A book of the Bible/Tanach consisting of sensual love poems, also known as "Song of Solomon" or "Canticles" (meaning Songs).

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Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
Book: Song of Songs
Chapters: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 ·

This Book is a Divine Allegory, which represents the Love
between Christ and his Church of true believers, under figures
taken from the relation and Affection that subsist between a
bridegroom and his espoused Bride; an emblem often employed in
Scripture, as describing the nearest, firmest, and most sure
relation: see Ps 45; Isa 54:5,6; 62:5; Jer 2:2; 3:1; also in
Ezekiel, Hosea, and By our Lord himself, Mt 9:15; 25:1: see
also Re 21:2,9; Eph 5:27. There is No character in the Church
of Christ, and No situation in which the believer is placed, but
what may be traced in this Book, as humble inquirers will find,
On comparing it with other Scriptures, By the assistance of God
the Holy Spirit, in answer to their supplications. Much,
however, of the language has been misunderstood By expositors
and translators. The difference between the customs and manners
of Europe, and those of the East, must especially be kept in
view. The little acquaintance with eastern customs possessed By
most of our early expositors and translators, has in many cases
prevented a correct rendering. Also, the changes in our own
language, during the last two or three centuries, affect the
manner in which some expressions are viewed, and they must not
be judged By modern notions. But the great outlines, rightly
interpreted, fully accord with the affections and experience of
the sincere Christian.
"Hey. Hey! What is this, some kind of sick prank? I get the greatest thing ever just to have it taken away? Why did you do this to me, God? Next time you're gonna get my hopes up could you please take me to a grease monkey? Because I like to get lubed up before I get fucked! Huh? Some lube would be nice. Or at least a courtesy lick, God. How about a little courtesy lick the next time you decide to fuck me?"

- Eric Cartman

The Song of Songs is perhaps the most perplexing book of the Hebrew Bible.

For thousands of years, on their wedding days, Jewish couples quoted lines like "I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me", picturing themselves as Davids and Bat-Shevas about to consummate their bonds in Jericho-wall-tumbling passion.

It is said that Ezra, the first Rabbi, saved the book from de-canonization, claiming that it was much more interesting than the ones about Moses walking around a desert for 40 years. Plus, it foretold the coming of the Messiah.

Some Jews, and most Christians, tend to desexualize the song, claiming that it isn't about sex, but about the love between the people of Israel (the bride), and God, or the Messiah (the groom). We may have slept around on occasion, and he may have slapped as around from time to time, but ultimately, we're a happy couple deeply in love.

Some reject this view, and see the song as a collection of loosely-related erotic poems following the Egyptian tradition. It's hard to remove eroticism from a text that opens with

"He'll kiss me with his mouth's kisses, for your love is better than wine"

Those who understand how the ancient Israelites' viewed romantic love realize that the song is both erotic and religious. It does this through a liberal use of Hebrew puns. In particular, the fact that Hebrew has a single word for "Kin", "Lover", "Love", and... "David". Yeah, the giant-slaying loverboy king whose great-great-great grandson is supposed to bring to us the time of Peace. With this in mind, the aforementioned line can be read as

"God will kiss us with his mouth's kisses, for your Davids (the king and the Messiah) are fairer than wine".

Speaking of Biblical monarchs and their names, here's another one: King Solomon, to whom the song is attributed, is called in Hebrew "Shlomo", which means "His Peace" or "His Unity". This means that the song's dedication,

The Song of Songs, that is to Shlomo

can be read as

The Song of Songs, that is to his unification

So you can read the song as dirty or divine, depending on your mood, and translate it accordingly.

However, the purpose of the song is not to show off some mad punning skills. Rather, it's meant to get the reader to perceive the eroticism and prophecy at the same time, thus equating them.

This effect is difficult to achieve in translation, so most translations omit it, and add a liberal sprinkling of "thy"s, "O"s, "Behold"s and "ye"s.

I'll attempt to preserve it in my translation through indentation and repetition of all lines containing ambiguity.

  • Chapter I: I'm Black and Beautiful
  • Chapter II: My Beloved Is Mine, And I'm His
  • Chapter III: In Bed, I Ask For My Beloved, And Can't Find Him
  • Chapter IV: You're All Beautiful and Flawless
  • Chapter V: That's My David
  • Chapter VI: Where'd Your Lover Go?
  • Chapter VII: Your Breasts Are Like Two Twin Fawns
  • Chapter VIII: I Am A Wall, And My Breasts Are Towers

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