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Products>Song of Songs (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament | NICOT)

Song of Songs (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament | NICOT)

, 2001
ISBN: 9780802825438

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Relationships are a wonderful, mysterious, often elusive, and sometimes painful part of the human experience. The most intimate of all human relationships, according to the Bible, is that between a husband and a wife. It is no surprise, therefore, that there is a book of the Bible, the Song of Songs, that focuses on this relationship. What is surprising is how little attention is given to the Song of Songs by scholars, by the church, and by readers of the Bible. With this volume Tremper Longman III unpacks for modern people what this ancient love poem says about the male-female relationship—and, by analogy, about God’s love for his people.

Longman’s superb study begins with a thorough introduction to the Song of Songs and its background. Longman discusses the book’s title, authorship, date, literary style, language, structure, cultural milieu, and theological content. He also canvasses the long history of interpretation of the Song of Songs, a history too often characterized by repression of the text. In the commentary itself, Longman structures the Song of Songs according to its 23 poetic units and explains its message verse by verse. The exposition is made clearer by Longman’s adoption of an anthropological approach to the text and by his frequent comparisons of the Song of Songs with other ancient Near Eastern literature.

Learned yet highly accessible, innovative yet fully informed by past scholarship, this commentary shows the beautiful Song of Songs to be a timeless celebration of human love and sexuality.

Song of Songs was a 2002 Evangelical Christian Publishers Assocation Gold Medallion finalist for Reference/Commentary.

Resource Experts
  • Verse-by-verse commentary
  • In-depth discussion of textual and critical matters
  • Introduction to the authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology of Song of Songs

Top Highlights

“The one thing that is clear is that it is not telling a story about Solomon.” (Page 7)

“The woman is asking the man to allow her to ‘own’ him, but not in some kind of cheap commercial sense; she wants him to willingly give himself to her. She asks him to mark her on his heart and arm. Perhaps the first refers to his inner being, 16 his personality, what makes him tick; and his arm refers to his actions. Taken together, heart and arm signify the whole person.” (Page 210)

“The seal in mind here is the seal of ownership and personal identification.” (Page 209)

“Though allegory does appear in the Hebrew Bible, it is clear from our definition and example that the Song of Songs is not an allegory. The book itself has no signals that it is to be read in any other way than as a love song. No one can dispute this fact.” (Page 23)

“More naturally, the verse is a warning of the woman to other women who may look on the relationship and want to experience something similar; she is, in essence, telling them not to force it. Wait for love to blossom; don’t hurry it. In a sense, then, the daughters of Jerusalem, are surrogates for the reader. We too are to learn the same lesson: Wait for love to blossom; don’t try to stimulate it artificially. After all, in the preceding verses we have seen that love takes its toll on the woman. She warns the others not to arouse love until they are ready to meet its rigors, both physical and emotional. Love is not a passing fling but rather a demanding and exhausting relationship.” (Pages 115–116)

One of the most helpful commentaries there is for understanding the details of the text sensitively but with full focus on the physical and sexual aspects of the poetry.

Heythrop Journal

An attractive contribution to the well-established NICOT series. A thorough, accessible commentary of the Song of Songs, giving the novice theological student an introduction to a wide range of scholarly opinion, both ancient and modern.


Faithful to the format of this fine series, [Longman’s] extensive introduction treats questions of authorship, literary style, the history of interpretation, and other features that are specific to this particular biblical book. The commentary itself takes the literary characteristics of the book seriously and engages the thinking of other scholars in its explanation. The rich metaphors that fill the poems are carefully examined and their obvious sexual connotations are delicately interpreted. The book is highly recommended.

The Bible Today

  • Title: Song of Songs
  • Author: Tremper Longman III
  • Series: New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2001
  • Logos Release Date: 2009
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Bible. O.T. Song of Solomon › Commentaries
  • ISBNs: 9780802825438, 0802825435
  • Resource ID: LLS:NICOT22SO
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-05-17T01:28:03Z
Tremper Longman III

Tremper Longman III serves as Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. He has written over 35 books, including commentaries on Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel, Nahum, and Revelation. His books have been translated into 18 different languages. In addition, as a Hebrew scholar, he is one of the main translators of the popular New Living Translation, and has served as a consultant on other popular Bible translations, including The Message, the New Century Version, the Christian Standard Bible, and the Common Bible. He has also edited and contributed to a number of study Bibles and Bible dictionaries, most recently The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

He earned his BA from Ohio Wesleyan University, his MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary, and both his MPhil and PhD from Yale University. Dr. Longman and his wife, Alice, have three sons and eight grandchildren.


5 ratings

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  1. Maxim Skorokhod
    This is the best commentary on the book of Song of Songs I have ever read. However, in my opinion, the introduction to the book by Duane A. Garrett (in WBC) seems stronger.
  2. adam clinton dixon
  3. Faithlife User
  4. sukjae lee

    sukjae lee


  5. Martijn



  6. Arie Baanstra

    Arie Baanstra


    2 augustus bestelde en betaalde ik het commentaar "Songs of Songs"van Tremper Longman III . Tot op heden nog niet ontvangen. Vandaar geen recensie maar de vraag óf het boek direct op te sturen óf het betaalde bedrag terug te storten op rekeningnummer NL28 RABO 0337 5855 47. Graag Uw bericht hieromtrent. Met vriendelijke groeten, Arie Baanstra. (a.a.baanstra@gmail.com)
  7. Herman




Print list price: $38.00
Save $5.01 (13%)