What is special about the Song of Songs? Is there a benefit if you read or recite it? I have always been so curious, but I hardly hear about it.
Is that the same book as Wisdom of Ben Sira/Ecclesiasticus/Sirach?
If so, I think it is b/c it has something to do with a woman. Hence, probably why it isn’t in Protestant Bibles–per my thinking.
I couldn’t understand it until I read the spiritual interpretation by St. John of the Cross.
It’s a song about a love for a bride- and that bride is also the Church, the Bride of Christ.
It’s a gorgeous and special song.
That’s direct from my Priest
I think most people who aren’t theologians like St. John of the Cross don’t quite know what to do with it because it’s so obviously romantic and sexual and about the pleasures of young love. It gets referenced a lot in writings about engaged couples and marriage.
The idea of its being spiritual, about Christ and His Church has always seemed to me a little tortured. The interpretation perhaps works better for those who are more comfortable than me with “flowery” writings about love for Christ (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Therese of Lisieux etc.) If it works for other people, fine, but this is not my favorite Bible section regardless of whether it’s seen as being about Jesus and the Church or about a young couple.
I kind of like it because it kind of shows that the church doesn’t really have a weird puritan view towards sex/love. It’s very passionate, and it’s completely fine in the context of marriage.
The book is usually seen as a symbolic interpretation of christ and the church, but I admit that was the last thing on my mind when I read it, heh
Well, it is a symbol of Christ and His Church, because marriage itself is a symbol of Christ and His Church. Songs glorifies marriage, and marriage glorifies God by illustrating the intimacy of God with His people through the intimacy of husband and wife.
Another excellent resource is Richard Littledale’s “commentary on the Song of Songs”. Though an Anglican himself, Littledale collected extracts from dozens of Church Fathers and medieval theologians to form a continuous commentary on the entire book:
The age of the work also happily immunizes it from the aberrant tendencies found in some modern scholarship, which seek to carnalize, at the expense of beauty and spirituality, God’s holy word.
Yes, it can certainly be viewed in that way, but to me, doing so seems like the Church trying very hard to take verses manifesting a human and sexual desire, and sanitize them or put them into some acceptable “holy” light, especially since the interpretation came along hundreds of years after the Song was written.
I don’t object to people thinking of it that way, and St. John of the Cross was a brilliant man who operated on a different mental plane than most of us fumblers to be sure, but for me, the theological interpretation is a bit difficult.
But that’s just it: matrimony is called holy because it demonstrates God’s relationship with His people and makes man and wife partners with God in the propagation of the human race. The marriage bed undefiled is honorable above all, and it proclaims the intimacy of God with His people. God created sex and made it good, and He is glorified by the marriage bed undefiled. Matrimony is a sacrament for a reason: it guides us to Heaven and serves as a signpost for others.
I like Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs is VERY deep and
can only be understood by those who LOVE God w/
a “Love [that is] as strong as death and [understand]
jealousy that is as severe as hell” Song of Songs 8:6
I am sure that ones understanding of any Scripture goes deeper and deeper as our love for God grows. However, even persons who are working on their love of God and trying to deepen it but are still in the shallow end of the pool so to speak can read Scripture and get something out of it. I also would think that those who do love God would not be presumptuous about how deep their own love of Him is.
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