April 12th: “Song of Solomon”

The first time I read the Song of Solomon, when I was about 14, I thought it was weird. But later it grew on me, and now I think it’s one of the sexiest poems out there. I know in some Christian traditions it’s believed to be an allegory of Christ’s love for the Church, but for most Jews it’s a sacred poem celebrating love. A song of verses from it, “Dodi li” (meaning “My beloved is mine”), is often sung at Jewish weddings. Here’s my favorite part (from the King James Version, which is my favorite translation, being an English history and literature geek and all; you can find the rest of the Song in that translation here):

10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

2 thoughts on “April 12th: “Song of Solomon””

  1. I first came across The Song of Solomon proper as a passing reference in Stella Riley’s The Marigold Chain.
    The Bible reading we did in Sunday School skipped over it for some strange reason. Upon looking it up, I was delighted – it’s a shame most religious teaching seems to emphasise the ugly and the angry.

    1. We read it in my freshman English class in high school–I don’t remember why, but it must have been referenced in something else we read. And I definitely was like “there are way too many sheep in this poem. I mean really her TEETH are like sheep?” But luckily I saw the light later.

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