Patsy Rae Dawson
For over 3000 years the Song of Songs has taught the secret of lovemaking for a lifetime of chandelier-hanging sex. God used real people to tell a true story that took place over three action-packed days. The Song of Songs was esteemed by the Jews as a sacred book for hundreds of years before Jesus’ earthly ministry. They sang selections from it at certain festivals in the temple at Jerusalem prior to its destruction by Titus in 70 AD. Thus, it was a part of the canon of scriptures that Jesus and the apostles quoted and taught from. (John Richard Sampey, “Song of Solomon,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, p. 2831.)
The Apostle Paul Warned of a Hoax Regarding Marriage
After Jesus died, the Apostle Paul warned that an apostasy would come regarding marriage:
1 Tim. 4:1-5: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
With the destruction of Jerusalem, this prophesy began to be fulfilled in the form of a major religious hoax that exists today. With their temple gone along with their system of religion, surviving Jewish rabbis worked to protect as many of the sacred scrolls as possible. Some of the rabbis tried to get the Song of Songs left out of the collection of inspired writings. When their efforts failed, they added Solomon’s name to the first line of the book and it became known as the Song of Solomon. They also fabricated the allegorical interpretation of the Song of Solomon as merely God’s marital relationship with Israel.
As the rabbis moved away from a literal view of the book, it required them to merge the two male suitors, King Solomon and the Shepherd boyfriend, into one person. They ignored the typical Jewish marriage rituals at the end of the book, complete with a riddle like the one Samson had at his wedding. Then they transformed the dialogue into an exchange between a husband and wife. To make the conflict in the historical drama work in their new version, they invented a fight or two between the young lovers as they tried to figure out what sex is all about.
As this hoax spread to the Christian church, the Song of Songs continued to be known by Solomon’s name. While I prefer to call the book the Song of Songs, most Christians and non-Christians recognize it as the Song of Solomon. For this reason, I refer to the scriptures as the Song of Solomon.
Origen Castrated Himself and the Song of Solomon
Then as the Christian church became predominantly Gentile in the first few centuries, healthy sexual attitudes from Jewish influence were lost. The early Church Fathers were uncomfortable with a book celebrating a woman’s sexuality. They effectively covered up God’s teachings about the inner thoughts of a young virgin of Israel whose hormones were pushing her to select a husband.
The most notable religious leader who tried to suppress the Song of Solomon was the third-century-theologian Origen. He denounced married lovemaking in answering Celsus’s attacks on Christianity. Origen asserted, “Christianity actually transformed a man’s conduct...from the time they adopt it…certain among them…abstain even from the permitted indulgences of (lawful) love.” (Pat E. Harrell, Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church.)
Origen was no hypocrite and castrated himself. (David Instone-Brewer, The Jesus Scandals, p. 24.) He hid the sexual teaching of the Song of Solomon by reworking the Jewish allegory to be about Christ and the church. Then he applied his mystic visions to create his own illusions. Origen essentially castrated the Song of Solomon right along with himself:
Origen was well aware, however, that this was not an interpretation which would be obvious to everyone. As some of the Jewish Rabbis before him had done, he warned that this was not a book to put into the hands of everyone. It could be so easily misunderstood. “I advise and counsel everyone who is not yet rid of the vexations of the flesh and blood and has not ceased to feel the passions of this bodily nature, to refrain from reading the book and the things that will be said about it”. To guard against such misunderstanding, every detail of the book was pressed into service to provide spiritual guidance, and very different guidance could be gleaned from the same detail. Take the reference to “doves” in 1:15. Since the dove was a bird noted for its fidelity to its mate, Origen took this to refer to the Church faithful to Christ and mourning for him when he is absent. Bernard of Clairvaux, however, stressed the solitary retiring habits of the dove and used the text to encourage Christians to sit solitary and have nothing to do with the world’s crowds. (Robert Davidson, Ecclesiastes and The Song of Solomon, p. 94.)
An important question to ask is, “If Origen was right that the Song of Solomon was about Christ’s love for the Church and the Church’s faithfulness to Christ, then why did Jesus never quote from it while he was on earth?” Jesus continually quoted passages from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament which contained the Song of Songs, to establish his divine authority and his love for mankind. If Origen was right, then Jesus neglected to even mention the most important book in the scriptures in regard to his own ministry. Unlike many preachers today who draw unlimited parallels between Jesus and Solomon and the Church and the Shulammite, Jesus never once mentioned the book.
Perhaps the answer to the question is found in Paul’s additional warning about the coming apostasy regarding marriage:
1 Tim. 4:7: “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women….”
The irony of this passage doesn’t escape my quirky sense of humor. Here we have Origen, who gave up his manhood by castrating himself, audaciously commanding sexually healthy husbands and wives to voluntarily give up their lawful sex lives. Then he invented an allegory which perverted the beautiful sexual teaching of the Song of Solomon. Now that’s what I call “worldly fables fit only for old women”!
Also consider the ridiculousness of Origen’s and the other early Church Fathers’ “doctrines of demons” that Paul spoke about in verse 1. The appendix chapter, “The Catholic Hoax on the Song of Solomon” documents the extreme prudery and naivety of the early religious leaders about wet dreams and conception. They taught that female demons invaded the cells of the monks and drove them literally crazy with sexual desires. Then other demons took on the forms of men and impregnated nuns during the night. Many rituals to cast out demons come from the Church Fathers’ ignorance about basic human sexuality. What a perfect way to blame the devil for the many aborted fetuses and dead babies found buried under the floors and in the walls of Catholic monasteries!
I must confess…I wonder if Paul’s warning about the coming apostasy and the role of “doctrines of demons” is a play on words. Was Paul speaking in regard to the false teachings that blamed demons for normal, healthy sexual desires in young people who were required to take oaths of celibacy? Or did Paul simply pronounce evil motives upon men who would deny husbands and wives the joys of marriage? Certainly, both are true.
