The Book of Ecclesiastes or, the Preacher The Book of the Prophet Isaiah


The book before us is called in the Hebrew "The Song of Songs"; or "An Ode of the Odes," which might be understood, "An Ode the most excellent of all others," this being an idiom common to the Hebrew language. Sometimes called Canticles (as in Latin).

There have been some doubts concerning the author of this book. Some of the rabbins supposed it to be the work of the prophet Isaiah, but this sentiment never gained much credit. Most have, without hesitation, attributed it to Solomon, whose name it bears; and if the book of Ecclesiastes be his, this will follow in course, as the style is exactly the same, allowing for the difference of the subject. Both books seem to have been written about the same time and to have had the same author.

As to the persons chiefly concerned, it is generally believed that Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter are the bridegroom and bride, with their proper attendants, viz. , companions of the bridegroom and companions of the bride.

I had for a long time hesitated whether I should say anything on this book, not because I did not think I understood its chief design and general meaning, for of this I really have no doubt, but because I did not understand it as a spiritual allegory, representing the loves of Christ and His Church. I must own I see no indubitable ground for this opinion. It is much better, therefore, if explained or illustrated at all, to take it in its literal meaning, and explain it in its general sense. The conviction on my mind and the conclusion to which I have conscientiously arrived are the result of frequent examination, careful reading, and close thinking, at intervals, for nearly fifty years. And however I may be blamed by some and pitied by others, I must say, and I say it as fearlessly as I do conscientiously, that in this inimitably fine, elegant Hebrew ode I see nothing of Christ and His Church, and nothing appears to have been intended to be thus understood; and nothing, if applied in this way, that, per se, can promote the interests of vital godliness.

The composition has many beautiful phrases and lyrical prose, often quoted in nonreligious literature. The JST states that "the Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings." Both Jews and Christians have at times been reluctant to accept it into the canon of scripture because of its romantic content but have permitted it on the basis of its being an allegory of God's love for Israel and of the Church.

The Song of Solomon 1. What does the Song of Solomon have in it?

The Song of Solomon 2. What does the manuscript of the Joseph Smith Translation say about the Song?

The Song of Solomon 3. Why has this Song remained in the canon of scripture?

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