In the Song of Solomon, 'the best of songs', we hear the passionate melody of romantic love - but whose love is described? Is it a couple's love for each other, God's love for Israel, or Christ's love for the church? This Old Testament book has fascinated and perplexed interpreters for centuries. They have felt uncomfortable - even embarrassed - when confronted with its strange and erotic imagery. With his own unique style, Lloyd Carr skilfully explains the meaning of this ancient love story in a way that can be clearly grasped and applied by Christians living in today's world.
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“Whereas allegory denies or ignores the historicity or factualness of the Old Testament account and imposes a deeper, hidden or spiritual meaning on the text, typology recognizes the validity of the Old Testament account in its own right, but then finds in that account a clear, parallel link with some event or teaching in the New Testament which the Old Testament account foreshadows.” (Pages 25–26)
“Within the Christian community the Song is often understood to describe the loving concern Christ, the lover/bridegroom, has for his church, the beloved/bride, and for the individual believer. Each verse is then read through Christological eyes for what it can reveal about that relationship.” (Pages 27–28)
“The Song is a celebration of the nature of humanity—male and female created in God’s image for mutual support and enjoyment. There is nothing here of the aggressive male and the reluctant or victimized female. They are one in their desires because their desires are God-given. It is only a community which is uncomfortable with such a concept that excommunicates those who understand the Song in its natural sense, or those who, having understood it correctly, refuse to allow ‘such a book’ to be part of God’s revealed word.” (Page 58)
“In the Song the woman is not reticent about taking the initiative. Nearly twice as many verses are from her lips than from his. She is not ashamed to express her longing for love and her willingness to give freely to her beloved. But she is careful to keep herself exclusively for him.” (Page 58)
“Still others identify only the shepherd-lover in the poem and understand the Song as a celebration of the love he shared with his beloved. This is the reading followed in this Commentary.” (Page 52)
G. Lloyd Carr is Emeritus Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts.