Canticles (Solomon's Song)

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Active member
May 28, 2018
Just in case someone looking in has neither read nor heard anything from
Song until just now; I should probably warn them that portions of it may not
be suitable for children.

Some of its language is a little disturbing even for grown-ups, especially in
mixed company. One thing's for sure: if we're not careful with this topic, we
might give the impression that Christians are depraved.

I suppose there are any number of ways to spiritualize Song, and they're
probably all very useful. Nothing especially wrong with allegories either; I
mean, the apostle Paul allegorized an event from the Old Testament to
illustrate his point in Gal 4:21-31, so I think it's probably okay to utilize his
method when we ourselves want to draw attention to something important.

But as for me, I'd much rather take this little book in the Old Testament
prima facie, viz: as a romantic fantasy rather than some sort of mystical
writing. In point of fact, it's possible that Song is a compilation of several
unrelated ditties rather than one continuous story.

Now; according to 2Tim 3:15-17; all scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.

So then, how does Song fulfill that statement? Well; I think it's pretty
obvious that Song is going to teach us the effect that true heart-felt
romantic love has on people in relationships between normal men and
normal women which, I can tell you from personal experience, is very
beneficial for new Christians who grew up in dysfunctional homes and/or
coming out of a religion that made them feel guilty about their thoughts and
feelings for the opposite sex.

Song 1:1 . . Solomon's song of songs.

Solomon penned quite a few songs; something like 1,005 (1Kings 4:32).
Whether he wrote the music too or just the lyrics; I don't know; maybe. He
was a very intelligent guy, but that doesn't necessarily mean he was a
musician; nor even that he could carry a tune; but then he didn't have too.
Solomon had a number of professional singers on the payroll. (Ecc 2:8).

"song of songs" suggests a colloquialism like Sadaam Hussein's "mother of
all wars". In other words: this particular song may have represented
Solomon's best work to date.

NOTE: Personally I think Bad Romance is Lady Gaga's best work to date, but
keep that under your hat.


Active member
May 28, 2018
In a number of places throughout Song, speakers address no one in
particular. In point of fact, quite a bit of dialogue throughout Song is what's
called soliloquy; defined by Webster's as a poem, discourse, or utterance of
a character in a drama that has the form of a monologue, or gives the
illusion of being a series of unspoken reflections. In other words: talking with
and/or to one's self.

We will also be running across places where the soliloquy isn't vocal; rather,
imagined; viz: thoughts.

The Juliet in this musical story is assumed to be a girl called Shulamite
(Song 6:13) from the Hebrew word Shuwlammiyth (shoo-lam-meeth') which
is apparently a pet name rather than a real name. It means peaceful;
defined by Webster's as untroubled by conflict, agitation, or commotion, i.e.
quiet, tranquil, and devoid of violence and force.

The "untroubled" aspect of her pet name caught my attention because it
strongly suggests, at least to me anyway, that Song's Juliet doesn't lose her
composure under duress; in other words; she's unlikely to throw a hissy fit
when things don't go her way.

That's a fitting pet name for the girl because later on in Song, she's spoken
of as a dove; a bird well-known the world over as having a gentle

Personally I don't much care for the name Shulamite because it's not all that
feminine, and it suggests an ethnic identity rather than a pet name; so from
here on in I think I'll call her Shulah.

BTW: Solomon's Hebrew name Shelomoh (shel-o-mo') compliments
Shulah's; it means peaceful, which is pretty much the same meaning as
hers. However, I don't really care for the sound of that name so I'll be
referring to him as Shiloh from here on in. (cf. Gen 49:10)


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 1:2b . . for your love is better than wine.

That phrase makes better sense when kept with the first half of the verse;
which refers to kissing on the lips.

So; better in what way?

Alcohol, in just the right amount, can soothe people's nerves and put them
in a good mood.

"He bringing forth food from the earth, wine that gladdens the heart of man"
(Ps 104:14-15)

But given the choice, I think most of us would rather be with a lover than
with a bottle because lovers, on the whole, make us feel much, much better
than booze.