Regardless, Origen and other Church Fathers initiated a great hoax that many people of today still embrace, not knowing the devious reason behind its invention. And how outrageous that Origen, who womanized himself with a knife, would deny healthy men and women the joy of learning about lovemaking from God, in whose mind the sexual relationship originated. Thus, the important teaching of the Song of Solomon frequently remains hidden because Origen’s hoax continues to flourish on the Internet in tweets, blogs, and YouTube sermons.
It’s Time to Reject the Hoax Played on the Song of Solomon
Indeed, the true story of the Song of Solomon is more relevant today than ever before as society struggles between two extremes—the lingering prudish Victorian morals pitted against the hookup mentality of high school and college students. Both opposing views of sexuality deny the theme of the Song of Solomon—that sex is not about the release of pent-up hormones. Rather, it is designed to bond the male’s and the female’s emotions together in a monogamous relationship. In other words, proper soulmating during courtship along with healthy sexual teaching leads to a lifetime of passionate lovemaking—all to the glory of God.
King Solomon provides the perfect representative of the sensuous, rich, influential playboy obsessed with sex and finding the perfect feminine body. In his quest, Solomon deflowered 1000 virgins, averaging 25 each year of his 40-year reign. And he performed all this before VIAGRA®.
Modern writers often dispute Solomon’s Herculean track record as being impossible for any man. However, several years ago when I attended a writers’ conference, the instructor for one session asked us to share what we were working on. When my turn came I said, “I’m studying the Song of Solomon and how Solomon averaged deflowering 25 virgins every year of his 40-year reign.”
While most of the people at the table gasped, the woman next to me said, “I’m the director of the local Planned Parenthood…. I believe it. We are seeing these same numbers with teenage boys. And we now know it does lasting damage to their brains.”
After the program I asked for her documentation about the brain damage to these young boys. She was in the process of retiring and wasn’t able to find the references. In recent years, a friend found the medical proof in the book Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children by Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD and Freda McKissic Bush, MD.
In contrast to Solomon, God reveals the Shepherd as a poor, hard-working, honest, one-woman man who truly loves the young Shulammite maiden. Both men are enamored with her for different reasons. The problem? The Shulammite doesn’t know who to choose.
Following is a brief synopsis of the Song of Solomon—the story as it unfolds. This overview does not attempt to prove the various points, clarify word definitions, or explain Biblical marriage customs. Instead, it serves only as an outline of the verse-by-verse study of the Song of Solomon in my book The Song of Solomon Love Triangle. There I explain the pertinent details of the various passages.
For now, read the prologue to understand the historical setting of the book, then follow the overview to capture the drama. I hope you will thrill to God’s great love for us and cherish this true story he provides to teach us about sexual soulmating in all its glory.
Finally, the epilogue of Solomon’s life after the Song of Solomon may surprise you in regard to what God thought of Solomon. Just like you and me, Solomon had choices. It’s only through Origen’s hoax of the allegorical position that anyone would ever think Solomon was a hero.
King Solomon’s Prologue
We can easily draw false conclusions about the Song of Solomon if we ignore the timeline of Solomon’s life. Likewise, we can’t properly apply the story’s beautiful sexual teachings to the 21st century if we fail to appreciate the historical setting and customs of the people who lived it. Although this true story occurred before television, hand-held devices, and Internet porn, modern science is just now discovering the Song of Solomon’ 3000-year-old secret that the brain is our most powerful sexual organ.
Solomon’s Co-Reign with David
When King David grew old, his family brought in a virgin to nurse him by snuggling with him in bed to keep him warm. During this time his son Adonijah decided to anoint himself king. When the prophet Nathan heard of it, he went to Bathsheba and made a plan for her to remind David that he promised to make her son Solomon king after him. While she was still before the king, Nathan would come in, and tell David about Adonijah. David reacted as they expected and gave orders for Solomon to be anointed king that very day. Solomon began co-reigning with David (1 Kings 1).
The Bible does not tell us how much time passed between 1 Kings chapter 1 when the co-reign began and chapter 2 when David died and Solomon was anointed king a second time (1 Chron. 29:22-23). Some historians think Solomon was 12 when he began his co-reign, others say he was 14. The fact that Nathan went to Bathsheba instead of Solomon indicates he was too young to deal with Adonijah trying to take the throne away from him.
Solomon’s First Two Wives
The Bible records that Solomon took at least two wives during his co-reign. The daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt was his first and favorite wife (1 Kings 3:1). She was the only wife mentioned specifically in a list of wives Solomon loved (1 Kings 11:1-2). The word “loved” means to love sexually or otherwise. She was also the only wife he built a house for (1 Kings 7:8).
He also married Naamah the Ammonitess who bore him a son, Rehoboam. He followed Solomon to the throne at age 41 (1 Kings 14:21). This means he was 1-year-old when David died and Solomon was anointed king the second time and began his 40-year reign.
Solomon’s Limited Wisdom
After becoming king the second time, Solomon went to Gibeon to the tabernacle tent to offer sacrifices. That night God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give you.” Solomon asked for wisdom for ruling the people. God said, “You have asked for wisdom and knowledge, that you may rule My people, over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge have been granted you” (2 Chron. 1:3-12).
We tend to assume Solomon asked for all encompassing wisdom, but he asked for wisdom in a specific area—in ruling over God’s people, stating that he was but a little child. In addition, God gave Solomon wisdom regarding trees, animals, birds, creeping things, and fish. Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:29-34). Even so, Solomon showed almost a total lack of wisdom as far as his personal life was concerned as he pursued and married 1000 women.
