To Have and to Hold

Brian Mahon - 7/17/2022


Call to worship: Revelation 19:11-16

Text: The Song of Songs 3:1-11


What a man, who would so singly love his wife, as the ideal husband in The Song. His love is apparently worth the risk involved in seeking him out, finding him, and bringing him home. There is, perhaps, a healthy sort of separation anxiety between spouses that only togetherness can remedy. Still, until the right time, it is a door best left unopened. When the time is right however, it should abide a season embodying those words, 'to have and to hold until death do us part.' Somewhat mysteriously, the bride describes the approach of Solomon for his wedding day. It is a divinely-glorious display, the Davidic King in His messianic array. As to how this poem connects to the preceding, explanations and applications abound. From this corner, suffice it to say that Solomon seems to use himself as a foil in The Song. He's not the bride's bridegroom. He's not '(the main) character in (the poetic) story, but serves as a symbol.' No disrespect to his office and splendor, but he seems to present himself as 'an ironic contrast to the unspectacular, single-minded, committed love' of the couple in The Song. Her beloved is a 'greater' Solomon, their marriage (as opposed to his many), the true spectacle. Both he and Solomon, in their own ways, then, typify Jesus, the coming King and greatest Lover. Oh to have and hold Him, and be had and held by Him, until death do

Sermon Outline:

  1. Poem 1: To have and to hold. (3:1-5)
    • Separation-anxiety. (3:1-3)
    • Soulful-union. (3:4)
    • Second adjuration. (3:5)
  2. Poem 2: The greater-than Solomon. (3:6-11)
    • The glorious Davidic king. (3:6-10)
    • Go see him ‘wedding.’ (3:11)
  3. Connecting the poems: Her soul-mate and Jesus.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read The Song of Songs 3:1-11.
  2. How would you describe the bride's activity in 3:1-3? Is there a sense in which separation-anxiety can be a good thing? What are her activities in these verses? Where does she look? What does her search-area (and time of search) imply? How does she detail her joy in finding her bridegroom in 3:4? What is her final desire as expressed there?
  3. In 3:5, we find her adjuration again (as in 2:7). In the flow of this more recent poem, what's behind her adjuration here? How does spiritual and emotional maturity need to be considered in the awakening and/or season of love?
  4. In a strangely-connected second poem (3:6-11), what does the bride describe? If you can, set aside the section-headings in your Bibles (they aren't part of Scripture!). How might this poem connect to the foregoing one? Any similar details? Themes? How about by way of contrast? Do you think Solomon is her bridegroom (consider 8:11-14)? If not, why does she bring him up? Does it help to consider that he's not the one her soul loves? Let's say that Solomon makes himself the foil here (someone or something set in contrast to someone or something else). What would be the point of it?
  5. How does the presentation of the searching bride speak to the church? How does the presentation of Solomon (and a greater Solomon) speak of Jesus? Taking thematic typology into consideration, what does the New Testament give us in bringing these themes together? Consider Luke 19 with Zaccheus, Revelation 19 with the Marriage of the Lamb and His coming to judge, just to highlight a couple of options.
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