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It is somewhat difficult to recommend a “top 5” list on the Song of Songs because commentaries differ greatly depending on whether they take a predominantly allegorical or non-allegorical approach. The list below contains commentaries that take a non-allegorical approach to the book. In the “Runners Up” section, I have also included commentaries that take an allegorical approach.

1. Iain M. Duguid — The Song of Songs (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2015).

Everything that Iain Duguid writes is outstanding, so I was very thankful to discover that he has written the new commentary on Song of Songs for the Tyndale Commentary series. These commentaries are at an introductory level, but when done well, they are among the best. This commentary will serve students of Scripture well for years to come.

2. Tom Gledhill — The Message of the Song of Songs (The Bible Speaks Today, 1994).

Tom Gledhill’s commentary on the Song of Songs is accessible to any reader, but the fact that it is accessible does not mean that it is simplistic. In fact, in places it is truly profound and insightful. Gledhill sees the book as a poetic exploration of human love that points beyond itself to the Creator and Redeemer. Very highly recommended.

3. Richard S. Hess — Song of Songs (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms, 2005).

Among the more advanced commentaries written from an evangelical perspective, the work by Richard Hess is probably the most helpful. In addition to careful exegesis, Hess provides insightful reflections on the theology of the book. This is something missing in too many commentaries. Highly recommended.

4. Tremper Longman — Song of Songs (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 2001).

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.

5. Iain Provan — Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (NIV Application Commentary, 2001).

I have already mentioned this volume in the post on Ecclesiastes. The section of the book on the Song of Songs should prove just as helpful to preachers and others looking for practical application.


Those looking for a good commentary taking an allegorical approach might consider the older works by George Burrowes and James Durham. Other helpful commentaries include those by Paul J. Griffiths in the Brazos Theological Commentary series, Danny Akin in the Christ-Centered Exposition series, and James M. Hamilton in the Focus on the Bible series.

Helpful Related Works:

I have mentioned Barry Webb’s little book Five Festal Garments in several of these “top 5” posts. In it he has a very helpful chapter on the Song of Songs.

This article is part of the Top 5 Commentaries collection.