We’ve wrapped up our tour of 2 Corinthians, and it’s time for a new adventure. Back in the first part of 2015, we took a look at Song of Songs, and that was one fun journey. I’ve considered updating it several times since then and sharing it with the many new followers who have joined us since then, and now seems like the time to take the plunge. After touring both of Paul’s letters to Corinth, this will certainly be a change of pace, and since few dare to venture into this territory these days, and many of you have expressed an interest in dealing with more Old Testament subjects, I think we’ll have a great new adventure in Song of Songs.
The first hurdle with this book is to figure out just exactly what Solomon was up to when he wrote it, since that is far from clear. The most obvious solution is that Solomon intended the work to be understood literally as a piece of writing about marriage and intimacy between men and women, and if you just pick it up and start reading, that is sure what it seems to be. Yet I can’t help wondering why Solomon would write such a book about physical intimacy in marriage, especially since his marriage arrangements weren’t exactly what most of us would consider “traditional” or even proper for that matter. If this is what he was up to, why would it be included in the Bible? Why would God inspire such writing?
Oh, there are plenty of questions…
And then I remember that back in ancient times, this was read aloud for Passover…
A love manual?
Of course, there is another way to understand the book, and that is as an allegory about the relationship between God and God’s people. Without going through the litany of objections to this approach, I will add my own little objection to it: In Solomon’s time, the relationship between God and His people had the huge impediment of sin between them, and with that being the case, how could there be any expectation of such intimacy: Was this Messianic?
After all of this, how can we study Song of Songs at all? Maybe that is why there aren’t many studies, books or sermons about it… Did Jonathon Edwards have a sermon on Song of Songs? Maybe like an intimate view of what happens to a sinner in the hands of an angry God just before he is tossed into the fire?
Frankly, that seems unlikely to me, but I haven’t bothered to check before writing this and asking the questions.
Well dear reader, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how we deal with this book until the next post!