The book is also referred to as the Song of Songs or the Canticle of Canticles.
The book is read by the Jews in the Synagogue during Passover. It is considered
an allegory of the love between God and Israel. Many have updated its allegory to
represent the relationship between Christ and the church.
Some, in the church, have ventured to say that the book is unfit to discuss in the
church because it is too descriptive of the physical attributes and relationship
between the woman and her lover.
It is difficult to follow, because of the change in speakers, which is not noted in the
text. Thus, from individual to individual, the flow of the conversation may differ as
they speak of what transpires.
Following are two different views as to the contents of the book.
1) Introduction (1:1–6)
2) Dialogue between the lovers (1:7–2:7)
3) The woman recalls a visit from her lover (2:8–17)
4) The woman addresses the daughters of Zion (3:1–5)
5) Sighting a royal wedding procession (3:6–11)
6) The man describes his lover's beauty (4:1–5:1)
7) The woman addresses the daughters of Jerusalem (5:2–6:4)
8) The man describes his lover, who visits him (6:5–12)
9) Observers describe the woman's beauty (6:13–8:4)
10) Appendix (8:5–14)
1) The bride and the king express their love for each other (1:1-2:7)
2) The bride’s praise for the King (2:8-3:5)
3) The King’s praise of the bride (3:6-5:1)
4) The disturbing dream of the bride (5:2-7:9)
5) Their undying love and devotion to each other (7:10-8:14)
Regardless of how the book is divided by the reader, the message remains the
The basic storyline is the expression of love between a man and his betrothed.
They are enthralled with each other. When they are separated, they yearn for each
other. The woman searches for the man. They belong together. She realizes that
there is no one else like her man.
As an ideal of marriage …
There are three messages for marriage …
First, the man sees her as beautiful, even though she does not feel worthy of him,
nor of his gaze. Beauty, true beauty is not on the outside, it is on the inside. Lust
sees the flesh; love sees the heart. True beauty lies in virtue, or moral strength.
Second, the woman perceives the strength and uniqueness of the man. She idolizes
him. She is totally dedicated to him. Her desire is for him and none other.
Third, there is no shame in the physical attraction between a man and a woman in
the marriage relationship. Sex is not dirty. Sex is not sinful. Sex is a beautiful
expression of the feelings of the heart, in marriage. Both the man and the woman
appreciate the physical attributes of their mate.
As an allegory …
As a Passover story, it speaks of the love of God for Israel. Although she was to be
found in the bondage of Egypt, where Israel felt unworthy, God still loved her and
His love was unaffected by the condition Israel was in. Israel yearned for the
relationship with God. He sought her out, and delivered her. He was their God, and
they were His people.
Nothing expresses the love of Christ for the church better than the relationship
between a husband and wife. Jesus loved the church enough to give His life for her.
It was a total dedication. The church in return, loves and dedicates herself to Him,
yearning for Him.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their
own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also
loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse
it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a
glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it
should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their
own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated
his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause
shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and
they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning
Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love
his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
(Ephesians 5:24-33 KJV)