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The Song of Songs: Chapter 1

The Song of Songs, also known as The Song of Solomon, is among the LEAST read books in the Bible. Its language is stunningly beautiful, rich in metaphors and similes; this language is at the same time highly evocative and yet rather opaque to the 21st century reader. For those of us who are poetically-challenged, its complicated lyrical structure also renders the love song doubly confusing.

And then there is the whole sex thing. This book is about romance, love, marriage and sex. What do Christians do with a book of the Bible that is so lyrical, so evocative, so obscure literary and so sexual? Well, many avoid it. But that need not be the case. Indeed, we can be encouraged to read what the Bible has to say about such a prevalent topic in our culture. We are faced with it or hear about it almost everywhere we turn. How refreshing to get God’s perspective on romance, intimacy and sex.

We will look at the images that Solomon’s poetic language suggests. His Song evokes how the relationship between a man and a woman flows: attraction, “dating,” getting serious, marriage and the challenges that ensue.

Even if one is not in an intimate relationship at present, it is good to get God’s perspective on intimacy and marriage as it is something that many choose in life.

At only eight chapters the book itself is short. However, reading it presents challenges. Solomon used a device that unfolds his Song as a dialog in three voices: the voice of the woman, also referred to as the bride and the Shulammite (her voice opens the book); the voice of the man who is also identified as the groom and Solomon himself; and then a chorus to whom he gave the name the daughters of Jerusalem or referred to them as “friends.” For those who can read Hebrew, these designations are clarified in the original text by the gender of the Hebrew pronouns used. In modern translations, such as the NIV, these voices are introduced with titles such as Beloved, Lover and Friends.

Key Verse:
“Solomon’s Song of Songs.” ~ Song of Songs 1:1

Questions to ponder:

  • If you can, try to read the whole Song of Songs. Which passages repeat the most?
  • Which of the five senses are evoked the most?
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