Chapter-II

 

Song’s Application to Jesus Christ

 

It is to be noted at the outset that some of the Christian commentators of the Bible attach this Song to Jesus Christ as a prophecy in his favour. They assume that the attributes described here denote Jesus Christ which shows that they consider it to be a prophecy regarding him. Here are a few excerpts from some authorities to elaborate the point:

The Pulpit Commentary asserts:

Ancient writers have applied the description to our Lord[1]

Wycliffe BC attaches this poem to Christ and his Church:

The Christian Church saw in it reflected love between Christ and the Church. (...) in the Song there is portrayed the great love between Christ and the Church, King Solomon being regarded as a type of Christ, and the bride as representing the Church.[2]

New Jerome Biblical Commentary holds similar views:

Remarkably, synagogue and church agree on a religious interpretation: Cant refers to the love of the Lord for his people or, for Christians, to the love of Christ for the church.[3]

Matthew Henry has also endorsed this interpretation:

But more frequently is Christ represented as the bridegroom of his church, and the church as bride. Pursuant to this metaphor Christ and the church in general, Christ and particular believers, are here discoursing with abundance of mutual esteem and endearment. The best key to this book is the 45th Psalm, which we find applied to Christ in the NT[4], and therefore this ought to be so too.[5]

The New Oxford Annotated Bible states:

Christian tradition also developed a symbolic or allegorical interpretation, reading the Song as an account of Christ’s love for the Church.[6]

M. Timothea Elliot, R.M.S., U.S.A. writes:

The Bridegroom was Christ; the Church became the Bride. This was a natural development in light of key NT passages. (Matt 9:15; 25:1-13; John 3:29; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22-33; Rev 19:6-8; 21:9-11; 22:17). Origen developed the Christ/Church allegory in an influential commentary.[7]

The 7th Day Adventist Bible Com. writes:

This type of relationship would make this story of Solomon’s marriage a more appropriate illustration of the relationship between Christ and the church.[8] (...). That the love between Solomon and the Shulamite is intended to illustrate the love between Christ and his people has already been observed.[9]

It has recorded the caption of Chapter 5 of the Song as:

1.Christ awaketh the church with his calling. 2. The church having a taste of Christ’s love is sick of love. 9. A description of Christ by his grace.[10]

It has throughout interpreted the ‘Song’ in terms of Christ and church. Some comments on chapter 5 are given below:

The chiefest among ten thousand: A fitting title of Christ. (...) . This description is frequently coupled with the title ‘chiefest among ten thousand,’ when referring to Christ.[11]

Jack S. Deere has noted that some church leaders also held the opinion. He writes:

Church leaders, including Hyppolytus, Origen, Jerome, Athanasius, Augustine, and Bernard of Clairvaux, have viewed the book as an allegory of Christ’s love for His bride, the church. (...), and some have suggested that 5:1 refers to the Lord’s Supper. (...) . Some scholars view the book as an extended type, with Solomon typifying Christ and the beloved being a type of the church.[12]

The Reader’s Digest Bible asserts:

Its inclusion in the Jewish and Christian canon is due to its acceptance as an allegory of God’s love for Israel, or Christ’s love for the Church.[13]

The Learning Bible has noted similar views in its ‘Introduction’ to the ‘Song’:

Many Christian interpreters came to a similar conclusion, saying that the book symbolizes the kind of relationship that Jesus Christ (the bridegroom) has with the church (his bride). These interpretations helped the book gain acceptance as part of Scripture.[14]

The Annotated Paragraph Bible has asserted in its ‘Introduction’ to the Song of Solomon:

Thus Jehovah was David’s shepherd (Psa xxiii); Jesus is ours (John x:11,14). And thus also Christ is the bridegroom, and the church his bride (2 Cor. xi:2; Eph. v:23-27; Rev. xxi:2). Accordingly, Christian commentators in every age have regarded this poem as aptly expressing the mutual love of the Saviour and his church [stress added], and as fitly representing the closeness and perpetuity of the union which subsists between them.[15]

A study was undertaken in the previous chapter that originally King Solomon is the author of the ‘Song of Songs’. Now, in this chapter, it has been discussed that a number of Christian scholars hold that it is an allegorical narration and the bridegroom or the lover represents Christ. To ascertain the real significance of the prediction, one is to trace the exact Hebrew words uttered by King Solomon and to explore their meanings. This study has been undertaken in the coming chapters.

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