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Today as we begin our look at the Song of all Songs, I want to introduce the cast of characters.

Before I jump in too far, I want to state that there are dozens of interpretation of this Song. We will explore some of them next week. I mention it here because some variations of interpretation can actually change the cast of characters.

Some believe that scripture can only have one interpretation. I'm not in that camp. I believe that many of the various interpretations have great value. God’s wisdom is so magnificence that we can glean much from looking at this wonderful jewel from many different perspectives.

I did pick one. I will refer to others from time to time, but for the most part, I'll be looking at it from this perspective.

Many translations and paraphrases have blocks of text marked with the speaker named. It might say “THE BELOVED” and “LOVER” the like. These are not in the original text and they vary from translation to translation. For the most part, we'll ignore these notations.

The Song is much like a play so most of the lines are in a character’s voice. The only thing we have to determine the speaker is the context. If the descriptions given use feminine adjectives and nouns we can assume it is the man speaking, or visa versa. There are some places where groups are speaking, and so based on the context we will make suggestions as to who is speaking in such places.

For the most part, there are 4 voices in the song.

The Shepherd King

The Maiden, referred to also as the Shulamite, or the Bride

Women of Jerusalem

Watchmen

These last 2 are groups. They act much like the chorus would in a Greek play. They take on the character of different people at different times. So the voices and attitudes here may shift from passage to passage.

There are some readers who split the Shepherd King into two characters, and this can be another valuable perspective. For my part, I am going to treat them as one man.

Next week I will break down the various interpretations, and you will see where we fit in the Song.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Come on back again soon.

Ben

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Many Waters - SoS header

This Song of Songs moves back and forth between narrative, moving the story of the Shepherd King and His maiden bride, and intimate conversations.

The narrative sections depict for us the progression of the life of a fully devoted believer’s walk from interest in the things of God, through intimacy, and into partnership. The conversations give us beautiful pictures of who Christ is to us and in us, as well as how He sees us from His heavenly perspective.

The last bit of narrative had the bride giving her garden, her life, over to the Lover of her soul with nothing held back.

Now we move into a period of the testing of her faith. The Lord will test both areas of her devotion. From the start we've traced her progress on two fronts – intimacy and partnership – the two requests she made of Him in the beginning of the Song. “Draw me after you and let us run together!” (Song of Songs 1:4 NASB)

The Song:

I was asleep but my heart was awake.

A voice! My beloved was knocking:

Open to me, my sister, my darling, 
My dove, my perfect one! 
For my head is drenched with dew,
My locks with the damp of the night.

I have taken off my dress,
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet,
How can I dirty them again?

My beloved extended his hand through the opening,
And my feelings were aroused for him.
I arose to open to my beloved;
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the bolt.

I opened to my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and had gone!
My heart went out to him as he spoke.
I searched for him but I did not find him;
I called him but he did not answer me.

The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
They struck me and wounded me;
The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
As to what you will tell him:
For I am lovesick."

Song of Songs 5:2-8 NASB

Many commentators look at this as failure – sin – in the maiden, but we will not take that approach. I believe that just as when Abraham finally had his promise in hand and the Lord asked him to give it up, so we can see that the maiden’s resolve is tested on both fronts. I first had this turned around for me by Mike Bickle in his series on the Song of Songs.

This is a meaty passage so don’t miss it.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Don’t forget to shine in the darkness surrounding you.

Ben

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