Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
We moderns might be surprised to see the Bible celebrating drunkenness, but here it is, plain and simple. Being in love in Song of Songs is like being drunk—but better. In 4:10, the groom actually says, "How much better is your love than wine." That's no frat boy.
Let's look at some examples to get a feel for how this image works:
- "Your lips distill nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the scent of your garments is like the scent of Lebanon" (4:11). What do we have here? Luxury. Exoticism. And booze. And in case it wasn't clear enough, several lines later, the groom declares, "Eat, friends, drink; and be drunk with love" (5.1).
- "Your kisses [are] like the best wine that goes down smoothly, gliding over lips and teeth" (7:9). Luxury? Check. Sensuality? Check. Intoxication? Check.
See how these metaphors work? They center on one sensual image and then link that image with love as a boozy force.