Some people find it hard to believe Solomon actually married 1000 women saying they don’t see how he could have kept that many women happy or even fed them. However, Solomon set up a system of government that accounted for the increase of wives each year:
He mapped out Israel and Judah into twelve districts, which only partially corresponded to the ancient boundaries [tribes]. Over these he set twelve officers for fiscal purposes [tax collectors], whose principal duty was to furnish provisions for the royal household. Each district provided supplies for one month. Two of the officers were sons-in-law of the king; the first in the list being Ben-hur of the hill country of Ephraim (1 K 4:7-19).
The Shulammite and her brothers would have been responsible for providing food for Solomon and his wives. The tax collectors also required them to provide hay for his growing herd of horses. While this system worked well for Solomon and his harem, it created a huge financial burden for his subjects:
The king supported an immense retinue of dependents; many of them being probably attached to the various princesses whom Solomon wedded [their servants and perhaps near relatives]. The maintenance of his huge harem necessarily entailed a heavy burden upon the state. (George L. Robinson, “Solomon,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, p. 2823-2824.)
More importantly, Solomon needed workers for his huge building projects—the temple, his palace, a home for his favorite wife Pharaoh’s daughter, and strategically places cities for storing the collected foods. He resorted to drafting 150,000 Canaanite slaves. He also compelled the Israelite men to work in sections of 10,000 on the various parts of his building projects. They served him for one month with two months off at home, then on again the next month (1 Kings 5:13-18).
The Shulammite’s brothers would have been drafted for working on Solomon’s building projects. Thus, they would have been double taxed. They provided food for one month out of every year and labor every third month.
Solomon’s Lack of a Perfect Heart
Before he died, David asked God to give Solomon a perfect heart to keep God’s commandments (1 Chron. 29:19). But God did not take away Solomon’s freewill. Obedience without the freedom to choose means nothing. We’d be like a vacuum cleaner that sucks up dirt when you turn it on and quits sucking dirt when you unplug it. In other words, without choices, we’d be like deluxe-model robots that do only what they’re programed to do.
Thus, when Solomon asked for wisdom after David’s death, God reminded Solomon of his accountability before God in the choices he made for himself. And if he obeyed God of his own freewill, then God promised Solomon what he did not ask for: riches, honor, and a long life (1 Kings 3:13).
Like David, many women and men today pray to God to take away their loved one’s freewill and give their mate and children perfect hearts for obeying him. Then they sit idly by and wait for God to take care of everything. God has always held people accountable for their own choices and actions—even men whom God loved very much such as David and Solomon.
Solomon’s Obsession with Foreign Women
Solomon married 998 women during his 40-year reign plus the two he married during his co-reign. The average of one thousand women over 40 years is 25 wives per year. This limited Solomon to spending a little over two weeks on each new wife including the courtship, the marriage festival which usually lasted a week, and the honeymoon. Then he moved on to deflowering the next virgin. This scenario fits his three-day whirlwind pursuit of the Shulammite.
Rather than these being strictly political wives that Solomon didn’t have sex with, 1 Kings 11:2 says, “Solomon held fast to these in love.” “Held fast” is the same word translated “cleave” in Gen. 2:24 where Adam said, “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” Cleave means to “stick like glue.” “Love” is a common word throughout Proverbs and means “to love sexually or otherwise.” Solomon treated these women as true wives in every sense.
God warned Solomon against marrying foreign women stating that if he did, they would turn his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:1-2). Solomon’s pagan wives were already involving him in idolatrous worship by the time of the Song of Solomon. We see this when the queens and concubines met the Shulammite. The only way they knew to praise her appearance was to use idolatrous descriptions. They assured Solomon they would accept her into the harem by reminding him of their idols of both virginity and prostitution.
The Shulammite is the only Israelite the Bible ever connects with possible marriage to Solomon. At the time of the Song of Solomon, the Jews still had very healthy attitudes toward marriage and lovemaking. When Solomon’s 40-year reign ended, the Jews’ view of women, children, and marriage had greatly deteriorated.
Solomon’s Queens and Concubine Wives
It’s possible David helped arrange Solomon’s first political marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter as a political union to help protect his young son when he began his solo rule. Solomon brought his wife to the city of David while David was still alive. She lived there until Solomon completed his own house and a separate house for her (1 Kings 9:24; 2 Chron. 8:11). Notice the immense political benefits the boy king gained from this marriage:
To strengthen his position among contemporary princes, Solomon sought marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh. Egypt was at this time the most wealthy and therefore the most powerful country in the world. Solomon’s marriage, accordingly, with the daughter of Pharaoh was an event of great importance. The Delta would henceforth defend him. It was a political marriage, quite unlike anything that had happened in Israel before. His union with Pharaoh’s daughter meant that he was allied with the strongest monarch then ruling upon any throne. By it he also won the Canaanitish city of Gezer, about midway between Joppa and Jerusalem. (George L. Robinson, “Solomon,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, p. 2823.)
Doing the math on Solomon’s wives at the time of the Song of Solomon shows that while some of Solomon’s wives were political unions, the majority of his marriages were all about sex. Here’s the breakdown on the 140 wives in Song of Solomon 6:8:
60 Queens (political and ordinary free women like the Shulammite) = 43%
80 Concubines (slaves would not have included Jewish women) = 57%
In the early years, Solomon acquired concubines (slave wives) faster than wives who were free women. All the concubines would have been pagans because the King could not keep Israelite slaves. With 57% of Solomon’s wives being slaves, more than half of his early marriages were primarily about his raging hormones.
Additionally, since the Shulammite was a free woman with no political benefits for Solomon, we have no way of knowing how many of the Queens were also commoners whom Solomon lusted after. With the huge political benefits from marrying the daughter of Pharaoh and keeping her as his favorite wife, Solomon’s need for other political alliances would have decreased. This allowed the playboy king to pursue any beautiful body that caught his eye.
Solomon’s Maidens Without Number
In addition to the queens and concubines, Solomon’s harem included “maidens without number”(Song of Solomon 6:8). The fact that these maidens are listed along with Solomon’s queens and concubines implies they were young virgins either promised or betrothed to Solomon.
