The majority of commentators believe, as I do, that this beautiful LOVE STORY portrays the love between “Solomon and the Shulamite woman.” The very title of this book confirms this, for as you said it is the “Song of Solomon” and verse 1 declares, “The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.” It is a “love song” between him and his bride, the Shulamite woman. Throughout this book you have Solomon and his bride speaking to one another in romantic words expressing their love and affection for each other. It may be hard, at times, to follow their conversations, for they don’t appear to be in “chronological order.” It would seem that Solomon often refers to her as “my love” and the Shulamite speaks of Solomon as “my beloved.” In 6:3 we hear the Shulamite say, “My BELOVED has gone to his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my BELOVED’S, and my BELOVED is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies.” (See also 2:16 and 7:10.)  In the next verse (verse 4) Solomon speaks, “O my LOVE, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners.” (See also 4:1, 7.)

Those who hold the view that the Shulamite woman’s “beloved” is NOT Solomon, but a simple shepherd, would point to the verse I just quoted (6:3) where she says her beloved has gone “to feed his flock.” This surely identifies her beloved as a “shepherd.” They would also point to the very first chapter where she says to her beloved, “Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions” (1:7).  These passages confirm that her beloved was indeed a shepherd!

We know that when Solomon wrote this book he was a KING, for in 1:4 the Shulamite woman says, “The KING has brought me into his chambers.” One who believes her “true beloved” was not Solomon but a simple shepherd believes that Solomon fell in love with her and “had her kidnapped and taken to his palace, to the royal harem, and there again and again he pressed his suit and tried to alienate her from her shepherd love in the hills.” This view makes Solomon out to be a VILLAIN! But this view does NOT hold up in the light of Scripture, for notice what the Shulamite says of Solomon in 1:2-3 before he takes her into his chamber, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you.” This doesn’t sound like a kidnapped victim to me, or one who is being forced into a relationship with the king.

How do we solve this seeming contradiction? I believe there is an easy solution, for I believe Solomon was a KING and a SHEPHERD. There are some, like H. A. Ironside, who believe that BEFORE Solomon became the King he was indeed a shepherd (like his father David) who met and fell in love with the Shulamite woman (who was tending his vineyard…see 8:11). Then he went away and one day returned for her as a king. This love story is hard to follow at times but it is surely possible that this was the case.

In closing, many have looked upon the love story of Solomon and the Shulamite as a picture of Christ and the Church, which is His Bride (see 2nd Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-27, 32 and Revelation 19:7-9). Every believers knows that Christ’s love for us was first made known to us as the GOOD SHEPHERD, who gave His life for us (see John 10:1-16). But after we were saved we came to know Him also as our KING (see Colossians 1:14) and one day we will actually reign with Him when He establishes His kingdom (see Revelation 19:6-16). So, just as Solomon was the Shulamite’s “Shepherd-King,” so the Lord Jesus Christ is our “Shepherd-King.”  (406.3)  (DO)