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Best Commentaries on Song of Solomon

This page is current as of December 2023.

For recommendations on other books and an introduction to this series, visit
Best Commentaries on Each Book of the Bible.

Any look at commentaries on Song of Solomon needs to begin with a significant caveat: Your list will depend to a great degree on whether you take the allegorical or non-allegorical approach to the book. I generally hold to the non-allegorical approach, and that is reflected in my selections.

Before turning to the expert recommendations, here are some recent commentaries written by trusted scholars that may be of interest. Because these volumes are newly published, the commentators on the commentaries have not yet had opportunity to evaluate them. They would, though, come with my recommendation.

  • Iain Duguid – Song of Songs (Reformed Expository Commentary). This volume in the REC is based on sermons. Note that the following volume is by the same author and follows a different approach. (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)
  • Iain Duguid – The Song of Songs (Tyndale Commentaries). This volume is part of the TOTC and, therefore, relatively simple and reader-friendly. Yet, unlike the previous volume by the same author, it is not based on sermons. (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)
  • Douglas Sean O’Donnell – Song of Solomon: An Invitation to Intimacy (Preaching the Word). I expect this is as helpful and trusthworthy as every other volume in the PTW series. (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)

And now, here are the expert recommendations:

Tom Gledhill – The Message of the Song of Songs (The Bible Speaks Today). The Bible Speaks Today is a popular-level commentary set, and one whose volumes have made regular appearances in this series. Tremper Longman calls Gledhill’s volume “a model popular commentary” and commends it as “well written, easy to read, yet profound. Also, Gledhill has an excellent literary sense; he neither simply adopts traditional readings nor gives in to the excesses of contemporary psychological readings of the text.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Richard S. Hess – Song of Songs (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms). The Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms has a couple of especially helpful volumes, and Hess’ contribution on The Song of Solomon is one of them. It is geared toward pastors and scholars and provides careful and nuanced exegesis of the text. Hess is an expert in ancient Near Eastern background and this expertise makes his volume a unique resource. (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Tremper Longman – Song of Songs (New International Commentary on the Old Testament). Tremper Longman is a highly-regarded Old Testament scholar and his work on Song of Solomon is considered one of the top scholarly works on the book. Keith Mathison says, “For those seeking a thorough exegetical commentary, Longman’s work in the NICOT series is a good resource. He approaches the book as a poem (or more precisely an anthology of poems) about the male-female relationship, which itself is analogous to the relationship between God and His people.” (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)

Lloyd Carr – The Song of Solomon (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries). Carr’s volume is another popular-level commentary, but one that has a lot of scholarly research behind it. He takes that non-allegorical approach and writes with concision. Jim Rosscup commends Carr’s scholarship but also says he is “lucid in his lengthy introduction, statement of theme (two people celebrating a literal love relationship), and verse-by-verse commenting.” (Amazon, Logos)

Iain Provan – Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (NIV Application Commentary). Provan’s commentary covers two books and is worth referencing for each of them. Tremper Longman says, “Proven has written one of the most interesting commentaries on these two intriguing books. Even though one may not agree with his final conclusions, his thinking is provocative and will lead the reader to think through old issues.” (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)

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