A promise to marry was more like modern engagements—it could easily be broken. A person might break a number of “promises” before marrying. On the other hand, a betrothal was a formal covenant that could only be broken by a divorce even though the marriage was never consummated. The betrothal period before the wedding for a virgin was set by law to be ten months to a year, while it lasted only three to six months for a widow.
Solomon’s three-day whirlwind romance with the Shulammite indicates he probably preferred to dispense with the long wait of a formal betrothal. Likewise, the Shulammite’s pleadings with the palace virgins suggest she considered them promised to Solomon rather than betrothed to him. Throughout the verse-by-verse discussion of the Song of Solomon, I refer to the Jerusalem maidens as the Virgins.
Solomon’s Age in the Song of Solomon
When Solomon proposed to the Shulammite, he had only 140 wives. At 25 wives per year, this would put him five and a half years into his solo reign. He was probably about 21 and a half years old.
When a girl was espoused before the age of 12, she usually didn’t have a choice about whom she married. Girls were considered old maids after 14. The Shulammite voiced her right to accept or reject both Solomon and her shepherd boyfriend.
Girls were given in marriage when they were old enough to bear children, whereas men married when they either received their inheritance or obtained their own resources. It was also common for the groom to give a dowry, or purchase his wife from his future father-in-law. (Louis Rushmore, “Marriage Ages in the Bible,” Gospel Gazette Online, Vol. 7, No. 5, May 2005, p. 20.)
Since the Shulammite describes herself as being ready for love with her breasts being well-developed, she was probably closer to 14 than 12 (Song of Solomon 8:10). The Shepherd was already established as a successful shepherd. He was probably at least several years older than she was.
While young people could make marriage vows at 14 for boys and 12 for girls, they required parental permission until the age of 21. This explains why the Shulammite’s brothers could prevent her from marrying the Shepherd in the spring like they were planning.
Overview of the Song of Solomon
The Song of Solomon is only eight chapters long—2600 words. That’s the length of a serious magazine article. For people familiar with Bible-times marriage traditions and the historical setting of the book, it’s an easy, quick read. But for modern readers, the unfamiliar language and customs combine to hide the drama and theme of the Song of Solomon. This brief overview serves to let you experience the adventure in one reading. Then in the rest of this book, we’ll get into the particulars you and I need to fully understand the captivating Song of Solomon and make it our own life story.
The Shulammite’s Dilemma Begins—Song of Solomon 1:1-4
How can it be true? Did this handsome king really bring her to his tent? A poor vineyard keeper? Never has she dared to dream of such a marriage and life.
The first scene opens with the young Maiden emotionally all alone in one room of Solomon’s tent. While enticed by curiosity, her alarm at her predicament results in sensory overload as she yearns, indeed, pleads for the Shepherd to come rescue her. All five of her senses scream at once in her fast moving panic. Her dilemma? She loves the Shepherd…but the King promises her everything…except true love.
The Shulammite’s Brothers Put Her in Charge of the Vineyard—Song of Solomon 1:5-8
Before Solomon came, the Maiden was busy preparing for a spring wedding to the Shepherd. Her plans were interrupted when her brothers’ turn came to spend a month on the King’s building projects. When she insisted she needed time for a bride’s beautification ritual to whiten her skin, they became angry with her. The King didn’t give them a choice—they can’t stay home and take care of the vineyards at this critical stage. So she doesn’t have a choice either. Her wedding will have to wait.
Now in Solomon’s tent, the Shulammite tells his gawking servants, “Quit staring. This is the real world. My skin is burned dark by the sun because I’m a working girl.”
“Besides,” the Maiden continues, “I’m promised to the Shepherd. I don’t have to marry the King.”
The Virgins agree the Maiden has a choice, although they think she is silly. The thought of the King choosing one of them to enter his harem instead makes them giggle and blush.
The King Romances the Maiden—Song of Solomon 1:11-17
That evening as the Maiden dines with the King, he says, “My darling, you are like my mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.” This expression skips all the niceties of a first introduction and leaps into the middle of lewdness. As a king and owner of over 40,000 horses and 12,000 horsemen for his chariots, he knows exactly the power of a mare in heat distracting the stallions of Pharaoh during battle.
The simile describes the effect of a sexy babe sauntering through a singles bar with all the male heads turning to appraise the exquisite creature in their midst. “Hey, Beautiful,” they call, “You must be a model with those curves! You’re hot!” With whistles and husky descriptions of her body, they jockey for position to buy her drinks while hoping to score before the night disappears.
At each risqué proposal from Solomon, the Maiden silently compares him to the Shepherd.
The Shulammite Is the Rose of Sharon—Song of Solomon 2:1-6
Instead of agreeing to marry the King as he expects, the Maiden tells him she can be particular about who she marries. After all, she is like the beautiful flowers of the valley. She doesn’t need to make a hasty decision about his proposal.
Solomon assures her, “Babe, you are so beautiful, I will not change my mind. Take all the time you want to think.”
And what did the Maiden think about? She returns to comparing the King to the Shepherd. Her promised boyfriend is like an apple tree—always looking out for her and doing what is best for her. She asks the Virgins for sweet raisin cakes as she is lovesick for her beloved.
The Shulammite Shares the Secret for Great Lovemaking—Song of Solomon 2:7
As the Maiden shares with the Virgins the secret for choosing a lifelong sexual partner. Her mother has often pointed out the mating rituals of the deer and the antelope. She has observed the females refusing the advances of even a seasoned male until he sufficiently woos her emotions by snuggling and licking her face. And the young buck who sniffs her heat and tries to mount her for a quick release of his juvenile hormones? She doesn’t even look back as she rejects his teenage mating attempts by walking out from under him.
