Song of Songs : Introduction – Part 3

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See also :

Song of Songs : Introduction – Part 1

Song of Songs : Introduction – Part 2

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I thought for this last part of my introduction to the Song of Songs I would share some more quotes from Henry Law which really helped me years ago to better appreciate the value of this book. I hope the words I will quote will encourage you to study the Song of Solomon with greater enthusiasm and interest; they are taken from the preface of his Song of Songs devotional commentary:

“In this treasury [of the Bible] the Song of Solomon is a bright jewel. From the day when first the Holy Spirit gave it to the world, it has rightfully received co-equal rank with kindred books. From its birth its sacred origin has been indubitably maintained. The pen which wrote the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes gave this likewise to the sacred Canon. Our Church, also, has without hesitation enrolled it in this heaven-born company.”

“Believers’ hearts in every age and place have recognized in it the voice of God speaking in terms indubitably divine. Such streams of consolation, comfort, and instruction, could only flow from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Its channel is too deep–its waters are too full for human origin. Its tender whispers have cheered the disconsolate–upheld the tottering–revived the fainting–strengthened the weak–confirmed the wavering–wiped many a weeping eye–and soothed many a sighing breast. In hours of pain and weariness and solitude, its voice has sounded as the melody of heaven. When love has languished, its breath has fanned the sparks into a flame. Refreshed in this vestibule, how many have exclaimed, “This is none other than the House of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” The eye of faith has seen the Savior drawing near, “leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.” If this blessed book had not been given, many harps of delight might often have hung on the willows of disconsolation. But all praise to heavenly grace, it has been given, and we possess it. Let us then prize it, and devoutly use it.”

“There is, also, proof in passages not few that the same Spirit which composed other Scriptures is the writer here. The unity of expressive terms shows this truth in full clearness. Let a brief exemplification be adjoined.

    • The Spirit is invoked in this book as the wind. The lips of Jesus adopt the same similitude.
    • Here, and in other Scriptures, the attraction of the soul is described by the term “to draw.”
    • Similarly, “things new and things old” are words adopted to describe the comprehensive fullness of the heavenly treasure.
    • The description of Bride and Bridegroom–of the Church as a vineyard–of Christ standing at the door–so conspicuous here, are as rays of light in other Scriptures.
    • This book terminates by importunately calling upon Christ to come. The Revelation closes with the same petition.”

“Unity of thought and vocabulary establishes unity of authorship–and the Author is the Holy Spirit. Thus the Song of Solomon is the offspring of eternal wisdom.”

“Let it, also, be noted that in this Song we find the expansion of David’s Hymn of Loves. The sweet singer of Israel in the forty-fifth Psalm draws the miniature–his son supplies the life-size portrait. We gain entrance into the palace which Solomon constructed, by a key thus previously provided by his inspired father.”

“It exhibits the mystery of mysteries–the Heavenly Bridegroom’s love–and the response of the believer’s heart. It may without irreverence be said, that the Holy Spirit could not find a worthier theme. Heaven alone can embrace its breadth and length, its depth and height. It baffles all power of human mind to conceive it. No tongue of eloquence can express it. Wondering angels desire to measure its boundless infinitudes. To grasp its history requires super-human mind.”

“In this Song this mutual love is exhibited in a series of diversified similitudes. A train in beauteous procession passes before the eye. Allegory follows on to allegory. Sometimes the portions are brought together as parts of a continued drama. Sometimes dissimilarity and disparity break every link of connection. But throughout the teaching is uniform. From the opening to the close, bridal love occupies the scene.”

“It is undoubted wisdom to keep the eye fixed on the main feature of heavenly love.”

I would add that there are some similarities between Revelation and Song of Songs, books using many similitudes. For example, we have the Bridegroom knocking at the door awaiting a response from the Bride:

“I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” (Song of Songs 5:2)

Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom speaking to the Church of the Laodiceans : “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Another example of similarity between Revelation and Song of Songs :  we see “virgins” following the Bridegroom:

“Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do THE VIRGINS LOVE THEE.  Draw me, WE will run after thee…” (Song of Songs 1:3-4a) [Note : no one else is mentioned in the first verses of this book but Solomon the Bridegroom, the Bride and the virgins so “we” = Bride + virgins]

“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:4)

Let me mention also that the Bride in Revelation and the Bride in Song of Songs are both associated figuratively with the moon and the sun:

“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun…” (Song of Songs 6:10a)

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet…” (Revelation 12:1a)

We see in both Revelation and Song of Songs the jealousy* of the Bridegroom:

“… for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” (Song of Songs 8:6b-7; compare this verse with Deuteronomy 4:24 where jealousy and fire are mentioned together in connection with God)

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5)

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)

* not the sinful jealousy of men; God’s jealousy (Exodus 20:5) is a righteous and holy jealousy because He as the Creator and Redeemer of men is alone worthy of all glory and honor and love

In both Revelation and Song of Songs are described some characteristics of the Bridegroom’s body:

“His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.” (Song of Songs 5:11)

“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow…” (Revelation 1:14a)

“His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.” (Song of Songs 5:12)

“… and his eyes were as a flame of fire.” (Revelation 1:14b)

“His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl…” (Song of Songs 5:14a)

“And he had in his right hand seven stars…” (Revelation 1:16a)

“His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold…” (Song of Songs 5:15a)

“… and his feet as pillars of fire.” (Revelation 10:1b)

“…his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.” (Song of Songs 5:15b)

“… and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” (Revelation 1:16b)

I will finish this post with some more profitable observations from Henry Law. They are taken from his interpretation of chapter 1, verse 1:

“The Holy Spirit gives the title to this sacred book. The name of the author and the message are not left to critical surmise. Solomon, famed for wisdom, rich in every gift, distinguished above men, is the inspired penman. We thus can date the period when this ray of light first gleamed. It follows in close succession to the spiritual songs of David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel. All thoughts of human composition are excluded.”

“It is a Song. It is not a historic narrative, relating in plain terms the annals of the past. It is not a prophetic portrait, foreshadowing in shrouded form the semblance of the coming future. It is no scientific treatise, developing God’s plan in the arrangement of nature’s multitudinous wonders. It is not a chain of moral precepts, directing to the beauties and bliss of holy life. It mounts on the wings of metaphor and figure. It expatiates in the regions of imagination, and decorates spiritual thoughts with poetic images. Thus large scope is given for lively interpretation. But to this license strict limits are erected. No conclusion may be enforced but the obvious lessons of sound judgment and indisputable truth.”

“Moreover, it is the Song of songs. It rises incomparably above all similar expressions of words or feelings. May it be to us the joy of joys–the charm of charms–the delight of delights–a feast of melody! May our souls here find superabundance of heavenly transports! May we be enraptured by it to sing at the very gate of heaven!”

“Doubtless, the Song reveals a great mystery, even the communion which exists between Christ and His Church. Happy are they who hear in the Bridegroom’s words the love of Christ addressed to their own souls. Happy are they who can respond, that the words of the Church are the pure experience of their inmost feelings.”

Having already looked at Henry Law’s comments on the first 2 chapters of the book I can say that there is much in his commentary that is commendable and profitable.  I would encourage you to look at his Song of Songs devotional commentary (click here).

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