Ooo-err… this is the part of the Bible you hope your kids don’t stumble upon until they’re happily married adults!
While some have tried to pretend it’s about something else, it really is about love in general and about sex in particular.
It contains both warnings:
“do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (3:5)
“how delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! etc etc etc etc… (4:10)
and is very realistic about love – it’s beauty and it’s dangers.
On the whole, it is an exchange between a lover and her beloved and is a great reminder of how passionate a love between a man and his wife should be. It’s so easy to settle for less and fail to put in the hard yards that are required to prioritise vitality within marriage.
But it is also about something else too. Because ALL human love, and especially the passionate, devoted love of a good marriage is nothing if not a reflection of God’s great love for us in King Jesus. Isn’t that what Ephesians 5 teaches us? passionate love is not a human thing. When it is expressed appropriately within the context of marriage, passionate love is a wonderful reminder of God’s passion for his people. He loves us intensely and he loves us sacrificially and he will never stop loving us.
So read Song of Songs with one ear open to what it’s saying about the sort of lovers we should be and the other ear listening carefully to what it means to be God’s beloved, the bride of the King.