Introduction: The Song of Solomon is a love song written by Solomon. Allegorically, it pictures Israel as God’s espoused bride (Hosea 2:19, 20), and the Church as the bride of Christ.
The book is arranged like scenes in a drama with three main speakers; the bride (Shulamite), the king (Solomon), and a chorus (the daughters of Jerusalem). The king by this time, had sixty queens and eighty concubines (6:8). Solomon’s harem at its fullest extent reached seven hundred queens and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
The song was written primarily from the point of view of the Shulamite, but Solomon was the author.
The majority of Solomon’s marriages were political arrangements. This book was also written before Solomon plunged into gross immorality and idolatry. The Shulamite addresses the king as “My beloved” and the king addresses his bride as “My love.”
Verse 1 – The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
Verse 2 (The Shulamite) Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love is better than wine.
Verse 3 – Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you.
Verse 4 – Lead me away! ( The daughters of Jerusalem) We will run after you. (The Shulamite) The king has brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine. Rightly do they love.
Solomon’s attractive qualities are apparent to others, and are not mere fantasies of infatuation.
Verse 5 – I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
Verse 6 – Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.
Shulamite explained her dark skin was the result of her brothers making her tend the vineyards outside in the sun. Later we find out that the vineyard is leased from Solomon. When she refers to “her own vineyard,” she’s talking about her skin. When she is brought to Jerusalem, the young girl was embarrassed about her tan. However, Solomon loved her dark skin.
Verse 7 – Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions?
Verse 8 – If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your little goats beside the shepherds tents.
The chorus, not the king, are the speakers here. The meaning seems to be: If the beloved is a shepherd, then seek him among other shepherds, but if he is a king, you will find him in his royal dwelling.
Verse 9 – I have compared you, my love, to my filly among Pharaoh’s chariots.
Verse 10 – Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with chains of gold.
Archaeological drawings show jewels decorating the bridles of horses.
Verse 11 – We will make you ornaments of gold with studs of silver.
Verse 12 – While the king is at his table, my spikenard (spikenard is a very expensive spice which comes from a rare plant and is blended with olive oil for anointing acts of consecration, dedication, and worship.) sends forth its fragrance.
Verse 13 – A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, that lies all night between my breasts.
Verse 14 – My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms in the vineyards of En Gedi.
En Gedi was an oasis hidden at the base of rugged limestone cliffs west of the Dead Sea. It was known for its fruitful palm trees and fragrant balsam oil. The girl was complimenting Solomon’s looks, saying that he stood out among all men.
Verse 15 – Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove eyes.
Verse 16 – (Now the Shulamite is talking) Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also our bed is green.
Verse 17 – The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.
She is describing their woodland surroundings as a wedding bedroom. Dove eyes, which are mild and harmless and faithful. By describing her eyes, Solomon seems to be describing both her outward behavior, and the inward disposition of her mind.
The green bed is probably describing a bank, on which they sat down on while walking in the country. They were outside, falling in love, saying mushy stuff to each other.