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5.40 1 Kings -- Song of Solomon

Some scholars believe that this love song was written by Solomon about his Egyptian wife.  Yet the evidence is meager -- there are just two circumstantial references in the book itself:

         "I liken you, my darling, to a mare harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh" (Song 1:9).

This type of poetic simile would scarcely be considered a compliment in most circles today:  "Baby, you look like a horse, a big warhorse." The idea is that the woman's nationality is indicated by the mention of Pharoah.  But this poetic image has about as much relevance to her ethnicity as the reference to her hair being like a flock of goats on the slopes of Gilead (Song 6:5), or her eyes being like pools in Heshbon (Song 7:4), etc. - ie. no relevance whatsoever.  Is every geographic reference in the book to be applied personally?  In fact, if we insist on this sort of textual "analysis", we can “prove” the woman was Semitic and not Negroid:

         "Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus" (Song 7:4).

           Some scholars strain at gnats and swallow camels.     


The other verse that suggests that the subject is Pharaoh’s daughter is uttered by the woman herself:

         "Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem… Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun" (Song 1:5-6).

          "Dark" is also translated "black," as black as Bedouin's tents. This verse can be taken as evidence that this was an African woman.  But the rest of verse 6 says:

         "My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected."

           It is hard to imagine Pharaoh’s daughter out in the sun tending the grapevines.  


In these incidental matters of Scripture, it is better to be cautious rather than to make wild claims based on trivial allusions.  The identification of the woman of the Song with Pharaoh’s daughter does serve to perpetuate the exotic, romantic aura of marriage to an Egyptian princess.  We would like to believe it -- that he loved her passionately, and faithfully.


But Scripture clearly shows this was not the case.  Whoever the woman was, Solomon may have loved her passionately for awhile, but not faithfully.  There are more aspects to marital love than what is depicted in the Song of Solomon -- companionship, longevity, fidelity, exclusivity -- none of which Solomon himself ever discovered.

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