Sunday, February 7, 2021

New Insights in New Book

My new book on the Song of Songs has a number of new insights which to the best of my knowledge have not been discussed in any commentary or monograph. Although there are a number of scholars who argue that the Shulamite woman was Abishag, none would tell the tale of Solomon's love with the Shulamite girl as a narrative framework for the Song as I attempt to do in my new book. Although the Song of Songs is a love-poem filled with symbolism, there is a human story behind it, especially from the two lovers' familial ties. The woman is called a Shulamite, so she is identified as coming from Shulam or Shunem in Israel. She has a family with a mother and a few older brothers. It could be that she is the youngest in the family, barely in her teens which made her a target of her brothers' anger as they made her work at the family's vineyards under the hot sun. King Solomon had 60 queens and 80 concubines at the time he fell in love with this Shulamite which points to a time early in his reign as he went on to wed a total of 700 wives and 300 concubines. I also argue that the wedding narrated at SS 3 is not that of Solomon and the Shulamite as numerous instances throughout the Song indicates that the couple is not married or living together in one place. Straight after the wedding at SS 3, Solomon had to go to Lebanon to look for the Shulamite and then, after a brief time together, Solomon is gone again, forcing the Shulamite to search after him in the streets of the city a second time in the Song (SS 5:7) just as she did previously in SS 3:1-3. Solomon coming to visit her during the night while she is asleep in her own house or her mother's house does not support the notion that they were married and staying together (SS 5:2-6). Chapter 6 has Solomon sending a chariot or chariots to fetch the Shulamite with the bystanders wishing for her return. The constant theme of meeting, separation, loss, search and find and reunion provides the narrative thread throughout the Song. Even right at the end, Solomon had to flee (8:14) and the woman could only wish that he would return as a gazelle or a young stag to satisfy her once more as if on the mountain of spices. 

No comments:

Post a Comment