Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Reflection - King Solomon and the Shulamite woman (Short overview of Song of Songs)

Source Website: http://www.northforest.org/BibleBooks/SongOfSongs.html
From Bible Commentaries, North Forest Home


The Song of Solomon has been viewed in many ways.
PHOTO: The Song of Solomon has been viewed in many ways. One of the views that persist is that King Solomon is the villain and that there is the shepherd boy, both vying for the love of the Shulamite woman. The whole love triangle thing may not be the best interpretation because for one, Solomon wrote the book. Another is Solomom himself is the appointed King. Solomon is this shepherd boy because a king is the shepherd of his people. [2]
The Shulamite sees herself as ugly because the sun had burnt her, she is a poor girl but one day she meets this "shepherd" who is none other than King Solomon. She is a shepherdess and performs many other menial tasks such as tending the vineyards. She is different and she is beloved in spite of her not being of royalty. She is the favourite wife of Solomon and he could love no other. She is beautiful but dark, so that must have set her apart from every other girl Solomon had. When the other women see her, she must have been the least attractive but to Solomon's eyes she is the most attractive of all. [2]
Ecclesiastes 2:4-7 suggests that Solomon himself is also keeping sheep so he is a gardener, a shepherd and a king. He is the shepherd lover who has the best moment and enjoyment of his life when the Shulamite woman is the only love of his life.
The godly monogamy is God's plan and sadly Solomon went astray for some time with his 999 other women. Finally he realise in Ecclesiastes 5:7, 12:13 to "Fear God and keep his commandments", because going after youthful lusts and sinful pleasures are meaningless.
Picture posted by Solomon and the Shulamite (Credit to Goodsalt)
Song of Solomon's love story of Solomon and the Shulamite girl.

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https://1920332912.rsc.cdn77.org/view/solomon-and-the-shulamite-GoodSalt-pppas0591.jpg
http://www.goodsalt.com/details/pppas0591.html



Song of Songs is the sad story about Solomon's first wife (the wife of his youth) who he loves but neglects because of his duties as king (and because of his harem).



Solomon neglect his most beloved wife partly because of his harem which has ]Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number;] (Song of Songs 6:8).


PHOTO: Solomon neglect his most beloved wife partly because of his harem which has "Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number;" (Song of Songs 6:8).
Oil painting by Slavujac - "Song of Solomon" (1994)
Picture posted by Slavujac

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http://www.biblicalartist.net/originaloils.html



Over the years I have heard so many interpretations of this book but none of them rang true until my wife one day figured it out. This article describes this view which I accept as the correct view.

Song of Songs is the true story of Solomon's love affair and marriage to his first wife, a Shulamite from Lebanon. She is the only daughter in a family of boys and is exploited by them. She is a shepherdess and performs many other menial tasks such as tending the vineyards. Probably her vineyard is owned by King David and her family are the caretakers.



Solomon's first wife is a Shulamite from Lebanon.


PHOTO: Solomon's first wife is a Shulamite from Lebanon. She is a shepherdess and performs many other menial tasks such as tending the vineyards.
Painting by Julien Dupré (French painter) 1851 - 1910 - Shepherdess and her Flock
Picture posted by Avatar kolybanov on Sunday, 17 June 2012 at 12:47

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-c7CGoV59LA8/WDWR5OOEnII/AAAAAAAAlig/lOrMIziyTyI5fUvcqzi4NOPUWeukINE5QCLcB/s1600/1c7726104cf42bb0e0f3e72e85a492f1bc81d6122570449-1.jpg
http://f11.ifotki.info/org/1c7726104cf42bb0e0f3e72e85a492f1bc81d6122570449.jpg
http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/kolybanov/post224491905/



During the time period when King David is collecting supplies for building the temple and his own palace, his son Solomon regularly travels to Lebanon to check up on these arrangements and on their properties. Being a mischievous, curious, energetic, and naughty boy, Solomon dresses up as a shepherd and mingles with the local people. He encounters the Shulamite girl who he instantly falls in love with. He visits her regularly and she falls in love with him.



Solomon could have dresses up as a shepherd and mingles with the local people when he encounters the Shulamite girl whom he instantly falls in love with.


PHOTO: Solomon could have dresses up as a shepherd and mingles with the local people when he encounters the Shulamite girl whom he instantly falls in love with. The handsome seductive shepherd meet the Shulamite shepherdess regularly. As time passes their fall deeply in love with each other.
Picture posted by Biblephoto
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http://biblephoto.ucoz.ru/_ph/11/846216109.jpg
http://biblephoto.ucoz.ru/photo/biblejskie_kartinki/david/11



Soon after becoming king, Solomon travels again to Lebanon to bring her back home to marry her. He probably visits Hiram of Tyre on the same trip.



