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Song of Solomon

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Books of Ketuvim
Psalms
Proverbs
Job
Song of Solomon
Ruth
Lamentations
Ecclesiastes
Esther
Daniel
Ezra
Nehemiah
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Song of Solomon is also the title of a novel by Toni Morrison.

The Song of Solomon or Song of Songs (שיר השירים) is a book of the Hebrew BibleTanakh or Old Testament)—one of the five megillot. It is also sometimes called by its title in the Vulgate, Canticum Canticorum, the "Canticles." The title is later than the text [1] (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=968&letter=S). The book consists of a cycle of poems about erotic love, largely in the form of a dialogue between a bridegroom and a bride. Elements of the text are similar to ancient Near Eastern erotic poetry and to the rustic Idylls of Theocritus [2] (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=968&letter=S), which suggest a late date, under some Hellenistic cultural contact. The Song of Solomon is not quoted by New Testament writers.

The text, read without allegory as a celebration of married love, appears to alternate between addressing a male object of affection and a female one. Some scholars suggest that the poems may be a series of antiphonal remarks and responses between a male and female pair, possibly created by one author rather than reflecting a genuine series of exchanged poems. Other scholars suggest that it is a collection of originally more independent poetry. A few scholars suggest that the alternation represents Solomon having a bisexual harem and responding to favoured concubines in turn.

The name of the book comes from the first verse, "The Song of songs, which is of (or for) Solomon." Some believe the title "song of songs" attests to the greatness of the book. 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 the Holy of Holies. (Mishnah Yadayim 3:5). Similarly, Martin Luther called it "das Hohelied."

Some people translate the second clause of the title as "which is of Solomon," meaning that the book is authored by Solomon. According to Jewish tradition, Solomon wrote three Biblical books, corresponding to three states in a man's life: Song of Songs, which expresses the lustful vigor of youth; Proverbs, which expresses the wisdom of maturity; and Ecclesiastes, which expresses the cynicism of old age. Others translate the second clause as "which is for Solomon," meaning that the book is dedicated to Solomon. Some read the book as contrasting the nobility of monogamous love with the debased nature of promiscuous love, and suggest that the book is actually a veiled criticism of Solomon, who is said to have had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.

Although the book never mentions God by name, an allegorical interpretation justified its inclusion in the Biblical canon. According to Jewish tradition in the Midrash and the Targum, it is an allegory of God's love for the Children of Israel. In Christian tradition that began with Origen, it is allegory for the relationship of the worshipper to the Church, or of Christ and the Church. This type of allegorical interpretation was applied later to even passing details in parables of Jesus. It is also heavily used in Sufi poetry.

(Compare Ps. 45; Isa. 54:4-6; 62:4, 5; Jer. 2:2; 3:1, 20; Ezek. 16; Hos. 2:16, 19, 20. Compare also Matt. 9:15; John 3:29; Eph. 5:23, 27, 29; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9; 22:17.)

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This entry incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernisation.
de:Hohes Lied

fr:Cantique des cantiques ko:아가 id:Kidung Agung it:Cantico dei Cantici he:שיר השירים la:Canticum Canticorum nl:Hooglied ja:雅歌 sv:Hga Visan sr:Песма над песмама

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