All over the world today, and in all forms of media, there is no dearth for love. People around the globe are always talking about, singing about, dancing about, and acting about one major and universal theme – love. There is no literature that cannot boast of love poetry and love stories. Love, unlike any other human emotion, is the one most predominant theme in all walks of human life. It is not surprising therefore that the Holy Bible - the holy book of Christianity – also has an entire book devoted to love, and nothing but love. That book is the Song of Songs.
Many people find it odd that the Bible, being a Holy book, contains an entire chapter devoted to anything so physical as love and its consummation. But the Bible deals with God and His subjects – namely human beings – and it therefore essentially deals with everything related to man. And love is a major part of every man’s life.
The Song of Songs, alternately called Song of Solomon is found in the Bible after the book of Ecclesiastes, and like the two books preceding it (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), is believed to have been authored by King Solomon.
The book is one of the shorter books of the Bible and has only 8 chapters, with a 117 verses between them. It is a celebration of love, marriage and the physical consummation of marriage. It celebrates, unashamedly, these three themes, and is a reflection of how God intended love between a man and a woman to be, as in the Garden of Eden, when He first created them. Although it deals with the physical aspect of love, it never once borders on the dirty. The words are lyrical and sensuous without being filthy.
The book has three major characters:
1. A man
2. A woman (identified in one place in the book as “the shulamite”
3. The chorus (referred to as the “daughters of Jerusalem”
Although it has already been mentioned that it is a celebration of love, many devout Christians and Jews believe that the book is not really about human love between a man and a woman, but is in fact a reference to the relationship between God and Israel (the Jewish belief) or the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church, namely his believers (the Christian belief).
The most striking characteristic of the book is how enigmatic it can be. It can be stated without debate as one of the most enigmatic books in the Holy Bible. Unlike the Book of Psalms, which is also a collection of poems, the Song of Songs is not as easily interpreted. One of the major reasons for this is the imagery contained in the book. No lover of will ever equate his lover’s nose to a tower or her hair to a flock of goat. Such imagery can easily confuse the reader and prevent them from understanding and experiencing the underlying beauty of the poems in this book.
One way to overcome confusion over the imagery in the Song of Songs is to read the words emotionally and not take the images literally. When we read the words therefore, instead of thinking of the man calling his lover’s cheeks pomegranates, and visualizing a girl with pomegranates and cheeks, we must think of what the man was feeling when he described his lover in this way. His lover probably had beautiful red cheeks, which reminded him of pomegranates. This then is the key to reading the Song of Songs and unlocking the beauty in the sensuous and lovely words that appear in the book. Give it a try!