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Who was the Shulammite woman?

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Question: "Who was the Shulammite woman?"

The Shulammite woman, or Shulammite maiden, is the bride of Solomon who features in the Song of Songs. She is only mentioned once by the title “Shulammite,” in Song of Solomon 6:13. Her exact identity is unknown, although there are a couple of theories.

She is most likely called the Shulammite because she came from an unidentified place called Shulem. Many scholars consider Shulammite to be synonymous with Shunammite (“person from Shunem”). Shunem was a village in the territory of Issachar, north of Jezreel and south of Mount Gilboa. Other scholars link Shulem with Salem, believing Solomon’s bride was from Jerusalem. Still others believe that the title Shulammite (“peaceful”) is simply the bride’s married name, being the feminine form of Solomon (“peaceful”) and only used after her marriage to the king.

One theory on the identity of the Shulammite is that she is the daughter of Egypt’s king, whom Solomon married (1 Kings 3:1), but there is no evidence supporting this theory in the Song of Solomon. Another speculation points to Abishag, a young Shunammite who served King David in his old age (1 Kings 1:1–4, 15; 2:17–22). It is plausible that Abishag is the Shulammite; we know she was from Shunem, which could be the same place as Shulem. Also, as David’s personal servant, Abishag would have been known to David’s son, Solomon. Solomon’s half-brother Adonijah attempted to have Abishag as his own wife, and Solomon prevented the union (1 Kings 2:13–25).

Solomon uses passionate language to describe his bride and their love (Song 4:1–15). Solomon clearly loved the Shulammite—and he admired her character as well as her beauty (Song 6:9). Everything about the Song of Solomon betrays the fact that this bride and groom were passionately in love and that there were mutual respect and friendship, as well (Song 8:6–7). This points to the fact that the Song of Solomon is the story of Solomon’s first marriage, before he sinned by adding many other wives (1 Kings 11:3). Whoever the Shulammite was, she was Solomon’s first and truest love.

Recommended Resource: Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon: Holman Old Testament Commentary by David Moore and Daniel Akin

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Who was the Shulammite woman?

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