Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Song of Songs & Wisdom

Jesus said that He would send, "prophets, wise men and scribes" (Matthew 23:34). Sometimes scholars and writers get a bad press among some circles of Christians. There is still an anti-intellectual movement around just as there are groups that are over-intellectual in their approach to faith. 

As in the book of Daniel, it is the "wise men" that would bring many to righteousness and it is the wise ones who will make it through the End-times. God-given wisdom is very much lacking in church today. There are many highly educated people in the non-theological fields as well as many doctorates in theology and ministry. But godly and heavenly wisdom is for those who fear God and truly love His Word. 

Only last week, my revised version on the commentary on the Song of Songs was published. I actually sold more than 10 copies up in Ranau last week. I have now written and published in two of the most difficult books in the Bible. My first was in the book of Revelation (2005) and now 17 years on in the Song of Songs. 

Why so few read or preach from the Song of Songs? Perhaps some are even embarrassed by its mature themes and explicit language on love, passion and romance. But why then God included that in the canon? The answer is simple. Love is the most powerful and fundamental of all human emotions. And it is love that drives a couple to marriage (at least in most of the modern world) and start a family of their own. 

A vast majority of songs today is written in praise of love or people inspired by love or being in love. Wanting to praise one's beloved is as natural as it comes. There is much of that in the Song of Songs. What is love you may ask? According to the Song, the answer is given by the woman, much more than the man. Not that the man does not love the Shulamite of the Song (he surely does), but it was the woman's desires and longings that come to the fore. She is the one who is love-sick and she goes to say that she had been wounded by love (LXX). Her passion for her lover drove her to go out at night in search of her lover not once but twice in the Song (SS 3, 5). 

She is not afraid to express her inner most desires. She wants her love to lie at night between her breasts. The man is no less fascinated by the woman and in his praises of the woman and the feminine features that attracted him contain some of the most beautiful of poetry ever written. 

Most of the love language is couched in metaphors. My book aims to explicate what is hidden in figures, similes and metaphors, and more so the Song is a love story, a coherent and exciting story as such. To get the most out of the Song, it is simply about wrestling with Hebrew poetry and the Greek translation in the LXX adds much to our understanding of the Song. And now you can read it in just 121 pages in my concise commentary. 

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