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Marriage and the Song of Solomon

Why is the Song of Solomon in the Bible?

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 11, In the year of our Lord 2012



  1. Why is the Song of Solomon in the Bible? 
    1. Its abbreviation reveals why it is in the Bible.
    2. It is SOS for marriages.
      1. It shows the honor and beauty
      2. that ought to be in marriage.
        1. If married couples follow the relationship pattern
        2. of Solomon and the Shulamite,
          1. the love of God
          2. will grow in that marriage.
  2. It Does Not Show Marriage in Typical Everyday Life 
    1. The Song does not show Solomon and the Shulamite going through
      1. household chores,
        1. paying the bills,
        2. dealing with children,
        3. or planning their future.
      2. The Song shows the way they speak to one another.
        1. When I taped a series of video lessons on Marriage and the Family at World Video Bible School in 1992,
        2. the brethren involved said that if they spoke to their wives
          1. like Solomon did to the Shulamite
          2. their wives would wonder what was wrong.
        3. Undoubtedly it is true in the reverse also.
    2. The Song shows two people oblivious to the world,
      1. totally devoted to each other
      2. without distraction.
    3. The Song shows two people who cannot see faults in the other,
      1. who describe one another as though
      2. they are perfect.
        1. Yet, you know that they had imperfections.
        2. Proverbs 20, written by Solomon,
          1. has a confession about any person,
          2. including Solomon and the Shulamite
            1. that lets us know that they had sin.

              9 Who can say, “I have made my heart clean,
              I am pure from my sin”?
              (Pro 20.9)

            2. Is the Song of Solomon
              1. unrealistic and impractical
              2. for helping marriages today?
            3. No, there is something
              1. that we can learn
              2. from their approach toward one another.


  1. The Poetic Way that They Speak to One Another

    2 Like a lily among thorns,
    So is my love among the daughters.
    3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
    So is my beloved among the sons.
    (Song 2.2, 3a).

    1. Do you understand why they said these things?
      1. In 1.15 Solomon said to her,

        15 Behold, you are fair, my love!
        Behold, you are fair!
        You have dove’s eyes.
        (Song 1.15)

      2. In 2.1 she took his compliment and
        1. confessed that she was just one
        2. among many common flowers,

          1 I am the rose of Sharon,
          And the lily of the valleys.
          (Song 2.1)

      3. In 2.2 he took up the imagery that she used, and
        1. said that she was like a lily among thorns.
        2. In 2.3 she picked up on his line of thought and
          1. said that he was like an apple tree
          2. among the trees of the woods.
    2. Contrast that with the harsh way some speak to their spouses.
      1. Some husbands and wives cut each other down
        1. more than they might a criminal.
      2. It is fascinating the way a man and a woman can change,
        1. going from deep love at the wedding
        2. to severe bitterness at a divorce.
      3. Second Timothy 2 says that Christians must be gentle, and
        1. marriage is no exception to this passage, and
        2. Christian marriage should even be the prime example,

          24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient (2Ti 2.24).

    3. Contrast that with the ridiculing way some speak to their spouses.
      1. Some couples speak to each other and about each other
        1. as though the other is
        2. less than intelligent.
      2. Is this how the couple in the Song spoke?
      3. The Scripture tells us how to talk to each other.

        6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one (Co. 4.6).

        12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
        But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up
        (Ecc 10.12)

        32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
        But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse
        (Pro 10.32)

    4. Contrast that with the impatient way some speak to their spouses.
      1. Does impatience exist in the Song of Solomon?
        1. The only time we see impatience
        2. happens during their separation in chapters 3 and 5.
      2. We become impatient with a spouse
        1. when we do not want to be bothered by him or her,
        2. perhaps a friend, but not the spouse.
      3. We do not want to be bothered by a spouse
        1. when love for the other,
        2. though not for self, has begun to die down.
      4. Impatient speaking does not happen in the Song of Solomon,
        1. but only poetic words of love
        2. because their love was
          1. alive,
          2. biblical, and
          3. growing.
    5. Contrast that with the ho-hum way some speak to their spouses.
      1. Notice the way that some husbands and wives are not excited
        1. when they hear the voice of the other, but
        2. notice the joy when greeting a friend.
      2. Some husbands and wives are no longer friends, but
        1. it is as though they work for each other, and
        2. they really do not care for their boss.
      3. Listen to the Shulamite in 2.8, 9,

        8 The voice of my beloved!
        Behold, he comes
        Leaping upon the mountains,
        Skipping upon the hills.
        9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
        Behold, he stands behind our wall;
        He is looking through the windows,
        Gazing through the lattice.
        (Song 2.8, 9)

      4. Solomon was the same way toward her in 4.9,

        9 You have ravished my heart,
        My sister, my spouse;
        You have ravished my heart
        With one look of your eyes,
        With one link of your necklace.
        (Song 4.9)

      5. There is nothing ho-hum about the Song of Solomon.
  2. What Are We to Learn from Their Pictures of Perfection of the Other?

