Today’s Scripture Focus: Song of Solomon 2:8-17
Song of Solomon is a book in the wisdom section of the Bible (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.) You may sometimes hear this book referred to as “Song of Songs”. The actual Hebrew name is “Solomon’s Song of Songs”. Anytime in scripture something is “_____ of _____”, it means it is the best or greatest (King of kings, Lord of Lords, etc.) So, another way to identify this book might be “Solomon’s greatest song”. Song of Solomon is a series of lyrical poems, written in the tradition of ancient bridal songs, which were sung at weddings and banquets. The book could be written either by Solomon or about Solomon.
Why is Song of Solomon in the Bible? It contains no references to God, Israel, or any of the themes normally found in Old Testament writings. In fact, all of the poems use sensitive language to describe romantic intimacy between a woman and her lover. Although the book is identified as Solomon’s song, it is mostly written in the voice of a young woman. Having met her intended husband, she pines and longs for the day they can be together and fully consummate their bond. In most chapters, she states this overwhelming desire, then a response is given either from her lover or from a chorus of her friends, the “daughters of Jerusalem”.
So, again, why is a book of love poems in the Bible? There are a number of reasons. For one, remember that Song of Solomon is wisdom literature. Wisdom literature is not like the Law or the Prophecy sections of scripture, which tell God’s story. Wisdom writings deal with the reality of everyday life. In today’s scripture focus, a young woman begs her lover to overcome the many obstacles between them (mountains, walls, foxes, winter) in order for their relationship to succeed. Obstacles to successful relationships are something most people dealt with then, and most people deal with now.
Also, almost from the time it was written, the people saw a “meaning behind the meaning” in Song of Solomon. They read it as a description of Israel’s longing for God. In chapter 2:8, a woman begs for her lover to leap across mountains to come to her. In the same way, Israel cried for God to cross the heavens and overcome every obstacle standing in the way of perfect covenant relationship. As Christians, we see Song of Solomon as descriptive of our relationship with Christ. The cry of the Church’s heart is for Jesus to return for His bride! Song of Solomon causes us to examine our hearts. Do we burn with passion for God, or have we let obstacles grow up between us?
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
What are some of the obstacles mentioned in 2:8-17 that stand in the way of the woman and her lover?
What kind of obstacles get in the way of having good relationships with others today?
Have you allowed little (or big) things to come between you and God? Do you long for your relationship with Jesus to be described as “passionate”? As a class, pray for the Lord to come and revive our hearts.