Some have wondered if the book “The Song of Solomon” should be a part of the Holy Scriptures. The reason given is because of its “explicit” contents.
Ever since the famous king of Israel wrote it, it has been a part of the Holy Scriptures. Even when our Lord was on earth this book was an integral part of the Hebrew canon. If at all it was a mistake in having it included, wouldn’t the Messiah inform us about it when He came?
In fact the Jews considered this book as one of the most important pages of the Holy Writ.
The theme of this Song is about the love relationship that Solomon the author had with his Shulamite bride. In beautiful poetry the wise man pens down many details about their love for each other. Only if all married couples had such intimate love for each other, what a world of blessing it would be!
This love song is also a parable. Its meaning goes beyond the physical realm to the spiritual realm. If it meant only what it appears to be, then God would not have included it as Scripture.
In any parable one cannot take all the details and allegorize it. That will then give us a wrong meaning, and the intent of the author would be lost. For example, consider the parable of the lost sheep told by Jesus as recorded in Luke chapter 15. We know that the lost sheep symbolizes a sinner who is lost in sin.
Going into all the details and trying to compare all the aspects of a sheep to a person is not what Jesus intended us to do. For example, the sheep has four legs but man has two; the sheep has no reasoning power but man has; the sheep is most submissive, but man is not. And talking about the numbers, we cannot take it as it is and bring out a percentage figure, and declare that 99% of the people are safe, and only 1% is lost! It is only a parable. The theme of it has to be captured. Only those details which can be supported from other parts of Scripture have to be taken keeping in view that the interpretation of it should not contradict the plain teachings of Scripture elsewhere.
Let us now explore the spiritual message of this classic inspired work of literature. Who does King Solomon symbolize? And whom does the Shulamite bride represent?
Throughout Scripture God has adopted the symbol of marriage to portray His intimate relationship that He has with His people, the church. Since marriage is the closest bond of love that man knows, God chose this to be the figure of His love for us, most of the time. In Isaiah, God said:
For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman. (Isaiah 54:5, 6)
God is the husband, and His people on earth, His church, His woman.
In Jeremiah the Lord pleads with His bride. He said:
Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you. (Jeremiah 3:14)
In the New Testament too this language is carried forth as seen in many passages. To the Corinthian church Paul wrote:
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
John the revelator, in the visions of Patmos, recorded what he heard in heaven. Notice the language of the heavenly host. It is the same language—the marriage language.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)