The Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes

Jeff Munroe

Read: Proverbs 3:13-18

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom. (v. 13)

In ancient Israel, three figures or kinds of people spoke authoritatively: priests, prophets, and sages. Wisdom was highly valued, perhaps somewhat comparable to how we think of philosophy today. In fact, Proverbs 3 says wisdom is more precious than silver, gold, or jewels, and nothing we desire compares to her.

However, the wisdom literature of the ancient world can be a puzzle to modern readers. These books don’t speak of God in ways we expect, and some readers wonder why they are even included in the Bible. This month we will explore two of the Bible’s wisdom books in depth: the Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes. I plan to guide you in deciphering the puzzle of these two books, and my hope is that at the end of the month you’ll believe, like I do, that the Holy Spirit has done us a great favor by inspiring these two ancient texts.

On the surface, the two books seem to have nothing to do with each other. One is a joyful celebration of the sensuality and love between a man and a woman anticipating their marriage, while the other reads like a dour, world-weary analysis of the human situation. We will wade into the mystery and beauty of each book as both books speak powerfully to ultimate human questions about the meaning of life and the possibilities of love. Wisdom comes from God, and as such, is “a tree of life to those who lay hold of her” (v. 18). —Jeff Munroe

Prayer: Lord, open our hearts and minds to your wisdom.