In the Hebrew Bible, the Song of Solomon is called the “Song of Songs” or, “The best of songs.” This book “celebrates the dignity and purity of human love . . . It came to us in this world of sin, where lust and passion are on every hand, where fierce temptations assail us and try to turn us aside from the God-given standard of marriage. And it reminds us, in particularly beautiful fashion, how pure and noble love is.”
The great love expressed in the Song of Solomon is between a man and his bride, in this case, Solomon, and a woman from the town of Shulam in northern Palestine. The book is presented very much like a play, divided into scenes.
Scene I – The bride is brought to the chambers of the King’s banqueting house. A chorus is sung by the “damsels of Jerusalem” and Solomon and the woman praise each other’s beauty (1:1 – 2:8).
Scene 2 – The bride’s dream of her husband to be (2:9 – 3:5).
Scene 3 – The marriage (3:6 – 5:10).
Scene 4 – The marriage festival (5:2 – 8:4).
Scene 5 – The couple visit the former home of the bride (8:5-14).
Historically, Christians have been somewhat reluctant to discuss the role of intimacy between men and women, but the Song of Solomon is a very intimate book. In an effort to avoid the issue, the book has been misinterpreted as referring to the love Jesus has for the Church – this despite the fact that the book is not cited anywhere in the New Testament. Some of our hymns are based on this interpretation (eg. “Jesus Rose of Sharon” and “I have Found a Friend in Jesus”).