Song of Solomon: Scripture that makes you squirm

I can’t pinpoint any one embarrassing moment in my life, but I can say with all confidence that attending the movies with my parents was a comprehensive experiment in the art of embarrassment.

Whenever a bad word was uttered, my father would groan like a frog.  I always thought it brought more attention than the word deserved, but he considered it a thorough warning.   When we saw Goodfellas, I thought he was going to have a heart attack.

You could only imagine how embarrassing it was when we saw a romance scene.  Oh, how I hated those moments.  Awkward.

I am sure that’s how Jewish boys and girls of old felt when it was Song of Solomon day at the local synagogue.  They probably squirmed in their seats when the rabbi read something like, “With great delight I sat in my beloved’s shadow, and his fruit was sweet…” (2:4).   For its time, it was as graphic as any R-rated film that, according to the Oxford Study Bible, was likened to a “feast for the senses.”

The Song of Solomon is still one of those books preachers rarely preach on, and it is an oddity in scripture since it defies all biblical genre.  It is not prophetic or wisdom literature.  It is not history. There is no mention of God anywhere.  At best it is a duet in which a groom and bride celebrate their love for one another.  A book that was, according to feminist scholars, penned by two lovers in search of divine oneness.

That describes the English version.  The original Hebrew captures all the nuances and word plays that would even make Hugh Hefner blush.  No wonder ancient rabbis considered it “forbidden.”

Yet, it was included in the Bible by the skin (no pun intended) of its teeth, so the Church had to sanitize it somehow.  Medieval scholars found that interpreting the Song as an allegory (a spiritual message) of God’s love for the church was the best option.  It wasn’t about physical romance after all, they argued, and a long, thankful sigh could be heard from parents everywhere.

With that taboo out of the way, the Song became rather valuable during the medieval era.  One scholar, Origen, wrote a ten-volume commentary on it.  French abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux, preached some 86 sermons on the first two chapters alone.  Jewish mystic Rabbi Akiva compared the book to the Holy of Holies and argued that it sufficed as a temporary sacred place for long as the temple remained unavailable.

Whether the book was a literal duet or an allegory of God’s love, there is still a fresh word in this amazingly contemporary book.  It’s dialogue expresses a type of faithfulness and fidelity for which we all long.  In our fly-by-night sex-saturated society, a fresh poem that speaks to God’s eternal love might be the type of gospel-message we need these days.

Come to think of it, there is something in the Song for everyone.  For married couples, its rich vocabulary has the power to ignite the embers of intimacy and fan the flame of passionate romance from an earlier time.

The Song reminds singles of their faithful attention to a God who comes to all of us as Spouse.  It also celebrates the type of purity that St. Paul championed in his letters to the Corinthians.

For people who despair over love lost, the Song resonates with broken hearts and the pursuit for wholeness: “Upon my bed,” the Song’s bride wrote in grief, “I sought him whom my soul loves…and found him not” (3:2).

For all of us, the Song can bring us some good seat-squirming experiences now and then as it reminds us just how intimately God longs to be with each of us.  Allow our love for Him to be the second part of the duet in all our hearts.

Published by Joe LaGuardia

I am a pastor and author in Vero Beach, Florida, and write on issues related to spirituality, faith, politics, and culture.

2 thoughts on “Song of Solomon: Scripture that makes you squirm

  1. Even if you are skeptical read the following with scripture references provided:

    I would offer this as the only true interpretation of SOS. The Solomon is the anti-Christ and not the True Christ…the Shepherd is the True Christ whom the maiden (Israel) so desperately is trying to find. If you read it as such, as a warning about the false coming, and the maiden representing the true believers feelings toward this imposter….it makes sense!

    The anti-Christ is a man of Peace, of many wives, concubines and virgins. He tries to woo Israel but the True Israel is smarter than that! She waits for her Shepherd whom is Yeshua. It seems that all the speach having to do with worldly things is from Solomon, and the Shepherd’s speech is of natural created things. Its apparent that the maiden reflects often for her Shepherd and detests all of the worldly speach given by Solomon. Her Shepherd finally comes at the end for her.

    Remember the time of Jacobs trouble comes BEFORE the time of Peace. It is during this FALSE peace that the story of SOS takes place. (The story of Joseph in reverse)

    Compare the maiden to Joseph and you will be surprised on the similarities you will find! They both seek where the sheep are, lose their cloaks(lightweight cloak is the actual greek word used in the sos verse) and they are both captured by people carrying the same spices!

    *Joseph’s 1st imprisonment; ushered in by spice handelers*

    Gen 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread. And they lifted up their eyes and looked. And, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead! And their camels were bearing spices, and balsam gum, and myrrh, going down to take them to Egypt.
    Gen 37:26 And Judah said to his brothers, What gain is it that we kill our brother and conceal his blood?
    Gen 37:27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and do not let our hand be on him. For he is our brother, our flesh. And his brothers listened.
    Gen 37:28 And men, Midianites, traders, passed. And they drew up and took Joseph out of the pit, and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt.
    Gen 37:29 And Reuben came back to the pit. And, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes.

