posted on Jun, 30 2013 @ 05:05 PM
I’m still exploring the intended meaning of the Song of Songs.
The next passage I’m considering is the rest of the third chapter, ch.3 vv6-11.
(The translation being used is the RSV)
The first part of the poem has been describing the relationship between the Woman and her Loved One.
I’ve already proposed that this is the relationship between God and his people.
v6 This passage seems to bring a change of theme.
Something is coming up from the wilderness, and in the next verse the new arrival will be identified as King Solomon.
But why should Solomon be be coming in the form of a column of smoke, and why would he be arriving from the wilderness, in particular?
We will need to return to these questions.
vv7-8 As befits a king, Solomon is accompanied by Power.
This comes in the form of sixty well-armed “mighty men of Israel”.
This phrase, like the reference to Solomon himself, harks back to the time of the undivided kingdom.
The only observation I can make about the number is that David had a band of thirty mighty men (1 Chronicles ch.11)
Solomon’s bodyguard is twice as large. Evidently “one greater than David” is here.
vv9-10 As befits a king, Solomon is accompanied by Wealth, or perhaps by Glory.
He arrives in comfort and luxury, carried in a litter.
The litter is built of the fine woods of Lebanon and ornamented with gold and silver.
The inner furnishings are purple-dyed and embroidered.
The Hebrew suggests they were made with love, though that doesn’t appear in all the translations, and by the daughters of Jerusalem.
Returning to those first questions, we need to remember what else is known to have come from the wilderness.
In the first place, God’s people Israel came up from the wilderness in the time of Joshua.
This was the real beginning of their relationship with the land, celebrated in the second chapter
Along with God’s people, the Tabernacle came up from the wilderness.
Of course the Tabernacle was the lineal ancestor of Solomon’s Temple, which was built with the wood of Lebanon and gloriously decorated with gold
and silver and purple.
Along with the Tabernacle, the Ark of Covenant came up from the wilderness.
And along with the Ark of the Covenant, God himself came up from the wilderness.
In the Exodus account, God was guiding his people through the wilderness in the form of “a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night”
(Exodus ch.13 v23).
So when we see a column of smoke arriving from the wilderness, we should be understanding that as the continuation and conclusion of the Exodus
The column is perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, which were ingredients in the oil which sanctified the Tabernacle, and in the incense offered
before the Lord (Exodus ch30 vv22-38).
This seems to confirm that the column represents the Lord in his holiness.
Then it is entirely appropriate that God should be accompanied by Power (vv7-8).
And also entirely appropriate that God should be accompanied by Glory (vv9-10).
But why should he then be masked under the name of Solomon?
There are three factors which make King Solomon a suitable symbol for God’s kingship.
If the Song was written in the period after the return from the Babylonian exile, as many scholars believe, then Solomon would be remembered as the
ruler of the ideal kingdom from the period before the disaster.
As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the geographical references in this poem mark out the extent of the greater kingdom which was attributed to
Secondly, his association with the Temple, where God was worshipped.
And finally, the meaning of his name, which relates to the word for “peace”, the ideal state which might be expected to prevail under God’s
v11. Solomon is now displayed as a bridegroom.
It seems that the wedding has taken place previously.
For the daughters of Zion are to go and meet him, and see him in his wedding crown, the crown which he’s already received.
Some people believe that the purpose of the Song of Songs was to celebrate the wedding of the historic King Solomon.
So I’m tempted to ask- “Which one?”
Solomon is credited with seven hundred wives, and it’s not likely that any of these marriages was a love-match.
But if Solomon represents the Lord, then “the wedding of Solomon” represents the act which unites God with his people, making them husband and
That’s where this passage connects with what the poem has already told us, about the relation between the Woman and the Loved One.
Then what do we make of the crowning of the bridegroom by his mother, a very obscure part of the ceremonial?
I think the key to understanding this event is to remember the name of Solomon’s mother.
Solomon’s mother was Bathsheba.
The name “Bathsheba” means “daughter of the oath”.
So Solomon’s wedding was sealed by “the daughter of the oath”.
That is to say, God’s marriage with his people has been sealed by his solemn oath, which we know as the oath of the Covenant.
So this passage seems to recall the arrival in the land of God and his people, the Woman and her Loved One, already bound by a solemn Covenant.