Douglas Sean O'Donnell has written the most wonderful article, Solomon's Song of Love. Here are a few excerpts; you can access the entire article at this link. We are going to study the Song of Solomon with Douglas O'Donnell for this and the next seven posts at the One Saint Blog. It is so worthy of our attention. Our God is love exemplified, and The Song of Solomon is something we should read and experience with joy. We have been created to love just so.
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! (1:2a) That’s how it starts! Rupert of Deutz (c. 1075–1129), the medieval Benedictine monk, wrote concerning this verse: “What means this cry, so loud, so startling?” Charles Simeon (1759–1836), the famous vicar of Holy Trinity Church Cambridge, said, “The abruptness with which the poem opens is very remarkable.” Indeed it was so very remarkable that first-century Jewish rabbis warned the young men of their congregations not to read the Song until they turned thirty. And Christian preacher Adam Clarke counseled pastors, saying, “I advise all young preachers to avoid preaching on Solomon’s Song.” This is indeed a delicate and dangerous portion of Scripture. And left to the immature imagination or a godless guide, these inspired words, which were written to make us wise unto salvation—to teach, correct, rebuke, and train us in righteousness (and in love!)—could have the opposite effect.
"Yes, what a way to start! It’s an earthquake of eros. But it’s also a “beginning without a beginning,” as Bernard of Clairvaux put it. That is, we are introduced to this theme of physical love, but we are not told about the love story. Who is speaking? Who is her man? What is their history? Are they married?
"All this is intentional. It’s not that their love story is unimportant; rather it’s that the tone of their love is of primary importance. We will get bits and pieces of their story as the Song unfolds, but here we start with a full-blown flame, a tone that we’re to touch. The earth is shaking. The house is on fire. She wants to be kissed—“Let him kiss me” (v. 2)—and she gets more than just his lips: “The king has brought me into his chambers” (v. 4). And then this short opening scene ends with the choir of virgins rising and singing, “We will exult and rejoice . . . in your love,” or as Hess puts it, “in your lovemaking.” There you have it. Welcome to the Song of Songs. It’s the hottest book in the Bible."
1 The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.
2 "May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine.
3 "Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you.
4 "Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers." "We will rejoice in you and be glad; We will extol your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you."
5 "I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon.
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.
7 "Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, Where do you pasture your flock, Where
do you make it lie down at noon? For why should I be like one who veils herself Beside the flocks of your companions ?"
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.
9 "To me, my darling, you are like My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.
10 "Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, Your neck with strings of beads."
11 "We will make for you ornaments of gold With beads of silver."
12 "While the king was at his table, My perfume gave forth its fragrance.
13 "My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh Which lies all night between my breasts.
14 "My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi." 15 "How beautiful you are, my darling, How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves."
16 "How handsome you are, my beloved, And so pleasant! Indeed, our couch is luxuriant!
17 "The beams of our houses are cedars, Our rafters, cypresses.
Song of Solomon 1