Daniel C. Fredericks and Daniel J. Estes, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs, AOTC 16, Apollos/InterVarsity Press, Notting-ham, UK/Downers Grove, Illinois 2010; ISBN 978-0-8308-2515-8; hb. 472 pp.; price $32,--.
In 2010 in the Apollos Old Testament Commentary (red. David W. Baker and Gordon J. Wenham) a commentary on Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs was published written by Daniel C. Fredericks on Ecclesiastes and Daniel J. Estes on the Song of Songs. Estes rightly says that the Song of Songs is the most poetic of all the books of the Bible. He shows that it is undeniable that both the Christian church and the Jewish synagogue nearly unanimously accepted the Song of Songs as belonging in the biblical canon.
Estes tends to the view that the allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs is not the cause but the consequence of its canonicity. This is a view that I cannot accept. I am not only sure that the Song of Songs was accepted as canonical because of its allegorical interpretation but also that the literal interpretation is the allegorical interpretation. In this view I follow the view already propagated in the Early Church among other by Augustine.
According to Esters the Song of Songs focuses upon erotic love within the marriage relationship. His commentary is helpful to get a more clear view on the structure of the Old Testament book and also on its philology. He makes valuable comments about the marriage relationship, but as I stated already, I do not believe that this is the first intention of the Song of Songs.
We must start with the love between Christ and his church and we can only in the second place see this as the perfect although partial (because of the dissimilarities between the divine Bride-groom and human husband) model for the love between a faithful husband and wife in the marriage relationship.