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Table of contents

Roland E Murphy , Elizabeth Huwiler.

  • Life-Study of the Bible Series.
  • Old Testament Wisdom Literature (Job-Song of Songs): Ecclesiastes.
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  • Lecture 17: Ruth, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes & Lamentations;
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Ernest Lucas. Phil Moore. Eric Lane. John Phillips. J Vernon Mcgee. John Goldingay.

Ecclesiastes and Solomon’s Song

Cbcot: Book of Proverbs. R N Whybray. Be Skillful Proverbs Be Series. Warren W Wiersbe. Derek Kidner. H A Ironside. Proverbs Concordia Commentary Series. Andrew E Steinmann. Allen P Ross. The people of Israel rejoice in what God is doing in the family. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.

He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons…. God has reached out in mercy to the childless. He has given Ruth and Naomi, who have no children, a child to sustain them. He has given Boaz a wonderful new wife. He has made a family out of these three persons and given the next generation to them.

I think it is also important to see that the women and the men of Bethlehem have received this foreign woman. They have not rejected her because she is from another nation. They have accepted her because she is a worthy woman. She is a Proverbs 31 woman. She is a woman who puts her trust in Yahweh. She is a person who serves Yahweh by serving others.


She is a covenant keeper and they receive her gladly. This is surely Israel at its best. This is Israel being a kingdom of priests and a witness to the nations.

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This is God blessing other nations through Abraham. In other words, we see the promise of God made in Genesis and the commission of the God of Israel in Exodus ,6 coming true. We see God blessing the nations as Israel reaches out to the nations. We see Israel being a light to teach others about Yahweh. But the book is not quite finished. In we have God extending his mercy to all of Israel. We have a genealogy that connects Ruth and the events of this book to King David.

Thus, the Old Testament moves forward to Jesus Christ. So it is not just the promise to Noah and the promise through Abraham and the commission of Israel in Exodus , 6 that comes true here. God has always had a plan for David and his family. So we see Ruth at the beginning point of this promise, that God is preparing and making a plan and fulfilling that plan through David. As we read in the New Testament genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 1 and 2, we see that Ruth, this Moabite woman, has been received into Israel and she is one of the great-grandmothers of the Messiah.

The Book of Ecclesiastes

So we have this wonderful story of how one is to survive terrible personal difficulties. How does one survive?

Through the mercy of God, who extends his mercy to the bereaved. He extends his mercy to the bitter. He extends his mercy to the humble. He extends his mercy to Israel, all through friendship and faithfulness. We see the sort of family and friendship that stand as models for us for all time. We move from a love story in Ruth to an extended love story in the Song of Solomon.

Proverbs 31 began a series of texts on love and marriage. Comments there on the virtuous woman are followed by the life of a virtuous, loyal, hardworking woman named Ruth. That story ends in a marriage. The Song of Songs continues this trend by rejoicing in the beauty and joy of love. This book has been interpreted in one of two ways throughout the centuries.

Poetic Books of the Bible

Scholars have seldom agreed on its interpretation. Its theme and its content have been difficult. At other times, this poetry becomes very explicit. We see this as love poetry and sometimes people have wondered why it is necessary for this material to be in the Bible. Commentators have wondered why this, what seems to be very unspiritual and non-edifying material, could be in the Bible; so they treat the book as an allegory or a symbolic story. In this scheme, Solomon represents God and his beloved represents Israel and the church. So to summarize, there are two ways the book has been read.

One is as a series of love poems that will explain how human beings are to do what?

Publisher of Watchman Nee & Witness Lee

How they are to enjoy love. Thus, I think the book is about enjoying love. But I want you to read the book of Song of Solomon at some point and see in chapter 1 that you have first, expressions of love. In chapters 2 and 3 you have the desire to be together. In chapter 4 you have beautiful statements of affection. In chapter 5, 6 and 7 you have longing for love and praise of beauty.

And in to you have the desire to be together permanently. So the book of Song of Solomon I think may not be our greatest theological book in the Bible.

But it does address some very basic and important human emotions. It demonstrates that love must be expressed verbally as well as physically. It suggests lovers should enjoy praising one another as a prelude to sexual fulfillment. It also shows the wonder and beauty of love without discussing rules and warnings. Such rules exist in enough other places in the Bible. Love is kept simple and sensual. Lovers who imitate the books, gain spontaneity and joy.

How did the Ecclesiastes come together? (David Kumar)

In short, they learn how to grow in love without love growing old. They can persevere in joyous love. I think these days it may be important for us to stress another thing about Song of Solomon. It is appropriate to comment that the marital love depicted here and elsewhere in the canon is heterosexual in nature. Leviticus and show that the Old Testament is well aware of homosexual sexuality.

By no means do the Scriptures indicate that all heterosexual relationships are perfect. We certainly have seen that fact in our study. I think the Bible teaches that idolatry is the most dangerous of all sins. I do not think homosexuality is the worst sin in the Bible. So the book of Song of Solomon would remind us of what love is like and what its standards are and who should engage in human sexual activity. The next two books of the Hebrew canon take us in a much more sober direction.

The book of Ecclesiastes describes how to search for meaning in life. Proverbs, Ruth and Song of Solomon are basically positive books.