The name of the book Hebrew Bible – ‘Shir hash-Shirim’= ‘Song of Songs’ Song composed of many songs? A song selected from a choice of many songs? THE Song (superlative), as with ‘holy of holies’ (1 Kings 6v8 YLT) Latin Vulgate – ‘Canticum Canticorum’ – from where we derive Canticles (mg. of some versions) Luther – ‘das Hohelied’ = ‘the high song’ 1 Kings 4 v 30-34 30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.
The author and timing of the book Author: King Solomon Note: understanding of the natural world (cp. 1 Kings 4 v 33) Timing: About 960 BC Before divided kingdom, mention of Carmel / Tirzah in North Song 1 v 1 1 The song of songs, which is Solomon's. Song 1 v 1 (NET) 1 Solomon'sa Most Excellentb Love Song.c Song 1 v 1 (CEV) 1 This is Solomon's most beautiful song. Song 1 v 1 (Amplified) 1aTHE SONG of songs [the most excellent of them all] which is Solomon's. [1 Kings 4:32.]
Solomon’s collective writings Psalms 72 and 127 (+ others?) Parts of Proverbs Probably Ecclesiastes Song of Songs In this order in the English Bible Nearness to God Song of Songs Ecclesiastes Proverbs
Solomon and song Musical heritage from his father King David, “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23 v 1) It was King Solomon, under God’s guidance, that first set up the regular worship of God through song. For example, the Temple dedication: 2 Chronicles 5 v 13-14 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord ; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord , saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord ; 14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.
The use of the book in Judaism Believed to depict the loving relationship between God and Israel (husband / wife) The Five Megilloth (lit. ‘scrolls’) used at festivals: Ruth Pentecost Song of songs Passover (on Sabbath) Ecclesiastes Tabernacles Lamentations 9th Abib (Destruction of Jerusalem) Esther Purim Isaiah 62 v 5 5 ...as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. Isaiah 54 v 5 5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name...
Song of Solomon in numbers 8 chapters 117 verses 2,661 words 12 songs (shortest 3 verses, longest 25 verses) ~ 21 varieties of plant life ~ 15 types of animal ~ 15 different locations ~ 10 diverse characters 66 occurrences of words love and beloved (if include their variant forms – loveth, loves, lovely and beloved’s) mentioned in the book
Use of refrains within the main body and lyrical rhythm
Rich descriptive language
Use of superlatives, similes (“like”) and metaphors (“is”) (particularly using natural world)
Symbol and imagery
The key to the book’s content “LOVE” (‘The Book of Love’) Word “love” occurs 26 times, more than any other OT book (Psalms which is 15 times bigger has 23 occurrences) Bride Bridegroom Christ & The Saints / The Ecclesia “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Cor. 11 v 2 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Eph. 5 v 31-32 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” Rev. 19 v 7 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Rev. 21 v 2
The 12 Songs – how separated? Although Song of Songs is a united whole it appears to contain 12 parts (rather like the 12 tribes of Israel) The changes in voice in the dialogue are indicated by the change in Hebrew gender (used by NKJV to split parts) There are repeated phrases, which form refrains or the start and/or end of songs (e.g. end of Songs 2, 4 & 10) Song 2 v 7 7 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. Song 3 v 5 5 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. Song 8 v 4 4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
The 12 Songs – suggested split 12 indicates an Israelitish connection Song 1ch. 1v1-8 [8 verses] Song 2 ch. 1v9-2v7 [16 verses] Song 3ch. 2v8-17 [10 verses] Song 4ch. 3v1-5 [5 verses] Song 5ch. 3v6-4v7 [13 verses] Song 6ch. 4v8-5v1 [10 verses] Song 7ch. 5v2-6v10 [25 verses] Song 8 ch. 6v11-13 [3 verses] Song 9ch. 7v1-9 [9 verses] Song 10ch. 7v10-8v4 [8 verses] Song 11ch. 8v5-7 [3 verses] Song 12ch. 8v8-14 [7 verses] = total 117 verses
Something to ponder... Ezekiel 33 v 30-32 30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord . 31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. AV mg. ‘a song of loves’ RV mg. ‘a love song’ How actively are we listening to God’s Word? Do we see ourselves in the Bride of Song of Songs?