Study Guide

Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) Love

Love

With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention toward me was love. (NRSV 2:3-4)

I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. (KJV 2:3-4)

He's not just in it for the nookie. The bride believes that the groom's intensions towards her are honorable—meaning that he truly loves her.

Upon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer. "I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves." I sought him, but found him not. The sentinels found me, as they went about in the city. "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?" Scarcely had I passed them, when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. (NRSV 3:1-4)

By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. (KJV 3:1-4)

This melancholy dream is all about the bride losing and then finding her love. Her devotion for him is so deep that she wanders out alone at nighttime to roam the streets searching for him. We'll see why this isn't a good idea in a minute.

Making their rounds in the city the sentinels found me; they beat me, they wounded me, they took away my mantle, those sentinels of the walls. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, tell him this: I am faint with love. (NRSV 5:7-8)

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. (KJV 5:7-8)

Yup. Here the bride goes out again, but this time she doesn't come across the groom. She meets some angry sentinels who beat and strip her. However, the bride kind of shrugs off this near rape. She tells her friends to let the groom know she's faint with love. We're thinking she might actually be faint with loss of blood.

What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us? (NRSV 5:9)

What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? (KJV 5:9)

The daughters of Jerusalem want to know what the heck is so special about this guy. Why is their love better than anyone else's? Well, for starters, they did make it in the Bible, ladies.

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. (NRSV 6:3)

I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine. (KJV 6:3)

The interconnectedness and devotion that is implied here makes this verse a favorite for modern day brides and grooms, too.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. (NRSV 8:6)

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. (KJV 8:6)

The bride demands the groom's undying devotion. Their love, she says, will even outlast death. Now, that's some hardcore romance.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned. (NRSV 8:7)

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned. (KJV 8:7)

The bride explains what love means to her. Nothing can ever stop or diminish the love she feels. We guess the Beatles were right, too: all the money in the world can't buy you love

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