Song of Songs Interpretations

Published: 2021-09-14 06:15:10
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Song of Songs interpretations vary from a poem involving two speakers to one of many characters. Careful reading of the text reveals an entire cast of characters that include the two main characters: the woman and the object of her affection her beloved, the king and his harem, and finally the woman's brothers. The young woman in Song of Songs is a beautiful woman who feels out of place in a foreign environment. Unwilling to give up on her dreams, she strives against lustful desires in hopes of being reunited to her one true love. Her desperation for this return causes her to try and control her destiny through her own actions, but finds out sometimes it produces undesirable consequences. It is through these difficult events that growth occurs which leads her to freedom and realization of her dreams as in the end she is reunited with her true love.

This poem Song of Songs is most notably known as a love poem about two young lovers, however through careful reading the poem gives away clues about additional characters that are important parts to the poem. Line one of the poem identifies the poem as 'Solomon's', this makes it appear at first that Solomon is the subject of the women's attention; especially when the next lines are of her praising her lover in an attempt to summons him to rescue her (Cant., 1:4). But it is this 'haste' that provides the first clue that her lover and the king are different men. Here the king is portrayed as a captor rather than a lover. Similarly, (Cant., 2:2) the king calls her 'a lily among maidens' indicating she is one part among a set, again showing possession. This is different from when her 'beloved' speaks of her; through him she is identified singularly as 'my fair one' (Cant., 2:10) showing that he is only involved with her. (Cant., 2:2) also shows the existence of the king's harem, for which through history he has remained notorious. These maidens are identified as daughters of Jerusalem or Zion (Cant., 1:5, 3:11), both referencing that these maidens collectively belonged to the 'kingdom' which Solomon reigned over at that time (Cant., 3:11, 1 Kgs, 11:3). More evidence of this is found when the king proclaims her beauty and compares her as a 'mare among Pharaoh's chariots' (Cant., 1:9) showing her again to be one possession among many. This is countered by the woman's comparison of the king being on 'his' couch (Cant., 1:12) and the description of 'Our couch' that is followed by a description of their house (Cant., 1:17); the couches appear to be two separate seats in two different places. Another character type mentioned in the poem is the king's harem of women. Not only do they appear in the poem, but they are given a voice as well. This collective group is used to entice the newly arrived woman to accept her new position as one of them (Cant., 1:11, 3:10); providing the image that she will be draped in gold and silver just as the king is draped in gold and silver while he is in his travelling seat. Here the harem sees both decorating jobs as their responsibility. The final identifiable character type found in Song of Songs is the woman's brothers. At first they are introduced through the woman as angry, revengeful men who lord over her (Cant., 1:6). This description is later challenged as the brothers themselves reflect on attempts to protect their sister followed by vows to guard their sister as she blossoms into womanhood (Cant., 8:8-9); through these verses it is apparent that in (Cant., 8:5) the brothers look on the horizon and see their sister being brought home. For these reasons, the Christian reading that compares Christ to the church is workable as long as the reader only uses beloved as Christ and the woman as the church for images relating to that relationship.


The woman describes herself as beautiful in spite of her sunburn comparing herself to the 'curtains of Solomon' (Cant 1:5); this indicates that she has been in the king's presence. Feeling neglected and imprisoned (Cant 1:6) she is urged by the harem to seek out her beloved instead of remaining with the harem (Cant., 1:8). She sees herself as a uniquely perfect 'rose of Sharon' (Cant., 2:1-2), meaning that her beauty inside and out did not fit in with the 'brambles' which she identified as the harem around her. These brambles sold out to their worldly desires, something she was not

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