I cannot remember ever feeling like singing whenever I was drinking; but
this one girl I was dating back in the day made me feel so good that I was
constantly humming old love songs that I hadn't thought of in years. Pretty

"There are three things which are too wonderful for me; four which I do not
understand: The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a
maid." (Prov 30:18-19)


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 1:3 . . Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, your name is like purified
oil; therefore the maidens love you.

ASIDE: I am convinced that Song is just as much a fantasy as Mozart's
Magic Flute. The reason being that in Ecc 7:28, Solomon complained that he
was unable to find even one good woman among a thousand. In other
words: in my estimation, Shulah was a daydream; viz: the kind of girl that
Solomon always wished to meet, but never did. She was a girl who only
existed in his imagination; and that's where she stayed.

Anyway, back to the guy. The Hebrew word for the "oils" actually describes
something greasy, i.e. a paste or a cream or possibly a wax; or something
with the consistency of honey. So apparently Shiloh's fragrance was
produced by something smeared on rather than splashed on.

The words "purified oil" are from a Hebrew word that actually means
"poured forth". Well; an open container of any strong-smelling chemical
would eventually fill a whole room with its odor.

Shiloh's name-- i.e. his reputation --was like an open container of perfume
in an enclosed room; in other words: everybody knew Shiloh just as Boaz
was well-known to be a man of standing in Jerusalem (Ruth 2:1) and
"therefore the maidens love you" likely means that Shiloh was a man that
any girl would be proud to be seen with, i.e. he was very eligible; viz: a
good catch.

NOTE: I'd sure appreciate some help with this topic. I'm not all that
confident that I can talk thru the whole Song all by myself.


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 1:4a . .Take me away with you-- let us hurry! Let the king bring me
into his chambers.

At this point in the Song, there's been no mention of a married relationship
between the guy and the girl; but that doesn't mean that Shulah's thoughts
are improper, rather, perfectly normal and to be fully expected. I pity a guy
in love with a girl who has no interest in sleeping with him.

Song 1:4b . . We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more
than wine. How right they are to adore you!

We mustn't forget that a man wrote this song, likely thinking himself it's
main character, viz: the starring role; so of course he'd picture himself the
most irresistible male on the block; and a king to boot. Well; I've seen for
myself how girls react to celebrities.

Good Morning America often has musical groups performing outside in the
street and one particular day it was Enrique Iglesia.

While Enrique was singing, security hoisted a young girl up on the stage and
he began singing his song directly to her. She began choking up and fighting
back tears, and then he got down on both knees right in front of her; all the
while crooning a very emotional Latin love song and looking right up into her

And then something happened that was just overwhelming. The girl was
wearing a tank top that went down only about mid ways leaving her tummy
exposed so you could see her belly button. Enrique gently pressed the palm
of his hand on her bare tummy while he was kneeling there singing and
looking right up into her eyes. She really lost it then and just about died.

Do you think that girl would have hesitated to bear Enrique's children? I tell
you she would have gladly endured quints for that man right then and there.
And it's not just the cute celebrities that have that effect on young girls.

My son and I attended an Aerosmith concert back in 1998 and I was utterly
astounded at the number of gorgeous buxom young girls crowding security
in front of the stage trying to get Stephen Tyler's attention. I don't know
how many of you out there have seen a mug shot of Stephen Tyler but I can
assure you he looks more like the Witch of Endor than a rock star, but there
he was, charming those girls right out of their better judgment.

So then, we shouldn't be surprised that Shulah said to herself: "Let the king
bring me into his chambers." Young girls were thinking the very same thing
about Elvis Presley back in the early days of his career.


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 1:5 . . I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents
of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.

The Hebrew word for "black" is shachor (shaw-khore') which means dusky,
defined by Webster's as somewhat dark in color, i.e. somewhere between
light and dark; viz: tanned.

