11/6/11 Song of Songs 5-7, Philippians 1
S: Song of Songs 1:4-5,7, 12-13 Take me with you; come, let’s run! The king has brought me into his bedroom. How happy we are for you, O king. We praise your love even more than wine. How right they are to adore you. ... Tell me, my love, where are you leading your flock today? Where will you rest your sheep at noon? For why should I wander like a prostitute among your friends and their flocks? ... The king is lying on his couch, enchanted by the fragrance of my perfume. My lover is like a sachet of myrrh lying between my breasts.5:7 The night watchmen found me as they made their rounds. They beat and bruised me and stripped off my veil, those watchmen on the walls. 8:11-12 Solomon has a vineyard at Baal-hamon, which he leases out to tenant farmers. Each of them pays a thousand pieces of silver for harvesting its fruit. But my vineyard is mine to give, and Solomon need not pay a thousand pieces of silver. But I will give two hundred pieces to those who care for its vines.
O: The title, “The Song of Songs of Solomon” is intended to mean that this was the greatest song Solomon wrote. Solomon was a man who had many wives and concubines, and was unfaithful to God though God blessed him with wisdom. God had told the kings of Israel not to multiply wives (which was a common practice of pagan kings) but Solomon chose not to follow that advice, to his downfall.
Most people read the beloved/lover as Solomon, but other people think that it isn’t Solomon, but rather, a young shepherd – she asks him to tell her where he’ll rest his flocks at noon, so that she can find him and not have to wander from one flock to another in an unseemly manner looking for him. It’s unlikely that King Solomon, being raised in the royal household, would be doing the job of a shepherd (even though his father King David did – but David didn’t grow up as royalty.)
The Shulamite girl’s beauty caught Solomon’s eye and he brought her into his bedroom, but she called for her beloved to help her escape.
Even though Solomon, made fragrant by perfume, tries to woo her on his couch, the Shulamite prefers the smell of her unperfumed lover, comparing him to a sachet of myrrh lying between her breasts. (Myrrh can be used as perfume.) (I can identify with this – I love the smell of a clean Juliane with no perfume, too.シ)
I don’t know if the rape of the Shulamite by the night watchmen was part of Solomon’s attempt to get her – to show her that her shepherd boy cannot protect her like Solomon can, or to exact revenge on her for rejecting him, or if it was just an accidental incident. But nonetheless, the Shulamite doesn’t abandon her lowly shepherd boy for the king.
She knows that she’s the only girl for her shepherd boy, while the king has hundreds of other women in the palace. I am not sure if the reference to the vineyard at Baal-hamon is a reference to the many wives, or if it was another attempted enticement from Solomon for her.
In any case, she rejects Solomon with finality, saying that her one vineyard is hers to give to the one she loves, the one who cares for her.
So in the end, Solomon had to give up and the Shulamite went away with her young stag on the mountains of spices.
If this interpretation of the Song of Songs is correct, then Solomon was wise enough in the end to recognize it and write a song to commemorate where he was wrong.
A: Just as the Shulamite refused to give in to Solomon’s enticements, but stayed faithful to the one who truly loves her, we must not give in to the world’s enticements and stay faithful to the One who truly loves His Bride. We are the bride of Christ.
Another application is that as a married person, I must stay faithful to my spouse even though others may offer enticements.
May we also be like Solomon (and his father David) to recognize when we are wrong, repent, and to learn from that.
P: Father, help me to be committed to Christ and to Juliane. When I am wrong, help me to quickly repent and seek forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.