Song of Solomon (Song of Songs)
Natural and Pastoral Imagery
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
No wedding is complete without flowers, right? Well Song of Songs has flowers galore:
I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.
As a lily among brambles,
so is my love among maidens. (2:1)
Back in the day, they couldn't really compare their love to Chuck and Blair, so they stuck with natural imagery. And it kind of works. Even if we don't know what brambles are.
The landscape of Song of Songs is also marked by signs of spring that emphasize rebirth and reproduction. In 2:13, the bride proclaims, "The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance." This outpouring of fruit, love, and new life on the landscape is so tangible that you can practically touch it. And touch it, they may, because we're pretty sure those figs and vines represent somethin' sexy.
Love really does something for nature, because it seems to come to life when love rears it's lovely head. The groom declares, "Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, I will hasten to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense" (4:6), but does a day really breathe or a shadow flee? Of course not. But these personified images evoke feelings of a natural landscape alive and empowered by the fleeting spark of love. And we're along for the ride.
Things get really intimate when the groom starts describing the bride's body with natural images: "your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies" (7:2); "your neck is like an ivory tower" (7:4); "You are as stately as a palm tree […] I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its branches" (7:7-8).
We'll never be able to look at a palm tree the same way again.