The Song of Solomon

by Aaron Dunlop

037899This thin 98-page paperback is a reprint by a small publishing house called Bottom of the Hill Publishing (with no functioning website). It is laid out in a very basic format with no frills. The type has been re-set from the original 1879 edition in a larger and easy-to-read font. The spelling and language of the original has been preserved (although interestingly enough, the Scripture has been changed to more modern English). The original edition was arranged in 52 sections for Sunday reading. This edition is divided into eight chapters and the divisions correspond with the chapters and verses of the English text.

Henry Law interprets the Song of Solomon as “allegory follow[ing] on to allegory” (p. 11) by which he means that the relationship between Solomon and the Shulamite represent the love and relationship between Christ and His church. However, while many holding the allegorical interpretation distract from the simple beauty by letting their imaginations run away with them. Henry Law is moderate, discreet in his explanation, and draws from the rest of Scripture to help open up the Song of Solomon.

Of particular interest are the four descriptive songs, which are perhaps the most difficult, often embarrassing and regularly avoided. There are four of these songs in the Song of Solomon, one describing the male’s body (5:10-16) and three describing the female’s body (4:1-7; 6:4-7; 7:1-7). These songs (called wasfs) were common in the Ancient Near East and are intended to show attentiveness to beauty rather than human sensuality. Law treats these songs masterfully. Without getting caught up with the details of every body part, Law shows that these are intended instead to present a “portrait …[of] the charms” (p. 70) and a “general description … of beauty” (p. 75 see also p. 83).

This commentary is a simple verse-by-verse treatment of the book. It is concise, devotional, and above all Christ-endearing—the best in its class. This little commentary will lift you up to Jesus. It will “give wings to piety and warm utterance to prayer” (Preface, p. 9). You can buy Henry Law’s Song of Solomon at Christian Book Distributors. It is also available on Google Books as a PDF.

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