Song of Songs 1
"Pucker up, lover"
Author1 This is Solomon’s Song of Songs.
Lady in love2 Oh my goodness, kiss me in the mouth.
Your love is sweeter than wine.
3 And that fragrance you’re wearing. Exquisite!
But then, even your reputation is fragrant,
like the purest and most refined olive oil.
Is it any wonder the ladies want you?
4a Let’s get out of here!
Take me. We’ll run away together.
And we’re off, to my king’s bedroom.
Friends to Gent in love4b Oh, we’re so happy for you.
Wine couldn’t make us happier.
No wonder the women love you.
Lady in love5 I am black and beautiful.
Dear ladies of Jerusalem, I’m like the dark tents of Kedar
And the curtains of Solomon.
6 Don’t look too closely at me.
The sun burned this darkness into my skin.
Here’s why. My brothers got mad at me.
So, they put me out in the sun, guarding the vineyard.
Well, I didn’t guard it. So there.
7 Lover, where will you graze your flocks today?
Where will you rest in the grass at noontime? Give me directions.
Why should I have to put on a veil and go searching for you
Among the flocks of your friends?
Gent in love8 Prettiest woman in the world,
If you don’t know where I’ll be, follow our tracks.
Bring your young goats along
And let them graze beside our tents.
9 My sweet darling.
You’re like the champion mare
Among Pharaoh’s chariot corps of stallions.
10 And those earrings.
Look how they enhance the beauty of your lovely cheeks.
The string of jewels does the same for your gorgeous neck.
11 We’re going to load you up on more golden earrings
And silver necklaces.
Lady in love12 My king rests on his cushions,
While my perfume reaches out to touch him.
13 My lover is a treasure of fragrant myrrh.
He lays between my breasts all night long.
14 My lover is a sweet bouquet of henna blossoms
From the vineyards of En-gedi.
Gent in love15 Darling, you are beautiful.
Your eyes look as bright as those of a morning dove.
Lady in love16 Lover, I like what I see. So handsome.
And such a sweet thing.
Let’s make our bed in the grass.
17 Look up and see the huge cedar beams of our house.
Towering cypresses form the rafters of our roof.
Here’s a general note about the entire song: Brace yourself. Jewish scholars debated whether to put this song in their Bible, given that it never mentions God and it seems to be mostly about love and sex. But they included it. Later scholars tried to justify it by arguing that it was a metaphor about God’s love for the Jewish people. Christian scholars later said it was about Christ’s love for the church. Today’s scholars, many if not most, say it’s a song about love and sex. And a fair amount of sex. It’s easier to hide this in the King James Elizabethan prose from Shakespeare’s day. But when we translate it into casual English, many scholars say it’s hard to miss the naked truth. These lyrics don’t seem to sound like a song God would sing to the Jewish people or that Jesus would sing to the church. Jeepers, most rabbis and ministers would have a hard time simply reading the words out loud in mixed company, let alone in a worship service. Today’s scholars say the value of the song might be simply to help us recognize that love and sexual intimacy are God’s gifts to humanity. So, buckle up. But there’s no need for handcuffs.
Some Bibles translate the Hebrew word heder as “home,” “rooms,” or “chambers.” But the word can mean room, inner room, and bedroom. In context here, some scholars say, the lady in love isn’t asking for tea in the sitting room.
Kedar is the name of a tribe of nomads from the deserts of what are now Syrian and Saudi Arabia.
“King” might be a term of endearment, referring to the lady’s lover.
Myrrh comes from dried sap of an evergreen shrub, Commiphora abyssinica, which grew in parts of Egypt and neighboring nations in Africa. People mixed it with olive oil and other scents and spices, to create perfume. People used these scented oils in place of soap and deodorant, neither of which seems to have been invented in King Solomon’s day, some 3,000 years ago.
Henna is a shrub or small tree that blossoms into fragrant flowers. Colors range from shades of white and shades of red. Henna has erect clusters of large blossoms that some said were life-giving.
En-gedi is a small oasis about 25 miles (40 km) south of Jerusalem and beside the Dead Sea. David hid in the caves there when King Saul, jealous of the giant-killer’s popularity, was hunting him in hopes of killing him.
People not into love poetry might say, “Big deal. Those are trees and you’re camping outside.” Lovers see the world differently.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.