Friday, February 25, 2011

Song of Solomon

Queen Sheba kneeling before Solomon. TISCHBEIN, Johann Friedrich August (b. 1750, Maastricht, d. 1812, Heidelberg)
Song of Solomon (Hebrew, שיר שיר שלמה shiyr shiyr Shĕlomoh,), is a book of the Hebrew Bible, one of the five megillot (scrolls). It is also known as The Song of Songs, Solomon's Song of Songs, or as Canticles, the latter from the shortened and anglicized Vulgate title Canticum Canticorum (Latin, "Song of Songs"). It is known as Āisma in the Septuagint, which is short for Āisma āismatōn (Greek, ᾌσμα ᾀσμάτων, "Song of Songs").

The protagonists of the Song of Songs are a woman (identified in one verse as "the Shulamite")and a man, and the poem suggests movement from courtship to consummation. For instance, the man proclaims:
" As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. "
The woman answers:
"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."
Additionally, the Song includes a chorus, the "daughters of Jerusalem."

With no explicitly religious content, the Song is often interpreted as an allegorical representation of the relationship between God and Israel , or for Christians, God and the Church or Christ and the human soul, as husband and wife.

It is one of the shortest books in the Bible, consisting of only 117 verses. According to Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, it is read on the Sabbath that falls during the intermediate days of Passover. In the Sephardi community it is recited every Friday night, the beginning of Shabbat (Hebrew for Sabbath).


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