Selected passages from Song of Songs: May 25 – Investment with a great return
May 25, 2014
By MARK A. RATHEL

Love stories are one of most popular genres of movies. The Song of Songs celebrates through lyrical poetry the romantic love story of a lowly Shulammite and King Solomon. Although I am not aware of a movie or theatrical version, I am confident the people would enjoy a cinematic/theatrical portrayal of the plot of Song of Songs. The love story develops from initial physical attraction, to the thrill of courtship, to the beauty of marriage, and the development of a treasured friendship.

The focal passages for this lesson highlight the tender love of the husband and wife. What principles can 21 century believers derive from Song of Solomon to enrich their marriages?

First, biblical marriage involves emotional, relational, and physical intimacy (Song of Songs 5:1-10). In the culture of the Middle East at the time, husband and wife slept in different bedrooms. The man arrives home late, perhaps due to work. She likely became disappointed and upset because the husband had another late night of responsibility. He tenderly addressed his wife with terms of endearment: my sister, my darling, my dove, and my perfect one (describing her physical beauty). “Dove” may be the husband’s pet name for his beloved (2.14; 5:2; 6:9). She responds with the excuse that she has already gone to bed (v. 3). Too late! Too Bad! She then changed her mind, but her beloved had left. One of the “little foxes” that can hinder a couple’s relationship made an appearance in the relationship (2:15). The Bible uses a metaphor of being beaten to describe the emotional trauma of this problem marriage. The remedy comes when the women of Jerusalem ask the Shulammite what makes her husband better than other men (v. 9). The question prompts her to reflect on the reasons she fell in love her husband and friend (v. 10-16). One remedy for difficult seasons of a marriage is for each partner to rehearse again in the mind why the individual came to love his or her spouse!

Second, biblical marriage is an exclusive love (Song of Songs 6:1-13). Once again, the question of the women of Jerusalem prompt the wife to reflect. In essence, they ask her, “If he is so wonderful and you love him, then why are you distant from him?” The question caused the Shummalite to realize the couple was failing to live out their covenant commitments. Her response, “I am my love’s and my love is
mine” (v. 3) describes marriage as a covenant between husband and wife. The language mirrors God’s covenant relationship with His people, “I will be your God, and you will be My people.” God’s covenant relationship with His people is an exclusive relationship. God’s people are not to worship other gods. Likewise, a covenant marriage is an exclusive relationship. By entering into covenant, God and His people committed to a relationship with commitments and responsibilities. A marriage covenant, likewise, entails mutual commitments and responsibilities.

Third, biblical marriage thrives in the context of passionate love (8:-47). These verses set forth a beautiful description of love between spouses. First, love is dangerous; therefore, Song of Solomon warns young people not to awaken physical love until the arrival of God’s appropriate time (2:7; 3:5; 8:4). Second, biblical love is publically sealed and protective (v. 6). An ancient seal signified ownership and protection. The wife asks the husband to allow her to function as a public seal in his heart (thoughts) and arm (actions). Third, biblical love is as powerful and universal as death. Fourth, biblical love is as passionate as unquenchable as fire. Fifth, biblical love is priceless. Love is worth more than great wealth.

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