Song of Songs - Lesson 1 Handout
I. Introduction – discussion of the book, its history, authorship, nature, purpose, and special value
1 The Song of Songs, by Solomon.
2 Oh, give
me the kisses of your mouth . . .For you love is more delightful than wine.
3 Your ointments yield a sweet fragrance; your name is like finest oil. Therefore do maidens love you.
4 Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers. Let us rejoice in your love. Savoring it more than wine. Like new wine they love you.
A. What does kissing represent?
B. In verse 3, the word for perfumes or ointments also means oils. What do these words suggest? Who are the “women,” and why do they love the king?
C. The king takes the lover into his chamber, and they’re happy. Meaning?
9 I have
likened you, my darling, to a mare in
10 Your cheeks are comely, with plaited wreaths, your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will add wreaths of gold to your spangles of silver.
12 While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance.
Given our knowledge of the Bible, what are the various meanings of these verses?
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms from the vineyards of En-gedi.
give you a sense of its understanding from commentators over the ages.
17 Our couch is in a bower, cedars are the beams of our house, cypresses the rafters.
The surface meaning is a little clearer. Deeper possibilities?
1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
2 Like a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the maidens.
3 Like an
apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the
youths. I delight to sit in his shade and his fruit is sweet to
4 He brought me to the banquet room, and his banner of love was over me.
The first verse is the lover of God. The second is God. The 3rd and 4th are from the lover. Do you have thoughts, based on the words, about how each views the other?
Read verses 2:8-10.
9 Hark my beloved! There he comes, leaping over mountains, bounding over hills.
10 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing through the window, peering through the lattice.
11 My beloved spoke this to me. "Arise my darling, my fair one, come away.
Do you get a sense of God and/or Jesus in these verses? What is the Divine doing? When might this have been or be?
14 O my dove, in the cranny of the rocks, hidden by the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely.
15 Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards - for our vineyard is in blossom.”
16 My beloved
is mine and I am his; who browses among the lilies.
17 When the day blows gently and the shadows flee, set out, my beloved, swift as a gazelle or a young stag for the hills of spices.
A. We should recall these references in the Bible. Let’s discuss.
B. Judaism and Christianity share an interest in 16-17. But different ways of looking at these verses could go in different directions. Do you see how?
1 Upon my couch
at night I sought
the one I love; I sought, but found him not.
2 “I must rise and roam the town, through the streets and in the squares;
I must seek the one I love. I sought but found him not.
3 I met the watchmen who patrol the town. “Have you seen the one I love?”
4 Scarcely had I passed them, when I found the one I love. I held him, and fast and would not let him go until I brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
5 I adjure you, O maidens of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the hinds of the fields does: do not stir up or awaken love until it please!
6 Who is she that comes up from the desert like columns of smoke, in clouds of myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of the merchant?
7 There is Solomon’s couch. Encircled by sixty warriors of the warriors of Israel,
8 All of them trained in warfare, each with sword on thigh because of terror by night.
9 King Solomon made him a palanquin of wood from Lebanon.
10 He made its posts of silver, its back of gold, its seat of purple wool; within it was decked with love by the maidens of Jerusalem.
11 O maidens of Zion, go forth and gaze upon King Solomon, wearing the crown that his mother gave him on his wedding day, on his day of bliss.
Let me explain some possibilities.
Read 4:1- 4.
1 Ah, you are fair, my darling, Ah, you are fair.! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, streaming down Mount Gilead.
2 Your teeth are like a flock of ewes climbing up from the washing pool. All of them bear twins, and not one loses her young.
3 Your lips are like a crimson thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your brow behind your veil gleams like a pomegranate split open.
4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built to hold weapons hung with a thousand shields – all the quivers of warriors.
Now it’s your turn. This is God’s reflecting on believers and seeing qualities and attributes of the faithful that are beautiful. Spot them, and explain.
Read 4:15-16 and 5:1-2.
15 You are a garden spring, a well of fresh water, a rill of Lebanon.
16 Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden that its perfume may spread. Let my beloved come to his garden, and enjoy its luscious fruits.
1 I come to my garden, my own, my bride; I have plucked my myrrh and spice, eaten my honey cand my honeycomb, Drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, lovers and drink, drink deep of love.
2 I was asleep, but my heart was wakeful. Hark! my beloved knocks! “Let me in, my own, my darling, my faultless dove! For my head is drenched with dew, my locks with the damp of night.”
These verses poetically describe so many features of our loving relationship with God. Can you see the metaphors, similes, and analogies and explain them?