What is the Song of Solomon?
The Song of Solomon, also known as The Song of Songs (Hebrew - שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים Shir ha-Shirim), is found in the section of the Bible known as the Ketuvim, or “Writings”. It differs from other books in the Jewish Bible in that it does not convey laws or proffer wisdom. Instead, it details an intimate, loving relationship based on mutual yearning and harmony.
Who wrote the Song of Solomon?
Jewish tradition attributes the text to King Solomon, as it begins with the words, “The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.” Some believe that linguistic elements used in the text cast doubt on Solomon’s authorship, and instead assert that the true author is unknown.
King Solomon, also called Jedidiah, took the throne at the age of 15. The name Solomon evokes peace, or shalom. The name Jedidiah means beloved friend of God. Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The only wife mentioned by name is Na’amah.
Why is the Song of Solomon significant?
What distinguishes the Song of Solomon is its flowery language and rich, poetic style. The verses in the Song of Solomon are considered an allegory for our relationship with God, which is compared to a loving, spousal relationship. In Judaism, the Song of Solomon is read on Shabbat eve and on Passover, times in which Jews recall the Exodus from Egypt, symbolizing the love between God and his redeemed people.
The meaning behind the verses
There are many poignant verses in the Song of Solomon. At The Verse, we highlight four key passages:
Song of Solomon, 3:4: “I have found the one whom my soul loves.” This verse is attributed to King Solomon’s wife describing finding her soulmate in him. This verse describes the love between two people as all-encompassing, deep, and true.
Song of Solomon, 6:3: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” A healthy, loving relationship is based on giving of oneself. When we are givers, we grow to love the one to whom we have given. This relationship also parallels the bond between a human being and God, both of whom are beloved to one another in a bond of dedication and selflessness.
Song of Solomon, 8:6: “Place me like a seal upon your heart, like the seal upon your hand.”A seal upon the heart and hand evoke a love that is all-consuming and exclusive. Just as God’s devotion to us is enduring, so too is our love for our partner.
Song of Solomon, 1:2: “Oh give me the kisses of your mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine.” Wine is valued and enjoyable. Wine also overtakes the senses. Meaningful connection between two lovers is even more delightful and transformative than wine.
There are few Biblical texts as filled with romantic, passionate allegory as the Song of Solomon. When love is channeled towards those who are worthy of it, that love is holy, pure, and inspiring.