Song of Solomon 1-4

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

December 15, 2004


This book is also called “Song of Songs”


Solomon is the author.

It’s a song of marital love.

Though he had 700 wives and 300 concubines, perhaps he had only one “true love”. Some have suggested that the other wives were more for political stability as a king would

Naamah the Ammonitess was his wife who had his son Rehoboam.

Rehoboam is the only son mentioned as coming from Solomon. In contrast, Rehoboam is mentioned as having 28 sons.
Solomon ruled for 40 years over Jerusalem. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king. Rehoboam was born before Solomon became king.
Perhaps Naamah was the love of Solomon’s life.
The wife is called “The Shulamite” in the song (Song 6:13).
ShulamiteShuwlammiyth – “the perfect” or “the peaceful”. The name comes from the word “shalom”, the same word that Solomon’s own name comes from.


There have been tons of ways this book has been interpreted through the years. The main ways fall into several categories:

It’s simply a love song between two real people.
Jewish tradition was to take the book as an allegory, with the idea of expressing the love of God for Israel.
A common church view has been to see is also as an allegory, but of the love between Jesus as the Groom and His Bride, the church.

The way an allegory works is to give special interpretive meanings to the words, almost like a code book.

Origen, for example, wrote that the beloved’s reference to her being dark (Song 1:5-6) means the church is ugly with sin, but that her loveliness (1:5) refers to spiritual beauty after conversion. Others said the cooing of the doves (2:12) speaks of the preaching of the apostles, and some have suggested that 5:1 refers to the Lord’s Supper.[1]

The way a “type” works is to simply see Solomon in the text as an actual, historical person, but that He becomes an example of Christ and His church. With a “type”, every detail isn’t interpreted, just the overall picture.
Though this is a song about the beauty of love and marriage, marriage is what God has used to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

We can learn a lot about love and marriage in this song.

But we can also learn a bit about Jesus and the church.


1:1 – 3:5 The Courtship

3:6 – 5:1 The Wedding

5:2 – 8:14 The Marriage matures

One of the difficult things with the text is that the speaker (or, singer) keeps changing. Sometimes it’s Solomon speaking, sometimes it’s the bride, and sometimes it will be a third group (chorus). It’s not always easy to tell who is talking.

The story behind the song.

The woman was an Ammonitess. Her brothers treated her roughly and cruely. They forced her into labor, into keeping the vineyard. She was so busy keeping the vineyard that she didn’t have the time or opportunity to take care of herself. She had become very tan (dark).

One day what seems to be a “shepherd” meets her. It seems to be love at first sight. After he leaves, she dreams about him. Later when the King of Israel came, Solomon himself called her. She found out that he was the shepherd she had fallen in love with.

Song of Solomon 1

1:1 – 3:5 The Courtship

:1 The song of songs, which is Solomon's.

He wrote 1,005 songs (1Ki. 4:32). It is thought that this was his favorite, his “song of songs”.


:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

:3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.

ointments – perfume

This reminds me of a verse we’ve looked at recently:

(Eccl 10:1 NLT) Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor.

The name of “Solomon” was like a sweet fragrance to her.

It reminds me of how sweet the name of Jesus is to us.

:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers:


:4b we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.


:5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

black – tanned

comely - beautiful

:6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Tan was not considered beautiful. It was the complexion of the working woman, not the princess.

She had to look after her brother’s vineyards and didn’t have time to pay attention to her looks (her own vineyard).

:7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?

She wants to know where he is. She doesn’t want to be wandering from flock to flock looking for him as if she were a “loose” woman.


:8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.

If you want to know where your true love is, follow the footsteps of the other shepherds to find him.

:9 I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.

(Song 1:9 NLT) What a lovely filly you are, my beloved one!

:10 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.

:11 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.

(Song 1:11 NLT) We will make earrings of gold for you and beads of silver."


:12 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

:13 A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.

Women commonly wore a pouch of perfume around their necks.

:14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

camphire – Henna blossoms. A fragrant flower that grew in the oasis of Engedi, on the western shore of the Dead Sea.


