Today’s reading is: Song. 1-8
Song of Solomon Chapter One
- The song begins with Shulamith’s (Song. 6:13) expression of love, and her plea for rescue (Song. 1:2-4a).
- The love expressed is physical, sexual love that is confined to the marriage union of husband and wife. דֹּוד dowd #1730: beloved, love. David = “beloved.”
- Shulamith praises her lover for his integrity (Song. 1:3).
- The king’s harem celebrates the love of this man of integrity (Song. 1:4b).
- Shulamith explains her darkened skin to the women of Solomon’s court as the result of her life’s hard work (Song. 1:5-6).
- Shulamith laments that she does not know where her shepherd lover is, and anticipates the imminent danger she’s in, at being separated from him forever (Song. 1:7).
- The King’s harem (wives, concubines, and maidens) invites Shulamith to leave Jerusalem, and return to her life as a shepherdess (Song. 1:8).
- Solomon woos Shulamith with compliments of her physical beauty (Song. 1:9-11,15).
- Solomon hosts a great feast, and Shulamith’s perfume brought about memories of her shepherd lover (Song. 1:12-14).
- The shepherd may not have riches, but in Shulamith’s eyes (“to me”) he is all the perfume she could ever desire (vv.13,14), and their time together in the woodlands is all the palace she could ever want (Song. 1:16-17).
Song of Solomon Chapter Two
- Shulamith delights in the shepherd’s pet names for her (Song. 2:1-2).
- Shulamith reflects back to the romance she enjoyed with her shepherd lover (Song. 2:3-6).
- Physical intimacy to some extent (v.3) led to a more private setting (v.4).
- The shepherd’s “banner” indicates the claim he has over her soul, and their intentions to be married (v.4).
- Wining and dining left her “lovesick” (“faint with love” NIV) (v.5). חוֹלַת אַהֲבָה.
- The passion of the romance culminated with a desire for sexual intercourse (v.6).
- Shulamith solemnly warns the daughters of Jerusalem about the dangers of premarital sexual activity (Song. 2:7-8).
- Arousing love = petting: amorous embracing, caressing, and kissing.
- Awakening love = sexual activity.
- This warning is repeated twice more (Song. 3:5; 8:4).
- The shepherd sneaks to the harem, and pleads with Shulamith to come with him back to Galilee (Song. 2:8-17).
- The shepherd’s climbing and leaping gets him into the palace grounds (vv.8,9).
- The shepherd’s plea is for Shulamith to return to “their” land and enjoy the new spring with him (vv.10-13).
- The shepherd’s anguish at her hidden condition indicates that he is unsuccessful in seeing her & freeing her (v.14).
- The king’s harem sounds the alarm—there are foxes in the vineyard (v.15), and the shepherd must escape (vv.16,17).
Song of Solomon Chapter Three
- Shulamith is troubled by a dream of her shepherd lover, reflecting the fear that she will never see him again (Song. 3:1-4).
- Shulamith again solemnly warns the daughters of Jerusalem how dangerous premarital emotional entanglements become (Song. 3:5).
- Shulamith arrives for Solomon’s wedding day with great fanfare (Song. 3:6-11). “Who is this?” is the first of three rhetorical questions posed when Shulamith arrives, when she is prepared for the wedding, and when she flees (cf. Song. 6:10; 8:5).
Song of Solomon Chapter Four
- Solomon praises the physical beauty of his soon-to-be 141st wife (Song. 4:1-7; cf. 6:8).
- Solomon’s marriage proposal is recorded (Song. 4:8-15).
- Shulamith pleads with the winds to carry her (locked to Solomon) garden’s fragrance to her shepherd lover, and imagines him coming into her garden (making love) (Song. 4:16-5:1).
Song of Solomon Chapter Five
- Shulamith has her second nightmare of losing her shepherd lover (Song. 5:2-7).
- Shulamith solemnly charges the daughters of Jerusalem to help her find her shepherd lover (Song. 5:8-9).
- In response to the daughters of Jerusalem not being familiar with her lover’s appearance, Shulamith praises his beauty, and his friendship to them (Song. 5:10-16).
Song of Solomon Chapter Six
- In response to the daughters of Jerusalem not being familiar with her lover’s location, Shulamith describes where he has gone (Song. 6:1-3).
- Solomon sings Shulamith’s praises once again for her physical beauty (Song. 6:4-9).
- “Who is this?” is the second of three rhetorical questions posed when Shulamith arrives, when she is prepared for the wedding, and when she flees (cf. 3:6; 8:5).
- Shulamith goes for a walk, and the king’s orchard reminded her of what she had left behind (Song. 6:11). Her soul then makes the decision to leave (Song. 6:12).
- The chorus pleads with Shulamith to return, but she has made up her mind (Song. 6:13).
Song of Solomon Chapter Seven
- The shepherd lover praises Shulamith for her beauty, seeing her for the first time in the royal garments (Song. 7:1-9a).
- Shulamith anticipates a wonderful honeymoon with her shepherd lover, and rejoices in that she has saved herself for her husband (Song. 7:10-13).
Song of Solomon Chapter Eight
- Shulamith anticipates the return to her hometown, and her upcoming wedding night in her mother’s house (Song. 8:1-3).
- For the third time, Shulamith speaks on the danger of premarital sexual activity (Song. 8:4).
- “Who is this?” is the third time that the rhetorical question is posed: when Shulamith arrives in Jerusalem, when she is prepared for her wedding to Solomon, and when she flees (Song. 8:5a; cf. 3:6; 6:10).
- Shulamith and the shepherd arrive at the very apple tree where they awakened their love (Song. 8:5b; cf. 2:3) (and also apparently where the shepherd was born? Song. 8:5c), and Shulamith sings a psalm of unquenchable love (Song. 8:6-7).
- In Shulamith’s youth (“no breasts”) her brothers had been the guardians of her virginity (Song. 8:8-9). Virginity was a matter of family and even community business (Deut. 22:12-21).
- Shulamith had been a virgin and Solomon’s dowry to her brothers was a profitable vineyard (Song. 8:10-11).
- The dowry is returned, as Shulamith’s own vineyard (body, Song. 1:6) is being given to another.
- The Song concludes with Shulamith’s invitation to her lover to consummate their long-delayed marriage (Song. 8:13-14).