Song of Solomon

The Word Is Alive

Song of Solomon

Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest sages of the Talmud, said, “All the songs of Scripture are holy, but the Song of Songs is holy of holies”. What is it about this song that raises it to so lofty a plane? The question is especially perplexing if Song is taken literally, for it appears to be a song of uncommon passion; it seems out of place among Scripture’s books of prophecy and sacred spirit. Moreover, although some of the sages wondered whether Ecclesiastes should be included in Scripture, there was never a question about Song.

To both the sages of the Talmud and the classic commentators, it was clear that Song is an allegory, a duet of longing between God and Israel, even though neither are mentioned directly. That is why it is read publicly during Passover, the time when Israel became God’s people. Its verses are so saturated with meaning that every commentator finds new themes in its beautiful and cryptic words. All agree, however, that the truth of the Song is to be found only in its allegory.

Song of Solomon is also referred to as Song of Songs and simply Song. King Solomon is referred to in the book. Some believe he is used as part of the allegory, while others attribute the authorship of the book to him.

Introduction Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three
Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight Summary

There is a mind map of the structure of the Song of Solomon that may prove useful for study.