Quite a few people here in Oregon frequent tanning salons to darken their
skin, while in California they bake themselves in sunlight. But apparently in
Shulah's day, women didn't tan on purpose because it was considered

The "tents of Kedar" is likely a reference to the portable goatskin shelters
utilized by herdsmen in the field, while the "curtains of Solomon" is a
reference to the beauty of woven tapestries hanging in his palace.

Shulah had probably never actually seen those tapestries for herself but
everybody knew about Solomon's extreme wealth and his ostentatious
manner of living.

So, Shulah's feminine attributes outweighed her complexion; and to tell the
truth, very few of the men I've encountered during my 75 years on the third
rock from the Sun care all that much about the color of a woman's face
anyway. It's a very minor consideration; if it's considered at all.

Song 1:6 . . Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, for the sun has
burned me. My mother's sons were angry with me; they made me caretaker
of the vineyards. But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.

Shulah's "own vineyard" no doubt refers to taking care of herself. Grape
harvest in that land is sometime around July and September; so you can
just imagine the damage done to Shulah's skin out there in the fields under
a hot summer Sun.

When women "stare" at each other, it's usually for the purpose of evaluating
their appearance; viz: the daughters of Jerusalem were nit-picking Shulah's
appearance and likely making unkind remarks about it like when Joan Rivers
was on Fashion Police; though for Joan it was all in fun, but I suspect the
women in Jerusalem were catty; defined by Webster's as spiteful and


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 1:7 . . Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock and
where you rest your sheep at midday. Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?

A veiled woman following flocks in that day was sort of like the loose women
that followed cow towns and mining camps in the olde American west,
except that not all veiled women were involved in vice.

When Judah encountered Tamar at a rest stop along the highway, he
mistook her for a qedeshah (ked-ay-shaw') which isn't your typical working
girl, but rather a devotee raising money for an established religion (Gen
38:21) typically a pagan kind of religion centered upon the worship of a
goddess like Ashtoreth (a.k.a. Astarte). So one might say that a qedeshah's
services were for a worthy cause.

in those days, cult prostitutes had a measure of respect in their community,
and it wasn't unusual for every woman in the community to be expected to
take a turn at supporting their "church" in that manner; so cult prostitution
wasn't really looked upon as a dirty business, rather, as a sacred obligation.

Still, Shulah wouldn't want it getting around that she was a cult hooker; and
it would certainly look that way were she to shadow the flocks. Well; her
love interest solved that problem by inviting her to move into camp.

Song 1:8 . . If you yourself do not know, most beautiful among women; go
forth on the trail of the flock, and pasture your young goats by the tents of
the shepherds.

That would not only provide Shulah a measure of security, but also protect
her reputation because our Romeo no doubt solemnly charged his men to
keep their pea-pickin' paws off her just as Boaz did in the book of Ruth.
(Ruth 2:9)


Active member
May 28, 2018
This next section in the song appears to me a grandiose day dream wherein
Shulah imagines herself utterly irresistible and gives herself quite a
variety of compliments. I mean, just look at some of this language.

Song 1:9 . . I liken you, my darling, to a mare harnessed to one of the
chariots of Pharaoh.

Well; I think we can safely assume that the horses pulling Pharaoh's chariot
were well above the quality of your average nag-- the picture of equine
health; blue ribbon stock; i.e. the best of the best.

Song 1:10 . .Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with
strings of jewels.

Those are an interesting compliments. It's stating, in so many words, that
the earrings didn't enhance Shulamite's cheeks, nor the necklace her neck.
In other words: the jewelry didn't improve Shulamite's appearance, no, she
made the jewelry look better.

There's an old saying that goes something like this: Clothes make the man.
Well; I propose a new saying: Women make the jewelry.

Song 1:11 . . We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver.

You know, it's one thing to walk into a jewelry store and select something
from a display case, but quite another to special-order a piece.

I have to say something personal to the single guys out there.

