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An Argument of the Song of Songs

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God's good design for marriage unfolds through the lives of solomon and the shulamite woman in their courtship, marriage, and growth within marriage1

I. Introduction:2 In the book's superscription Solomon is identified as the author of the book and its content is identified as a superlative book of wisdom 1:1

II. Meeting and Courtship:3 The relationship between the Shulamite woman and Solomon developed from her own personal desire through their meeting, personal attraction to one another, expressions of love, the need for patience and a dream of loss and marriage by the Shulamite 1:2--3:5

A. Personal Desire for the King: The Shulamite woman expresses to herself her desire for the king whereupon she is brought into the king's palace where the harem praises Solomon 1:2-4

B. Personal Embarrassment: The Shulamite woman is embarrassed before Solomon's harem because her appearance showed that she had worked in the field 1:5-6

C. Meeting of Solomon & Shulamite: Solomon and the Shulamite woman meet and are mutually attracted to each other complimenting one another 1:7-17

D. First Expressions of Love: Continuing to compliment one another, they express their love for one another, and Solomon exhorts the harem to let love develop naturally 2:1-7

E. Building Their Relationship: Solomon and the Shulamite woman spend time together getting to know one another in order to build their relationship 2:8-17

F. A Fearful Dream: Near to her wedding day the Shulamite woman dreamed that she has been separated from her beloved, but upon finding him she led him to her mother's house (the house of marriage). When she awoke, she reminded herself to be patient 3:1-5

III. Marriage and Consummation:4 Through the beautiful, polar descriptions of Solomon's wedding procession and the physical consummation of the relationship the glorious marriage of Solomon and the Shulamite woman is affirmed 3:6--5:1

A. Solomon's Wedding Procession: Solomon's glorious wedding procession to his bride to be, the Shulamite woman, is vividly described 3:6-11

B. The Consummation of Marriage: Solomon beautifully described his bride on their wedding night and then the two of them consummated their marriage with God's blessing 4:1--5:1

1. The Beauty of the King's Wife: 4:1-7

2. The King's Request: 4:8

3. The King's Praise of His Wife's Love: 4:9-11

4. The King's Praise of His Wife's Purity: 4:12-15

5. The Consummation of Their Marriage: 4:16--5:1

IV. Rise of Difficulties and Their Resolution:5 When the bride refuses her husband's approach for intimacy, a rift arises between them and finds its resolution as she begins to pursue him, is reminded of her love for him, realizes his love for her, and then is received by him in the garden where he waits for her 5:2--6:13

A. The Rise of Difficulties--Indifference: Probably sometime after the marriage the bride refused to let her husband into her bedroom, but when she changes her mind, he was gone, so she began to seek him 5:2-8

B. A Reminder of His Value: In the bride's search for her husband she came across the harem who reminded her of how much he meant to her inspiring her to break out into an ecstatic description of him 5:9-16

C. An Intuitive Confirmation of Resolution: When the harem asks the Shulamite where Solomon is, she replies that his is in his favorite garden and that their relationship is secure 6:1-3

D. Resolution Realized: When the bride went down to the garden to seek Solomon, he saw her and broke out into compliments of her bringing about the resolution of their relationship 6:4-13

V. Deepening and Maturity of Marriage over Time:6 Although the love of Solomon and his bride deepens with new expressions that reflect personal growth, and although there is much to remember in the preparation of the Shulamite for this time, there is still room for patience and growth in their relationship 7:1--8:14

A. Deepening of Love: Love deepens between Solomon and his Shulamite bride as he expresses his love for her in terms of her newly found royalty and she feels free to express her love to him in the fields and vineyards, but patience is still needed for their love to develop even more deeply on a daily bases 7:1--8:4