The Maiden begs, “Please don’t force me to marry the king before I’ve learned to love him and he falls in love with me. If you do, we may never learn to love each other.”
The Shulammite Sent the Shepherd Away—Song of Solomon 2:8-16
As the Maiden gets ready for bed, she remembers the Shepherd’s proposal. He brought out and enhanced her femininity and she enjoyed his caring, protective masculinity. He was so excited talking about their spring wedding; it broke her heart to tell him her brothers wouldn’t let her marry him until the fall.
She explained that her brothers have to report for their one-month duty on the King’s building projects. While they’re gone, she is in charge. Already the baby foxes are scampering up and down the rows of the vineyard. The fragile blossom won’t survive. She looked him in the eye and sighed as she told him the grape harvest depended on her working full time in the vineyard.
They ended their last meeting in each other’s arms pledging their love to each other. Then she told the Shepherd, “Turn [literally ‘turn away’], my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of Bether.”
A Dream Troubles the Shulammite—Song of Solomon 3:1-4
In preparing for her wedding to the Shepherd, the Maiden often dreamed about him. But that night in the King’s tent, she tosses and turns to a fretful dream. This time she visualizes life without the Shepherd. Her love for him drives her to search the city for him, but she can’t find him. When she finally finds the Shepherd, she grabs him and takes him home to her mother. The Maiden realizes the King hasn’t won her heart and she still wants to marry the Shepherd.
The Shulammite Begs the Virgins to Not Force Love—Song of Solomon 3:5
The Maiden’s mother had taught her well about the importance of emotional love. The next morning, for the second time, she repeats the secret of the Song of Solomon to the Virgins. She begs them to let love grow naturally—to choose soulmating before lovemaking. She can’t bear the thought of being married to someone she doesn’t love.
Solomon Takes the Shulammite to the Palace—Song of Solomon 3:6-4:7
This scene begins with the description of a typical Jewish wedding procession where the groom takes the bride from her home to his. However, the Maiden has made it clear to the King and the Virgins that she has not committed to marrying the King. And he has given her permission to take as long as she wants to think.
In the countryside the King tried excessive flattery and risqué innuendoes. The Virgins promised her a large dowry. Now he is taking her to Jerusalem for the next stage of breaking down her reluctance by impressing her with his wealth and splendor. After all, the Queen of Sheba swooned at the sight of his palace.
A forerunner of the screaming fans of the king of rock ‘n roll, Elvis Presley, the Israelite women run to the side of the road to “gaze on King Solomon with the crown which his mother had crowned him on the day of his wedding, and on the day of his gladness of heart.” With total fascination, they try to peer into the sedan chair with posts of silver and a gold back to see the newest maiden who has captured the King’s attention.
Once in the palace, the King continues his lustful pursuit by showering the inexperienced Maiden with polished lines. Instead of yielding, the Maiden continues to stall and asks for time in the garden to think. The King tells her to take all the time she needs while assuring her that she is so beautiful, he won’t change his mind.
The Shulammite Remembers the Shepherd—Song of Solomon 4:8-12
The Maiden continually compares the King’s graphic proposals for sex with the Shepherd’s declaration of wanting a life with her built upon emotional love. As a courting couple, the Maiden and the Shepherd talked about respect, love, and sex and what they wanted in marriage. The Shepherd pledged to help her keep her purity.
The Shulammite Prays for God’s Blessing—Song of Solomon 4:13-16
Surrounded by the King’s splendor and magnificence, the Maiden’s thoughts dwell on the Shepherd’s praise of her femininity and how valuable she is to him. In the midst of her dilemma, she prays to God that she wants to be a good wife and an active sexual partner. She says, “May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!”
Young women today send nude pictures of themselves all over the Internet, and not to just their boyfriends. In contrast to their high-tech efforts to get a King-Solomon-type boyfriend, the Maiden insists on soulmating first. She prays that her reputation will precede her as having the qualities for making an excellent wife.
All the way through the story, the Maiden recognizes sex is as much for the woman as for the man. Without embarrassment or shame, she looks forward to uniting physically with the Shepherd. She knows she can’t settle for marriage with the King without true love—not even if her family could move into the palace with her and enjoy a life of luxurious ease.
God Gives His Blessing—Song of Solomon 5:1
While the Maiden struggles with whom to marry, God sees the hearts of both the King and the Shepherd. And from on high behind the scenes, he blesses her union with the Shepherd saying, “Eat friends; drink and imbibe deeply O lovers.” God designed both marriage and the sexual relationship. And he chooses true love with the poor Shepherd over sensuous lust with the King.
God uses the metaphor of uninhibited drinking to describe his divine plan for getting tipsy on married lovemaking. God instructed bridegrooms to devote the first year of marriage to giving sexual pleasure to their wives (Deut. 24:5). Laying this foundation of getting to know each other and bonding sexually would carry them through the normal trials and disappointments of living in the real world.
The Shulammite Wakes Up to an Intense Dream—Song of Solomon 5:2-7
The second night another dream disturbs the Maiden. This time she ignores the Shepherd telling her how much he needs her. She’s come this far with the King…. Never ever has she even thought of anything as grand as his palace with all the servants seeing to her every need. How can a common shepherd compete with royalty?
Yet her subconscious remembers the Shepherd begging her to let him in because he needs her in his life. In her dream she sees only his hand and her emotions turn. Her being burns with urgent arousal demanding union with the one her heart loves.
She recognizes she doesn’t wake up in the early hours longing for the King’s touch. Accepting her pulsating hunger for sexual fulfillment with the Shepherd, the Maiden jumps out of bed and runs after him. But it’s too late! The Shepherd is gone!
The palace guards strike her and take away her shawl. They send her back to her room…and a life of emotional loneliness with the King. Instead of being an equal lover with the King, she’ll be forced to wait for his summons. It will be all about his needs—not hers, too.
