PALESTINE — Song of Solomon 2:4 (NIV): He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.
Song of Solomon is a beautiful love story between King Solomon and his bride. It celebrates the love between bride and groom. This verse is surely one of the most famous in all of scripture, but what does it mean?
Its first meaning was that the groom had brought his bride into his banquet room — literally, "wine house" — for the celebration of the marriage. They are finally together and the life-long relationship can begin. And he's not some poor peasant, he's the king! He owns the best banquet house in the world. He possesses the finest wine, the best food, and the nicest accommodations that can be had. He has every worldly possession money can buy and he is offering it all to her.
"And his banner over me is love," she says. A banner was a flag, a standard. It flew over a house to identify who the owner was. When Israel was in the desert, the people would use them to find their homes among all of the tents. Later, royal families would fly them above their homes to signify their identities. True, banners were used as a rallying point for troops in battle, but this is not a battle scene, this is a love scene.
His love is covering her like a banner. His love ishis banner. It is showing her who she belongs to and that she is safe under his care. It gives her the identity of his name and all of the wealth that goes with that.
But there is more to this story. It doesn't just celebrate Solomon and his bride, it celebrates Jesus and his bride — the church. Jesus said he was the bridegroom of the church (Matthew 9:15). See also Ephesians 5:31 – 32 and Revelation 19: 7.
The good news is that Jesus is our very rich groom. He will take us to his banquet table and feast with us. And his banner over us is love. We are safe beneath it and we can find our identity by it. We belong to him and he belongs to us. And others will know that we are Christians because God’s love is covering us and flowing through us now and for all eternity.
Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel The Dead Peasants File are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist Churches.