Here I present to you (over a period of time) the wonderful old
book by Joseph Dillow "Solomon and Sex." It is in my view the
true understanding of the Song of Songs by King Solomon. Further,
and more important, in my view, it is GOD'S INSTRUCTION MANUAL on
the subject of sex in marriage. Mr.Dillow presents the Song of
Songs in a very up front and plain manner. God is the creator of
sex, so it is only fitting He should give us instructions on sex
The truly plain truth of the matter on Sexuality in marriage.
Thank you Mr.Dillow - Keith Hunt
SOLOMON ON SEX
Amid the current deluge of marriage manuals and sensational
guides to liberated lovemaking, one small, beautiful book
deserves all the attention the others are clamoring for, but it
lies misunderstood and largely neglected. Few people realize the
One who created us male and female also provided us with specific
instructions as to how we best respond as men and women.
Who wrote the book?
The author is Solomon, King of Israel. The Song was
apparently written during the early part of his reign when he was
still a young man.
What are we reading?
Solomon's writing takes the form of a lyric idyll, a kind of
love song. In a lyric idyll, speeches and events don't
necessarily follow in chronological order. It's like a movie with
several flashbacks; the story remains temporarily suspended while
the audience views a scene from the past. This explains the lack
of chronological sequence in the song.
Another feature of lyric idylls is the chorus. This is an
imaginary group that interrupts certain scenes to make brief
speeches or to give warnings. The writer uses the chorus as a
literary device to make transitions from one scene to another or
to emphasize a point.
The book is a series of fifteen reflections of a married
woman, Solomon's queen, as she looks back at the events leading
to the marriage, the wedding night, and their early years
together. These "reflections" are expressed in fifteen short love
The story behind the Song
King Solomon lives in the tenth century B.C. He is Israel's
richest king, and owns vineyards all over the nation - one of
them close to Baalhamon in the northernmost part of Galilee, near
the foothills of the Lebanon mountains. While visiting this
vineyard, Solomon meets a country girl, Shulamith. She captures
his heart. For some time he pursues her and makes periodic visits
to see her at her country home.
Finally he asks her to marry him. Shulamith gives serious
consideration to whether she really loves him and can be happy in
the palace of a king, and finally accepts.
Solomon sends a wedding procession to escort his new
bride-to-be to the palace in Jerusalem. The book opens as she is
getting ready for the wedding banquet and the wedding night. The
details of their first night together are erotically but
tastefully described, and the first half of the book closes.
The second half of the book deals with the joys and problems
of their married life. She refuses his sexual advances one night,
and the king departs. She, realizing her foolishness, gets up and
tries to find him, eventually does, and they have a joyous time
While she lives at the palace, the new queen often longs for
the mountains of Lebanon where she grew up. She finally asks
Solomon to take her there on a vacation. He agrees, and the book
closes with their return to her country home and their enjoyment
of sexual love there.
Symbolism of the Song
God could have used medical terms or slang in speaking of
sex. But medical terms cause a sense of awkwardness, and we react
negatively to slang. So God avoided both by expressing these
delicate things in the language of poetry: symbols. Symbolism
says more than medical or slang ever could, but without creating
awkwardness or evoking negative reactions.
When it comes to explaining the meaning of the symbols, we
will obviously have to use some medical synonyms. This problem
faces any tasteful interpreter of the Song.
We will follow the oldest attested method of interpretation
- the normal approach. We will take the Song at face value and
see how it applies to us today.
Some writers seem hesitant to believe sex was intended by
God for any purpose other than procreation. Therefore, they
refuse to accept a normal interpretation of the book. God, they
say, would never allow a book about sex (even in marriage) in the
canon of Scripture. So the normal meaning of the Song was covered
up ("It's a metaphor"), slid over ("Well, it does not really mean
that") and allegorized ("It's a picture of God and his people").
The book is full of metaphors and other symbols, but was
never intended to be an allegory. Instead, it is simply a picture
of idealized married love as God intended it.
As an example of how absurd our interpretations can become
when we reject the normal meaning of the symbols, some Jewish
rabbis argued the book was an allegory of Jehovah's love for
Israel. In this context the verse, "My beloved is to me a pouch
of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts" (1:13) was
interpreted to refer to the Shekinah Glory between the two
cherubim that stood over the Ark in the Tabernacle. Some
Christian scholars, following the same approach, concluded the
Song spoke, instead, of Christ's love for His church. They held
that the "pouch of myrrh ... between my breasts" referred to
Christ appearing between the Scriptures of the Old and New
We want to remove these metaphorical mists and take a clear
look at God's guidelines for sex, love and marriage. As we do, we
want to also point to the source of answers for all other areas
of problems in our lives: the Word of God. God has spoken
authoritatively on sex through Solomon, and those who try His
guidelines will find them workable and true.
Was Solomon qualified?
Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred
concubines; how could he have anything to say about ideal
monogamistic love? If Solomon really believed monogamy was the
pattern God wanted men to follow, as he says in the Song, and if
he really was so ecstatic about his relationship with Shulamith,
his bride, why then did he continue in his lustful polygamy which
led to his downfall? Some possible answers.
(1) If Solomon wrote this book while practicing polygamy, It
would be a powerful argument against the fruitlessness and
emptiness of having many wives. It would be a poem emphasizing
the beauty of ideal love written by one who had experienced the
opposite. He could write from experience that polygamy is not
fulfilling as the way to find a maximum marriage.
(2) The fact that Solomon may have been a hypocrite doesn't
necessarily disqualify him from writing about how he should
behave. Solomon also wrote Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.
Ecclesiastes, written with the warning that life apart from a
relationship with God is like trying to catch the wind,
demonstrates Solomon knew from experience the truth about God.
In Proverbs, Solomon also stresses that ideal marriage consists
of one man with one woman. And he emphasizes again the abuses of
riches. In actuality Solomon violated just about every precept he
wrote about, is he therefore unqualified to write the book of
Proverbs? If you teach your children about the wrongness of lying
and anger, then catch yourself in a lie or a fit of anger, does
that mean your teaching was not sound? In the same way, the fact
that a polygamist wrote the Song of Solomon doesn't affect the
value of the book as a guide to sexual love in monogamistic
(3) Because the Song describes Solomon when he was a young man,
in the early years of his reign, it is possible the wives he had
contracted at this time were taken in political marriages, and
that he had not yet degenerated into lustful polygamy.
Insofar as the aim of this book is popular rather than
technical, digressions into discussions of other viewpoints will
not be undertaken. This in no way is intended as a slight to
these serious alternatives but is simply a concession to a more
Hence the framework outlined above will be assumed
throughout the book and only defended at what seem to be
particularly important points.
1 - Richard G. Moulton, "Lyric Idyl: Solomon's Song," The
Literary Study of the Bible (London Isbiter & Co., Limited,
1903), pp. 207-224.
2 - H.H. Rowley, "The Interpretation of the Song of Songs," The
Servant of the Lord and Other Essays (London: Lutterworth, 1952).
3 - For a good discussion of other views of the Song consult the
article by Rowley listed in the footnotes to this chapter....
To be continued with "THE WEDDING DAY"
Entered on this Website June 2007