When love is so wonderful that it is divine.
The Song of Solomon 1:2–8
New Revised Standard Version
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is perfume poured out; therefore the maidens love you.
Draw me after you, let us make haste.
The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.
I am black and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not glare at me because I am dark, because the sun has glared at me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me guard the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not guarded!
Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who is veiled beside the flocks of your companions?
If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow the tracks of the flock, and pasture your kids beside the shepherds’ tents.
The merits of “Solomon’s Song” have often been debated; some people consider its content too sensual for Scripture. You can see their point: the Song tells the story of a couples’ passionate, deeply physical desire for and delight in one another.
It’s a bit like reading other peoples’ love letters.
But the poetry is so exquisite, the images so evocative, the joy so unconstrained, how can we ignore such beauty? Typically translated into English as “the song of songs,” the Hebrew title is meant to convey that it is the greatest of all songs: the song to top all other songs; the best song ever. Surely God must have had a hand in its composition.
Some will say it is a celebration of romance, understanding the Song to give added divine sanction and support to human beings relating to each other in loving ways, appreciating the beauty and sensuousness of our bodies. It can serve as a Scriptural affirmation of the joy that physical love can bring.
The Song has also been understood to be a conversation between the Soul and her Lover. The sense of yearning, the searching, the confession of love, the ecstasy discovered in the Presence of the One who has been sought … these are readily-recognized aspects of the mystic’s experience of the Divine Beloved. It is the Song of Perfect (re)Union.
One interpretation does not preclude the other. Both “versions” of the Song can be equally true, equally inspiring; perhaps one more than the other at different times. Perhaps that, too, is evidence that God really did have a hand in writing this lovesong.
As reinterpreted by Deborah
Kiss me full on the lips, like lovers reunited after a long separation!
For your love is better than wine:
restoring my strength, delighting my heart,
making me forget my sorrows;
healing every hurt.
Call me to you, don’t delay! And there we will celebrate;
for in your presence there is the fullness of joy.
We will celebrate without ceasing,
for your love is greater than all others.
Your eyes cannot yet behold me, O most beautiful dancer,
but I have cherished you from your conception;
you are more precious to me than jewels,
your love is sweeter than honey.
Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
where can I meet you, how can I find you?
For I have lost the way,
though I seek you, night and day.
O fairest beloved, gaze into the darkness
and there you will find me,
in the depths I will embrace you.
Do not fear the shadows, for I shall be with you;
there is nowhere you can go that I will not be.
May the Beloved bless you with joy and peace,
Take time to delight in the depth and breadth of love. Sigh into it, relax into it: fall into the Love that is eternal.