Songs 1 Commentary

Songs 1 Commentary

There is space for romance in the scripture! Be it Isaac marrying Rebekah or Jacob with his Rachael. The Book of Songs of Solomon or simply Songs is written as a drama play. The man, identified as a king, and the nameless woman are the main characters. And there is also an audience.

Reading through chapter 1 gives us the description of romantic love: It is mutual. Unlike adultery or fornication, godly love is both mutual and public. Between one man and one woman but also a matter of public knowledge.

“We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine.” Verse 4b. It is public and everyone rejoices. Taking from this principle, the priest or pastor will halt any marriage if one member of the public shows up with valid reasons and says no to the marriage.

The community rejoices but it also loves the king or the groom. You should be very worried if you are the only one who thinks your man is great. What do others say about him?

“How right they are to adore you!” Verse 4b. Now, this is the man responding to the woman’s love. He has also seen that his woman is a valuable commodity in the community. What have you heard said about the woman you are admiring?

Verse 6 is a subject of an interesting debate. Regardless, verse 6 is a disclaimer. No woman is perfect. There is a suggestion that her imperfection is a work-in-progress situation rather than stupidity. It can be looked at as beauty behind the dirt of a working woman. Open beauty can be a result of artificial coats – designed to mislead simple men.

The beautiful woman here is a shepherd just like Rebekah was. The parallel is intentional.

The man sees the beauty and makes it even better for himself. There is a place for an upgrade. The man should do it with gold and silver. The African tradition expects the man to improve his woman’s status, both physical and economic.

Verses 12 to 14 give us the picture that the woman values the person of the man first. Respect flows from there. Rule of thumb: Never marry someone you cannot respect.

She is beautiful; he is handsome. The feeling is mutual. The last verse talks of “our house”. Ownership is by both. It is a partnership. While beauty remains personal and a constant and lasting gift to the man, the life of the two persons moves in unison. They are one. It is an expansion of the concept presented in the Book of Genesis.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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