Solomon & King Hiram of Tyre have agreement to send cedars and cypress from Lebanon to Jerusalem for the Temple.
PHOTO: Solomon & King Hiram of Tyre have agreement to send cedars and cypress from Lebanon to Jerusalem for the Temple. Hiram was a loyal friend of David just after David conquered Jerusalem - "Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David." (2 Samuel 5:11)
Painting by Bonito, c. 1750 - "King Solomon praying before the Temple"
Picture posted by Achille della Ragione on Monday, 14 November 2016 at 16:18

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http://achillecontedilavian.blogspot.sg/2016/11/importanti-dipinti-antichi-napoletani.html
http://achillecontedilavian.blogspot.sg/


 The Shulamite shepherdess doesn't know her lover's true identity initially.


PHOTO: The Shulamite shepherdess doesn't know her lover's true identity initially. The happy period of their marriage does not last when Solomon starts to neglect her, while she is inside his harem. However the other queens and concubines praised her. (Song of Songs 6:9).
Picture posted by American Litho Color, Inc.
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They are happily married at first but Solomon soon begins to neglect her and his harem grows and grows. Finally she goes back to her homeland and is given the vineyard of her family to tend.



The neglected Shulamite woman escape from King Solomon's harem and goes back to her homland to  tend to her own vineyard.


PHOTO: The neglected Shulamite woman escape from King Solomon's harem and goes back to her homland to tend to her own vineyard. The upset Solomon visits her from time to time.
Painting by Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (1852-1929) - "Orpheus's Sorrow"
Picture posted by tumblr.com

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http://bluegreenbrown.tumblr.com/



There is a key phrase which is repeated three times: "stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please." This means that men and women should be true to one another (lifelong, loving relationship; no divorce; only one spouse, not a harem). Certainly Solomon neglected to practice this and this was his great weakness leading to his spiritual downfall. His wife suffered tremendously as a result.

The love of the Shulamite woman for Solomon is amazing. No matter how badly he neglects her, she still loves him and wants to be with him.



No matter how badly Solomon neglects her, she still loves him and wants to be with him.


PHOTO: No matter how badly Solomon neglects her, she still loves him and wants to be with him. The Shulamite women remains true to her lover. Solomon is attracted by other beautiful women and his weakness led him to his spiritual downfall. Both suffer in this relationship.
Picture posted by Louis Stern Fine Arts - Shaela II
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http://www.louissternfinearts.com/leonard-nimoy-gallery/



Here are the phases of this story which I will refer to in the commentary.

  • Young lovers; she doesn't know his true identity.
  • Solomon as king comes to her to take her as his wife.
  • The happy period of their marriage.
  • She is neglected; merely one of many in Solomon's harem.
  • She moves permanently back to her home; he visits her from time to time.
There are subtle references to conjugal relations between man and wife in the Song of Songs but I do not wish to call attention to these in my article; it is not necessary in understanding the flow of the story.


Stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.


PHOTO: "Stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please." (Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4)
Whether or not we ever get married and find a beautiful and legitimate outlet for those God-given sexual desires, there is a greater lover for whom we are waiting. There is a God who desires us so passionately that he has moved heaven and earth to have a relationship with us. The powerful sexual drives God gives us to cement us together in marriage are only a pale reflection of how passionately God desires and pursues us. [4]
We easily grieve the Spirit by wrong tempers. Let those who have comfort, fear sinning it away. We should call upon ourselves and each other, to beware of grieving our holy Comforter, and provoking the departure of the Beloved. [5]
Picture posted by Admin, Administrator on 1 December 2011 at 1:02am
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http://jwitness-forum.proboards.com/thread/152/song-solomon



Today, we’ve learnt that: [3]

  • Jesus sees us as lovely: Sometimes we may think we are not good in many areas of our life and feel sad about it. We should see ourselves as Jesus sees us - lovely and righteous - not as how we see ourselves nor how the world sees us. 
  • See Jesus as lovely: Jesus is altogether lovely, wonderful, beautiful and radiant. He covers us with His unconditional banner of love. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, the Bible tells us that "those who look to him are radiant" too (Psalm 34:5) - transformed by His glory. When we see him as lovely, we can’t help but tell others how wonderful He is. When we do that, others will want to know Jesus too.


