Song of Songs


"Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields to lie among the henna-bushes; Let us go early to the vineyards and see if the vine has budded or its blossom opened, if the pomegranates are in flower. There I will give you my love, when the mandrakes give their perfume, and all rare fruits are ready at our door, fruits new and old which I have in store for you, my love." Song of Songs 7:11-13.

As you can see, the Song of Songs in the Bible is a very sensual book. It's a poem about the love two men have for one woman. There is the King, who has taken this dark Shulammite girl to himself, and her shepherd lover, whom she seeks to be united with. The king woes her, but all she wants is her shepherd lover.

Those of a religious bent have had great problems knowing what to do with this rather sensual Eastern love poem. The accepted approach has been to treat it as an allegory of God's love for his people. There is little doubt that the whole experience of love-making reflects beyond itself to something other-worldly. The relationship a person can have with God through Jesus is nothing less than "union" with him. It is continually described in the Bible as a marriage - a union with the divine in the same sense as a person unites with their partner, such that the two become one flesh.

None-the-less, it is important to note that the focus of the Bible is not so much on the individual becoming God's lover, but rather the community of his friends becoming his lover. In the Bible, the church is called the bride of Christ. Furthermore, this self same love, union, oneness, and bonding, is to be the mutual experience of each member of the brotherhood towards each other.

So, sensual love between a man and a woman, does, in a mysterious way, express the relationship that exists between God and his people. It is for this very reason that the Bible tends to concentrate on sexual sins rather than social ones. Sexual sin strikes at the heart of what it means to know God.

Yet, The Song of Songs is still, in the fullest sense, a vibrant rejoicing in human sensuality. It is the way we are, says the writer, so be glad of it. We do well to remember that God created us flesh and blood. We are highly sensual beings driven by a bundle of instincts and urges of God's making. We need never be ashamed of our nakedness, rather rejoice in it.


[Pumpkin Cottage]