Over at Christianity.Com I ask whether there is exegetical evidence that Solomon intended an allegorical layer of meaning in the Song of Songs. Here’s the opening:
For a number of years now learned interpreters of Scripture have been telling us that the Song of Songs is (primarily) about human love. I put the word primarily in parentheses in that last sentence for a reason. I had grown so accustomed to the emphasis on human love in the Song that I had begun to assume that’s all modern commentators said about it. As I was recently pondering this, I went back and looked at what they actually say. They typically add a word like “primarily” or “mainly,” leaving the door open to a spiritual meaning of the Song. But then when the get into it, all they talk about is human love.
In this post I want to pose a question: is it possible that Solomon intended the Song to have an allegorical layer of meaning?
Usually when you suggest that the Song is about something more than human love, people roll their eyes and write you off as a prude.
I’m not a prude, okay?
I do think the Song is about human love, and I think human love is great. Really great! I love my wife, and I can’t get over God giving us something so surprising, so pleasing, so good as marriage. Everything that happens within the context of this comprehensive interpersonal union of one man and one woman being one flesh is better than any of the perversions people use to ruin it. So I’m on board with human love in the Song.
My question, though, is whether there’s more to the Song than merely human love, more that Solomon, whom I take to have written the Song (cf. Song 1:1), intended his audience to get from this piece of poetry. I’m not out to defend the history of interpretation by asking this question, but it is worth observing that the idea that the Song has a spiritual meaning has been, well, dominant across the ages. Is there exegetical evidence for it, though?
I consider the exegetical evidence in the rest of the post.
Related: I’m preaching through the Song at Kenwood, and the sermons are on this page.