:15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.

(very much like 4:1)


:16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.

:17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

She might be talking about some sort of country house, or more likely she’s talking about how they met out in the outdoors while tending their flocks – grassy hills to sleep on, trees for a roof.

Song of Solomon 2

:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

There are some hymns that talk about Jesus being the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the valleys. Yet it seems that this might be the Shulamite (the Bride) talking here, not Solomon (who is a picture of Jesus).

rose – literally, “crocus”

Sharon – a fertile coastal plain.

lily – the hyacinth or perhaps the Easter lily.


:2 As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.

She’s not just a “lily”, she’s a lily among thorns. She’s the best among all the other women who are just “thorns”.


:3 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

An apple tree was not common in Israel. Solomon was a rare find. She has enjoyed the “fruits” of their friendship.

:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

A large banner was used to gather troups together for a battle.

Everyone can see how much he loves her.


Open love

If you and your spouse found yourself in a room of strangers, could they tell that you are married?
A priest and a nun were lost in a snowstorm. After a while, they came upon a small cabin. Being exhausted, they prepared to go to sleep. There was a stack of blankets and a sleeping bag on the floor but only one bed. Being a gentleman, the priest said, “Sister, you sleep on the bed. I’ll sleep on the floor in the sleeping bag.” Just as he got zipped up in the bag and was beginning to fall asleep, the nun said “Father, I’m cold.” He unzipped the sleeping bag, got up, got the blanket and put it on her. Once again, he got into the sleeping bag, zipped it up and started to drift off to sleep when the nun once again said, “Father, I’m still very cold.” He unzipped the bag, got up again, put another blanket on her and got into the sleeping bag once again. Just as his eyes closed, she said, “Father, I’m sooooo cold.” This time, he remained there and said, “Sister, I have an idea. We’re out here in the wilderness where no one will ever know what happened. Let’s pretend we’re married.” The nun said, “That’s fine by me.” The priest yelled out, “Get up and get your own stupid blanket!”

Too often that’s what we expect from married people. We expect that the longer you are married, the ruder you get with each other.

I think that people ought to be able to tell that you love your spouse.
When Deb and I go out to eat in a restaurant, I want people to think that I’m out with my “girlfriend”. She is my “girlfriend”. She’s my “lover”. She’s my wife.

:5 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.

Love sick.

(Song 2:5 NLT) Oh, feed me with your love--your 'raisins' and your 'apples'--for I am utterly lovesick!

:6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.

She is describing how they embrace. It describes intimacy. You figure it out.

: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 2:7 NLT) "Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the swift gazelles and the deer of the wild, not to awaken love until the time is right.

She is telling the daughters of Jerusalem to remain pure and not “stir up love” until the time is right.

:8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

:9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice.

:10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

She is remembering the day he came and asked her to come away with him.

This makes me think of the day that Jesus would say to us, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away”. He will one day take us to His home in heaven.

:11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

turtle – turtledove

:13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

It’s springtime.


:14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

He wants to know more about her. She’s like a dove hiding in the rocks.


:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

It doesn’t take giant monsters to ruin a vineyard. It only takes “little foxes”.

Little things can spoil something wonderful.

They both make a pledge to keep the “little foxes” out of their vineyard.


Take care of the little things

Take care of the little foxes.
The Secret of a Happy Marriage
There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years, they had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about. For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $25,000. He asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married,” she said,” my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily.” The little old man was so moved, he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. “Honey,” he said, “that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?” “Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the doilies.”
Don’t let little things become big things. Deal with things like resentment:
(Eph 4:32 KJV) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.


:16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

:17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

Song of Solomon 3


:1 By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

She is talking about a dream she had about him one night.

:2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

:3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?

:4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.

When you love someone, it’s hard to be away from them. She has this dream that he might be missing and it makes her so sad until she can see him again.

It makes me think about how much we miss Jesus in this dark world we live in. We too can hardly wait until we see Him face to face.