The Shulammite Repeats the Secret for Great Lovemaking—Song of Solomon 5:8-6:3
The next morning for the third time, the Shulammite tells the Virgins the secret for finding a ravishing lifelong sexual partner—be soulmates first…then become lovers. She orders, “Go! Find the Shepherd and tell him to come get me! I will marry him.”
The Virgins ask, “What kind of beloved is your beloved that you would give up the King for him?” The Maiden’s description reveals both an emotional and physical attraction for the Shepherd. “Now go find him!” she charges.
Solomon Introduces the Shulammite to His 140 Wives—Song of Solomon 6:4-9a
Not knowing she’s seen through his practiced barroom flirtations, Solomon again heaps outrageous flattery on the young woman. Confident she can’t resist his charms in the midst of his great wealth, he introduces her to his 140 wives.
Then the King plays his trump card to get the Maiden to accept his marriage proposal. He tells her she will become his number one wife—that his search for the perfect feminine body will stop with her. Can she believe him? Would you believe him?
Solomon’s Wives Welcome the Shulammite—Song of Solomon 6:9b-10
The Queens, who worship conflicting idols of both prostitution and virginity, ooh and ah over the Maiden to their admiring husband. They gushingly assign her the characteristics of their false gods.
How does the Queens’ welcoming the Maiden into their harem differ from the hookup mentality of young people today? They accept one male involved in multiple sexual contacts with one primary partner. Solomon married the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt before the age of 16. She remained his main wife as she is the only one he built a house for. He then pursued 999 additional hookups in his search for the perfect feminine body.
Solomon Tells How He Met the Shulammite—Song of Solomon 6:11-12
Like a true sexual addict, Solomon tells how he was overcome by lust at first sight when he saw the young maiden. When she told him she was already promised to the Shepherd, he didn’t care. A king trumped a shepherd any time. He was used to getting what he wanted—especially women. None of them could refuse him. Weren’t the people already broken up into 12 groups to feed his growing harem and bloated government one month out of each year? And weren’t her brothers already busy working on his building projects while the grapevines needed their attention? They’d be home for two months then leave again right when the grapes demanded to be harvested. Why should he care that some common shepherd loves her and thinks she’s promised to him. He cares only that she is so beautiful and still a virgin. The Maiden would satisfy his needs for the moment.
The Queens Ask the Shulammite to Dance—Song of Solomon 6:13-7:5
Disgusted! The Shulammite runs from the room. The Queens call, “Come back! Come back! O Shulammite! That we might gaze at you!”
The Shulammite whirls around and mocks them, “Do you just want me to be a porn star? Is all you want is for me to perform a pole dance for you?”
“Yes! Yes! You’re a natural beauty!” the Queens cheer as they describe the tantalizing perfections of her body.
The Shulammite Jilts Solomon—Song of Solomon 7:6-10
When the Maiden runs from the Great Hall, the King hurries after her hoping to persuade her to stay. He calls to her; she stops and slowly faces him. He lewdly refers to the ancient art of artificially fertilizing palm trees describing how he craves to climb her stature. Oh she is hot! He brazenly tells her, “When I first saw you, I said I will kiss your mouth and neck, and I will linger to fondle and taste your breasts!”
She replies, “Solomon! I can’t stand the thought of your hands on me! Sex is wonderful when it comes from love. But lust without love is unsatisfying!” Then the Shulammite openly contrasts the King’s lust with the Shepherd’s “desire” for her. The Maiden turns her back on the King and effectively leaves him standing wide-eyed and opened-mouth at the altar.
The Shulammite Promises to Be Passionate—Song of Solomon 7:11-8:4
Almost as if on cue, the Virgins have returned with the Shepherd. He stands in the doorway waiting for the Maiden. She addresses him in person for the first time. She tells him of her decision—she will marry him. It has been a whirlwind three days with the King.
Unashamed in front of the lingering Virgins, the Maiden promises him that she won’t be a frigid wife as she looks forward to initiating lovemaking with him. She is starting marriage knowing sex is equally enjoyable for women as well as for men.
Turning to the Virgins, she repeats the theme of the Song of Solomon for the third and last time for them. She pleads, “Can’t you see how you nearly pushed me into marrying the King and giving up a lifetime of passionate lovemaking. You’re in line to join the King’s harem, wake up! Understand this lesson for yourself before it’s too late—you must soulmate before making love.” Whether the Virgins got it about the Maiden’s message, we don’t know.
The Shepherd Takes the Shulammite Home—Song of Solomon 8:5a
The Maiden entered Jerusalem in the King’s expensive traveling chair when he presumptuously assumed he could persuade her to forsake true love for him. Now the Maiden leaves the palace walking arm in arm with her beloved—the Shepherd. She has rejected the King’s lottery winnings for a better prize—true love for a lifetime. The Shulammite and the Shepherd hurry home so the Maiden can look after the vineyards and pomegranate trees.
Why the Shulammite Chose the Shepherd—Song of Solomon 8:5b-7
The country folks who two days earlier had lined the road to see the woman who had stolen the King’s heart, now jockey for a glimpse of the Maiden who dared to rebuff the King. They ask, “Who is this leaning on her beloved?”
The Maiden expands on the theme of the Song of Solomon. She tells the Shepherd and crowd she awoke the Shepherd’s heart under the apple tree where his mother gave birth to him. “Awakened” is the same word she used all three times when she pleaded with the Virgins to not awaken love before its time.
What was her secret? She spent time soulmating with the Shepherd. She didn’t allow premarital sex to get in the way of the Shepherd getting to know her as a person. She gave him time to truly desire her as both a friend and a lover.
She explains, “Love is as strong as death.” True love and chandelier-hanging sex can last a lifetime. She had witnessed the jealousy of the King’s wives and Virgins waiting their turn as they competed for King’s attention. “Ah,” she continues, “the very flame of the Lord.” God created sex and blessed the union of the Shulammite with the Shepherd. He instructed them to get drunk on married lovemaking. Learning to love each other both emotionally and sexually before marriage meant that the trials common to life on earth wouldn’t have the power to quench their love.
