Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) Current Hot-Button Issues And Cultural Debates In Practice
Getting Biblical in Daily Life
When it comes to sex, the Bible is all about chastity and goodness and purity, right? Think again. Though many Jewish and Christian denominations warn against the spiritual dangers of sex before marriage, Song of Songs is just filled with it.
The bride and the groom repeatedly either dream about sex or all-out do the deed. And though the poem never comes out and says that the two get it on, there are some pretty heavy implications. Just take a look:
- "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine […] Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers" (1:2, 4).
- "Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits" (4:16).
- "My beloved thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him" (5:4).
- "How fair and pleasant you are, O loved one, delectable maiden! You are stately as a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its branches" (7:6-8).
- "I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields, and lodge in the villages; let us go out early to the vineyards […] There I will give you my love" (7:10-12).
Is this just some totally condoned fiancé-on-fiancée action?
We're not so sure. The last chapter of the poem seems to confirm that the couple's union isn't recognized by others. After the bride has given the goods away, she mourns her inability to walk around freely with the groom on her arm:
O that you were like a brother to me, who nursed at my mother's breast! If I met you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me. I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, and into the chamber of the one who bore me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the juice of my pomegranates. (8:1-2)
Her brothers also don't seem to know anything about her extra-circular activities or any pending marriage:
We have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister, on the day when she is spoken for? (8:8)
Looks like the day has arrived, gentleman. And maybe if the groom likes it, he should put a ring on it.
Overall, Song of Songs really seems to celebrate this kind of sex-without-marriage union. Here we have a man and woman taking charge of their sexual desires without the approval of family, God, or society. Heck, it's not even clear in the end whether the bride and groom ever get married. They may just be looking at a life of endless romps in the vineyard.
Take that, religious and cultural norms!