1. Solomon's Expression of Love: Once again (after about a year from their courtship [cf. 2:12--7:12]) Solomon describes the physical beauty of his wife in a way which affirms her personal growth, probably in their bedroom 7:1-9

a. The Royal Beauty of Solomon's Wife: 7:1-6

b. Solomon's Desire: 7:7-9

2. The Shulamite's Initial Response: The Shulamite woman responds to Solomon's words by offering herself to him, but not where they now are, rather in the fields and vineyards 7:10-13

3. The Shulamite's Continual Response: The Shulamite woman expressed her desire to constantly show her affection for Solomon as she does for a natural brother in public, but again affirms that love must develop naturally 8:1-4

B. Maturity of Marriage: The love of Solomon and the Shulamite woman in its maturity has much to remember and yet room to grow 8:5-14

1. Setting: As Solomon and his bride approach her old home, the villagers seem to be surprised to see her with Solomon as his bride 8:5a

2. Remembering Their First Meeting: As Solomon and his bride approach her old home, Solomon reminisces about their first meeting 8:5b

3. The Desire of Solomon's Wife: Solomon's wife desires to be his most prized possession 8:6-7

4. Care of Her Brothers: The bride recalls how her brothers took an interest in her purity and then how it was that she was pure and found favor in Solomon's eyes 8:8-10

5. A Request to Remember Her Family: The bride describes how it was that she and her family worked for Solomon but now she offers her life to Solomon and only asks that he remember her family: 8:11-12

6. Enduring Love: Solomon and his bride describe the durability and freshness of their love as in the day they met 8:13-14

1 Although Solomon had other wives and a harem, it seems that the Lord has singled out from among them all Solomon's relationship with one woman, the Shulamite, to demonstrate His design in life for a man and woman to find fulfillment within a relationship. This demonstration is not exhaustive but is very inclusive with events from the inception of romance through marriage, its consummation, difficulties experienced within marriage, and to later growth and deepening.

2 Since Solomon was the writer of many proverbs, as well as a king who was known for his wisdom, it is significant that he considers the content of the book to be superlative in its wisdom. These two facts, author and evaluation, set the tone for the reader affirming that the following information is if value for life.

3 The book properly starts where it is that love usually starts (i.e., in the mind and heart of the individual). It then leads to the mutual attraction and expression of that attraction to one another. With time there is a building of a relationship and a dealing with insecurities in the relationship by realizing that love must be allowed to develop naturally. Patience is the key to a good courtship.

4 The book naturally develops from the courtship to the next step of commitment (e.g., marriage). Although the actual wedding scene is not given, 3:6-11 presents Solomon's procession to his bride to be and 4:1--5:1 describes the consummation of their marriage. This section displays well God's approval of the institution of marriage as well as its physical consummation by is positive description of these events and by God's blessing in 5:1b, Eat friends; drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.

5 The book continues a natural development by citing a specific problem (e.g., the bride's refusal to let her husband into the bedroom). This was surely not the only problem which they faced, but it's resolution provides an example of how problems should be resolved. She, realizing her error, sought him out for forgiveness and he, upon their meeting in the garden, responded to her in love rather than pride. The example beautifully describes a process of resolving problems that keeps each person in confident and secure relationship.

6 Approximately a year of time has elapsed since their courtship when we are once gain taken into the couples bedroom to witness Solomon with a love and admiration for his bride as intense as ever. But she has also developed in her confidence toward him. She feels free enough to request that they share their love in the fields and vineyards rather than in Solomon's bedroom. Also her expressions of her desire to be able to express her affection for him publicly demonstrate growth. Nevertheless, throughout the growth she remembers the principle of patience in their relationship.

As the book nears it conclusion there is an interweaving of the past with the present which gives perspective to present relationship by demonstrating how obvious it is that God was active in the past to bring about the present through the bride's family and their relationship to Solomon (e.g., tenders of his field) as well as their relationship to his bride by encouraging her purity.

The book then concludes declaring the freshness and durability of their love as in the day when they first courted. Through time and difficulties they are an expression of God's design for marriage in that they grow, endure, remain committed, and in love with one another.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines

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