Normally I post an entire chapter from a book of the bible, highlighting a few verses. In this post, I will highlight verses from all 8 chapters of the Song of Solomon (aka the Song of Songs). Therefore, I will not post the entire text of all 8 chapters. Please read the entire book if you feel verses are taken out of context.
Song of Solomon 1 (NIV)
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
Song of Solomon 4
5 Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
16 Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.
Song of Solomon 7
3 Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle.
7 Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
9 and your mouth like the best wine.
Song of Solomon 8
8 We have a little sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
10I am a wall,
and my breasts are like towers.
Despite regularly attending church services and Sunday school 3 times a week for years, I can only remember Song of Solomon mentioned one time. This was when I was attending a Church of Christ Wednesday night service while working for Foster Home for Children, supported by the Churches of Christ. The Wednesday night services were entitled something like “Through The Bible in A Year.” The preacher said something like, “The Song of Solomon is a unique book. You should read it at home. Perhaps it is evidence that not all authors knew they were writing books of the bible while they were writing.”
Here are PDF files from Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. This is from the local mega church’s “Read Through The Bible in 2010” section of their magazine, Southeast Christian Outlook. You will notice that many of the verses in this blog are omitted. You will also notice that verses of almost every book of the bible are omitted. In particular, you can notice that there are absolutely no verses from the Song of Solomon in their lists at all! Here is week 21 at http://www.southeastoutlook.org/uploads/devotions/devotion20100527.pdf. They go from Ecclesiastes to Kings and Chronicles. I looked at weeks 19 through 25, and I did not see one verse from the Song of Solomon! The chapters beyond these are far removed from this book. Why does Southeast Christian Church not want its readers to read the entire bible? Do they fear that readers will become atheists, as I (and countless others) did, by doing so?
I regularly look at apologist websites before writing a post. I did so with this one. Here is the link to Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/job-song-solomon. Notice that this webpage is supposed to have apologies for all the books from Job through Song of Solomon. However, there is nothing listed for Song of Solomon!
According to most scholars, Song of Solomon describes a conjugal love between a bride and bridegroom. Because of the erotic nature of the verses, Jewish and Christian scholars often took an allegorical view of the book. Jews claimed that the bride represents Israel, and the bridegroom represents Yahweh. Christians such as Hippolytus, Origen, and Jerome claim the poem is about the love of Christ for his church. This is the problem with allegory: it can mean anything to anybody! Furthermore, the bible does not tell you when verses are allegory and when they are literal! Who decides whether verses are allegory or literal? However, I have problems with the allegory approach. Does the following phrase sound like the relationship between Christ and his church?
“Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree;I will take hold of its fruit.”
The predominant view since the 19th century is the literal approach. Some theologians claim the verses represent a healthy marriage. I think this is just a love poem that somehow wound up mixed in with theological books. Nobody is really sure. However, most preachers agree that the lack of theological content in this book warrants its omission from sermons and Sunday school lessons.