    *maiden’s 1st imprisonment; ushered in by spice handelers*

    Song 3:6 Who is this who comes up out of the wilderness like columns of smoke, sacrificing as incense myrrh and frankincense, from all powders of the merchant?
    **Joseph’s cloak 1st time**

    Gen 37:30 And he returned to his brothers and said, The child, he is not. And I, where shall I go?
    Gen 37:31 And they took Joseph’s cloak, and killed a ram of the goats, and dipped the robe in the blood.
    Gen 37:32 And they sent the cloak reaching to the soles of his feet, and they took it to their father, and said, We have found this. Now look, is it your son’s cloak?
    Gen 37:33 And he knew it, and said, My son’s cloak! An evil beast has eaten him. Being torn Joseph is torn in pieces.

    *Joseph’s cloak 2nd time and 2nd imprisonment*
    Gen 39:4 And Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. And he appointed him over his house, and he gave all he owned into his hand.
    Gen 39:5 And it came about that from the time he appointed him over his house and over all he owned, Jehovah blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake. And the blessing of Jehovah was on all that he had, in the house and in the field.
    Gen 39:6 And he left all he owned in Joseph’s hand. And he did not know anything that he had, except the bread which he was eating. And Joseph was beautiful in form and beautiful of appearance.
    Gen 39:7 And after these things, it happened that his master’s wife lifted up her eyes to Joseph, and said, Lie with me.
    Gen 39:8 And he refused, and said to his master’s wife, Behold, my master does not know what is in the house with me, and all that he owns he has given into my hand.
    Gen 39:9 No one in this house is greater than I, and he has not withheld anything from me except you, because you are his wife. And how should I do this great evil and sin against God?
    Gen 39:10 And it happened, as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her, to lie beside her, to be with her.
    Gen 39:11 And it happened on this day, that he went into the house to do his work. And none of the men of the house were there in the house.
    Gen 39:12 And she caught him by his cloak, saying, Lie with me! And he left his cloak in her hand and fled, and went outside.
    Gen 39:13 And it happened, when she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand, and had fled outside,
    Gen 39:14 she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, Behold! He has brought to us a Hebrew man in to sport with us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice.
    Gen 39:15 And it happened when he heard that I raised my voice and cried, he left his cloak by me and fled, and went outside.
    Gen 39:16 And she kept his cloak beside her until the coming of his master to his house.
    Gen 39:17 And she spoke these same words to him, saying, The Hebrew slave whom you brought in to us came in to sport with me.
    Gen 39:18 And it happened at my raising my voice and crying out, he left his cloak beside me and fled outside.
    Gen 39:19 And it happened, when his master heard his wife’s words which she spoke to him, saying, According to these words your slave did to me, his anger glowed.
    Gen 39:20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison house, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound. And he was there in the prison house.

    *maiden’s cloak and 2nd imprisonment*
    Song 5:7 The ones watching who went about the city found me and struck me; they wounded me; those keeping the walls lifted my lightweight cloak from me.
    *Joseph’s search for the flock*this happened at the beginning of the story during the time of plenty BEFORE the time of Jacob’s Trouble.
    Gen 37:15 And a man found him. And, behold, he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, What do you seek?
    Gen 37:16 And he said, I am looking for my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding the flock.

    *maiden’s search for the flock*this happens at the beginning of the story, but not in order of events. The Maiden is already captured and it is during the false peace time of plenty too…AFTER the tribulation/the prophesized time of Jacob’s Trouble.

    Song 1:7 Tell me, You whom my soul loves, where do You feed; where do You lie down at noon? For why should I be as one who is veiled beside the flocks of Your companions?
    Song 1:8 If you yourself do not know, most beautiful among women, go in the footsteps of the flock. And feed your kids beside the tents of the shepherds.

  2. so It makes sense that the Church was reluctant to add the book in the cannon. The reason being is that the book is actually having to deal with the Anti-Messiah(Solomon) and the true Messiah(Shepherd) It is NOT a love story; it is a warning! Our YHWH does NOT have many brides! HE has one spiritual bride whom is Israel both natural born and grafted in by faith. There is not a Jew and a Christian….it is all about Israel, one new man in Yeshua. This book is confusing because it is meant to be a warning and NOT a love story! To think that people think this book is a love story is actually promoting polygamy and concubines! I pray that more and more people see this book for what it is…A HUGE WARNING ABOUT THE FALSE MESSIAH. SHALOM 🙂 LOVE TO YOU IN MESSIAH YESHUA!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: