Many Christians shy away from the Song of Songs. It can certainly be a little intimidating to tackle on your own, and there are a lot of elements in the Song that only add to the complex themes present there.
If you’re curious about the Song of Songs, here are four facts you might not know about this book of the Bible!
The poem isn’t linear
Good poetry never is, right? You might expect the Song of Songs to follow a traditional romance story plotline:
- Boy meets girl
- Boy and girl date
- Boy and girl get married
- Boy and girl live happily ever after
But this long poem actually follows a chiastic structure, which means it “follows a pattern that folds in on itself” (27). It’s messy. It bounces back and forth among three themes, so it can be hard to discern what order events are happening.
The song isn’t just about two lovers
We typically think of the Song of Songs as a romantic, lovey-dovey, maybe even scandalous book of the Bible—something that’s reserved for married folk only.
But Christ is at the heart of the Song. By looking at the love Solomon has for his bride, we get a beautiful picture of the love Christ has for us. So while this book of the Bible is certainly on one level a marriage love poem, it also reflects a greater love.
Solomon, the author of the Song, wasn’t perfect
I’m sure you knew this fact deep down—no one is perfect except Jesus—but we often idealize people in the Bible, thinking that because they are featured in Scripture they must have been a perfect example of a child of God!
Solomon was far from perfect. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines—and that’s just the sin we know about. So, as romantic and pure as the Song might seem, we have to remember that Solomon and his bride were both sinners.
We don’t know exactly who the bride in the Song is
We know she is a Shulammite, but even that term is somewhat ambiguous. We know she was, at some point, a wife to Solomon. We know she was “dark, but lovely” (1:5). But other than that, we don’t know much!
But, as some have asked, does it really matter who she is? The heart of the message of the Song doesn’t change based on the details of the woman, so we can rest in what God has revealed to us in His Word.
The Song of Songs is definitely a complicated book of the Bible. If you’re looking for someone to help you navigate it, look no further—Altogether Beautiful is a video-based women’s Bible study on the Song of Songs, and it’s led by author Heidi Goehmann. She deftly guides you through even the most difficult and complex parts of the Song, always bringing you back to Christ.
Read the first five days of Altogether Beautiful for free.