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Question #1: Are the following phrases in the 'Song Of Solomon' references to Christ ('bundle of myrrh' - 1:13; 'cluster of camphire' - 1:14; 'rose of Sharon' - 2:1; 'the lily of the valley' - 2:1; 'him whom my soul loveth' - 3:2; 'the chiefest among ten thousand' - 5:10; 'altogether lovely' - 5:16)?

Answer by Bill Cavender

No, none of these words, phrases, and descriptive terms have any reference to Jesus Christ, our Lord. The "Song Of Songs, Which Is Solomon's" ("The Canticles") is NOT a prophetic book foretelling Jesus or anything about Him. It is NOT an "allegorical," figurative book, "a description of one thing under the image of another" (Webster). It IS a drama or play, consisting of three parts or acts, having to do with "young love," two young people in love, and their faithfulness to each other, even when king Solomon himself tries to interfere and intervene, and win the affections of the maiden.

Solomon, son of David, reigned over Israel, 1015-975 B.C. He "spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five" (I Kings 4:32). There are about one-third of his proverbs preserved in the Bible, and only ONE of his songs, if you do not count Psalms 72, 127, 132, which he wrote. He tells us that "The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's" (1:1) is his superlative, his greatest, his most excellent song. One way in which Hebrews expressed the highest, superlative degree in their language was by the doubling of words and phrases - "King of kings; Lord of lords; heaven of heavens; verily, verily; etc." "The Canticles are embellished by rich oriental imagery and contains very beautiful descriptions of natural scenery" (Heinrich G.A. Ewald).

There are three beautiful human love stories in the Bible:

(1) "Life may be hard and its drudgery a grinding yoke, but with love all tasks are sweet!...'And Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her (Genesis 29:20)'...To the lover, it is always springtime, and the time of the singing of the birds' (Song Of Solomon, 2:8-17)." Jacob was 77 years old when he left home, went to Mesopotamia, and met his cousin, Rachel, who was much younger than he. Jacob was 91 when Rachel gave birth to Joseph. He was 98 or 99 when she died. Near death, at age 147, in the land of Egypt, he remembered Rachel. Talking with Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, he said, "As for me, when I came from Padan-aram, Rachel died by me ('to my sorrow') in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem." (Genesis 48:7). Really, Jacob served Laban fourteen years for Rachel, but she became his wife after seven years and one week (Genesis 29:15-30).

(2) Boaz, the rich land-owner bachelor of Bethlehem, and Ruth, the young widow from Moab. The Book of Ruth relates this wonderful story of older, mature love and the noble, high quality of their conduct in meeting one another, becoming aware of each other, and of his desire to have her for his wife, and then going about to lawfully claim her.

(3) The love story of two young people, "the Shulamite" (6:13), "the maiden of Shunem" in the tribal boundaries of Issachar, and her shepherd sweetheart, called "her beloved" or "my beloved," (1:16; 2:8, etc.). Others in this drama or play are: the king, Solomon, (3:7, etc.); the Shulamite's brothers (1:6; 2:15); "the daughters of Jerusalem" (women of the king's harem) (1:5; 2:7; 3:10; 5:8, 16); "the watchmen" (3:3; 5:7). Older love of older people is illustrated by Jacob and Boaz with younger wives. "The Canticles" pictures young love, that which God intended and which is so natural and normal, and two young people, a boy and a girl, falling in love and desiring to be with each other.

There are three parts or acts to "The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's": PART I - Chapers 1:1 - 3:5 (the setting is in the village of Shunem, the girl 's and shepherd's home territory); PART II - Chapters 3:6 - 8:4 (the setting is in Jerusalem); PART III - Chapter 8:5-14 (the maiden returns to Shunem, is with her shepherd sweetheart, and makes several observations.)

Solomon, seeing this beautiful country maiden as he travels in the northern areas of his kingdom, is enamored by her beauty. His first words to her and about her are in 1:9-10. The king returns to Jerusalem with his retinue, bringing the Shulamite with him, cared for by the women of his harem, the "daughters of Jerusalem" (3:6-11). Three times he tries to woo her and win her affections (4:1-5; 6:4-10; 7:6-9). He fails! She is truly in love with her shepherd sweetheart; and while Solomon woos her, she is thinking of her sweetheart. After his failure with the maiden, he allows her to return to Shunem.

The climax of "The Canticles" are verses 6 and 7 of Chapter 8, words spoken by the wise and beautiful maiden of Shunem. She was wise beyond her years. She extols the power, the strength, the virtue, of true love, the most important quality and characteristic of human beings. "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm; for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals ('flashes') thereof are coals ('flashes') of fire, which hath a most vehement flame ('a very flame of Jehovah'..the lightning). 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." (Note: this is the King James Version. You should compare other translations of these verses - American Standard, New American Standard, New King James, English Standard Version, etc.).

All the words and phrases in the first paragraph above, sent by our querist, are the words of "the Shulamite" in speaking of, and describing her shepherd sweetheart. NONE are in reference to Jesus our Lord. There is nothing about Jesus Christ in "The Song Of Songs, Which Is Solomon's".

Next Question - Question #2: In Judges, chapter 11:30-31, 34-40, did Jephthah offer his daughter as a burnt-offering to the Lord? (West Virginia)

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