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Should Pentecostals Interpret the Song of Songs Allegorically? by Brandon Biggs

More likely, the author is using the imagery of the “gazelles” and “does” to connote the danger of romantic love. Though this interpretation may be somewhat syncrestic, it does nonetheless hold true with the dominant theme of romantic love within the Song. The interpretation of these passages is this:

In Ugarit and Egypt, the gazelle is often associated with the god Rešep, who like many others, is a god of both fertility and death (war). (Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, Song of Songs, 2:7)

Only in 8:4 are the “gazelles” and “does” omitted. However, this is not troublesome, for the repetition of this charge is proof enough that the author considered romantic love to be a dangerous force. If one holds to the syncrestic interpretation of these charges, it would not be implausible. For, if the author of the Song did indeed make reference to the imagery of the “gazelles” and “does” to highlight the dual nature of romantic love ((pleasure/danger; or fertility/death (as with the god Rešep)) then it would only serve to strengthen the sub–themes of pleasure and danger within the Song.

“This potent force [love] can lead not only to ecstatic joy but also to heartbreak and a longing that makes one faint or even sick. It is this that leads the woman to warn the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ not to arouse love before its time.”15

III. Conclusion

As has been seen, the major theme in the Song of Songs/Solomon is “romantic love,” with the sub–themes of “the pleasure of romantic love,” and “the danger of romantic love.” The song is not to be read as an allegory, for there is insufficient evidence that supports this claim. The song is also not to be read as a typology, which foreshadows the Messiah. Again, the New Testament writers would most certainly have been inspired to comment upon the Song in such a manner if that were true. Also, the Song is not a drama or a cultic piece of literature that was performed at a wedding. The most natural approach to interpreting the Song is a literal one where the lovers are actual persons who are expressing their hopes, fears, longings, and desires for one another.

The author of the Song presents the reader with all of the delights of sexual intimacy and human relations. This is a natural, God–given desire. However, the Song is not intended as a “pre–marital counseling” handbook. No. For the morality of the Song is indeed questionable. Rather, the purpose of the Song is to present the reader with a picture of human sexuality and love as a special gift from the Creator. However, as was seen, the author of the Song also presents the reader with a caution concerning romantic love—it is a dangerous and powerful force. Yes, it is even as “…strong as death” (8:6).

Therefore, it is concluded that the purpose of this wonderful book is to present romantic love in all of its passion, exuberance, glory, and danger, thereby filling a necessary vacuum in the Holy Scriptures.

Endnotes

G. Lloyd Carr, The Song of Solomon, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, ed. D.J. Wiseman (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1984), 23.

Ibid., 34.

Tremper Longman, Song of Songs, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, eds. R.K. Harrison and Robert L. Hubbard (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2001), 59.

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Category: Biblical Studies

About the Author: Brandon Biggs is a graduate student at a classical Pentecostal institute of higher learning and lives in Texas.

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