She ends by referencing the King’s riches. He offered her a chance to win the lottery—gourmet foods, expensive clothing, and beautiful gardens to stroll in. He even promised to make her his number-one wife. When her eyes opened in her dream, the Maiden witnessed the King’s sexual addiction and intimacy anorexia. She utterly despises the riches he offered as a substitute for emotional love.
The Inspired Song of Solomon Epilogue
This final section contains what writers call an epilogue to let readers know the outcome. The obvious time change from spring to fall makes the epilogue evident. The story picks up after the grapes were harvested and sold, which creates a gap of three to four months—the normal time (depending on the weather) it takes for the blossoms on grapevines to turn into ripened grapes.
While the Maiden told the Shepherd she still wanted to get married that spring, her brothers needed to leave for their forced labor on Solomon’s extensive building projects. They would be scheduled to be gone again in two months. A responsible person, the Maiden once again postponed her wedding after her ordeal with the King to do the right thing by her family. Now the brothers have returned home in time to attend the wedding of their sister and the Shepherd.
This is where many commentators get off track and miss the drama because they fail to recognize the elements of a classic Jewish wedding at the end. Perhaps the time change also confuses them. Many writers claim they have no idea what to do with these verses. And because they don’t understand the ending, they often totally miss the King’s three-day whirlwind pursuit of the Maiden. As a 3000-year-old modern story, we’re going to let the epilogue tell itself.
The Brothers Ask a Wedding Riddle—Song of Solomon 8:8
Since Samson’s time, the Israelites loved to ask riddles at their weddings. Thus, the brothers ask a riddle to answer the question burning in their minds, “What about our little sister who has no breasts and is too young for boys? How do we protect her from cads like the King who only want to have sex with her when her hormones start to mature her body?”
The Shulammite Answers the Wedding Riddle—Song of Solomon 8:9-10
The Maiden replies, “If Sis has learned from our mother the way of boys and men, then trust her dating choices and give her privileges. But set curfews and restrain her activities if she is gullible and believes everything the boys tell her.”
We call what the Maiden said next being transparent. Indeed, she is so comfortable with her femininity and sexuality, that she’s been transparent throughout this whole story. Perhaps her healthy sexual attitudes have survived for over 3000 years despite massive efforts to cover them up because of her transparency.
Thus, the Maiden personalizes her response, “My breasts were like towers perched on my wall. I was more than ready for love. You know I was planning to get married in the spring…. Because our mother taught me the secret of lovemaking, I found peace and happiness—safety in God’s eyes.”
The Shulammite Completes Her Business—Song of Solomon 8:11-12
Then the Maiden pays the King, the highest government official Israel, for the rent due on his vineyard. She also pays the harvesters demonstrating her business savvy and responsibility. She is a successful, young entrepreneur. Her brothers did well in leaving her in charge of the families livelihood.
She assures her brothers, “I did not sleep with the King to get ahead financially. My own vineyard belongs to me to give to the man I love and who loves me.”
The Shulammite Says Her Wedding Vows—Song of Solomon 8:13-14
Finally, the Shepherd speaks for the first time as he asks the Maiden to give her wedding vows according to Jewish custom, “O you who sit in the gardens, my witnesses are listening for you to say you’ll be my bride.”
She replies, “Hurry, my beloved! My heart has already reserved my body for you. Come! Enjoy the ravishment of all my love I’ve saved for you.” She concludes, “Be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountain of spices.”
All the way through the story, the Maiden begs the Shepherd to be a man like these magnificent male animals who build an emotional bond before mating. She looks forward to experiencing his ability to love her both emotionally and sexually—the true mark of masculinity. They’re starting marriage with healthy attitudes toward sex that they learned in from their mothers. Thus, God pronounced his blessing telling them to get married and get tipsy on lovemaking.
King Solomon’s Epilogue
Like true sexual addicts, Solomon didn’t have a clue about why his polished lines, that worked so well with 140 other virgins, only incensed the Shulammite. He went on to marry 860 more women whom he loved sexually and otherwise. Even when Solomon realized late in his life that his relationship with his wives was a failure, he still didn’t get it.
Solomon’s Worship of Pagan Idols
Solomon exercised his freedom to disobey God by building altars to his wives’ false gods of both prostitution and virginity on the high places among the farms of the country people. Just outside Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the odious god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonities (1 Kings 11:7). The worshippers of these false gods practiced human sacrifice by burning their infants to death. Some historians suggest this is why the Bible only records three children for Solomon—his son Rehoboam and two daughters. The common people eventually followed Solomon in his idolatrous worship and sacrificed their own children to these hideous false gods. History records that these facilities were in continuous use for 400 years.
Solomon’s Vanity of Vanities
In his old age, Solomon called his life of extravagance and self-indulgence “vanity of vanities.” Ecclesiastes records his hindsight. The preacher wrote:
Eccl. 7:27-29: “’Behold, I have discovered this,’ says the Preacher, ‘adding one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.’”
Solomon began this discussion by saying he was searching for an explanation, but he had not found the answer. Then he looked at 1000 men and 1000 women. When viewed in light of Solomon’s 1000 marriages, the comparison makes sense. This implies that in the end he failed to understand why he didn’t find true happiness with the sexual variety of 1000 wives. In the context of his marriages, perhaps the one man in 1000 was the Shepherd who won the only woman smart enough to reject Solomon’s self-serving sensuous proposal.
In spite of all his wisdom, Solomon never grasped the truth of the young Shulammite maiden’s words she spoke to his palace virgins about the secret of sexual happiness: Soulmating before lovemaking leads to SPEAKING GOD’S BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE OF LOVE. He concluded his discussion on marriage by praising what the Shepherd embraced—one woman:
Eccl. 9:9: “Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”
“Love” is a common word found throughout Proverbs and means “to love sexually or otherwise.”