When you finally get around to proposing to your best girl, for heaven's sake
don't offer her your mother's ring. No, get one for your girl's very own.
Hand-me-downs, regardless of their sentimental value, make no one feel

I inadvertently caught a clip of Kim Kardashian planning her wedding
wherein she remarked "I want it to be all about me." Well; your marriage
won't be all about your bride if you drag your mother into it. (Just saying)


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 1:12 . .While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its

To be "at table" doesn't necessarily refer an item of furniture. The Hebrew
word also suffices for just sitting around in a circle, e.g. a picnic. It appears
to me that the herders mentioned in verse 8 were on a lunch break.

The Hebrew word for Shulah's perfume identifies an aromatic called nard;
commonly translated spikenard. Whether the girl was actually wearing
perfume is kind of hard to tell. She may have been imagining this: I mean,
who takes care for their grooming while driving sheep and goats?

Song 1:13-14 . . My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my

I'm not really sure how many guys would feel all that manly about
themselves being thought of as a little bag of potpourri but at least he'd
know that his best girl was happy with him resting his head in that area.

The Hebrew word for Shulah's myrrh shows up for the first time in the Bible
at Ex 30:23 where it's a principal ingredient in the recipe for a special holy
oil. Myrrh is an aromatic resin. Shulah was a farm girl; I doubt that she
could afford any myrrh of her own;

Song 1:14 . . My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the
vineyards of En Gedi.

En Gedi first appears in the Bible as a community at Josh 16:52. Though
kind of rocky, it was an attractive oasis due to its abundance of fresh water.
The area is a nature preserve now.

I'm guessing that they valued a bouquet of Henna flowers in Shulah's day
like we value red roses in ours.

Now we switch to the king's thoughts.

Song 1:15 . . How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your
eyes are doves.

A humorous ladies tank top I spied had words on it that said "Tell me I'm
beautiful, and buy me a donut."

There are girls who will never once in their entire lives have a guy tell them
"Oh how beautiful you are". I'm guessing that Shulah may have been one of
those girls.


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 1:16 . . How handsome you are, my beloved, and so pleasant!
Indeed, our couch is luxuriant.

The Hebrew word for "luxuriant" actually means verdant, defined by
Webster's as green with growing plants; in other words: fertile; which is just
the opposite of a land that's so arid, and its soil so bad, that nothing but
scrub can grow there.

The absence of vegetation I would think precludes the possibility of
meadows, glades, and/or woodlands where you could string a hammock in a
shaded area protected from the Sun and just kick back and relax; listening
to the sounds of nature-- a breeze in the tree tops, a bubbling brook,
chirping birds, and buzzing bugs.

Wise city managers are careful to design tracts with parks in mind because
they provide people a pleasant escape from the weary round of life.

Song 1:17 . .The beams of our house are cedars; our rafters are firs.

That is make-believe at its best.

Beams and rafters are the primary structural members of a roof; which
when viewed from indoors becomes the ceiling. Ceilings, no matter how
ornate, are not what I would call comforting. They're impersonal, and they're
cold, and after a while they become quite dull.

But when Shulah is with her lover, that same ceiling becomes to her a
forest, i.e. a grove. Shiloh's nearness makes all the difference. He changes
Shulah's perspective of what would otherwise be the interior of an insipid
wooden box.


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 2:1a . . I am a rose of Sharon

Apparently nobody really knows the species of flower meant by a rose in
that passage. Some say it's the narcissus, and other say it's the saffron.
Personally I prefer the saffron because of it's full bloom, and it's very blue

Song 2:1b . . a lily of the valleys.

Again, the species of flower is only a guess. The emphasis here is actually
upon the color rather than the species, i.e. white. For that reason, I suspect
that the rose and the lily are the self same flower because the narcissus is a
white flower that looks very much like a lily.

I also suspect that the flower spoken of in that passage is a wild flower
rather than a cultivated species; which no doubt speaks of Shulah's natural
beauty. Some girls need quite a bit of make-up to look pretty and alluring,
but she didn't. Shulah was quite a stand-out.

