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The book of Song of Songs contains mature content, so if you’re reading with little ones, please use discretion! Need some more tips on reading hard topics with young kids? Read our article Should I Read Sensitive Bible Passages with My Kids? here.


What is the Book of Song of Songs About?

Read this 5-minute introduction to help you find your bearings in the Bible story, and be inspired to read Song of Songs!


Historical Context

The wording of the first verse in Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs; 1:1) does not necessarily mean that Solomon wrote the book. It may have been written by Solomon himself, or it could have been written in his honor. When he is mentioned (Song of Solomon 1:5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11–12), it is generally as a distant, even idealized figure. What is known about Solomon suggests that he probably was not the writer himself (1 Kings 3:1; 11:1–8). 

From Remember that the ultimate author of every book of the Bible is the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). He has written this book to equip you for life, to help you know the true God, and to give you hope (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 15:4). The Holy Spirit wrote Song of Songs for your good and to lead you into joy.

The book was probably composed during Solomon’s time, perhaps under his oversight, between c. 960 and 931 BC.

Unless otherwise indicated, this content is adapted from the ESV Global Study Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright ©2012 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Message Series

Song of Solomon by Barry G. Webb

We’ve chosen an unusual treasure to recommend to you as the message series for this book. It’s one lecture, 80 minutes long, given by the Bible teacher Barry G. Webb in 1988. You may be as surprised as we were to find this message wonderfully engaging, insightful, helpful, inspiring, and faithful to Scripture. We hope it helps you wonder at the wisdom, kindness, and love of God for giving us the gift of romantic love.

Song of Songs Dictionary

As you read through Song of Songs, you might come across words and ideas that are foreign to you. Here are a few definitions you will want to know! Note that this dictionary was created for the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible.

(1) To be careful to guard or keep what one has. This is the kind of jealousy the Bible is talking about when it says that God is a jealous God. He loves his people and wants them to turn away from sin and to love and worship only him. (2) To be angry and unhappy when someone else has something you want. The Bible calls this kind of jealousy a sin. (3) To be afraid of losing someone’s love or affection.

The most important city of Bible times. Jerusalem was the capital of the united kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. The temple was built in Jerusalem, so many people traveled to the city to worship God. In 587 BC, Jerusalem was captured and mostly destroyed by Babylonian armies. The city was rebuilt when the Jews returned after 70 years of exile in Babylon. Jesus taught in the city of Jerusalem, was crucified outside the city wall, was buried near the city, and then rose again. The first Christian church began in Jerusalem after the Holy Spirit came to the believers there.

A small tool or ring that had a design cut into one side. The owner of each seal had his or her own special design. When the owner wanted to put his or her own special mark or brand on something, the person would press the seal into hot wax or soft clay. As the wax or clay hardened, it kept the design in it. Seals were used in many ways, including to show that two people had reached an agreement, to seal a letter, or to show who owned something.

A person who takes care of sheep. Shepherds find grass and water for their sheep, protect them from bad weather and wild animals, bring them safely into a sheepfold (or some other sheltered area) at night, and care for sick or hurt sheep.

(1) One of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built (Mount Zion). (2) The entire city of Jerusalem. (3) Another name for the nation of Israel. (4) Another name for heaven.

This content is from What the Bible Is All About, written by Henrietta Mears. Copyright © 1953, 2011 by Gospel Light. Copyright assigned to Tyndale House Publishers, 2015. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

Tough Questions

We have found answers to some tough questions that we anticipate may arise as you read this book of the Bible. We know we can’t answer every question you will have; therefore, we have written this article, so you know how to find answers for your kids: How Do I Answer Tough Questions About the Bible?


The following insights are from pastors and scholars who have spent significant time studying the book of Song of Songs.

The Song of Solomon is part of the biblical genre of wisdom literature. In wisdom literature, God provides divine perspective concerning the good and righteous life. In the Song of Solomon, the reader encounters a divine perspective on human love. We see in this song an ideal of human love displayed between a young woman and a young man. We see them before their wedding as they anticipate the day in which their love will find expression in sexual union. We also see them after their wedding, dealing with the insecurities and challenges that come in even the best of marriages. The Song of Solomon is a rich and vivid account of human love, an account that is desperately needed in our own time. So much confusion about love and sexuality persists in our culture. Here God provides clarity that leads to greater holiness, joy, and fulfillment. 

