I’ve been teaching our church’s Bible class, looking at the three books penned by Solomon. The Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are extremely interesting and rewarding, though they are difficult to the point that some people ask, “why is this in the Bible?”
The answer, of course, is that God’s Word has a breadth, depth, and complexity that can very well include the erotic love poetry of the Song of Solomon and the abject despair of Ecclesiastes. The former is full of gospel, as the rapturous love between the king and the Shulamite reveals how Christ sees His bride, the Church. And the latter is full of law, with the old apostate king looking back on his life to realize that his wisdom, wealth, accomplishments, pursuit of pleasure (with his 700 wives and 300 concubines), leading to nothing more than emptiness, meaninglessness, and “vanity.” But it also shows the gospel, as the king realizes that, while everything “under the sun”–that is, this immediate world that we can see–appears meaningless, knowing God (who is beyond the sun) transfigures life, and we see Solomon’s return to faith.