The Shulammite Woman – 10 Key Points for Bible Study 11/08/2014

The Song of Songs/The Song of Solomon

1. “Theme: The wisdom writer celebrates the sexual union between a man and a woman as a joyful part of marital  life in God’s good creation.” (3, pg. 1374- Song of Songs Introduction)

2. “It’s unlike anything in the Bible.  For that reason, it should be read differently than any other book in the Bible.  Don’t take it literally.  Don’t search for hidden codes or submerged messages.  Love letters are to be appreciated, not analyzed.” (1, pg. 793)

3.  “You are opening someone else’s shoebox of  letters and reading the correspondence between two people madly in love.” (1, pg. 793)

4.  “Solomon’s Song describes a relationship between a bride and groom.  Solomon and the Shulammite were about to be married in the king’s palace.  The woman was a peasant worker from Shunem, a farming town sixty miles north of Jerusalem.” (1, pg. 794)

5.  “It is the only book in the Bible to have all its contents put into the mouth of speakers, but it is monologue with practically no dialogue.  The speakers are not identified nor are their speeches introduced. The book has certain dramatic characteristics, but it is not drama.” (2, pg.92)

6.  “In its present form it is purely secular in character,  with no apparent theological, religious, or moral attributes.  God never once appears in it.” (2, pg. 92)

7.  The Shulammite Woman: Her character:

“Hers is the only female voice that speaks directly to us in Scripture.  Ruth’s and Esther’s voices, for instance, are mediated by narrators.  The Shulammite woman boldly declares her longing and desire to be united to her lover in marriage.” (5, pg. 150)

8.  “The story of the Shulammite, mysterious as it is, touches our longing to love and be loved.” (4, pg. 269).

9.  “The Jews believed the book was not primarily about individual lovers but about God’s love for his people Israel.  Christians initially read it as a parable of Christ’s love for the church and later as a parable of his love for the individual soul.  Modern commentators tend to view it more literally, as an expression of love between a man and a woman.  They praise its inclusion in the Bible because it celebrates marital love and the sexual expression of that love.  Anyone inclined to believe the Bible teaches a negative view of sex should read this book of Scripture before drawing such a conclusion.” (4, pg. 268)

10.  “Throughout history, intimate love relationships have been shamefully distorted and profaned.  Song of Songs gives God’s picture of the beauty of the relationship.” (5, pg. 153).

1. The Inspirational Study Bible, The Holy Bible, New king James Version, Max Lucado, General Editor, Word Publishing, 1995.

2. The Interpreter’s Bible, In Twelve Volumes, Volume 5, Abingdon Press, 1956

3. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)

4. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

5. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

The Queen of Sheba Bible Study – 10 Key Points for Bible Study 9/27/14

For our lesson of The Queen of Sheba  1 Kings 10:1-13; Matthew 12:42, here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 114-118/ of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 09/27/2014.

“Visit of the Queen of Sheba”

” This story is told to illustrate the surpassing wisdom of Solomon, so great that it spread throughout Arabia among those very tribes which were famous for their wisdom from ancient times.  Both Solomon and the Queen of Sheba are prominent in Eastern legends.  The Arabs called her Bilkis, but in Ethiopian legends her name is Makeda.  Sheba was the great trading community of southwestern Arabia, and at this period controlled the overland trade routes.” (1, pg. 96)

1. Sheba – In southwestern Arabia (roughly the area of Yemen).  A later queen of Sheba made a memorable visit to King Solomon in the tenth century B.C. (1 Kings 10:1-3) (Genesis 10:28)

2.  Sheba – It profited from the sea trade of India and East Africa by transporting luxury commodities north to Damascus and Gaza on caravan routes through the Arabian Desert.  It is possible that Solomon’s fleet of ships threatened Sheba’s continued dominance of this trade business. (1 Kings 10:1 and Footnote)

3.  Her character:  Though a pagan queen like Jezebel, she prized wisdom above power.  She appears to have been intellectually gifted, with a good head for business and diplomacy. (4 pg. 206)

4.  When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. (1 Kings 10:1)

5.  Solomon answered all her questions;  nothing was too hard for him to explain to her.  When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed. (2 Chronicles 9:2-4)

6. The visit of the queen of Sheba portrays the fulfillment of God’s promise to give Solomon wisdom and wealth. (2 Chronicles 1:10-12)

7.  Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel.  Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness. (I Kings 10:9 and Footnote)

8.  Though Jerusalem lay fifteen hundred miles to the north, the Queen was determined to see for herself whether Solomon measured up to even half the tales told of him.  Hoping to establish a trade agreement with Israel, she assembled a caravan of camels and loaded them with precious spices, gems, and four and a half tons of gold.  Her entrance into Jerusalem would have created an unforgettable spectacle, adding to Solomon’s growing fame. (4, pg. 207)

9.  Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones.  There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. (1 Kings 10:10)

10.  … Jesus himself referred to the Queen of Sheba when he replied to the Pharisees who had demaded from him a miraclous sign: “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgement with this  generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here”. (Matthew 12:42)

1. The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume Three, In Twelve Volumes, Abingdon Press, New York 1954.
2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.
3. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.
4. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

 

Bathsheba Bible Study- 10 Key Points for Bible Study 08/16/2014

For our lesson of Bathsheba 2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:25, here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 99-102 of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 08/16/2014.

1. Her name means “The Seventh Daughter” or ” The Daughter of an Oath” (Women of the Bible pg.99)

2. Her Beauty made her a victim of a king’s desire. (Women pg. 99)

3. The wife of Uriah, the Hittite, and daughter of Eliam. (2 Samuel 11:3)

4. She committed adultery with David. ( 2 Samuel 11:4)

5. She became the wife of David after Uriah was killed. (2 Samuel 11:14-25)

6. She mourned the death of her husband. (2 Samuel 11:26)

7. After becoming the wife of David, she bore him a son. (2 Samuel 11:27)

8. Her first child died. (2 Samuel 12:13-23)

9. She becomes the mother of Solomon. (2 Samuel 12: 24-25)

10. She influenced David to make Solomon king. (I Kings 1:11-31)

Text: Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for individuals and Groups, Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

Other references:

1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.

2. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.