Christ in the Song of Songs 3:1–5: I Will Seek My King

In my bed at night
I sought the one I love;
I sought him, but did not find him.
I will arise now and go about the city,
through the streets and the plazas.
I will seek the one I love.
I sought him, but did not find him.
The guards who go about the city found me.
I asked them, “Have you seen the one I love?”
I had just passed them
when I found the one I love.
I held on to him and would not let him go
until I brought him to my mother’s house—
to the chamber of the one who conceived me.
Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and the wild does of the field:
do not stir up or awaken love
until the appropriate time.

(Song of Songs 3:1–5, HCSB)

Christians have often made a connection between Song of Songs 3:1–4 and John 20, the tomb scene in John’s Gospel where Mary Magdalene encountered the resurrected Jesus. It is indeed the case that both Shulamite and Mary go in search of their King while it is dark. Both are met by others in their search. Both, once finding the object of their affection, cling fast, not wanting to ever let go again. These parallels are worth thinking about to be sure.

There are also thematic parallels with the story of the wee little man named Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). Again we see a man seeking the King, finding him, and taking him to his house! On this parallel, Douglas Sean O’Donnell has remarked:

Zacchaeus sought and found Jesus. That’s the story. True, he did. But Jesus sought and found Zacchaeus—that’s the bigger story [Luke 19:10]. Jesus came out of his safe home to seek after sinners like Zacchaeus, people who are lost in the city streets and squares, and to bring them home to the security and intimacy of his love.

So Jeremiah 29:13-14 most certainly is true and beautifully illustrated in Song of Songs 3:1-5: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you—this is the Lord’s declaration—”. Yes, we will find our King when we seek Him, but unlike Shulamite, it will be because He first sought us, He first loved us (1 John 4:19). The Song of Songs is a beautiful love story to be sure. And, it is a door that opens up to us an even greater love story, the Greatest Love Story of All, found in a Greater King, a Greater Solomon, the King whose name is Jesus.