—Jay Harvey  

Source: Content taken from Song of Solomon: A 12-Week Study by Jay Harvey, ©2018. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

So much of the culture’s presentation of sexuality is crass, lacking the beauty and mystery that should characterize the physical consummation and enduring love of marriage. A study of the Song of Solomon can revise our understanding and help us reclaim in holiness the sexual expression that God has created and declared good. 

—James L. Harvey III  

Source: James L. Harvey III, quoted from his article, “Why Study the Book of Song of Solomon?” published by Crossway

C.S. Lewis wrote a timeless book called “The Four Loves” which summarizes four kinds of human love and four Greek words for love: affection (storgé), friendship (phileō), romantic love (eros), and the love of God (agapé). The Bible is and should be our authority on the topic of love because love (agapé) comes from God and God is love (1 John 4:7-8). Even though the love God has for us is a unique type of love, the Bible is also our authority on all other types of love… It may seem to have nothing to do with God, but romantic love has everything to do with God! It is completely accurate to say that God is the inventor and author of romantic love which naturally makes him the authority on the subject! Therefore, we should care very much about what God thinks about romance and marriage. 

—Kristi Walker 

Source: Kristi Walker, quoted from her article, “Beautiful Lessons in Love from Song of Solomon,” published by Bible Study Tools

Our text begins, “The Song . . .” (1:1a). The significance of this simple observation is that it identifies the genre. This is not a letter, gospel, law book, prophecy, or apocalyptic revelation. This is a song. And a song (this is what I’ve learned after many years of study) is written to be sung. (Aren’t you glad I’m your guide?) … This also means that this song is not primarily intended to be preached in church or taught in a classroom, but to be sung; and the fact that we don’t sing it (or some paraphrase of it) is only to our shame. This is a God-inspired love song!  

… That’s the first guidepost: this is a song. Here’s the second guidepost: this is a song about human love set in the context of marriage 

… This is a song about human love set in the context of marriage that is found in the Bible. What I mean is that the Song of Songs cannot be read properly if it is read outside of its canonical context.  

… This is a song (guidepost one) about human love (guidepost two) found in the Bible (guidepost three) written to give us wisdom (guidepost four).  

… The Song was written to give us wisdom: to the unmarried, the wisdom to wait; to the married, the wisdom to warm up to each other again… and again and again.  

—Douglas Sean O’Donnell

Source: Content adapted from The Song of Solomon: An Invitation to Intimacy by Douglas Sean O’Donnell, ©2012. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. 

The first application is this: desire is not demonic. Or if you’d like: Eros is not evil. Pick whichever alliteration you like better. That is, this desire for sexual intimacy expressed here so obviously is not only natural but can be (should be) naturally good… Eros alone is not evil, but eros outside of God’s ethics is… We are to glorify God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20), and glorifying God means playing by his rules.  

… The second application is that character and chemistry both matter in the matters of love… You see, Jane Austen wasn’t the first to bring to the world’s attention that one shouldn’t marry for convenience, economic security, or social advancement. The Bible teaches that same truth here, and even as early as Genesis it depicts a love-struck Jacob who will work fourteen years for beautiful-eyed Rachel. The Bible is not against chemistry, as we call it: two people marry because they romantically love each other. Although it might be true that covenant loyalty and godly character are listed above chemistry, chemistry is listed nevertheless. It’s listed, in my reading of the broad Scriptural witness of what it means to love another person, a close third. So don’t dismiss it in the matters of love.

—Douglas Sean O’Donnell

Source: Content taken from The Song of Solomon: An Invitation to Intimacy by Douglas Sean O’Donnell, ©2012. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Strong as Death indeed was Jesus’ love, for Jesus swallowed up Death in victory; not merely overcame it, but seemed to devour it, to make nothing of it, and put it away once for all. “O Death,” said Love, “I will be thy plague! O grave, I will be thy destruction!” And Love has kept its word, and proved itself to be “strong as Death.” 

… Christian, turn it over in your mind—Christ loveth you; not a little; not a little as a man may love his friend; not even as a mother may love her child, for she may forget the infant of her womb. He loves you with the highest degree of love that is possible; and what more can I say, except I add, he loves you with a degree of love that is utterly impossible to man. No finite mind could, if it should seek to measure it, get any idea whatever of the love of Christ towards us. You know, when we come to measure a drop with an ocean, there is a comparison. A comparison I say there is, though we should hardly be able to get at it; but when you attempt to measure our love with Christ’s, the finite with the infinite, there is no comparison at all. Though we loved Christ ten thousand times as well as we do, there would even then be no comparison between our love to him and his love to us. Can you believe this now—“Jesus loves me?” Why to be loved by others here often brings the tear to one’s eye. It is sweet to have the affection of one’s fellow; but to be loved of God, and to be loved to an intense degree—so loved that you have to leave it as a mystery the soul cannot fathom—you cannot tell how much! Be silent, O my soul! and be ye silent too before your God, and lift up your soul in prayer thus—“Jesus, take me into tills sea of love, and let me be ravished by a sweet and heavenly contentment in a sure confidence that thou hast loved me and given thyself for me.” 

