The purpose of this brief commentary is to provide a positive biblical portrait of what a godly marriages entails. In a culture that is confused about the importance and benefits of marriage, respected Bible scholar and teacher Walter Kaiser brings much-needed wisdom to the table based on the Song of Solomon. Love by the Book inspires couples to have a deep love and commitment to each other, realizing that marriage is a gift of love given by a wise Creator.
“A quick outline of the story in this book includes the following. In the small village of Shunem a virtuous maiden lived with her two, or perhaps even more, brothers, and apparently her widowed mother (her father is not mentioned, so he might have been deceased). Her duty was to shepherd the family’s flock while also caring for their vineyards and a nut orchard. In the course of carrying out her duties one day, she met a shepherd at noon while they both were resting their flocks under the shade of a certain tree. This tree, then, became their trysting place, where mutual vows of fidelity appear to have been exchanged on that occasion, or at a later time when they once again met at the very same spot.” (Page 33)
“The opening scene takes place somewhere in Solomon’s royal court where this rustic rural damsel suddenly finds herself among the unaccustomed splendors and accouterments of that court. Actually, 6:11–12 explains how it was that she got to the palace in the first place. It seems to have happened this way: one day Solomon’s entourage passed by the orchard where she was working when Solomon suddenly spied her in all her natural beauty working in the orchard under the hot sun. She was summarily hustled off to Solomon’s palace as a possible bride for the king, but for all the elaborate magnificence of the royal setting, the maiden’s thoughts were still occupied with her beloved boyfriend back home.” (Pages 34–35)
“Thus, God’s remedy for Adam’s loneliness was Eve, not a relationship with any of the animals or with another of the same gender!” (Page 27)
Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (Ph.D., Brandeis University) is president emeritus and Colman Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.