“What is He Doing in that Book?” Solomon’s Role in the Song of Songs -- By: Mark McGinniss

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 12:2 (Fall 2008)
Article: “What is He Doing in that Book?” Solomon’s Role in the Song of Songs
Author: Mark McGinniss


“What is He Doing in that Book?”
Solomon’s Role in the Song of Songs

Mark McGinniss

Assistant Professor of Old Testament,

Languages and Exegesis

Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

Solomon, שְׁלֹמֹה, appears seven times in the Song of Songs (1:1, 5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11, 12).1 There is no disagreement that the Solomon referred in each of these cases is none other than the famous king of Israel himself. However, past this point consensus is lost concerning Solomon’s role in the song that bears his name and epitomizes an exclusive intimate amorous marriage relationship.

Solomon as a Character in the Song

This “Song of Songs,” שִׁ֥יר הַשִּׁירִ֖ים, is associated in some way with Solomon, אֲשֶׁ֥ר לִשְׁלֹמֹֽה (1:1). The term, “Solomon,” is used adjectivally to describe the black color of some specific curtains associated with the king, כִּירִיע֖וֹת שְׁלֹמֹֽה, or his couch, מִטָּתוֹ֙ שֶׁלִּשְׁלֹמֹ֔ה. (1:5; 3:7) This “couch” is further described as a “sedan chair” which Solomon made, אַפִּרְי֗וֹן עָ֤שָׂה לוֹ֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹ֔ה (3:9). Solomon, as the king on his wedding day, is referenced as the object of the intent gaze of the daughters of Jerusalem (3:11),צְאֶ֧ינָה׀ וּֽרְאֶ֛ינָה בְּנ֥וֹת צִיּ֖וֹן בַּמֶּ֣לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹ֑ה בָּעֲטָרָ֗ה שֶׁעִטְּרָה־לּ֤וֹ אִמּוֹ֙ בְּי֣וֹם חֲתֻנָּת֔וֹ וּבְי֖וֹם שִׂמְחַ֥ת לִבּֽוֹ. Solomon is the wealthy owner of a certain vineyard at Baal-hamon, who rents out his vineyard to others,כֶּ֣רֶם הָיָ֤ה לִשְׁלֹמֹה֙ בְּבַ֣עַל הָמ֔וֹן נָתַ֥ן אֶת־הַכֶּ֖רֶם לַנֹּטְרִ֑ים אִ֛ישׁ יָבִ֥א בְּפִרְי֖וֹ אֶ֥לֶף כּ...

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