Throughout the centuries, this book has been one of the most loved books of scripture. During the dark days before the Protestant Reformation when John Huss led his small bands of persecuted Christians, Song of Songs was frequently read, quoted, and memorized. It comforted them greatly. Then after the Reformation, in a time of bitter persecution, Song of Songs again became one of the most often quoted books.
Song of Songs is Christ’s ecstatic description of His passion for you and me. It is a love document to help us grasp the truth that He is passionate about us and we bring Him great joy.
Seventeenth century Puritan Thomas Watson said, “There is a closer union in this holy marriage [between us and Christ] than there can be in any other. In other marriages, two make one flesh, but Christ and the believer make one spirit: ‘But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him’” (I Corinthians 6:17).
Isaac Watts wrote, “Our marriage union with husband or wife cannot be more clear, more sure, more matter of fact, than our oneness with Christ and our enjoyment of that oneness. Joy! Joy! Joy! He whom we love is ours!”
To understand the imagery of this book, rather than merely using our creative imaginations to interpret the symbols, we look to the Bible and ask what other places these words and concepts are used. For instance, God used the word “neck” repeatedly when He spoke of Israel as being a rebellious “stiff-necked” people. It means they set their will against God. From this and other Scriptures, the neck seems to have something to do with the will.
Throughout this study, we will see the maiden growing in spiritual maturity. Eventually she exclaims with joyful confidence, “I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me” (7:10). What a happy way to live! Her journey can be ours!
(All references are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise indicated.)
1:1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s (NKJV).
Solomon wrote 1005 Songs (1 Kings 4:32), but the Holy Spirit inspired him to name this book using the ultimate superlative—the Song of Songs. The book preceding the Song of Songs is Ecclesiastes in which Solomon described every possible thing that could give purpose to life. His conclusion? Life apart from God has no meaning. He used the word “meaningless” 28 times in Ecclesiastes to describe the lack of fulfillment of everything done “under the sun.”
Then in this Song, Solomon (the Lover) introduces us to the maiden (the Beloved) who discovers One who loves her unconditionally. She discovers the purpose for which she was created—to joyfully and wholeheartedly abandon herself to Him and receive His love in return.
1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.
She yearns for more intimate communion and so asks for kisses of His mouth. From the beginning, the rabbis associated Deuteronomy 8:3 with this passage: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
Origen, an early Church Father, said that when the Jewish Church prayed, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” they were expressing a longing for a closer revelation. It was as though they were asking, “How long shall He send me kisses by Moses and the prophets? I desire the touch of His own lips.”
Our journey to true intimacy with God will begin as the maiden’s did. We, too, will desire Him; we will hunger for His Word to become sweet to us. Those who long to know Him better always attract Jesus; He is not waiting for us to be perfect but to desire Him.
Jesus is the living Word. In fact, Revelation 19:13 declares, “The name by which he is called is The Word of God” (ESV). Much of our Bible study can be compared to receiving kisses from the prophets. We glean insights from Bible study teachers, books, and ministers, but we could cry with the maiden, “Let Him kiss me!”
When a fresh insight comes directly to us from Jesus, the Living Word, it is like a kiss on our spirits.
We do not speak of kissing the lips of Jesus—that would be sacrilegious. But when He gives us a promise from His Word it is as satisfying as a kiss on the lips. His Word spoken into our spirits, is the communication of His love.
Wine was considered to represent the best pleasure the world could offer to bring happiness. Whatever the world declares makes you glad, Jesus’ love for you is incredibly sweeter and His Word infinitely more to be desired.
Selah: Has God ever given you a kiss—a verse from Scripture that was just what you needed that day?
What would you tell someone who desires to have a deeper love for Scripture?
What do you do to reignite your love for reading Scripture if it becomes more of a routine then a joy?