A Royal Love Story - Song of Solomon
At a first glance the book looks like a bunch of sweet nothings between two lovers. At a deeper glance, it contains a wealth of wisdom from what is probably one of the last writings of the wisest king. Key players are three lovers – two men and a woman.
The story line seems to map events in Solomon’s life around 967 BC around the time he starts building the temple. It however seems to be written around 931 BC – the year the king died. The star of the story is the Shunammite woman who is torn between two lovers – a shepherd (1:7) and the king (1:4).
Why did the king write this story decades later? Did he regret a profound mistake he made? Did he feel the heat of the consequences of missing out on true love? Was he applauding the simple woman who demonstrated greater wisdom in decisions and who found deeper love? It appears so, and in the process communicates a powerful message.
The Shunammite woman who is in love with a shepherd is taken by the king to the palace to seduce him to be his 141st woman in his life. While she certainly is enticed, she evaluates the luxuries in the palace against the faithfulness and integrity of the shepherd. Unlike the many before her, she chooses the humble shepherd over the wealthy king. The drivers of her choice were:
• Commitment to her/God over comfort and wealth (1:7, 8:7)
• Chastity over indulgence (3:3)
• Contentment over craving (6:8)
• Character over the crown and chariots (8:11, 3:11)
She eventually chooses to return to Shunem.
After his tryst with 1,000 women it was:
• One woman
• True love
• The charm of purity and chastity
• A partner who worshiped God
• The power and integrity of building the foundations of God’s kingdom together
That deeply impacted his thoughts in his final stage of life.
He desperately warns his sons not to follow his footsteps but in vain.
Children learn from our examples far more than from our warnings.
The quester failed in his quest for:
• wisdom, missing out on true wisdom
• prosperity, missing out on true riches
• lovers, missing out on true love
What are we searching for? What choices are we making in that quest? Is our life an example or horrible warning?