About Song of Solomon
In the book of Genesis, when God made Adam and Eve, He brought them together as husband and wife. Adam recognized Eve as bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Gn 2:23–24)
It’s a ballad of love and longing. It’s an exchange of love notes. It’s a story of adoration, satisfaction, delight, and sexual desire.
It’s the tale of a young woman preparing to marry her love: a handsome gent who adores her. They describe their emotions, their passions, their appearances, their fears. They vulnerably display their love and desire for one another—sometimes rather graphically.
The structure of Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon is arranged by character. Three parties join the song:
- The bride, a hard-working shepherd girl with a rough home life (So 1:6).
- The bridegroom, a handsome and stately shepherd. The text doesn’t explicitly say whether or not Solomon is the bridegroom, but the bride does reference Solomon’s wedding parade (So 3:6–11).
- The chorus, the community of people celebrating the bride and bridegroom’s love and union.
If this were indeed an arranged song, think of it as a duet with a choir. And this song has three general movements:
- The bride and groom prepare for the wedding.
- The bride and groom profess their desire for one another.
- The bride and groom are finally united.
It culminates in their marriage and mutual delight in one another: the bride is her beloved’s and his desire is for her (So 7:10).
Theme verse of Song of Solomon
“I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.” —Bride (So 7:10)
A few facts about Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon is one of two books in the Bible that don’t mention God.
Solomon uses many analogies in the song of songs to describe his bride, comparing her cheeks to pomegranates and her hair to a flock of goats, to name a few. They’re strange descriptions to us, because we’re used to visual analogies, but to the original readers, this was top-notch stuff.
Song of Solomon is the fifth book of poetry in the Bible.
Solomon wrote 1,005 songs in his lifetime (1 Ki 4:32), but this is the “song of songs” (So 1:1). Like Psalms, it’s a book of lyrics; but while every psalm’s beginning and end is clearly marked, Song of Solomon doesn’t give us this level of clarity.
Song of Solomon’s role in the Bible
It’s possible that the song of songs has always been one grand piece that Solomon wrote. But it’s also possible that Solomon explored and arranged pieces of poetry for the people, like Quoheleth in the book of Ecclesiastes (Eccl 12:9–10). The song of songs may be a metasong: an anthology of smaller pieces1.
Song of Solomon gives us a biblical look at human love. The characters experience attraction, lovesickness, and what seems like a pretty great wedding night (So 7).
In fact, the book has an almost secular feel. God is never directly mentioned in the original Hebrew; the closest we get to a mention of God is in the last chapter, when the bride compares jealous love to a blazing flame (So 8:6). That Hebrew word for flame literally means “flame of the Lord,” but could just mean an especially hot fire2.
Solomon’s song of songs is an old book, but its portrait of powerful, all-consuming love probably resonates with most of us today:
“Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it;
If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,
It would be utterly despised.” (So 8:7)
It’s a passionate description of human love.
Quick outlines of Song of Solomon
Here’s the basic outline of the book’s progression:
- Preparation for the wedding (So 1–3)
- The bride prepares (1–3:5)
- The groom prepares (3:6–11)
- The couple profess their love and desire
- The groom professes his love (4)
- The bride professes her love and longing (5)
- Both are united in love (6–8)
More pages related to Song of Solomon
- Proverbs (mostly written by Solomon)
- Psalms (also a book of song lyrics)
- Ecclesiastes (also written by Solomon)
- Lamentations (also a book of lyrics or short poems)
- All 66 books of the Bible
1 Craige, Peter C. “Song of Solomon.” Edited by Walter A.Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volumes 1 and 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.
2 Baker, Warren, and Eugene E. Carpenter. Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003.