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The Song Of Solomon: Background (Song 1)

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 The Song Of Solomon

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CHAPTER 1 May 4 
The Song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
The Beloved 
2Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for your lovemaking is better than wine. 3Your oils have a pleasing fragrance. Your name is oil poured forth, therefore the virgins love you. 4Take me away with you.  Let’s hurry. The king has brought me into his rooms!

Daughters of Jerusalem
We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will praise your love more than wine!

They are right to love you. 5I am dark, but lovely, you daughters of Jerusalem, like Kedar’s tents, like Solomon’s curtains. 6Don’t stare at me because I am dark, because the sun has scorched me. My mother’s sons were angry with me. They made me keeper of the vineyards, but I haven’t kept my own vineyard. 7Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you graze your flock, where you rest them at noon; for why should I be as one who is veiled beside the flocks of your companions?

8If you don’t know, most beautiful among women, follow the tracks of the sheep. Graze your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents.  9I have compared you, my love, to a steed in Pharaoh’s chariots. 10Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels. 11We will make you earrings of gold, with studs of silver.

12While the king sat at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance. 13My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh, that lies between my breasts. 14My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.

15Behold, you are beautiful, my love. Behold, you are beautiful. Your eyes are doves.

16Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, yes, pleasant; and our couch is verdant.

17The beams of our house are cedars. Our rafters are firs.


The set of dialogues we have in this Song indicate that here we have a romance which went too far too quickly between Solomon and an Egyptian girl. He ought to have married an Israelite, one of the “daughters of Jerusalem”. The Song is full of tension between the girl and these “daughters”, whom she fears as being more attractive to Solomon than herself; and they speak to her sarcastically. Solomon in the Proverbs warned the Israelites about being attracted by pretty Gentile women who would lead them astray; and yet he does the very opposite of what he had taught to be true. The Song ends not with a wedding, as the genre of love poems might suggest, but with the couple parting in acrimony. Not running relationships God’s way doesn’t lead to satisfaction.

1:2 The Song begins by the daughters of Jerusalem and the Egyptian girl being in some kind of competition for Solomon; they both state their desire for him, and both of them compare his love to wine (:2, 4). Note how the Song doesn't begin as a romance is supposed to- with the first meeting, love at first sight scene. As early as 1:2 she comments that "your lovemaking is more delightful than wine". This is all a subversion of the whole genre of romance. It was all too far too fast. The Egyptian justifies her darker complexion to the Jerusalem girls, and praises her own beauty: "I am dark but lovely" (:5). She likewise yells at them not to sexually stimulate her lover, Solomon (2:7). "My beloved is mine" (2:16) to be the same catty kind of defensiveness. The girl is jealous of how the daughters of Jerusalem admire Solomon, not least because of his fame in Israelite circles (:3,4). And the Jerusalem girls respond with sarcasm as in 6:1. 
1:9 Solomon should  have  admired  neither the horses nor the women of Egypt;  yet he begins his Song with an unashamed breach of the command   not  to  desire  either  of  these  things.  The unashamedness of Solomon coupled with his spirituality indicates that  at  this  time he was genuinely convinced that what he was doing  was  deeply  spiritual;  when in fact it was completely carnal. He totally ignored his own advice in Proverbs about choosing a spiritual Israelite woman as a wife.
1:11 The Song is shot through with allusion to the Law and tabernacle rituals; he speaks of making her borders on her clothes, alluding to the borders of blue to be worn  by  the  faithful  Israelite.  Solomon  wanted her to be a spiritual  woman,  and  he  was  going  to  make her one in his mind, to his eyes. He wanted to see her as a spiritual woman, and eventually he became persuaded that she was just this. This is often the psychology of marriage out of the faith.