Song 2:2 . . Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.

That's quite a compliment. No doubt lots of girls in Jerusalem rivaled
Shulah's beauty, but they might just as well have been concealing
themselves with full burkas.

My love must be a kind of blind love,
I can't see anyone but you.

Are the stars out tonight?
I don't know if it's cloudy or bright,
I only have eyes for you.

The moon may be high,
But I can't see a thing in the sky.
I only have eyes for you.

I don't know if we're in a garden,
Or on a crowded avenue.
Maybe millions of people go by,
But they all disappear from view,
And I only have eyes for you.

(Harry Warren and Al Dubin)

That's one of the all-time great loves songs, recorded by The Flamingos in


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 2:3a . . Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men.

The Hebrew word for "apple" is somewhat vague. It's possibly a generic term that can pertain to any number of fruit-bearing trees, e.g. oranges, quince, citron, etc which are trees that produce fruits that not only taste good, but smell pretty good too when they're cut open.

Seeing as how Song is a fantasy rather than a fact, we could make Shulah's "apple" tree any species we want, including cherries, which produce not only tasty fruit, but also lovely blossoms too. The exact species isn't all that important. What really matters is the contrast.

Fruit trees produce food, while woodland trees as a rule don't produce any really useful nourishment; unless you're maybe a beaver, a chipmunk, or an insect.

Song 2:3b . . I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

The flesh of fruit is typically soft compared to nuts and seeds, which are usually hard.

Most guys would rather be thought of as an oak's acorn than a fruit. But an oak tree-- whose lumber is certainly far more sturdy than that of most fruit trees --isn't romantic. Oaks are brutish-- like oxen --and who really wants to snuggle with bovines.


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 2:4a . . He brought me to the banqueting house,

The Hebrew word for "banquet" is yayin (yah'-yin) which refers to a
fermented beverage, i.e. one containing alcohol.

Another of that's word's appearances is located in the book of Esther where
she arranged a sort of special tea party for her potentate; only the tea in
that case was wine.

Song 2:4b . . and his banner over me is love.

The largest use of banners is located in first ten chapter of the book of
Numbers as flags hoisted aloft to indicate tribal rallying points.

The combination is a pretty cool metaphor. The banquet and the banner
indicate that Shulah held a special place in her lover's heart.


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 2:5a . . Stay me with flagons,

Webster's defines a flagon as a large usually metal or pottery vessel (as for
wine) with handle and spout and often a lid and/or a large bulging short
necked bottle, and/or the contents of a flagon

The Hebrew word must be difficult because not every version translates
'ashiyshah (ash-ee-shaw') as a container or the contents of a container. A
number of versions translate that word as a cake of raisins; which actually
makes better sense than wine because the purpose is to "stay me" which
means to strengthen, prop up, and/or support. Well; alcohol usually does
very little to strengthen people; especially pitchers of the stuff.

Song 2:5b . . comfort me with apples:

The Hebrew word for "apples" in that verse is the same as Song 2:3, where
it's possibly a generic term that can pertain to any number of fruit-bearing
trees, e.g. oranges, quince, citron, etc; which are trees that produce fruits
that not only taste good, but smell pretty good too when they're cut open.

It appears that Shulah has been so focused upon this love interest of hers
that she has neglected to eat and has now become aware that her body is
weak and in need of nourishment.

Song 2:5c . . for I am faint with love.

That pretty much describes lovesickness, which Webster's defines as
languishing with love; viz: Shulah's love for Shiloh was so passionate, and
so distracting, that she had lost her appetite and wasn't eating right; thus, it
was wearing her down; and no wonder. Observe this next fantasy going thru
her head.

Song 2:6 . . His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 2:7 . .

I left the scripture for that passage blank because there is so much
disagreement as how to translate the Hebrew into English. But myself, I
prefer Rashi's version; which reads like this:

"I bind you under oath-- by the gazelles and the does --that you do not
cause hatred nor disturb this love while it still pleases."

