Spiritual Progress of the Soul
An Exposition of the Song of Solomon
God does not reveal His Word save to His own, to those who have come to Him by Jesus Christ. To all others this Word and this Song is a hidden mystery. God’s dear people approach the Scriptures, and as babes they desire the sincere milk of the Word that they may grow thereby. God has planted in their hearts a great desire to search out the deep things of His Word, and He has promised that he who reads shall be blessed. (Lk. 11:28).
We read of the Lord that “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” God’s purpose in the Scriptures is to extol and exalt His beloved Son. As it takes a comparison of Scriptures to enlighten us on the Book of Revelation, so too, it takes a comparison of Scriptures to enlighten us on the Song of Solomon.
Like the Book of Revelation, the Song of Solomon gives us a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Church, His Bride. This Song depicts His earthly character and mission, both to His Bride, the Church, and to each believer who becomes a member in that Bride. The Song in this Book is their personal experience. It is a strain from the glory song that we shall sing to, and about, our beloved Bridegroom in the eternal ages. Then we shall understand how He loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
The reading into it of marital love, or the applying a Jewish meaning to this Song is a diversional interpretation. This Song is by no means sensual for, as other portions of God’s Word, this Song is only spiritually discerned. Like many other prophecies, it was not meant to be understood by the natural man, for it is foolishness unto him.
Many of God’s people have found this Song difficult to understand, and, like the book of Revelation, it has seemed to be a closed book, full of mysteries. Yet, those who read the Word daily have found some verses in both of these Books that have been a “cleft in the rock” to their souls; and as they have hidden themselves in the Word, they have proved it to be a lamp unto their feet, and a light upon their path. In the light of other verses it is a lasting blessing to their souls and radiates to others.
When one seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, God will see that the hunger and thirst for the things of His Word will be satisfied. The Lord will put a new song into his mouth, even praise unto our God, so that he may say: “Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.”
How did Solomon come to write this wonderful Song of the soul? David or Solomon or any other writer of Holy Writ did not write with a carnal mind, nor with enticing words of man’s wisdom, nor with the wisdom of this world. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The Jews revered the works of Solomon. They likened the Book of Proverbs to the outer court of the temple; the Book of Ecclesiastes to the Holy place, and the Song of Solomon to the Holy of Holies. Ecclesiastes is known as the sigh of sighs, and beside it is the Song of songs. This Song concerns Christ and His Church. While the Church is not revealed in the Old Testament as such; yet, the “New is in the Old contained; and the Old is by the New explained.”
Solomon could not have written this Song in his declining years, for in those years he had departed in heart and ways from the Lord, and when one is out of touch with God he has no song. As we read and meditate, we are led to repeat the words of our Lord Jesus, “Behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”
The writer of this Song was Solomon. He is one of the character types of Scripture. When we see that the Bride mentioned refers most directly to the Church of Jesus Christ, we cannot doubt that the Bride’s Beloved is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church. This is borne out in other Scriptures where Jesus Christ is meant, even though other names are applied to Him. This Song of Solomon is an allegory, for it is well understood that One greater than Solomon is here. The Bride sees her Beloved as more than an ordinary lover, and comes into His presence with a humble heart and a contrite spirit.
It was the heavenly Bridegroom Himself who caused this Song to be written. The expressions and desires of the Bride are prophetic. The Bridegroom’s kiss is a picture of the reconciliation experienced by any sinner coming to the Saviour. It is illustrated aptly in the story of the Prodigal Son. We see a father’s heart of love and profound affection bestowing on the long-lost son the kiss of forgiveness.
The love that is better than wine may suggest another earthly scene where Christians gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus to take the bread and the wine in remembrance of their Lord’s death. The members of His body, the Church, say in unison: “We love Him because He first loved us.” While we partake of the bread and wine in this remembrance feast, we look beyond them and see Him. This ought to be true of every sinner that is saved by grace. We pray with Paul, “That I might know Him, and the power of His resurrection,” so we join with the song of the Bride: “Thy love is better than wine.”
The savour of His good ointments is seen in His coming down from Heaven to save us. The ointment of Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet could not have dispensed its fragrance had she not broken the viol; when she did, its fragrance filled the whole house. The ointment of His love was shown to us in our being saved, forgiven, granted eternal life, made children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
It is well to notice the use of the personal pronouns in this text. First, the bride prays, “draw ME.” The next pronoun is “WE.” “We will run after Thee.” This shows that there are others in the Bride, and she wants to be joined with them in seeking her Beloved.
Even before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the angel Gabriel said to Mary: “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus… He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
The king’s chambers might be illustrated by the experience of the two disciples who walked on the Emmaus road, talking with a supposed stranger who spoke to them from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Soon their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. His presence is suggested by “His chambers,” and when we are there and feed upon His Word the Holy Spirit blesses us with new revelations of truths. In the Epistle of Peter we find seven chambers: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (love). May we remember His love more than the wine of temporal or earthly blessings; and sing with another:
“O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love.
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above;
… O, I am my Beloved’s,
And my Beloved is mine;
He brings a poor vile sinner into His house of wine.
… The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory,
But on the King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.”
“The upright love Thee.” This refers to one “who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” When the bride says, “I am black, but comely,” we think of one who said: “Father, I have slimed against Heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” But he was comely in the sight of his father in that he was the son who had been lost and was found. The bride’s mention of “my mother’s children” suggests the nominal, the carnal, the worldly Christian, etc., for such are those who have a form of godliness but deny the power of the Gospel. They are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The Bride sees her true relation to them by admitting, “They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” Nicodemus also was a keeper of those other vineyards; but Jesus had to show him that he had to be born again before he could be part of the Bride.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”