Solomon urged husbands not to follow his example, but to love their wives emotionally and sexually. Why? “Because God gave you the woman’s love as a reward for having to work so hard on the earth.” Solomon pursued it all—gorgeous women, unlimited wealth, and supreme knowledge. But the poor Shepherd trumped him in enjoying life with the woman he dearly loved.
Solomon’s Public Rebuke by God
Before Solomon died, God rebuked him. God was so angry, he tore the kingdom away from Solomon. Out of respect for his father David, God left a remnant which included Jerusalem and the temple for Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. But he waited until Solomon died to do this (1 Kings 11:9-13, 42-43).
After Solomon’s death, instead of eulogizing him, God instructed Nehemiah to use him as an example for cursing the people who married foreign women and gave their daughters to foreign men. Nehemiah justified God’s wrath with, “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin” (Nehemiah 13:23-26).
Nehemiah chastised the people by asking, “Can’t you look at Solomon and learn what not to do in your marriages? Solomon committed a great evil in marrying foreign women” (Nehemiah 13:27).
But Nehemiah wasn’t through with his inspired rant about the evils of Solomon’s life. He told about driving out the son of the high priest because he married a foreign woman. He berated the priests for defiling their office by following Solomon’s example in their own marriages. Then he offered sacrifices for them as he “purified them from everything foreign.” Nehemiah asked God to remember him for good because he rebuked the Israelites’ spiritual leaders (Nehemiah 13:28-31).
Did God condemn Solomon and then inspire the writing of the Song of Solomon to teach us about his love for the Israelites and Jesus’ love for Christians? Or does the Song of Solomon amplify Solomon’s marital decadence as it teaches us how to enjoy wonderful marriages?
God preserved the true story of a young virgin of Israel whose mother had taught her about love and marriage. He lets us listen in on her inner thoughts as she struggles to choose between sensuous love and true love. God pits Solomon’s depravity against the maturity of the young Shepherd boyfriend. Dare we not listen and learn? That’s the question Nehemiah asked the religious leaders of his time. Can we learn from Solomon’s terrible example what not to do?
Solomon’s Early Death
Solomon died prematurely about 34 years later. Instead of the long life God offered Solomon if he’d obey him (1 Kings 3:4-14), Solomon died in his mid-50s. He aged badly due his excesses with women, his extravagant lifestyle, and his obsession with gaining more knowledge. He left his country in financial ruin.
News of Solomon’s death would have spread quickly to the Northern tribes where the Shulammite and the Shepherd lived simply. The Shulammite would have been around 48 and the Shepherd 50. In the Song of Solomon, the Shulammite and Shepherd looked forward to raising a large family; and thus, both children and grandchildren would have blessed them.
Solomon’s Son Rehoboam
When Solomon died, the Jews asked his son Rehoboam to lighten the yoke of exorbitant taxes his father had extracted from them. Instead of listening to the older, wiser men, Rehoboam heeded the advice of his young friends. They advised him to tell the people, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins [literally penis]! Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:1-17).
Rehoboam made fun of his father’s reputation with women by saying something to the effect, “My little finger is bigger than my dad's cock, so you can just imagine what I'm packing.” But Rehoboam’s threat to the Israelites tells us something important about Solomon. Rehoboam didn’t think most of his father’s 1000 marriages were sexless political alliances. He knew firsthand that his father continually exercised his sexual prowess. Thus, he didn’t make an empty brag that his little finger was bigger than Solomon’s loins. He, and everyone else at the time, knew Solomon was obsessed with sexual activity.
Solomon’s Political Satire
The Song of Solomon reveals that the story started as oral history which survived generation after generation as it was sung by the women and young girls in the evenings, as was the Jews’ custom. This oral history would have been written down by inspiration just as Moses wrote down the accounts of Adam and Eve and their descendants. In truth, the Song of Solomon certainly gained in popularity after Solomon’s death as a satire of why the Northern Kingdom split off from Solomon’s 41-year-old son, Rehoboam. As such, the true account exposes the sexual depravity of Rehoboam and his infamous father.
The language is definitely that of the rural Northern Kingdom. Scholars recognize that after the destruction of Jerusalem, that “which is Solomon’s” was added by the Jewish rabbis to identify who it was about and to guarantee its inclusion in the list of inspired scripture. The contrast in the Hebrew between their addition and the original text makes this addition obvious.
Interestingly, the two tribes that stayed with Rehoboam included the Jewish rabbis. They were always more loyal to Solomon as they were protected from his heavy taxes and forced labor.
Demonstration of God’s Love
The Song of Solomon shows that God cares about the daily lives of his people. He wants his people to be happy and to enjoy wonderful marriages. The Song of Solomon teaches a girl how to choose a husband and a boy how to choose a wife so that they might live happily forevermore. Ideally, if a couple learns the Song of Solomon in their youth, then they can lay the foundation of soulmating and healthy sexual talk in courtship for a joyful marriage.
Newlyweds, in whose eyes love still shines, likewise, enjoy beautiful marriages when they study God’s plan for them. The ones who learn what God expects of them early in marriage experience fewer problems. When problems arise, they can handle them with love instead of just reacting to them. Even older couples can liberate their minds and bodies for exhilarating love.
The Song of Solomon teaches the necessary ingredients for a successful marriage at every stage—courting, newlywed, and silver or golden anniversaries. At what¬ever life cycle a couple happens to be in, they can examine their relationship. Did they build their marriage on true love or sensuous love? If they built it on sensuous love, it’s not too late to embrace true love by taking the time to soulmate. Truly, God preserved this wonderful romance to teach lovers the secret for SPEAKING GOD’S BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE OF LOVE in each other’s arms.