    2 I sleep, but my heart is awake;
    It is the voice of my beloved!
    He knocks, saying,
    “Open for me, my sister, my love,
    My dove, my perfect one;
    For my head is covered with dew,
    My locks with the drops of the night.”
    (Song 5.2)

    1. Some, who once could only see good in the other,
      1. eventually learn to see
      2. nothing but bad in his or her spouse.
    2. How does the Song of Solomon teach us to regain that zeal?
      1. It is the word of God, and
        1. that truth alone
        2. moves us to read it.
      2. This fact also moves us
        1. to accept that it is the truth,
        2. meaning that it will lead to success.
      3. We are encouraged to imitate what is written.
        1. If a couple will read and meditate upon the Song,
        2. it will start to influence them.
      4. You may not learn all the proper literary devices, but
        1. you may be surprised
        2. by a change in your language.
  3. They Are Incomplete without One Another 
    1. They experienced pain when separated.
      1. Song 3.1–4 vividly portrays her pain
      2. when separated from Solomon,

        1 By night on my bed I sought the one I love;
        I sought him, but I did not find him.
        2 “I will rise now,” I said,
        “And go about the city;
        In the streets and in the squares
        I will seek the one I love.”
        I sought him, but I did not find him.
        3 The watchmen who go about the city found me;
        I said, “Have you seen the one I love?”
        4 Scarcely had I passed by them,
        When I found the one I love.
        I held him and would not let him go,
        Until I had brought him to the house of my mother,
        And into the chamber of her who conceived me.
        (Song 3.1–4)

      3. He felt the same way in 5.2–5
        1. when he came seeking for her,
        2. but left when she did not respond to him,
          1. though she quickly regretted it
          2. and sought him,

            2 I sleep, but my heart is awake;
            It is the voice of my beloved!
            He knocks, saying,
            “Open for me, my sister, my love,
            My dove, my perfect one;
            For my head is covered with dew,
            My locks with the drops of the night.”
            3 I have taken off my robe;
            How can I put it on again?
            I have washed my feet;
            How can I defile them?
            4 My beloved put his hand
            By the latch of the door,
            And my heart yearned for him.
            5 I arose to open for my beloved,
            And my hands dripped with myrrh,
            My fingers with liquid myrrh,
            On the handles of the lock.
            (Song 5.2–5)

    2. Remember in Genesis 2,
      1. that God joined a man and a woman together to be one,
      2. so that they are incomplete without each other,

        24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen 2.24).

        1. Verse 18 shows why God created woman in the first place,

          18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Gen 2.18).

        2. Then God did something to cause Adam
          1. to see his own incompleteness and
          2. the gift of a wife,

            19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said. “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man” (Gen 2.19–23).

    3. It is both sad and beautiful when a man or a woman dies and
      1. the spouse follows soon after because of
        1. loneliness,
        2. emptiness, and
        3. incompleteness.
      2. It is sad to see someone hurting so much
        1. that he or she actually dies,
        2. though nothing is wrong physically.
      3. It is beautiful to see someone so attached
        1. to his or her mate
        2. that he cannot live without the other.
  4. Love That Is because of Rather than in Spite of 
    1. The force of the Song is that
      1. we are to become what our spouse wants.
    2. The force of the poetry of the Song is that
      1. we see the good in our spouse.
      2. Could they have found fault in the other?
        1. There is no doubt, for no one is perfect.
        2. However, they refused to dwell on the faults, but
          1. concentrated on the wonders.
  5. The Unashamed Nature of Biblical Married Love 
    1. The love of the Song of Solomon
      1. is unashamed and
      2. is not embarrassed.
    2. Genesis 2 makes an interesting statement
      1. after God had created the woman and
      2. after He performed the first wedding,

        25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Gen 2.25).

        1. This kind of relationship comes when it is remembered
        2. that God brought the two together,

          6 “So [that], they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19.6).

    3. God has brought you and your spouse together.
      1. Therefore, do not despise the gift of God.

        22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
        And obtains favor from the LORD.
        (Pro 18.22)

        14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
        But a prudent wife is from the LORD.
        (Pro 19.14)

      2. How will you treat your spouse,
        1. if you remember
        2. that he or she is from God?
  6. The Strength of Love 
    1. Song 8 highlights biblical married love,
      1. comparing it to the unconquerable power of death,

        6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
        As a seal upon your arm;
        For love is as strong as death,
        Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
        Its flames are flames of fire,
        A most vehement flame.
        7 Many waters cannot quench love,
        Nor can the floods drown it.
        If a man would give for love
        All the wealth of his house,
        It would be utterly despised.
        (Song 8.6, 7)

  7. Love Is Knowledgeable 
    1. Solomon and the Shulamite knew how to use words.
    2. They knew one another enough to know what images to us for comparisons.
    3. They knew one another by spending time with one another.
        1. Listen to him in 4.2, 3,

          2 Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep
          Which have come up from the washing,
          Every one of which bears twins,
          And none is barren among them.
          3 Your lips are like a strand of scarlet,
          And your mouth is lovely.
          Your temples behind your veil
          Are like a piece of pomegranate.
          (Song 4.2, 3)

        2. 5.12, 13 shows her knowledge of him,

          12 His eyes are like doves
          By the rivers of waters,
          Washed with milk,
          And fitly set.
          13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices,
          Banks of scented herbs.
          His lips are lilies,
          Dripping liquid myrrh.
          (Song 5.12, 13)


  1. Try to Be Like Either Solomon or the Shulamite
    1. When you imitate them,
    2. two wonderful blessings will follow.
      1. Your marriage will be wonderful as God intended.
      2. You will understand the relationship between Christ and the church.
  2. Where is your relationship with Christ?