Why was Song of Solomon included in the Bible?

SHARE

By BibleAsk Team


The inclusion of the Song of Solomon, also known as the Song of Songs, in the Bible has been the subject of discussion throughout history. This poetic book, nestled among the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, stands out for its portrayal of love. To understand why the Song of Solomon was included in the Bible, we must explore its literary and theological significance, examining relevant passages from the Bible.

Literary and Cultural Context

Song of Solomon 1:1

  • Song of Solomon 1:1 (NKJV): “The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.”

The book begins with a superscription identifying it as the “song of songs,” indicating its preeminence among songs and attributing its authorship to King Solomon. This attribution has led many to view the Song of Solomon as a collection of love poetry composed by Solomon or attributed to him due to his legendary wisdom and poetic prowess.

The preface to this song in one of the Jewish books, or Targums, reads something like this: “This is the Song of Solomon, the prophet king of Israel, which he sang before Jehovah the Lord.” The Song of Solomon expressed the beautiful relationship between God and His redeemed children.

Poetic Imagery

Throughout the Song of Solomon, vivid and evocative imagery is used to depict intimate love. The lovers’ exchanges are filled with metaphors drawn from nature, including descriptions of gardens, vineyards, flowers, and animals. This poetic language captures the intensity and beauty of human relationships, celebrating the joys and challenges of love.

Allegorical Interpretation

One approach to interpreting the Song of Solomon is to view it allegorically, understanding the lovers’ relationship as a metaphor for the divine love between God and His people or between Christ and the church. In this interpretation, the bride represents the faithful believer, while the bridegroom symbolizes God or Christ, emphasizing the intimate and covenantal nature of the believer’s relationship with God.

The Old Testament Jews and the early church fathers understood it in that light. The love of God for all His people is pictured in the Old Testament: “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth”; “I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy” (Isaiah 54:5; Hosea 2:19-20). Also, the New Testament gives an analogy between the love of a husband and wife; groom and bride – with the love of Jesus for His Church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25-33).

Both the teachings of the Old Testament and the New Testament include parables, allegories and figures of speech to describe God’s relationship with His people. The love of a husband and wife is simply a manifestation and a picture of that deeper love which God has for His children (John 3:16). When Jesus comes back to take His bride -the church- home, He will greet her with these words:

“For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!”

Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Theological and Spiritual Significance

Marriage and Human Relationships

The Song of Solomon affirms the goodness of marriage and celebrates the beauty of human relationships. By portraying the love between the bride and bridegroom, the book underscores the importance of emotional intimacy, mutual respect, and commitment in partnerships. It offers valuable insights into the dynamics of healthy relationships and the joys of marital love.

Creation and Divine Design

The Song of Solomon reflects on the divine design of human love within the context of marriage. The book presents aspects of human experience, highlighting the sacredness of intimacy within the boundaries of marriage.

Allegory of Spiritual Union

For many theologians and interpreters, the Song of Solomon serves as an allegory of the spiritual union between God and His people. The love between the bride and bridegroom symbolizes the deep longing and intimacy that believers share with God, reflecting the spiritual intimacy and communion experienced in the believer’s relationship with the divine.

Historical and Canonical Considerations

Inclusion in the Hebrew Canon

The Song of Solomon was included in the Hebrew Bible, where it was traditionally categorized as part of the Ketuvim, or Writings, section of the Old Testament. Its inclusion in the Hebrew canon attests to its recognition as a sacred and authoritative text within the Jewish religious tradition.

Acceptance by Early Christians

Early Christians also regarded the Song of Solomon as a canonical scripture, incorporating it into the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The book was valued for its poetic beauty and theological insights into love, marriage, and spiritual union.

Conclusion

The inclusion of the Song of Solomon in the Bible reflects its significance as a literary, theological, and spiritual text that speaks to the human experience of love and intimacy. Its poetic imagery, allegorical potential, and celebration of human relationships have earned it a place among the sacred scriptures of both Jewish and Christian traditions. Whether read as a celebration of marital love, an allegory of spiritual union, or a reflection on the divine design of human experience, the Song of Solomon continues to inspire and resonate with readers across cultures and generations, affirming the enduring power and beauty of love in all its forms.

In His service,
BibeAsk Team

We'd love your feedback, so leave a comment!

If you feel an answer is not 100% Bible based, then leave a comment, and we'll be sure to review it.
Our aim is to share the Word and be true to it.