Some translations address that oath to the daughters of Jerusalem.

Song 2:7 seems to me a concern that rivals might make of themselves the
proverbial fly in the ointment by trying to draw Shiloh's attention away from
Shulah and thus spoil the happiness she's enjoying with the love of her life.


Active member
May 28, 2018
Song 2:8-9a . . Listen! My lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the
mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young

Many years ago I was driving to a date with my best girl when I got a
hankering to take a roundabout route through a valley that I had heard
much about but never seen for myself.

It was a nice drive but had a very serious downside. My girl was expecting
me and when I showed up late and told her where I'd been she said: "So
you were in no hurry to get here?" Ouch!

Well; Shulah's dream guy could scarcely run fast enough to be with her.
He was all go with throttle up like a Space Shuttle launch: the pedal to the
metal. If Shiloh had an afterburner, he would've lit that off too and made a
bee line straight for Shulah's door; no side trips.
Mar 21, 2019
Just in case someone looking in has neither read nor heard anything from
Song until just now; I should probably warn them that portions of it may not
be suitable for children.
I disagree that any part of scripture, God's word, is unsuitable for children - even Song of Solomon. For example, if you are scared for your children to read Song of Solomon because it tastefully describes feminine beauty, isn't it even more unsuitable for the children to read about the bloodshed and murder in the rest of the bible? I mean, the crucifixion is quite gruesome, but it's a necessary part of our faith.

I think us believing we need to censor God's word highlights problems in ourselves, rather than in The Word.
May 28, 2018
Song 2:9b . . Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the
windows, peering through the lattice.

(chuckle) That makes Shiloh appear to be sort of a peeping Tom but really
his behavior is no different than a boy tossing little pebbles at a girl's
window to get her attention.

Song 2:10 . . My lover spoke and said to me; "Arise, my darling, my
beautiful one, and come with me."

You know, there's nothing like early morning in the countryside during fair
weather. The air, the sights, the sounds, and the smells are all very
invigorating; and even better when done with someone special.

Song 2:11-13 . . See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of
doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming
vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one,
come with me.

I sometimes wonder if maybe city planners don't have lovers in mind when
they design city parks where people can at least feel in nature; though only
a microcosm of the real thing.

There's a moon out tonight,
Let's go strollin'.
There's a girl in my heart
Whose heart I've stolen.

There's a moon out tonight,
Let's go strollin' through the park.

There's a glow in my heart,
I never felt before.
There's a girl at my side
That I adore.

(The Capris, 1958)
May 28, 2018
Song 2:14a . . O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret place of
the steep pathway,

The Hebrew word for "dove" is very often translated pigeon; a peaceable
bird that prefers roosting in confined spaces; preferably with a roof over its
heads like docks, wharfs, bridges, and roadway overpasses; hence the
mention of clefts.

Song 2:14b . . show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice
is sweet, and your face is lovely.

Hard-core, ascetics play down women's looks, but you know; beauty still
counts for something in romance.

And really, just beauty per se counts with most women. I usually accompany
my wife when she goes shopping for cosmetics at Sephora-- which is sort of
like what Home Depot is to men --and have come to the conclusion that if
Sephora doesn't have what women need to look their best, then they're
already looking their best.

One's voice has a role in romance along with their appearance. For example:
one day at the Dentist's office, I observed a receptionist talking with her
boyfriend on a landline and you should've seen her face. It was all lit up with
the brightest, toothiest smile ever. Had her guy seen the effect that his voice
was having upon that girl, he would've been greatly encouraged.

NOTE: It was mentioned back in post No.8 that very few of the men I've
encountered during my 75 years on the third rock from the Sun care all that
much about the color of a woman's face. It's a very minor consideration; if
it's considered at all. Well; here in Song 2:14 we encounter Shiloh's
infatuation with Shulah's face in spite of her swarthy complexion. Duh. No
surprise there.