I’ve been thinking about the song of solomon lately and there are things I just don’t understand. Help me out 🙂
Growing up, I was told by my parents that the bible is the LITERAL word of God. There are no interpretations. There are so symbols or metaphors unless clearly stated, such as in the gospels. Everything, including the psalms, proverbs and the song of solomon was literal.
I was not allowed to read the whole song of solomon until very late in my courtship. My parents said it would stir up feelings inside young people and it would be bad for my purity. My parents did not believe that the song of solomon was a picture of Jesus and the church. Like many others, they believed it was about sexuality in marriage.
If you have read the song of solomon, you know that it’s full of references to different practices between a couple. But it also tells a love story of a couple.
Now, let me explain what my problem with it is. As far as I understand (literal that is), the two lovers meet outside:
Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green. (1,16)
Clearly a reference that they’re not holding hands out there, but most likely in the grass together.There are other references to sexuality as well, for example chapter 2, verse 3. They are obviously embracing too, see 2, 6.
Now let’s take a look at chapter 3, 1-4:
By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
If we’re being literal here, then it doesn’t make sense. Why is her husband not sleeping in her bed? Why isn’t he even in the house? And why would she bring him into her mother’s house? Don’t we know that a man cleaves his wife and she leaves her mother and father? Then, why, just why would she do that?
Chapter 5, verse 6-7:
I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
Again, he isn’t at her house. Why? And why would he come in the middle of the night, and then leave quickly? Why would she get beaten by the watchmen and be unveiled, which was a shame, if she was just looking for her husband? Again, makes no sense to me.
Chapter 7, 11-12:
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
Ok now, they either have something to hide or have a major thing for sex in the fields. Either way, I find it strange that they are constantly outside.
Chapter 8, 1-3:
O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised. I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate. His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
Alright, that’s just a plain weird thing to wish for your husband. I can imagine 100 different things that I wish my husband would be, but being my brother is not one of them. I realize that there might be a cultural difference, but the Thora tells us clear rules whom we shouldn’t marry, and your brother is one of them. If the girl in this song knew this and I have to believe she did, there can only be one reason why she would wish for such a thing: Because her lover is not her husband.
And that’s really the biggest question that I have about this book. To me, it’s clear they aren’t married. She still lives in her mother’s house, they meet out in the vineyards under the trees, he comes at night to see her but leaves quickly (maybe got caught?), the guards beat her for walking around at night (an unmarried woman, possibly a prostitute to them, that might be why she’s unveiled by them), her wish that he was her brother so she could officially show affection.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just way too stupid and whatnot to get it, and this frustrates me. If everything the bible says has a literal meaning, then why is there a book about a couple that has sex before marriage? Or am I just not understanding it?
This goes only for the literal reading. Interpretations will of course bring different results.
Either way, I’m puzzled. Comments and suggestions what I’m doing wrong are more than welcome!