabbis allegorize God and Israel from its poetry, and Christians see Christ and His Bride, the church. As an instruction manual regarding the intimacy of the relationship between God and the Christian, the Song of Songs is without peer.

Any understanding of the Song of Songs, however, must begin with the book's characters. A young woman, a shepherdess, called the Shulamite in some Bible versions, has fallen in love with a man, whom she calls "my beloved." Some think this man is Solomon, a king; others say he is a shepherd. Some go so far as to say there are two men vying for the Shulamite's affections. In addition, the daughters of Jerusalem act as a chorus, commenting on and reacting to the words of the Shulamite. Her brothers may also have a few lines (Song 2:15; 8:8-9).

In Christian circles, the Shulamite and the Beloved are easily identified as types of the church and Christ. The daughters of Jerusalem and the Shulamite's brothers are harder to pinpoint as specific groups of people, but we can deduce a general identification from Song of Songs 2:2-3:

[The Beloved]
Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the
daughters.

[The Shulamite]
Like an apple tree among the
trees of the woods,
So is my beloved among the
sons.

In contrast to the Shulamite, the "daughters" are compared to "thorns." The Beloved is similarly contrasted with the "sons" (see Song 1:6), who are like "the trees of the woods." Thorns are obviously negative symbols (see Matthew 13:7, 22), but "the trees of the woods" does not seem to be. A better translation would be "the wild wood," and thus, it becomes another negative type.

Thus, the daughters and the sons are opposites to the main characters. If the Shulamite is a type of the true church, the daughters are false "Christian" churches that Christ will not even consider as suitable brides (see Song 6:8-9; Ezekiel 16:44-46; Revelation 17:5). Some think they are simply the unconverted.

If the Beloved is a type of Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-16), the sons are false shepherds or hirelings, who abuse the church (see Song 1:6; Ezekiel 34; Acts 20:28-31). Some believe they stand for the leaders or governments of men. Remember, though, these are general interpretations, so we should check the context of each section to refine the meaning.

It is not necessary to assign a particular identity to every character, image, or symbol in the book. Because of our unfamiliarity with the language and setting of the Song of Songs, this would be highly speculative and tedious. Generally, if we grasp the sense of a section, the symbolism falls into place on its own, or other scriptures explain it more plainly.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy in Song


 

Song of Solomon 1:1

We do not know for sure if the book is arranged chronologically or just in short, timeless vignettes. Some say that certain sections are dreams or flashbacks to previous scenes. However, a basic story can be seen in the flow of the text.

Song of Songs opens with the Shulamite in the blush of first love; it is so new to her that she must ask where her Beloved works (Song 1:7). The couple is separated, and each yearns to be reunited. The Beloved asks her to come away with him (Song 2:10), and the Shulamite seeks and finds him in the city (Song 3:2-4). Later, again separated, she looks for him again, only to be beaten by the city watchmen (Song 5:6-7). In the end, after praising each other's beauty and constancy, they are together again, and the Shulamite proclaims that "love is as strong as death" (Song 8:6).

However we arrange the various parts, the main story concerns the courtship of the Shulamite and the Beloved. In most of the book's verses, they vividly praise the other's excellence and express their deepest feelings. This human sexual imagery, rather than being erotic, simply pictures the depth of love and pleasure in a Christian's relationship with God. In a sense, the sexual union of man and wife is the closest human parallel to God's relationship with us.

Jesus Himself endorses this concept in John 17:3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." This knowledge of God is intimate, similar to the relationship between a man and his wife (see Genesis 4:1; Luke 1:34). The apostle Paul calls the church's relationship with Christ, likened to a marriage partnership, "a great mystery" (Ephesians 5:32). Later, John is shown that the church is indeed the Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7-9).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy in Song


 

Luke 22:44

Judaism breaks the Old Testament down into three major sections: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings or Psalms. As an organizational tool, this division of books works well, but it has also served to restrict Bible students to a narrow view of the material in these sections. For instance, some are slow to notice law in the Prophets, wisdom in the Law, prophecy in the Writings, and so on.

On the other hand, commentators have always noted the prophetic character of many of the Psalms. Psalm 22 is obviously prophetic of Christ's suffering and death. Psalm 118 predicts Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem just before He was crucified (Matthew 21:9). Other chapters and verses in the Psalms are also seen as prophetic of Christ's ministry or the work of the church.

But what about some of the other books of the Writings? These include Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel and the two books of Chronicles. The book of Daniel is certainly prophetic, but the others are considered as historic books or poetry and wisdom literature. Do they have any prophetic significance? Indeed, many of them do.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy in Song


 

John 10:1-4

The sheep, like the lover in Song of Songs 2:14, know the voice because they know the Shepherd and trust Him. They trust His voice. In it, they hear safety, security, sustenance, joy, hope, encouragement, love, warmth, and correction that does not turn them aside. The voice is the effective means of communication between Christ and us. The voice not only identifies, but it also communicates concepts to us that reveal both character and emotion.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 4)


 

 




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