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It’s been said that the soul of a person comes through in the things that they write. Perhaps this is why the Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs) sounds so shallow. Solomon had 1,000 sexual partners: 700 wives and 300 concubines (see 1 Kings 11). And those were just the ones that were officially recorded. Talk about a man being owned by his hormones.
Today the biblical book entitled Song of Solomon–which would be more aptly named the Song of Lust–is promoted as a great love song in Christian circles. Yet as you read through the poetic dialogue of two lovers listing off the many qualities that they find so attractive about each other, you’ll find that there isn’t a single reference to character. Neither the woman, nor the man, nor any of their friends ever mention a single admirable quality that has to do with someone’s inner person. All of their gushing praise is for things like hair, skin, eyes, muscularity and bodily scent. It’s all meaningless externals, so how is it that Christians uphold this book as being such a marvelous example of love? Waxing on and on about how you can’t wait to roll in the sack with someone just because you think she has awesome hair or a great neck is hardly evidence of mature thinking. Talking as if you can barely keep your clothes on when you’re around a man with such a gorgeous hunk of a body only demonstrates how utterly shallow you are. We Christians claim to follow Gods who exalt character above externals. When it comes to human beings, They tell us that qualities like humility, compassion, grace, and a deep reverence for God are the ones we should consider worthy of admiration. If a man sincerely cares about pleasing God, what does it matter whether he’s buff or scrawny? Are you really going to pass on a woman with godly character because she comes in a less than perfect package? If so, you have a lot of maturing to do, and lusty King Solomon is not the man to take you there.
King Solomon was a very tragic figure. He started out with abundant blessings from Yahweh, but he soon nosedived into a life of carnality and shocking idolatry. We often think of Solomon as being the one who built Yahweh’s magnificent Temple in Jerusalem. But that’s not all he built. His busy bedroom activities inspired him to build things to many other gods as well in order to please his foreign wives. He even joined his lovers in worshiping and sacrificing to their detestable demonic idols, including Asherah, Milcom, Chemosh, and Molech (1 Kings 11:1-8). He even went so far as to sacrifice some of his own children to these gods. Plus, he was a cruel monarch who drove his people to frustration with unreasonable demands.
Overall, Solomon serves as a great example of what not to be. He starts out declaring that reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom only to then embrace hardcore spiritual rebellion. Solomon’s sad story teaches us that all the power, pleasure, wealth and sex in the world cannot buy happiness or ensure a meaningful life. He also teaches us that spiritual wisdom is a gift which God takes away when we refuse to stay in alignment with Him.
Though Solomon’s prayer for wisdom as a youth is widely cited as a fine example of mature thinking, the truth is that Solomon wasn’t mature at all. Though he gained a reputation among people as being exceptionally wise, he was actually a great fool, for there is nothing more foolish than a man choosing to defy his own Maker, and that is exactly what Solomon did. When Yahweh speaks of Solomon’s reign 1 Kings 11, He is quite angry and has nothing positive to say about the man. What a waste.
In the Bible we find examples of both good and bad role models. As the biblical writers put forth their conclusions about God, they say both wise and foolish things. Not everything we read is something to nod our heads at and say “amen.” This is why it is so important that we seek God’s wisdom when we read instead of just assuming He approves of a concept or a behavior simply because it is found in a book which human beings have decided to call sacred.
Should the Song of Solomon be viewed as a wonderful celebration of love? Not according to God’s standards. If we are using His system of values, then we have to realize that the Song of Solomon isn’t about love at all, but about lust. Real love isn’t based on superficial details about someone’s earthsuit. The extreme language used in this book demonstrates how foolish we become about what’s important in life when we stop listening to God. Certainly there is nothing wrong with celebrating the beauty of the human body. It’s quite appropriate for a man and his wife to enjoy each other’s anatomy. But while we’re enjoying shapes, sizes, scents, and colors, we need to keep a grip on the fact that these external bodies of ours are only temporary machines. Should you decide to jump in bed with a man simply because you’re super impressed with the car he drives? Should you ask a woman to marry you simply because you find her body exciting to look at? Such thinking is utterly immature and hardly something we Christians should be applauding. So before you start quoting lines from Solomon’s hormonal dribble at your spouse, stop to think about how shallow his sentiments really are and consider raising your sights onto higher things. If you want to compliment the one you love, compliment them about something that actually matters, for in doing so, you’ll remind yourself that there are far more important things in life than nice necks and navels.
You can’t help but wonder what happened after Solomon lost interest in the woman he had in mind when he wrote his little song. Considering that Solomon packed in at least 1,000 different sexual partners during his 40 years of reign, there’s no doubt that those famous words of “I am my beloved’s and he is mine” ended up tasting pretty bitter in somebody’s mouth.
Know Your Bible Lesson 11: The Rebellion of Solomon
Ecclesiastes: The Ramblings of a Spiritual Fool
Spiritual Maturity in the Bible: Where is it?
God’s View of Your Body