Summary: Solomon sought to persuade the beautiful Shulamite girl to yield to lust, but she remains steadfast in her loyalty to love. This is a story of a great temptation, and a powerful testing of love.
A French pilot, by the name of Guillaumet flew over the
Andes on a regular basis. One time he disappeared for a
week, and hope that he would be found was given up.
He was eventually rescued, however, and his first intelligible
sentence was, "I swear that I went though what no animal
would have gone through." For two days and two nights he
lay helpless. Then he walked five days and four nights
through deep snow. When he was found his hands and feet
were frozen. He had no food and no tools. He had to crawl
up walls of ice in 20 degrees below zero. Many times he said
it would have been pure pleasure to give up and go to sleep,
yielding to the cold hand of death. He had not read the Song
of Solomon 8:6 which says, "Love is strong as death." But
he was demonstrating it, for it was love that kept him going.
All he could think about was his wife. He knew that
when a man vanished his death was not legally
acknowledged for seven years, and so if he died where no
one could find him, his wife would be left in poverty. He had
to get to a place where his body could be found so she could
get the insurance. It was this loving concern for his wife
that drove him to super human efforts, and it save his life.
He lost his memory, and was little more than a frozen
vegetable stumbling through a wilderness, but still he kept
going because of love. Had he not been a loving man, he
would have been a dead man.
Very few ever have to put their love to that kind of test,
but there are enough such examples to prove the truth of
what the Shulamite girl said, "Love is strong as death." This
is the kind of love that the Song of Songs is all about. It is
not about wishy washy sentimental infatuation; and not
about superficial lust, which when satisfied forsakes its
object, but true love, which is able to overcome all obstacles
which threaten to detour it off its course of faithfulness and
In verse 4 the Shulamite girl gives us the first hint as to
her predicament, and why it is she is separated from her true
love, and why she so desperately longs for him to come to
her. She says, the king has brought me into his chamber.
King Solomon has brought her to his chamber to try and
persuade her to be one of his wives. Many would be
flattered, and would have forsaken their country lover
without a tear. It was the chance of a lifetime, but here was
a rare girl who wanted love rather than riches in a royal
harem. That is why she cries out for her Shepherd lover to
come and make haste, for it is his love alone in which she
Solomon, no doubt, sought to weaken her resistance to his
charms by the use of wine, but she is not taken in by this, for
she has tasted love, and what it wine compared to love?
Love is what she will sing about. Let those who give up love
to be in Solomon's harem sing songs of the glory of wine, for
that is all they have to keep them warm and happy. The
choice between love and wine is one that is the theme of
thousands of love stories and films. Four times the word love
is used in the first four verses of this song, and two of them
refer to the conviction that love is better than wine. This
conviction is a challenge to the values of many in both the
ancient and modern world.
Wine was as a god all through ancient history, and every
nation had its wine songs, including Israel. Wine was the
source of joy and happiness. It was the means by which
sorrows were escaped and burdens endured. It even helped
cure physical problems. It was to the ancients what the
doctor, psychiatrist, and TV is to the modern man. It is
entertaining, exhilarating, and a means of escape. Spurgeon
said, "The fruit of the vine represents the chiefest of earthly
luxuries." The Shulamite girl says, however, what good is all
of life's luxuries without love. To wine and dine and live like
a princess is no match to goats milk, lamb chops, and the
Shepherd man I love.
Love is personal, but wine and the luxuries it represents
are impersonal. Those who try to find fulfillment in the
impersonal, pervert their own nature which was made for
love. They turn to drugs and sex, and in their search for
what only love can provide, they develop loves greatest