Song of Songs

Song of Songs

, 1979), p. 260.]

The Song of Songs is thought by some to be an allegorical representation of the relationship of God and Israel as husband and wife. [ [ Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies - Home page ] ] Literally, however, the main characters of the Song are simply a woman and a man, and the poem suggests movement from courtship to consummation. It is one of the shortest books in the Bible, consisting of only 117 verses. According to Ashkenazi tradition, it is read on the Sabbath that falls during the intermediate days of Passover. In the Sephardi Jewish community it is recited every Friday night.


The name of the book comes from the first verse, "The Song of songs, which is Solomon's."

"Song of songs" is a Hebrew grammatical construction denoting the superlative; that is, the title attests to the greatness of the song, similar to "the lord of lords", "the king of kings" or "holy of holies" (used of the inner sanctuary of the Jerusalem temple). Rabbi Akiba declared, "Heaven forbid that any man in Israel ever disputed that the Song of Songs is holy. For the whole world is not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel, for all the Writings are holy and the Song of Songs is holy of holies." (Mishnah Yadayim 3:5). Similarly, Martin Luther called it "das Hohelied" (the high song). This is still its name in German, Swedish and in Dutch.

Some interpret the Hebrew construction differently, a song of several songs, and argue for a degree of independence between sections within the Song.) again brings to mind David (c.f. ), [Francis Landy, “The Song of Songs and the Garden of Eden” Journal of Biblical Literature 98:4 (December 1979): 524.] bringing to mind the Messiah who was expected to restore Israel to an Edenic state. The lovers are portrayed as having overcome the alienation produced by the Fall. The state of woman whose “desire shall be for your husband” (]
* "La Sulamite" by Emmanuel Chabrier, with words by Jean Richepin is based on the Song of Songs.
* Karen Young made an album, with the Latin title of this book, Canticum Canticorum (also known as Oratorio), with twenty songs drawn from the whole book. The choreography from Canadian dancer Gioconda Barbuto based on this album was captured on film by Pepita Ferrari.
*In the Jehovah's Witness song book, song number eleven is entitled "The Shullamite Remnant" and is based on the Song of Songs, quoting some of the verses verbatim, including Song of Songs 8:6, 7.
* Kate Bush wrote a song called "The Song Of Solomon", containing lines from the book, which appears on her 1993 album "The Red Shoes".
* Gothic rock band Christian Death on their 1987 LP "The Scriptures" featured a track entitled "Song of Songs" which is almost a literal translation of the book in modern English.
* Israeli musician Idan Raichel wrote a song, called Hinach Yaffa, which is largely based on the Song of Songs.
* Flos Campi by the English composer Ralph Vaughan-Williams is based on the book.
* Sinéad O'Connor’s ”Dark I Am Yet Lovely” on Theology (2007) is a treatment of the Song.
* The text of Daniel Pinkham's "Wedding Cantata" is taken from the Song of Songs.
* Leeds band Pale Saints recorded a song called "Song of Solomon" on their 1994 album "Slow Buildings".
* Birmingham singer Stephen Duffy had a hit song "Kiss Me" whose refrain was a rewording of lines from the first chapter of the Song of Songs ("Kiss me with your mouth/your love is better than wine").
* Brion Gysin used the King James translation of the Songs of Songs in the cut-up poem "The Poem of Poems" (1958-1961)
*In Geoffrey Chaucer's, 'The Canterbury Tales', there are numerous references. The most notable of these is in The Miller's Tale in Absolon's attempted wooing of Alisoun
* Eliza Gilkyson has set lines from chapter 2 to original music and recorded it as "Rose of Sharon" on her Redemption Road CD (1996).

References in film

* "Nammukku paarkkaan munthiri thoppukal", a "Malayalam" (from "Kerala", "India") movie, has its title based on the Song of Songs;Chapter 7:12.
* "The Wisdom of Crocodiles", (a.k.a. "Immortality"), paraphrases Song of Songs 3:6 & 4:3,5,7.
* "The Woman in the Window" (1944), Professor Richard Wanley pulls this book off a shelf in the gentleman's club and sits to read it after his friends leave early in the film.
* "Keeping Mum" (2005) features selected phrases.
* In "Miller's Crossing" (1990), Tom Reagen mentioned it sarcastically to Verna Bernbaum.
* In "El crimen del Padre Amaro" ("The Crime of Father Amaro") (2002), a Mexican film (script by Vicente Leñero, based on the homonymus novel written in 1875 by José Maria de Eça de Queiroz) about a love relationship between a priest and a woman, father Amaro recites it to his secret lover.
* In "Once Upon a Time in America" (1984), a Sergio Leone film, Deborah Gelly (Elizabeth McGovern) recites it to 'Noodles' (Robert DeNiro).

ee also

*4Q106, 4Q107, 4Q108, 6Q6 (portions of Song in Dead Sea Scrolls)
*Hortus conclusus
*Rose of Sharon


External links

Jewish translations and commentary:
* [ Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs - Job (Judaica Press)] translation with Rashi's commentary at
* [ "Jewish Encyclopedia":] "Song of Songs"

Christian translations and commentary:
* [ "Online Bible" at]
* [ "Song of Songs" at Bible Gateway] (various versions)
* [ Catholic Encyclopedia]
* [ Summary Interpretation of the Song of Solomon by H. Speckard]
* at []


*Garrett, Duane A. Song of Songs. Word Biblical Commentary 23B. Nashville: Nelson, 2004.
*Linafelt, Tod. "Biblical Love Poetry (...and God)". Journal of the American Academy of Religion 70 (2) 2002.
*Pope, Marvin H. "Song of Songs: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary". Anchor Bible 7C. 2 volumes. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1977.
*Theo Kobusch, Metaphysik, C. Metaphysik als Exegese des Hohenliedes, in Der Neue Pauly, Band 15, La-Ot, Stuttgart Weimar 2001.


"Canticum Canticorum. Eloge De L'amour. La Cantique Des Cantiques à la Renaissance," Capilla Flamenca, 2004 (Eufoda 1359).

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