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Christology Of The Old Testament by Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg

THE SONG OF SOLOMON.

An important link in the chain of the Messianic hopes is formed by the Song of Solomon. It is intimately associated with Ps. lxxii., which was written by Solomon, and represents the Messiah as the Prince of Peace, imperfectly prefigured by Solomon as His type. As in this Psalm, so also in the Song of Solomon, the coming of the Messiah forms the subject throughout, and He is introduced there under the name of Solomon, the Peaceful One. His coming shall be preceded by severe afflictions, represented under the emblems of the scorching heat of the sun, of winter, of rain, of dark nights, and of the desert. Connected with this coming is the reception of the heathen nations into His kingdom, and this, through the medium of the old Covenant-people.

Thus far the first part, down to chap. v.1. The subjects contained in the second part are, the sin of the daughter of Zion against the heavenly Solomon and the judgment; then, repentance and reunion, which will be accomplished by the co-operation of the daughters of Jerusalem, i.e., of the very heathen nations who had formerly received salvation through them; the complete re-establishment of the old relation of love, in consequence of which the daughter of Zion again occupies the centre of the kingdom of God; and the indissoluble nature of this covenant of love now anew entered into, in contrast with the instability of the former.

The Song of Solomon does not, strictly speaking, possess a prophetical character. It does not communicate any new revelations; like the Psalms, it only represents, in a poetical form, things already known. It sufficiently appears from our former statement, that, in the first part of this book, not one feature occurs which did not form a part of those Messianic prophecies [Pg 160] which we can prove to have been known at the time of Solomon. In the second part, however, it is somewhat different. No corresponding parallel can be adduced from any former time to the view, that a great part of the people would reject the salvation offered to them in Christ, and, thereby, draw down judgment upon themselves. Yet, all that the book under consideration contains upon this point, is only the application of a general truth, the knowledge of which the covenant-people had received at the very beginning of their history. A consideration of human nature in general, and more especially of Israel's character, as it had been deeply and firmly impressed upon the people by the Mosaic law, joined to the ample experience which history had afforded in this respect, sufficiently convinced those who were more enlightened, that it could not be by any means expected -- that, indeed, it was even impossible -- that, at the coming of the Messiah, the whole people would sincerely and heartily receive Him, and do homage to Him. And there existed, on the other hand, at the time of Solomon also, the foundation for the doctrine of the final restoration of the people. For, even in the Pentateuch, the election of Israel by God is represented as irrevocable and absolute, and which, therefore, must at last triumph over all apostasy and covenant-breaking on the part of the people.

The Song of Solomon, then, is no apocalypsis, no revelation of mysteries till then unknown. There is in it no such disclosure as is, e.g., that in 2 Sam. vii., on the descent of the Messiah from David; or, as is that in Mic. v.1 (2), on His being born at Bethlehem; or even as is that in Is. liii. on His office as a High Priest, and His vicarious satisfaction. But, nevertheless, we must not imagine the case to have been thus, that the contents of the Song of Solomon could have originated merely from reflection on the part of Solomon. The truths hitherto revealed had too much of the character of mere germs to allow us to suppose that from them, and in such a way, we could account for the clearness and certainty with which they have been blended into one whole. Another element, moreover, must be joined to the historical ground -- viz., an elevated condition of the soul, a |being in the Spirit,| -- a breathing of the divine Spirit upon the human. History bears witness that such prophetic states, in the wider sense, were not strange to Solomon. It twice [Pg 161] reports about the Lord's having appeared to him, 1 Kings iii.5, ix.2. From such an elevated state of soul, his dedicatory prayer, in 1 Kings viii., and Ps. lxxii., also originated.

We must content ourselves with these hints as regards Solomon's Song. As it moves throughout on Messianic ground, the Author must consider his commentary on this book (Berlin, 1853) as an appendix to the Christology.

[Pg 162]

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