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Wednesday, February 6 2013
Song Of Solomon: The King's Favorite
The Song of Songs, or Song Of Solomon, takes its name from the first line of the composition.
"1:1 The song of songs, which is Solomon's." (Song Of Solomon 1:1 KJV)
The plurality of Song of Songs is evident in that both the "beloved" and the "lover" sing as they meet in the royal garden in Jerusalem, amidst the flowers and trees. Although apparently written as an expression of love between King Solomon and one of his wives, the "Song Of Solomon" has been interpreted, by Jews and Christians, with a greater meaning of the "bride" of the LORD. Jews read it during Passover in reference to the Exodus, while some Christians regard it as alluding to the marriage song of the returning Messiah (Revelation 21:2,9 22:17).
While both analogies hold true, to a point (or rather, to the point), it should also be kept in mind that the historic "bride" didn't remain faithful to the LORD, whether Israelite (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism and No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes? and Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant), or worldly "Christian" (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and Will Jesus Christ Obey Your Christian Religion?). Nor did Solomon remain faithful to the LORD - or to any one woman.
Solomon eventually had 700 wives and 300 concubines ("11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart" 1 Kings 11:3 KJV), although at the very time that he was singing his love songs to the woman in Song of Solomon, he had "only" 60 wives, 80 concubines and too many waiting virgins to count ("threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number").
"6:4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
Who was the king's favorite then? She is identified only as a "Shulamite" (Shulam was an ancient town in the northern Israel area).
"6:9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 6:10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? 6:11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. 6:12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib. 6:13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies." Song Of Solomon 6:9-13 KJV)
Do the Scriptures otherwise mention any young, beautiful Shulamite or Shunammite (alternate pronunciations of the same word) woman in the royal palace at the time of Solomon? Yes. Abishag, the young virgin who had attended King David before his death.
"1:1 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat. 1:2 Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat. 1:3 So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 1:4 And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not." (1 Kings 1:1-4 KJV)
Some have speculated that Abishag (see the Fact Finder question below) was the other singer in the Song of Solomon, however there is nothing recorded as definitive proof. It is recorded however that Solomon was very jealous and possessive of Abishag. When Solomon's brother Adonijah, with the help of Solomon's mother Bathsheba, asked to marry Abishag, Solomon responded with rage - and a refusal to allow anyone (else?) to marry her.
"2:21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife. 2:22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah. 2:23 Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. 2:24 Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day." (1 Kings 2:21-24 KJV)
Studies For The Book Of Song Of Solomon
Fact Finder: What does the Bible tell us about Abishag?
This Day In History, February 6
1515: Aldus Manutius, Italian editor and printer, died. He printed the first "paperbacks" and invented italics.
1626: Huguenot rebels and the French signed the Peace of La Rochelle.
1685: Charles II, king of Great Britain and Ireland, died. James II became the new king.
1695: Ahmed II, Ottoman sultan from 1691-1695, died at age 53. His reign was marked by the continuing war with "The Holy League" of Austria, Poland and Venice (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1778: The U.S. and France signed treaties that would permit, "without French interference," the U.S. to invade Canada (which happened during the War of 1812-1814 - the only attempted invasion of Canada in Canadian history) and Bermuda, while France would attempt to take the British West Indies (France supported the breakaway of the New England colonies for their own predatory political reasons; France had no interest what-so-ever in anyone's "freedom" - when the New England colonies rebelled, France hypocritically maintained an oppressive grip on its own French colonies in Louisiana).
1804: Joseph Priestley, English cleric, chemist, one of the discoverers of oxygen, died.
1840: New Zealand became a British colony.
1899: The Treaty of Paris was ratified by the U.S. Senate by one vote, ending the "Spanish-American" War. Spain ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the U.S. for $20 million.
1922: Cardinal Achille Ratti was elected to succeed Pope Benedict XV as Pius XI.
1923: Edward Barnard died at age 66. He is considered to be the leading observational astronomer of his time; he discovered 16 comets and Jupiter's fifth moon, discovered "Barnard's Star" and published a catalog of dark nebula.
1933: The Nazi government of Adolf Hitler began news censorship in Germany (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1934: Massive riots in Paris; the government of Edouard Daladier resigned.
1936: Adolf Hitler opened the Winter Olympics in Berlin.
1952: King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland died at age 57. He was succeeded by his 26 year old daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
1958: An airplane carrying the Manchester United soccer team from the European Cup Match crashed on takeoff in Munich. 23 people were killed, including 8 members of the team and 8 journalists.
1964: France and Britain agreed on the joint construction of an English Channel tunnel.
2001: Ariel Sharon defeated Prime Minister Ehud Barak in Israel's election.