Song of Solomon (which features the Shulammite) is a book about earthly love and romance.
PHOTO: Song of Solomon (which features the Shulammite) is a book about earthly love and romance. It is also about the woman who rejected the glory of Solomon's Kingdom for her Shepherd Lover. Although the Shepherd Lover could be the same person as King Solomon, the Shulammite woman's love significantly is Solomon and not his status or possessions. Solomon cannot be compared to her in this aspect because of his weakness in love for other women, and luxuries like wine.

Solomon had blessing for his entire life because of his spiritual heritage. The blessing came from the grace of God, and Solomon had to do nothing to earn or keep it. Since he had it made and knew it, he proceeded to try to do all that his heart desired (Ecclesiastes 2:10). He acquired great wealth, built a great temple, had a great harem, and enjoyed all kind of entertainment. Wine, women, dancing, singing, and dining were all part of Solomon's daily lifestyle. He sought entertainment in great plays, musicals, and dancing. Yet, as his capacity for happiness dwindled through neglect of Bible Doctrine, he could not enjoy them. [6]
Painting by Robert Hale Ives Gammell - The Dream of the Shulamite (1934)
Posted by Thomas Haller Buchanan on Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 9:32 PM

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http://mydelineatedlife.blogspot.sg/2011/01/there-was-young-girl-shulamite.html


 Dear Lord, Thank you for loving us. Despite our insecurity and imperfections, You deems us worthy of Your love. Just like the Shulamite woman who captivated King Solomon's heart and was invited to rise up and go away with Him, we are given the opportunity to go into Your heavenly kingdom. The Shulamite woman starts telling others about Solomon, how wonderful he is, and her friends want to look for him too (Song of Songs 6:1). Please help us to see Jesus as altogether lovely, wonderful, beautiful and radiant, and tell others how wonderful He is, so that others will want to know Jesus too. Amen!


PHOTO: "Dear Lord, Thank you for loving us. Despite our insecurity and imperfections, You deems us worthy of Your love. Just like the Shulamite woman who captivated King Solomon's heart and was invited to rise up and go away with Him, we are given the opportunity to go into Your heavenly kingdom. The Shulamite woman starts telling others about Solomon, how wonderful he is, and her friends want to look for him too (Song of Songs 6:1). Please help us to see Jesus as altogether lovely, wonderful, beautiful and radiant, and tell others how wonderful He is, so that others will want to know Jesus too. Amen!" [3]
Picture posted by Inspirational Words Love Quotes on 6 May 2015 -
Psalm 46:5
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http://inspirationwordslove.tumblr.com/post/118291603025/psalm-46-5-love-positive-words

Reflection - King Solomon and the Shulamite woman (Song of Songs)
From Bible Commentaries, North Forest Home



Reference

[1] Song of Songs, From Bible Commentaries, North Forest Home, http://www.northforest.org/BibleBooks/SongOfSongs.html

[2] Lessons and Meditations From the Song of Solomon, posted by Franklin on Monday, 14 September 2015, http://fundamentalbaptistchristian.blogspot.sg/2015/09/lessons-from-song-of-solomon.html

[3] Overview of Song of Solomon: You are beautiful, Posted by the New Covenant Church on 4 November 2012, http://www.tncchurch.org/overview-of-song-of-solomon-you-are-beautiful-2/

[4] Waiting to Awaken Love, Article by Iain Duguid, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/waiting-to-awaken-love

[5] Song of songs 3:1-5, Matthew Henry Commentary, http://biblehub.com/songs/3-5.htm

[6] The Shulamite Love Story, Posted by  Larry Wood, http://www.biblenews1.com/docs/shulamit.htm

New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Samuel 5:11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+5%3A11&version=NIV

Ecclesiastes 2:4-7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+2%3A4-7&version=NIV

Ecclesiastes 2:10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+2%3A10&version=NIV

Ecclesiastes 5:7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+5%3A7&version=NIV

Ecclesiastes 12:13 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+12%3A13&version=NIV

Psalm 34:5 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+34%3A5&version=NIV

Psalm 46:5 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+46%3A5&version=NIV

Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Songs+2%3A7%2C+3%3A5%2C+8%3A4&version=NIV

Song of songs 3:1-5 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+songs+3%3A1-5&version=NIV

Song of Songs 6:1 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Songs+6%3A1&version=NIV

Song of Songs 6:8 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=song+of+songs+6%3A8&version=NIV

Song of Songs 6:9 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Songs+6%3A9&version=NIV