(Isa 25:9 KJV) And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

: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 3:5 NLT) "Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the swift gazelles and the deer of the wild, not to awaken love until the time is right."

Again – encouragement to stay pure

3:6 – 5:1 The Wedding

The Chorus

Very metaphorical language. Very poetic.

:6 Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

Smoke rising from the incense being burned during the wedding procession.

:7 Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.

A lounge (litter) being carried by sixty strong armed guards.

:8 They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.

:9 King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.

chariot – perhaps talking about the “litter” that Solomon is riding upon. He’s a king. He’s not just a shepherd she met in the fields.

:10 He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.

:11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.

Bathsheba put a wedding crown on him at the wedding.

Song of Solomon 4

4:1-16 Consummation

:1 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.

Solomon was a nature lover.

Doesn’t sound too romantic to me.

Her hair was long and flowing, like a flock of goats that blend together as they make their way down a mountainside.

:2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.

She has a full set of teeth – amazing in a day with no dentists.

:3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.

Her temples (including her cheeks) were ruby red.

:4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.

Perhaps describing a necklace?

It could be how she bears herself, with strength, holding her head up straight.

:5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.

:6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.

myrrh, frankincense – fragrances.

:7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.


Washing Word

A husband is to love his wife just like Jesus loves the Church.
(Eph 5:25-28 KJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; {26} That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, {27} That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. {28} So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Jesus loves the church through a sacrificial love – He gave up everything for us, including His own life.

His love is a beautifying love.

He washes us in the water of His Word – to the point that it actually removes spots and wrinkles!

Practically – we read the Word and Jesus uses the Word to teach us, cleanse us, and grow us.

A husband is to also love his wife the same way – not just with God’s Word, but with his own words.

What kinds of things do you say to your wife?  Too often all we see are the blemishes.


One afternoon this guy drives down a highway to visit a nearby lake and relax. On his way to the lake, a guy dressed from head to toe in red standing on the side of the highway gestures for him to stop. The guy rolls down the window and says, “How can I help you?” “I am the red jerk of the highway. You got something to eat?” With a smile in his face, the guy hands a sandwich to the guy in red and drives away. Not even five minutes later, he comes across another guy. This guy is dressed fully in yellow, standing on the side and waving for him to stop. A bit irritated, our guy stops, cranks down the window, and says, “What can I do for you?” “I am the yellow jerk of the highway. You got something to drink?” Hardly managing to smile this time, he hands the guy a can of Coke and stomps on the pedal and takes off again. In order to make it to the lakeside before sunset, he decides to go faster and not stop no matter what. To his frustration, he sees another guy on the side of the road, this one dressed in blue and signaling for him to stop. Reluctantly, our guy decides to stop one last time, rolls down his window, and yells, “Let me guess. You’re the blue jerk of the highway, and just what do YOU want?” “Driver’s license and registration, please.”

If all you are looking for are “jerks”, that’s just what you’re going to get.

Yet if you stop looking at the blemishes and focus on encouraging the things that are beautiful, you will find that your wife will grow more and more beautiful.  She will flourish with this kind of attention.  You will see less and less blemishes.


Jesus’ love for us

This is just how Jesus sees us as well.
He doesn’t see any spot or blemish in us.
Paul’s prayers for the Ephesians:

(Eph 1:18 KJV) The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

(Eph 3:16-19 KJV) That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; {17} That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, {18} May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; {19} And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

:8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.

Perhaps she originally lived in Lebanon. He asks her to come home with him.

Amana, Shenir – mountain peaks

:9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.

Let your heart be ravished with the beauty of your wife.

A wife needs to be secure in her husband’s love.

She needs to know that she is the one that catches your eye.

:10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!

:11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.

:12 A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

He is referring to her purity.

She is a virgin. She hasn’t given herself to anyone else.

:13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,

:14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:

:15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

He is speaking of sexual intercourse in metaphors, pictures.


:16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

She returns his comments with an invitation to come and enjoy the fruit of the garden he is admiring.

[1]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.