—Charles Spurgeon 

Source: Charles Spurgeon, quoted from his message, “The Shulamite’s Choice Prayer,” published by The Spurgeon Center

Don’t get me wrong here. Its [Song of Solomon’s] lyrics about tasting and touching are “candid but not crude.”[1] They are not prudish, but neither are they immodest. Thus, they are far removed from the sexual anarchy and idiocy of our Top 40 music, as well as the crass love poetry of the ancient Near East. The Song has this beautiful balance: it has adult content, but it is adolescent appropriate. It is not X-rated; it is rated PG—parental (and pastoral) guidance recommended. This Song guides us to see with Scriptural sensibilities that the earth is crammed with Heaven,[2] that the way of a man with a woman is “too wonderful” (Proverbs 30:18, 19), and that marriage is not simply a concession to the necessity of procreation but an affirmation of the beauty, chastity, and sacredness of human love. Amen and amen.

1. Estes, “The Song of Songs,” p. 289.

2. I reference a line from the seventh book of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh: A Poem in Nine Books (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1883), p. 265.

—Douglas Sean O’Donnell

Source: Content taken from The Song of Solomon: An Invitation to Intimacy by Douglas Sean O’Donnell, ©2012. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Righteous behavior in the presence of God is what is being described here. And it’s being described here in a way that is both communicative—it’s obvious to everybody what’s happening—and yet it is discreet. It’s the kind of thing that nobody would need to blush about reading these verses with children in the room because nothing indiscreet, nothing inappropriate, nothing lewd, nothing bawdy is being communicated. And when we speak about the Song of Solomon, when we interpret the Song of Solomon, our words ought to be like Solomon’s words. We ought to communicate the same way that he does. In other words, I don’t think you should make people feel embarrassed when you read these words. And I don’t think people should be concerned about having their children in the service when their words are preached. 

—James M. Hamilton Jr. 

Source: Source: James M. Hamilton Jr., quoted from his lecture called “Themes” in his 4-part lecture series Study the Song of Solomon, published by The Gospel Coalition 

We should get our ideas of the most intimate acquaintance possible between a man and a wife from the Bible, not from the internet, not from movies, not from soap operas, not from novels, not from anything that the world supplies to us. We should get our thinking about this from the Scriptures, and if we do, then we have questions like, “How would I think about this if I were in the very presence of God in the most holy place? How would that alter my desires? How would that alter my conduct? How would that alter the way that I felt about what’s going on between a husband and a wife and their coming together in the kind of situation that we have described in the Song of Songs?” 

I think that Solomon intends to evoke some of these connotations—Garden of Eden connotations, Holy of holies connotations—and he intends to provide an idealized picture that is to inspire and renew and teach what intimacy in marriage is supposed to look like.   

—James M. Hamilton Jr. 

Source: James M. Hamilton Jr., quoted from his lecture called “Introduction to Song of Solomon” in his 4-part lecture series Study the Song of Solomon, published by The Gospel Coalition

Song of Songs Playlist

Discover music inspired by the message and content of the book of Song of Songs.

Arise, My Love
by Michael Card | 70s 80s 90s
Psalm 45 (Fairest of All)
by Shane & Shane | Praise & Worship
The Sands of Time Are Sinking
by Audrey Assad | Hymn
Song of Solomon
by Sara Groves | 70s 80s 90s
My One Safe Place
by Andrew Peterson | Folk
by for KING & COUNTRY | Contemporary
Extraordinary Magic
by Ben Rector | Chill & Relaxing
You’re Still the One
by Ben Rector | Country
I’ve Got You to Love
by Steve Moakler | Country
Almond Eyes
by Brandon Lake | Chill & Relaxing
Goodnight for Now
by Brandon Lake | Chill & Relaxing
by for KING & COUNTRY feat. MORIAH, and Courtney | Chill & Relaxing
Better Wine
by FAI STUDIOS feat. Andrew Cowart | Acoustic
Legends, Legacies, and Last Words
by FAI STUDIOS feat. Audra Lynn and Andrew Cowart | Acoustic
More Songs