Part 3 in a short series from John MacArthur:
[Editor’s Note: Readers should be warned that this article contains offensive material. Nonetheless, it is included here for the sake of substantiating the thesis of this article.]
I emphatically agree with those who say the Song of Solomon is not mere allegory. It is best understood when we take it at face value, like any other text of Scripture. Many interpreters whom I otherwise hold in high esteem (including Spurgeon and most of the Puritans) have unfortunately done more to confuse than clarify the Song’s message by treating it in a purely allegorical fashion that eliminates its primary meaning.
Solomon’s Song is, as I’ve said from the outset, a love poem between Solomon and his bride, celebrating their mutual love for one another, including the delights of the marriage bed. To interpret this—or any other portion of Scripture—in a purely allegorical fashion is to treat the interpreter’s own imagination as more authoritative than the plain meaning of the text.
However, those who pretend to know the meanings of poetic symbols that are not clearly identifiable from the text itself commit the very same error. Their speculation is likewise a way of exalting their own imaginations to a higher level of authority than the plain sense of the text…