What do you think about this take on Songs of Solomon…

[Editor’s note:  the gentleman writing this article rejects the “traditional” view that Song of Solomon is about a loving monogamous relationship between Solomon and his wife]


A few logical fallacies or weak arguments on the part of this person (I will intersperse comments that show his argument is not completely unreasonable):

1. He argues that Solomon is a bad example here. OK, let us suppose that we accept this as “proof” that the book cannot be about love between Solomon and his lover. If so, the Solomon would be disqualified to produce Proverbs and Ecclesiastes as well, for virtually the identical reason.

2. He argues that the entire Bible HAS to be about the story of redemption. If true, then Ecclesiastes and Proverbs should be removed from the Bible. I could add a couple other books as well (3 John, James), although, to be honest this is not a terrible argument because almost all the Bible IS about this.

3. He also subtly argues that the Bible cannot have a book about physical love for moral reasons. He does not come out and say this, but he strongly implies it.

4. He is assuming, without evidence to support his assumption, that his opponents agree that the book was written late in Solomon’s 40 year reign, which almost certainly is not true. This is a kind of “straw man” argument in which you argue against the weakest possible version of your opponent’s argument. The fact is that the lover is described as a young man (SS 2:3), which implies the events happened long before Solomon had anything like a harem.

5. His argument about the lover being a shepherd is not completely convincing, but I will admit it does support his position. Either the comments like SS 1:7 are metaphorical or perhaps as a very young man Solomon, like his father, worked among sheep (which, to be honest, does not seem very likely).

6. His is a theory with a major problem: It has no evidence to support it. What I mean is this, he says that in SS 4:1 Solomon has recaptured the escaped maiden. Where is his evidence for this story? About SS 3:1 he says she has been captured and entered Solomon’s harem. Where is his evidence for this? This is all very speculative and there is literally not the slightest indication in the text for this theory. In other words, this is a case of creating a scenario and then finding evidence to support the scenario. What he needs is at least a teensy tiny piece of evidence to support the scenario before he begins his argument. Instead, he begins with a presupposition, not with evidence—a presupposition with which I do not agree. Only AFTER providing evidence for such a scenario should he then proceed to fit the text to his scenario. About 4:16 he implies that Solomon is frustrated about a harem occupant who refuses to consummate the marriage. First of all, the context (him being a very young man) does not fit with him even having a harem, and second, he is arguing from a scenario, not from a theory with evidence. “You are a garden locked up” I see no evidence of frustration here, but of the normal excitement of one to soon be married, but maybe that is just me.

7. About SS 5:2 he says that this is her thinking of her shepherd/lover. She has him saying the identical words to what, supposedly, Solomon said in SS 4:10. It is far more likely that 5:2 and 4:10 are about the same person.

8. His argument about 5:7 does seem to have some merit. I am not sure what this verse is about.

By the way, I do NOT assume, as he seems to imply, that all who take the view he proposes to disprove agree that the two talked about here are Solomon and a lover. I believe that this story may be about a different pair of lovers. It does appear to be a prince or someone of aristocratic position, but does not have to be Solomon.

Bottom line, he might be right, but the argument is somewhat weak and is based on a presupposition which is not supported biblically.

John Oakes

Comments are closed.