Print Friendly, PDF & Email

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful.

~Song of Songs 1:15

Lesson46-image001Materials Needed: None.

Notes to the Leader: Among the many contributions of Solomon to the Bible, Song of Songs provides a foundation for understanding the proper relationships between a man and woman in love. This study walks through the emotional insecurities and the attitudes that lead to a secure relationship between two people. Solomon’s true love contributes to this advice also. It is an excellent study for those preparing for marriage and a great refresher for those who have weathered the test of time with their relationships.

As a youth lesson, it can help establish the proper behavior between a young boy and girl with respect to God’s plan for men and women.

Introduction

The name Shulammith gives to Solomon is literally “You whom my soul loves.” “My soul” is a Hebrew idiom that includes the whole of the life and person of the individual.

What type of insecurities exist between a bride and groom?

  • The intimacy of marriage removes all that makeup and clothing can hide. One’s true nature, both physically and emotionally as well as one’s personality is quickly exposed.
  • Today, the verses in Song of Songs reflect thoughts and feelings of the bride and groom on their wedding day, memories of the wedding night, and flashbacks to their courtship.

Section One: The Bride

Have someone in your group read Song of Songs 1:5-6.

What kind of feelings and concerns do you see coming from Solomon’s bride?

  • She is from a small town, now thrust into the limelight. She is sunburned because she labored in the fields, unlike the more sophisticated women of the city.
  • She feels out of place and vulnerable. She is not sure if her groom will find her as attractive as the other women of Jerusalem.

Notes of clarity: The original Hebrew “I” in the “Dark I am” is an emphatic pronoun, indicating the intensity of Shulammith’s feelings of insecurity. The Hebrew word shehor, translated dark (NIV) or black (KJV) is meant to be a contrast to fair or white. She had a dark suntan. The “tents of Kedar” refer to the Kedarites, a Bedouin tribe, descended from Ishmael (Genesis 25:13), who lived in tents made of the skins of black goats. Finally, the curtains dividing Solomon’s tent were also black.

Re-read Song of Songs 1:6 to your group.

Besides her dark skin, What else is causing Shulammith to be insecure?

  • Although she is the king’s fiancée, she is not from the privileged class.
  • Her home life has been less than ideal. Her “mother’s sons” is thought to refer to her stepbrothers or half-brothers. It may also be that her stepbrothers had refused Solomon’s initial request for here hand and, as a punishment, sent her to the vineyards to work, only to provide permission later. This possibility exists because she hadn’t the normal time to prepare herself as was accustom in those times.

What are some of the typical insecurities between marriage partners today as viewed from the woman’s perspective?

  • I’m pregnant and I feel ugly.
  • I’ve had a baby and I’m fat. My belly hangs over my pants.
  • I’ve had a terrible day and look a mess.
  • My picky mother criticized my hair, the way I raise my kids, etc.
  • I can’t compete with the beauties at the office.

How is it that marriage partners help one another overcome their insecurities?

  • Showing love, concern for each other.
  • Remaining committed to each other regardless of circumstances.
  • Helping each other with the tasks of living and raising a family.
  • Supporting each other’s differences as part of one’s uniqueness and beauty.
  • Providing honest praise.

Section Two: Finding Time For Each Other

Have someone in your group read Song of Songs 1:7-8.

Can you find several other insecurities Shulammith has with regard to Solomon?

  • Concerned that his affairs of state will keep him away. She is concerned that even if she wanted to be with him, she would not know where to find him.
  • Shulammith may also feel insecure with regard to all of the other women at the palace.

What type of connotations go with the term “a veiled woman?”

  • While she searches for him, she could be mistaken as a prostitute (see Genesis 38:15).
  • Without Solomon, she will be as sad as a woman in mourning (see Ezekiel 24:17, 22).
  • She will not be special to him, just another sheep among the flocks.

Read Song of Songs 1:8 to your group as if Solomon was writing the line.

What would he be telling Shulammith?

  • She is incomparably beautiful and in his eyes, no other woman compares. Therefore, come and search for him.

Read Song of Songs 1:8 to your group again as if it was coming from the “daughters of Jerusalem.” The daughters of Jerusalem was thought to refer to all of the women in Solomon’s palace or other women of noble class who did not have to labor.

What advice would they be giving her?

  • She need not fear their stares because the see here as supremely beautiful. Throw caution to the wind, and be with Solomon.

Section Three: Mutual Admiration

Have someone in your group read Song of Songs 1:9-11.

What do you see here in Solomon’s words?

  • Solomon has laid all else aside. He has given her his ultimate concentration in communicating his appreciation and affirmation in honest, thoughtful, deliberate praise.
  • Assuming that Pharaoh’s chariots only had stallions harnessed to them, What imagery do you see in Solomon using this example?
  • To place a single mare in the company of a group of stallions would probably cause an equestrian riot. Solomon, however, is telling her that she is as desirable as if she were the only woman in a world of men.

Have someone in your group read Song of Songs 1:12-14.

How does Shulammith respond to Solomon’s praises of her?

  • She responds back with her own imagery.
  • Spikenard is an expensive and fragrant plant oil imported from the Himalayas. She is no longer insecure.
  • Myrrh is an aromatic gum from the bark from an Arabian balsam tree. Hebrew women often carried a bundle next to their skin. She expresses her comfort with intimacy.
  • Henna blossoms are from a Palestinian shrub (cypress or camphire). The flowers in her picture and from a romantic getaway called En Gedi (fountain of wild goats), a spring-fed oasis west of the Dead Sea. Shulammith is contrasting how he stands out like a cluster of blooms in a desert oasis.

Have someone in your group read Song of Songs 1:15-17.

While both Solomon and Shulammith could be describing their bedroom, What other vision could this represent?

  • Some think that it represents possibly a special place they met at, with grassy green fields, under the bird-filled skyline of cedar and fir trees.

Section Four: No More Insecurity, Just Love

Have someone in your group read Song of Songs 2:1-7.

How did Shulammith begin her discourse in Song of Songs?

  • With many insecurities.

How would you say this discourse ends?

  • With full reassuring love between two people.

Note: Shulammith describes herself as nothing special or exotic: A Rose – the Hebrew word indicates this flower grows from a bulb, so it is more likely a crocus, iris, or daffodil, common meadow flowers growing wild. A Lily – probably not “lily of the valley” but a swamp lily or lotus common in Israel.

How does Solomon respond?

  • You are the only lily among the thorns.

How do we know that Shulammith is no longer insecure?

  • Her response is: “Compared to all the other trees [men], you are an apple tree – a rare, sweet find. You are the best!”

Conclusion

In all of this poetry, What is the lesson that we should take with regard to building and strengthening relationships between husband’s and wives as well as others in our lives?

The power of honest, deliberate praise to remedy insecurity and foster trust and freedom in relationships runs through this Song. This has practical applications in our lives today. Mutual appreciation aimed at developing trust is essential if the romance is to be kept alive “til death do us part.”

Bible Truth Being Taught

Marriage partners give one another a sense of security in their relationship by the practice of honest, thoughtful, deliberate praise.

Our Response

To learn to use honest, thoughtful, deliberate praise to build up the security of our loved ones and to develop lasting, mutually satisfying relationships.

Share